JAHLIL Okafor said the Philadelphia 76ers were surprised he was still available when their turn to pick came in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Speaking to foreign reporters at the Cisco Telepresence on Draft Day, Okafor admitted being ecstatic joining the Sixers as the No. 3 pick overall.
Okafor was a projected top two pick along with Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky, who was tabbed at No. 1 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But the Los Angeles Lakers opted to pick Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russel at No. 2, leaving the door open for the Sixers to grab Okafor.
“I talked to the coach and the GM, they were both really excited,” said the Duke standout shortly after being drafted by the Sixers. “They were both surprised that I was still in the draft board. That’s a great feeling to hear.
“I’m excited to be out there and start working.”
Okafor was a member of the Duke Blue Devils squad that won the national championship this year. He was also a consensus first team All-American and won the National Freshman Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year, and the ACC Freshman Player of the Year awards.
The Duke big man said he looks forward to playing against Tim Duncan, a player from whom he learned so much by watching him on television during his younger days.
“I respect him so much. I learned so much from him watching him play,” said Okafor.