The Woodward News

Sports

June 27, 2014

Thunder take McGary. Huestis in 1st round

Woodward, Okla. — OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Sam Presti isn't worried about Mitch McGary's past issue with marijuana.

The Thunder took the Michigan big man with the 21st overall pick. He played just eight games last season after electing to have back surgery. He then tested positive for marijuana and faced a suspension, so he left school after his sophomore year.

The way he handled the situation impressed Presti.

"He took accountability," Presti said. "He showed that he was remorseful. He said publicly that he's really learned from it. We've done an incredible amount of due diligence on him. If I wasn't comfortable with the work we've done the last three years, then we wouldn't have moved forward."

McGary, at 6-foot-10 and 255-pounds, averaged 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds last season. Oklahoma City might be looking toward the future at the power forward and center spots. Starting center Kendrick Perkins and reserve power forward Nick Collison are entering the last year of their deals. Presti said he likes McGary because he's intense and can play both power forward and center.

The Thunder took Stanford's Josh Huestis with the 29th pick. Oklahoma City will get No. 55 pick, guard Semaj Christon, from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for cash, the Hornets said. The Hornets had acquired the rights to Christon from the Miami Heat.

The 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 11.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game as a senior last season and helped the Cardinal reach the Sweet 16. He was named to the Pac-12 Defensive Team both his junior and senior years. His selection makes sense because starting shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha is an unrestricted free agent, and Huestis fits what the Thunder want from that position — a lockdown defender who can also make open threes.

"He may be one of the best athletes that's walked through our gym," Presti said. "His athletic testing numbers, in combination with his intelligence as a player and team member makes a very, very intriguing package for us."

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