Former Maryland guard Aaron Wiggins was selected No. 55 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the 2021 NBA draft early Friday morning.
With the selection, a Terp has been picked in four straight drafts. Five Maryland players have become draft picks since 2018, with former Mount Saint Joseph star Jalen Smith the top selection at No. 10 overall in 2020 by the Phoenix Suns.
After a breakout junior season in which he averaged 14.5 points, playing the best basketball of his college career toward the end of the season as the Terps fought their way into the NCAA tournament, Wiggins announced he would test the draft waters.
Wiggins, who was named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection this past season, performed well at the G League Elite Camp and was one of four players invited to stay in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine, where he had another quality showing in the front of scouts and executives. The two events allowed Wiggins, the 2020 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, to showcase more of his skill-set, such as his ability to handle the ball, defend and score off the dribble.
The Greensboro, North Carolina, native also conducted predraft workouts with several teams, including the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks, among others.
Entering the draft, ESPN rated Wiggins the 48th-best prospect and projected him to be selected by the Toronto Raptors with the No. 47 overall pick.
When speaking at a predraft workout with the Golden State Warriors, Wiggins seemed to indicate that his decision to stay in the draft would hinge on being a first-round selection or receiving a guarantee of being selected. While Wiggins didn’t raise his stock to the level of a first-round pick, he did receive encouraging intel from NBA teams, which gave him the confidence to keep his name in the draft.
“Just trying to show my ability to handle the ball, make the right reads, make the right plays,” Wiggins said at the Warriors workout. “I think a lot of teams know that coming out of my freshman year and with what I displayed in college, I can shoot the ball. Just trying to show my other abilities, such as guarding the ball, guarding more than just one position and, offensively, being a threat on multiple levels.”
In Oklahoma City, Wiggins is joining a franchise in the middle of a rebuild. The Thunder went 22-50 this past season, finishing 14th in the Western Conference, and have executed several trades in the past two years to accumulate draft picks. Oklahoma City selected Australian guard Josh Giddey with the No. 6 overall pick and Florida guard Tre Mann with the No. 18 overall pick earlier in the night.