Thunder fans were no doubt waiting on pins and needles to learn what GM Sam Presti was going to do during Thursday’s draft. In fact, Oklahoma City was in the top five TV markets for the draft broadcast according to the Oklahoman’s Brett Dawson.
In the end, it was a relatively calm night. But with the 21st pick in the first round, the Thunder selected Terrance Ferguson.
Ferguson made an appearance Saturday in Oklahoma City for the first time, as he sat with Presti and head coach Billy Donovan for an introductory press conference. You can watch the whole thing here, but we collected some of the best quotes to get you caught up.
Donovan on how much he knew about Ferguson before he was drafted:
“I’ve had a chance to watch him for quite a long period of time. I saw him when he was going into his junior year of high school, and the year that I came here (OKC) I was supposed to coach the USA team that Terrance played on, Sean Miller coached him, and I know a lot of the people who are close to Terrance and I have enjoyed watching him grow.”
On the moment he was drafted:
“Honestly it was too much yelling inside the building so I couldn’t hear my name, all we heard was “Ter–” and everybody started screaming (laughs). But it was very exciting I was by my family, by close friends so like the moment it was just something that I can’t take back.”
On what he can bring to the team from day one:
“Just my hard work, my work ethic, just leaning on coach leaning on other players and just working as hard as I can and just play my game, have fun.”
On playing with Russell Westbrook:
“I mean you saw what he did last year, the caliber of player he is, it’s amazing, so to be by his side and my other teammates it’s very exciting I can’t wait.”
On returning to Oklahoma, where he was born:
“Oh man there’s nothing like home, I think anybody can say that, there’s nothing like home so to be back home and play with the Thunder, definitely a huge opportunity and blessing for me.”
In probably the most insightful answer all afternoon, here’s Donovan on how Ferguson’s game will fit with the team:
“Well I think with the way we’d like to play on offense, and I’ve said this before I think Russell is the best transition player in the league. He (Ferguson) is a phenomenal runner that can get out ahead of plays, and obviously an exceptional shooter but I think his speed in the open floor and being able to run and be ahead of the basketball is important. And then I think his ability defensively to guard multiple positions, to physically put his body in plays, he’ll continue to grow and develop as a young man physically, but he’s got a mentality competitively that I think is very unique, I think will fit very very well inside of our team, but I think the biggest thing is he’s a transition player and a guy that can change ends of the floor and will fit in very very well with Russell and some of the players that we have .”
Presti on his draft philosophy:
“Not really I mean the draft is, I’ve said before, is really just about opportunity. Opportunity to find value to your team both short term and long term, so we’ve always approached it the same way, we’re looking for players and people that we feel like are good fits for us, for Oklahoma City, for the organization, that we feel like can thrive in the environment that we have, and not only that but ultimately add to that. It’s just kind of the way we’ve always looked at it, and Terrance represents a lot of those things.”
On his video supporting the Golden State Warriors:
“That’s actually pretty funny because I had to turn my notifications off just because of that video. But that video, me and Steph Curry are Under Armour family so we’re really close, everybody is pretty much each other’s brother so whenever they were playing I was cheering the Golden State Warriors on but now I’m on the Oklahoma City Thunder so that’s all that matters.
Though it hasn’t been made totally official, the first chance for Thunder fans to see Ferguson in action will likely come during the Orlando Summer League, which begins on July 1st.