ORLANDO — Magic Gaming took their first step towards preparing for the 2020 NBA 2K League campaign on Monday.
The franchise announced that it had retained Brendan “Reizey” Hill, Daniel “DT” Tlais and Brandon “ToXsiK” Raudenbush, protecting those players from both the upcoming expansion draft as well as the NBA 2K League Draft, and ensuring that they will be on the roster next season.
“These guys bring the most value to the organization at different levels,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards explained. “With that group of three we have a nice mix of the older veteran to keep (the team) in check, two young talented guys, and guys who know what to expect and already know their role and put a lot of work in this year for us.”
As a result of retaining three players prior to the expansion draft, Orlando will sacrifice a third-round pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. Had it waited until after the expansion process, the organization would have relinquished a fourth-round pick instead.
However, Magic Gaming did not believe that any of the aforementioned players would have cleared the draft and wanted to keep the core of their squad together.
“We wanted to get three guys that were committed to the game, committed to getting better, and want to win,” Edwards said.
The decision to retain Reizey was likely a no-brainer. The team’s 2019 first-round selection was named the league’s Rookie of the Year after a season in which he put up jaw-dropping numbers. He led all rookies in assists, dishing out 9.8 dimes per contest, and finished 13th in the entire league in points per game, pouring in 17.3 per clip.
“No matter what position we put him at, we’re going to get an All-Star caliber player,” Edwards said shortly after the season. “He’s someone who is always going to be focused and engaged, ready to win, and always willing to prepare for anything.”
DT, the team’s second-round selection from the same class, also warranted consideration for ROY for much of the season. In addition to posting 14.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, he provided lock-down defense for the squad, coming up with 2.7 steals (ninth in the league overall) and 0.8 blocks (19th in the league) per contest.
“He has a ton of emotion and a ton of energy and when it’s channeled in the right way and direction, he’s going to be as effective as anybody in the league.” Edwards said.
ToXsiK, who was acquired in a mid-season trade from Grizz Gaming in exchange for Mykel “KelMav” Wilson, provided a boost for Magic Gaming upon arrival. His defensive tenacity and leadership qualities provided an instant impact and helped Orlando make a strong push for the playoffs.
“He’s somebody who’s always going to be a leader and I think more than anything, he instills work ethic in the group,” Edwards said. “He’s somebody who just has a crazy-high motor in (every aspect of his) life.”
The team’s decision to retain Reizey, DT, and ToXsiK exposes Emmanuel “UCMANNY” Cruz, Cameron “KingCamRoyalty” Ford, and Tucker “TuckerLocksUp” Henry to potential selection by another team, although Edwards would not rule out the potential return for one or more of the group in the draft process.
“This decision was super hard,” Edwards said. “We had one of the tougher decisions on who to keep from our current roster going into season three. We went with what we did based on the chemistry that group has with each other, but it’s not a knock on Cam, Manny or Tuck.”
Both UCMANNY and KingCamRoyalty have been with the franchise since the inception of the NBA 2K League.
“What Cam and Manny have done for the organization is great,” Edwards added. “They put in a ton of work and they show up and work hard. I couldn’t ask for more from those guys. Tuck is great guy (as well) and I firmly believe all three will end up in the league space no matter what next season, even if it isn’t with Magic Gaming.”