ORLANDO – The Magic Gaming draft room was lit up with excitement as the team submitted its final pick in the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft. The organization simply could not have pictured the selection process going any better.
The team added four key players to its squad, going with Brendan “Reizey” Hill in the first round, Daniel “DT” Tlais in the second, Mykel “KelMav” Wilson in the third, and Tucker “TuckerLocksUp” Henry in the fourth and final round.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better draft overall,” Director of Magic Gaming Ryan DeVos said. “Extremely happy to get Reid in the first round and then add on with DT and have Maverick fall to us unexpectedly in the third round and finish it up with who we thought was easily one of the best unretained players in the draft in Tucker.”
As Magic Gaming headed into draft night, it knew it had a solid frontcourt in place after opting to retain Emmanuel “UCMANNY” Cruz and Cameron “KingCamRoyalty” Ford in the offseason. So with their first pick, they were searching for a dynamic guard, who could lead the backcourt and score in bunches.
With the ninth overall selection in the draft, they were thrilled to be able to add Reizey to fill that role.
“First of all his work ethic,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards explained. “Another thing is his overall basketball IQ – this is a guy that turned down college basketball offers to pursue the NBA 2K League – so he’s someone that we definitely trust at the helm here.”
In addition to his skill set, he also fits the Magic Gaming culture of a team-first player, whose main focus is winning.
“I’m super excited to be a part of Magic Gaming, I’m really looking forward to this season,” Reizey said. “I bring somebody who is a low-ego guy and will do whatever it takes to win. I’ll work as hard as I can towards grinding towards that championship this year.”
The team continued to fill up its leadership bucket in the second round by adding DT, a versatile player, who can play the three through five.
“I think that ultimately we needed a leader, someone that we thought was pretty vocal and DT does fill that void for us,” Edwards said. “We’re able to grab that at 29, so we’re really happy with the pick.”
The organization made history with the selection as DT became the first ever international player drafted in the NBA 2K League.
“To be the first international player selected is crazy to me,” the Ontario, Canada native explained. “Basically, I’m (one of) the best international players in the world and it kind of gets to me, but at the same time, I’m just ready to get to work.”
Perhaps the most shocking development of the draft came in the third round as KelMav fell down the draft board. Many labeled the dynamic two-guard as a first round talent and Magic Gaming strongly considered taking him with their second round selection.
As the third round developed and KelMav went unselected, Edwards marveled “it’s too good to be true,” but shortly after the team’s dream became a reality.
“Super, super excited about it,” Edwards said. “We thought that was someone that had first round potential even, so to get him at 43 (overall) was definitely a steal for us.”
In addition to playing shooting guard, the team views KelMav as a secondary ball hander capable of taking the pressure off of Reizey.
“This means a lot to me coming to Orlando with them taking me as a shooting guard,” KelMav said. “I’m really excited to see what I can do as a secondary ball handler.”
With their final pick in the draft, the team once again found value adding TuckerLocksUp, a center who played last season with Pacers Gaming that many thought would go in the second round.
“Tucker fits in because I think ultimately he is more versatile than people believe,” Edwards said. “He has a great attitude, great guy to have around, and he’s a veteran that’s been around the scene and obviously had great production last year for the Pacers.”
The draft consisted of four rounds with a pool of 198 players available. With the addition of four expansion teams, 126 players will compete in the NBA 2K League’s second season, and new this year, the number of draft-eligible players exceeded the spots available in the league through the draft. During the offseason, 52 players from the inaugural season were retained or selected in the Expansion Draft on Sept. 26, leaving 74 roster spots available. The 198 draft-eligible players consisted of 144 new players who were selected by the league following an extensive tryout process, six players from the league’s first-ever APAC Invitational that took place in Hong Kong in early February, and 48 unretained players from the inaugural season.
Prior to the Expansion Draft, the original 17 teams each protected two players who were on their year one roster. As one of the original 17 teams, Magic Gaming protected UCMANNY and KingCamRoyalty. The 34 protected players (two from each of the original 17 teams) were ineligible to be drafted by an expansion team. After the Expansion Draft, the original 17 teams had the opportunity to retain up to two additional players from their year one roster who were not selected in the Expansion Draft. Teams retained players who were not protected for the Expansion Draft by forfeiting draft picks in the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft. Also, during the designated trade window from September 27 through October 10, teams were allotted a total of two trades. All trades were required to have a 1:1 ratio (i.e., a player or a 2019 draft pick). Teams could not trade two picks for one player or vice versa.
Magic Gaming, one of 21 NBA 2K League teams, will begin play in the league’s second season which tips off on April 2, 2019. Magic Gaming players will compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play against the other teams in a mix of regular season games, tournaments and playoffs.
“We’re extremely excited and ultimately we couldn’t have asked for a better a better night and a better way to shape Magic Gaming going into season two,” said DeVos.
With the value the team found in the draft, everything appears to be falling in place for Magic Gaming’s run at second season success.