Most people aren’t paying very close attention late in the second round of the NBA draft. If viewers haven’t nodded off by then, they’re probably more focused on the potential stars their favorite teams have already drafted. But the select few that are still watching get treated to some special moments. One of those came Thursday night at pick No. 54.
— Gavin Sullivan (@Illinois_Irish) June 23, 2017
That’s Alec Peters, former Valparaiso star, who joined the Phoenix Suns late in the second round. Instead of attending the draft in New York, Peters watched from his hometown of Washington, Illinois, population about 15,000. Peters, who knew he was picked about 10 minutes before it was formally announced, was too nervous to even look at the screen. When his name was finally called, he was overwhelmed with emotion as friends and family cheered and hugged him.
It wasn’t the easiest of paths for Peters to get here. The 2016-17 Horizon League Player of the Year averaged 23 points per game and 10.1 rebound per game but saw his college career end prematurely thanks to a stress fracture in his foot. That same injury limited him significantly in the pre-draft process, making the draft itself much more nerve-wracking than it would have been a few months earlier. Peters, at 6-foot-9, shot nearly 42 percent from deep and nearly 85 percent from the free-throw line during his four-year career at Valpo.
The bright lights, the sweet suits and the bling got most of the attention in Brooklyn on draft night. But Alec Peters, about as far away from the spotlight as possible, had one of the best stories. It was well worth the wait.
More NBA draft coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• NBA draft winners and losers: Kings finally score big
• NBA prospect loses millions by staying in school
• Team-by-team grades for 2017 NBA draft
• Process pays off: Sixers take Fultz No. 1 overall