K.J. McDaniels happy to be a 76er at No. 32

K.J. McDaniels poses for a photo after a basketball news conference at the team's practice facility, Saturday, June 28, 2014, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The disappointment was short-lived.

Aside from not getting a guaranteed contract, K.J. McDaniels will tell you going 32d overall in the NBA draft Thursday was better than being a late first-round selection.

That's because he wore No. 32 at Clemson. He and his Twitter followers end their tweets with "#32NATION." The 6-foot-6 swingman even has "#32NATION" T-shirts.

"God works in mysterious ways," said McDaniels, who met with reporters at a news conference Saturday along with new Sixers Dario Saric, Pierre Jackson, Jerami Grant, and Jordan McRae. "He got me at 32. So it's a blessing."

The Sixers are also thankful.

They had the 21-year-old, who left college after his junior season, rated higher than a second-rounder on their board. So did some mock drafts.


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McDaniels, who will wear No. 11 with the Sixers - Billy Cunningham's No. 32 is retired - was the only NCAA player to lead his team in scoring (17.1 points per game), rebounds (7.1 per game), three-point field goals (42), steals (41), and blocked shots (100).

A defensive stalwart, the Birmingham, Ala., resident led the Atlantic Coast Conference in blocked shots for the second consecutive season.

One of his best performances came against Georgia State in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament. He shot 9 for 11 from the field and finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots.

He ended the season as a first-team all-ACC selection and conference defensive player of the year.

"He's wildly athletic, and he's really long, with a defensive mind-set," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said. "He's sort of an unusual player, because he's a big-time shot-blocker from the wing position."

The Sixers think McDaniels will flourish in their up-tempo style.

And his noted defensive abilities should provide an upgrade for the Sixers, who struggled to make stops last season.

While eager to display his skills, McDaniels is still overjoyed with being drafted 32d overall.

"It was a great feeling," said McDaniels, who attended the draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "I feel like when 32 came up, that was definitely going to be my call. I knew it was a reason we have #32NATION."


Fresh Faces

The players the 76ers acquired Thursday, through the draft or by trade.

Name   Pos.   Ht.   Wt.   Age      From   

Joel Embiid   C   7-0   250   20      Kansas   

Dario Saric   F   6-10   230   20      Croatia   

K.J. McDaniels   SF   6-6   200   21      Clemson   

Jerami Grant   SF   6-8   214   20      Syracuse   

Vasilije Micic   PG   6-6   202   20      Serbia   

Pierre Jackson   PG   5-10   180   22      NBDL   

Jordan McRae   SG   6-6   185   23      Tennessee