Dyson Daniels is a New Orleans Pelican.
The 19-year-old from Bendigo had his basketball dream come true on Friday morning (AEST) when the Pelicans selected him with pick eight in the NBA Draft.
"With the eighth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select Dyson Daniels, from Bendigo, Australia," NBA commisioner Adam Silver told the basketball world.
Daniels, in a slick silver suit that sported tributes to Bendigo and his family inside the jacket, embraced his family and made the walk to centre stage, where he collected his first New Orleans Pelicans' cap and shook hands with Silver.
A couple of minutes earlier, Daniels was told by his agent that he was heading to the Pelicans.
"As soon as my agent passed me the phone my heart started beating and I was super happy to get that phone call to tell me I was going to be a Pelican,'' Daniels said.
"I've dreamed of this for as long as I can remember. To finally be here, it has taken a lot of hard work. I'm blessed to be in this position to get this opportunity."
Daniels joins a Pelicans' squad that made a play-off run, despite the absence of injured star Zion Williamson.
Daniels' defence and playmaking ability will fit nicely into a team regarded as one of the most exciting in the NBA.
"Those are great players, they are gret guys,'' Daniels said of the Pelicans.
"I met Trey Murphy and CJ (McCollum) just before, so I'm blessed to be introduced today and to be a Pelican - nothing better than that.
"I'm really looking forward to it. Pelicans have some great players and they made a play-off run last year. I'm really excited to get there."
Daniels welcomed the challenge of forcing his way into the Pelicans' deep rotation.
"In any NBA team you go to you have to earn your spot no matter what,'' he said.
"They have a great team, they have scorers and they have Zion coming back.
"I feel as though I can fit so many different roles in the team and my game is rapidly improving."
Daniels was up front when asked by the US media what he would bring to the Pelicans.
"I'm a winner, I go out there to win every game,'' Daniels said.
"I think I'm a good team-mate and I love to be around the team.
"I play defence, I play offence and I do a little bit of everything... and I love to win games."
Daniels, who will join the Pelicans straight away to prepare for the Summer League season, said he was keen to take on some of the best players in the world when the NBA season starts.
"It would be cool to play against my boy Josh Giddey. It would be cool to play against LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, who I idolised growing up,'' he said.
"I'm just so happy to be a Pelican and I can't wait to get to work."
As the eighth pick in the NBA Draft, Daniels will earn in the vicinity of $US4.2 million in his first season.
What does a 19-year-old do when he receives his first big paycheck?
"First thing I'm going to buy, I'm going to need a car,'' he said.
"So I'm going to have to get a nice car. I'm a big car guy, so that would be one thing. But I'm sure Mom and Dad will get some as well."
"With the eighth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select Dyson Daniels."
Bendigo's Dyson Daniels is officially a Pelican after his basketball dream came to fruition in Brooklyn on Friday morning (AEST)
Daniels embraced his parents Ricky and Brikitta and his brothers Kai and Dash after NBA commissioner Adam Silver read his name.
Daniels joins a New Orleans Pelicans side that includes NBA all-stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram and sweet-shooting guard CJ McCollum.
The Pelicans made the play-offs this season and are seen as one of the most promising teams in the NBA.
Daniels is the fifth Australian to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft behind Andrew Bogut, Dante Exum, Ben Simmons and Josh Giddey.
Top eight selections in the NBA Draft:
1 - Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic)
2 - Chet Holmgren (OKC)
3 - Jabari Smith (Houston)
4 - Keegan Murray (Sacramento)
5 - Jaden Ivey (Detroit)
6 - Benedict Mathurin (Indiana)
7 - Shaedon Sharpe (Portland)
8 - Dyson Daniels (New Orleans)
BENDIGO'S Dyson Daniels realised his childhood dream on Friday when he was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the 8th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
And with it is an opportunity for Daniels to carve out a career just like some of the greats of the NBA who also had their names read out at pick No.8.
So, what is the legacy of pick 8 in the NBA Draft?
Firstly, it was the selection used to start what became the career of the player who holds the record for the most NBA games - Robert Parsh.
Parish was selected by the Golden State Warriors with pick 8 in 1976.
Parish would go on to play an NBA record 1611 games across a career that spanned 21 seasons with the Warriors, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls, win four championships (three with Boston, one with Chicago) and play in nine All-Star games.
Ten years later in 1986 the Cleveland Cavaliers used pick 8 to draft Ron Harper.
Following stints with the Cavaliers and L.A. Clippers Harper became a five-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls (1996, 1997 and 1998) and Los Angeles Lakers (2000, 2001).
The history of pick 8 also includes Sam Jones.
Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1957, how's this for an NBA career for Jones - 10 NBA championships, five-time All-Star and earlier this year one of the players named in the NBA's 75th anniversary team.
Another player who made the NBA's 75th anniversary team was Willis Reed.
Reed was pick No.8 in the 1964 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.
Reed would go on to win dual NBA championships with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973, earning the finals MVP in both years.
He was also the league MVP in 1970, the NBA Rookie of the Year for 1965 and a seven-time All-Star.
Reed's No.19 jersey now hangs retired in the rafters of the famed Madison Square Garden.
Other notable No.8 draftees over NBA history include four-time All-Star Tom Chambers (San Diego Clippers, 1981), three-time All-Star Detlef Schrempf from Germany (Dallas, 1985) and four-time All-Star and 2000 Olympic gold medallist Vin Baker (Milwaukee, 1993).
- LUKE WEST
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