Iowa State Cyclones

Tyrese Haliburton picked by Sacramento Kings in NBA Draft

Iowa State guard goes 12th overall

Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton drives up court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miss
Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton drives up court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi Valley State, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

AMES — — Former Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton had a pretty standard start to his day.

It began with breakfast — donuts and chocolate milk. As the day went on, it became more and more surreal.

Friends and family began showing up and he took pictures with them, he did an interview with GQ and then he walked in circles the rest of the day, “It felt like 100,000,000 years,” Haliburton said.

Finally, on Wednesday night in the NBA Draft, Haliburton became the Cyclones’ first NBA Draft first-round pick since 2012 when Royce White was selected 16th overall.

Haliburton was picked by the Sacremento Kings with the 12th overall pick. He was Iowa State’s first lottery pick since Marcus Fizer was selected fourth overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2000.

“I was able to help him prepare for this draft process and in my 25 years working in the NBA, he is the best interview that I’ve ever gone on,” former NBA front office executive Bobby Marks said on ESPN. “He has a high basketball IQ, he’s a great kid and Sacramento just got a steal. This kid is going to be in the league for 15 years.

“Congrats to Tyrese and congrats to the Sacramento Kings because right now they are the winners of the draft.”

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Haliburton, a facilitating guard who can play on and off the ball, averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals as a sophomore for the Cyclones last season.

“It’s an amazing night and I’m in the perfect spot,” Haliburton said on ESPN. “Sacramento is the perfect spot for me.”

Haliburton was expected to go in the top 10 according to most mock drafts, but Haliburton wasn’t worried when he didn’t hear his name called in the first 10 picks.

“No I wasn’t worried, to be honest with you,” Haliburton said during a press conference with local media. “I felt like Sacramento was very much a real possibility if I was available. Obviously some other teams went in different directions and I’m glad they did because I fell to the perfect spot. I love my fit in Sacramento.”

The Kings finished 31-41 last season and 12th in the loaded Western Conference. They have a relatively young roster led by dynamic point guard De’Aaron Fox.

Fox averaged 21 points and 6.8 assists last season. Haliburton should fit in well alongside Fox due to their extremely different play styles.

“I love it,” Haliburton said of the opportunity to play with Fox. “I think I’m a perfect fit with him. I excel best with other great guards. He’s a quicker guard and a freak athlete — he’s the perfect fit for me because what I lack, he has. I think we’re going to be perfect together and I can’t wait to get started.”

Fox is an explosive playmaker and creator who is able to create his own shot at will. Haliburton can alleviate some of the ball-handling duties on Fox’s shoulders and facilitate so Fox doesn’t always have to create his own shot. Or he can play off the ball like he did his freshman year at Iowa State and be an off-ball facilitator as well for the likes of Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes.

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“Harrison is an NBA champion and has done very well in this league,” Haliburton said. “I’ll be picking his brain and learning everything I can from him. I’m looking forward to that.”

Barnes, an Ames native, has already welcomed Haliburton to the Kings.

Haliburton became the most recent Cyclone drafted in a recent hot steak of former Iowa State players getting drafted. Since 2016, six former Iowa State players, including Haliburton, have heard their names called.

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