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NBA Draft Notebook: ‘High motor’ UCLA product Adem Bona taken by Sixers in second round

In the second round of the NBA draft Thursday the Sixers selected Adem Bona, the Pac-10 defensive player of the year out of UCLA.

The 6-8, 243-pound Bona has a 7-foot-4 wingspan and is widely considered one of the most athletic players in the draft.

Bona averaged 12.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.8 blocks starting all 33 games in his sophomore season for the Bruins. He snuffed 115 shots in his career, sixth at a school where Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton starred.

““Adem is a high-motor player with proven abilities as both a rim protector and switchable defender,” Sixers basketball operations chief Daryl Morey said in a statement furnished by the team. “He possesses an impressive blend of size, athleticism, and defensive toughness, and we’re excited to add him to our team.”

Bona also fouls out a lot. This past season he was disqualified seven times, and that’s largely why he averaged only 26.6 minutes per game. The Sixers took him off the board with the 41st overall pick.

The Nigerian-born Bona got a late start playing basketball as he picked up the game at age 13. He tries to pattern his game after Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is Greek-Nigerian and among the top players in the NBA.

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The Sixers are adding undrafted free agent forward Justin Edwards of Imhotep Charter to the roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Edwards, a 6-7 wing at Kentucky, likely will sign a two-way contract. He averaged just 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 48.6 percent from the field. Edwards tallied 10 points in 16 minutes in an 80-76 loss to Oakland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He finished Thursday’s second round at the top of ESPN’s “best players available” list but did not get selected on the draft’s second day.

Edwards led Imhotep to consecutive PIAA Class 5A state championships ending in 2022-23.

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The Sixers are bringing first round pick Jared McCain and second-round selection Bona to their facility in Camden Friday.

It’s an opportunity to see if McCain is closer to 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-1. Not long after he was selected 16th overall by the Sixers, McCain spoke to the good folks at Duke. And he sounded a bit taken aback to be drafted by a team with a star player of his ilk in Tyrese Maxey, who also is 6-2.

“On draft night, there’s surprises everywhere,” McCain said. “So, I didn’t know where I was going. I tried not to get attached to any teams. So yeah, I guess it is a surprise, but I’m happy to be here.”

Asked if he’d had a chance to connect with any Sixers, McCain said he spoke to Morey and coach Nick Nurse. There weren’t a lot of players to speak with because less than a handful are under contact.

“I sent Maxey my number,” McCain said. “I’m excited to get to know them.”

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Speaking of McCain, it’s early but Morey thinks he’s destined to be a star. If McCain was taller, the consensus is he might have been a top-five draft pick.

“I don’t want to put any tough expectations on him,” Morey said. “But we really think this guy is going to be a 76er for a very long time like some of our recent draft picks.”

Coach Nurse has a soft spot for small guards. Veteran Kyle Lowry (6-0) helped Nurse win an NBA title with the Toronto Raptors in 2019. So did guard Fred Van Fleet (6-0).

Source: Berkshire mont

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