Jared "J1Flight" Cunningham is a Dallas Maverick. Cunningham was selected in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft tonight, by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 24th. overall pick, but was shipped to Dallas as part of a multiple player, multiple pick deal.
Dallas had selected North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, whom the Cavaliers coveted, with their 17th pick. Cleveland in turn took Cunningham 7 picks later for Dallas, and the Mavericks, who were looking to add players, also received the 33rd and 34th picks from Cleveland as compensation. Dallas added Florida State power forward Bernard James and the Marquette small forward Jae Crowder with those selections.
Cunningham is the 42nd Oregon St. player drafted by the NBA, and just the 13th Beaver taken in the first round.
"I'm so honored and happy and blessed to be drafted in the first round today," Cunningham said. "I've waited my entire life for this moment, and this is all a dream come true. It's such a special day for my parents and sister who watched the draft with me."
Cunningham is also the first Oregon St. player selected in 14 years, since Cory Benjamin in 1998.
Cunningham was happy with where he landed.
"The Dallas Mavericks have excellent ownership, and are known as the best team in the NBA in the way they take care of their players and fans" Cunningham added. "They have outstanding players like Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki, and it will be an honor to learn from all of them. I'm ready to get to Dallas and meet everyone and get to work. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this process. Go Beavs!"
Oregon St. head coach Craig Robinson was happy with the outcome as well.
"We couldn't be happier for Jared," Robinson remarked. "Dallas is a great place for him. They have a quality staff and great ownership. Jared adds his name to a long list of Beavers in the NBA."
Cunningham was the second Pac-12 player selected, following Washington's Terrance Ross, an Oregon native, who was taken by the Toronto Raptors, with the 8th pick, and one of 3 from the conference in the first round, just ahead of the Huskies' Tony Wroten Jr., who was taken by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 25th pick.
Cunningham's decision to forego his senior season and enter the draft received mixed reviews initially, but his stock with NBA scouts climbed considerably after a solid showing at the scouting combine, where his athleticism shown through.
"He did a terrific job at the combine," Robinson said. "I was there with him, and I watched both days. He just plays hard."
The Mavericks were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who eventually reached the finals, a year after the Mavericks had claimed their first NBA Championship. But Mark Cuban's team is aging, with 8 players with at least 10 years in the NBA, and that's the reason for the 3 for 1 exchange, as the Mavericks look to find several players to reload with, and made Cunningham, Oregon St.'s All-Pac-12 First Team and All-Conference Defensive team star, the centerpiece of their injection of youth.
Good Luck Jared!