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Oriakhi excited for NBA opportunity; Pressey signed by Celtics

Former Missouri Tiger Alex Oriahki will get an opportunity to play in the NBA.

Former Missouri Tiger Alex Oriahki will get an opportunity to play in the NBA. Photo by The Associated Press.

One Missouri Tiger was selected in the NBA draft Thursday night, another signed an undrafted free agent deal early Friday.

While the Phoenix Suns drafted Alex Oriakhi with the 57th overall pick, the Boston Celtics gave Phil Pressey a chance by signing him to a free agent contract.

Laurence Bowers and Keion Bell have yet to be signed by any NBA team.

“I want to congratulate both Alex and the Phoenix Suns on (Thursday night’s) draft selection,” Missouri head coach Frank Haith said. “Alex put in a tremendous amount of work, as did Phil, Laurence and Keion, and is so deserving of this opportunity. He is one of the most coachable players I have ever been around and improved tremendously throughout his senior season.”

Oriakhi averaged a career-high 11.2 points per game in his only season at Missouri. The honorable mention All-SEC pick also grabbed 8.4 rebounds and shot 64 percent from the floor. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound forward started his career at Connecticut, where he was part of the 2011 national championship squad.

“I was really excited to hear my named called (Thursday night) and it’s an honor to have a chance to play and compete for the Phoenix Suns,” Oriakhi said. “Phoenix is a great organization. They have great fans and I can’t wait to get back out there and get to work. I also want to thank my coaches and teammates at Mizzou. Coach Haith and the staff really believed in me and my teammates and the fans welcomed me in and treated me like family.”

The Suns drafted Maryland center Alex Len with the No. 5 overall pick, and along with Oriakhi, elected to add size to their lineup.

Pressey averaged 11.9 points and and a career-high 7.1 assists. On the other hand, the diminutive guard’s 3.5 turnovers per game was also a career high.

Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are the only two point guards listed on the Celtics’ roster.

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