At Thursday night’s NBA Draft in Brooklyn, one of the prospects who didn’t hear his name called quite as often as he might have expected was Bol Bol.
The Oregon University standout has some concerns regarding medical history but still ended up becoming a second-round selection. His father was Manute Bol, a former NBA star himself.
Manute Bol, former NBA star
Longtime NBA fans are probably familiar with the super-tall Manute Boll, a lane protector who swatted away many shots during his career. Bol was also a second-round pick, getting drafted from Bridgeport University at No. 31 back in 1985 by the then Washington Bullets. The 7-foot-7 Sudanese-born American player was ready to take his defensive skills to the league.
He’d play his first three seasons with the Bullets, before stints with several other teams. They included the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat. During his career, he led the league in blocked shots twice (1986 & 1989) and was selected for NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1986.
He wasn’t a prolific scorer, averaging just 2.6 points per game, and finished his career with 2,647 total rebounds. Bol’s 2,086 blocks in his career rank him at No. 15 on the NBA’s all-time blocks list. He’s just behind former NBA player Shawn Bradley (2,119) and two spots ahead of current star Dwight Howard (2,051).
During his career, he also was known for his activism and generosity. That included donating a lot of his NBA salary to causes in his birth nation of Sudan. He would often visit Sudanese refugee camps and established the Ring True Foundation to help with raising funds for them.
Manute Bol death
Manute Bol passed away on June 19, 2010 at the age of 47. He died from acute kidney failure and complications related to Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
Sadly, he didn’t get to see his son drafted into the NBA. However, Bol Bol will attempt to bring his skills and build upon his father’s legacy.
Bol Bol drafted by Miami Heat, traded
Manute Bol’s son Bol Bol was drafted at No. 44 by the Miami Heat on Thursday night. However, he won’t be calling South Beach home it appears. Instead, a Draft Day trade sent Bol Bol to the Denver Nuggets, per ESPN. He was amongst the prospects who were in attendance for the draft in Brooklyn and waited it out.
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 21, 2019
He told ESPN’s Maria Taylor that “the wait is over,” following his selection and added, “I just want to prove everyone wrong and come out and be the best player I can be.”
Last November, some NBA mock drafts pegged Bol Bol as high as a No. 5 pick. He was considered a lottery pick and at least a first-rounder up until the past several months when his draft stock fell.
Based on medical history, a lot of teams chose to pass on the 7-foot-2 Oregon center. It’s still unknown what was in the medical history that made teams skeptical of his value in the NBA.
The Nuggets may have to wait it out before they see his full returns too. He joins last year’s pick Michael Porter Jr., who hasn’t played for the Denver Nuggets yet due to medical history.
Bol suffered an ankle injury last December. That led to a stress fracture and him being sidelined for the rest of his college season at Oregon. A standout game last November saw him achieve a double-double of 32 points and 11 rebounds. Despite playing in just nine games, he took his talents to the NBA Draft.
On Thursday he said that his foot was “100 percent healed” and he’s been back on the court as recently as a month ago. The Nuggets are also happy they got Bol Bol at the spot they did. They’ll now hope that injury doesn’t plague him for his career.
If Bol Bol brings similar inside presence and even more to the game than his father Manute Bol did, the Nuggets may have selected one of the 2019 NBA Draft steals.