June 27, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State senior wingman James Ennis was selected 50th overall in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft, becoming just first 49er picked in the draft since 1998. Ennis was picked by the Atlanta Hawks before being dealt to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat via a trade.
Ennis, the reigning Big West Player of the Year after leading the 49ers to the regular season championship, averaged 16.5 points per game while adding 6.7 rebounds per game and shooting 35.7% from three. A true defensive threat as well, Ennis led the 49ers in both blocks (43) and steals (58) during the 2012-13 campaign. The senior finished the season ranked in the top five in the Big West in scoring, steals and blocks.
"I think it's a great honor for James," said Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson. "All of the hard work and sacrifices he made for us have paid off, and this chance is well deserved. I'm thrilled for him personally and it's tremendous for our program and the university. "
In regards to his trade to the Miami Heat, Monson added, "He really couldn't have gone to a better place, considering the role models there; guys like LeBron and Dwayne Wade. It's a perfect situation for him for him to succeed."
With his selection, Ennis becomes the 26th player in Long Beach State history to be drafted, 25 in the NBA and one from the ABA, and is the first since Andrew Betts was tabbed in the second round by Charlotte in the 1998 NBA Draft. Ennis is now the 16th 49er to be chosen in either the first or second rounds.
Opposing coaches were also impressed by Ennis during his time at Long Beach State. James Ennis has played extremely well against us the last two years. I can really see his skill set fitting in the NBA," noted Roy Williams of North Carolina, while Jim Les of UC Davis raved of his varied skill set.
"James is one of the most versatile players I have coached against in college basketball. He is long and athletic and uses those tools to be a disruptive defender and good rebounder. He is excellent in the open floor with the ability to lead the break as well as finish at the end of it. He has developed into a very good 3 point shooter with range," said Les.
During his two seasons at Long Beach State, Ennis helped lead the 49ers to back-to-back regular season Big West championships as well as an NCAA Tournament appearance, the school's ninth, in 2011-12.
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