NEW YORK -- All Edmond Sumner needed was a chance, and he received just that late Thursday in the 2017 NBA draft.
Sumner was taken by the New Orleans Pelicans with the 52nd pick of the draft and then acquired by the Indiana Pacers in a trade.
Wearing a bowtie, suit and glasses, the former Xavier University point guard was cheered on by his parents, Ernest and Felicia, and two friends at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Musketeers coach Chris Mack and many others lauded the standout player on Twitter.
“Congratulations to @EdmondSumner!” Mack wrote. “Anxious to see your career unfold!!!”
Wrote Xavier senior Trevon Bluiett: “Many doubted, few believed! Proud of you brother @EdmondSumner.”
Most mock boards projected Sumner as a late second-round pick in the 60-player draft. Draftexpress.com had him at No. 47, selected by the Pacers, while NBADraft.net pegged him at No. 55 and headed to the Utah Jazz. The NBA Mock Draft with Sam Vecenie estimated Sumner at No. 56, going to the Boston Celtics.
Sumner likely would have gone higher, had he not had a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee and offseason knee and shoulder surgery. He’s still about a year away from being back to full health.
But that’s exactly the reason he decided to enter the draft. Although some fans questioned his decision to go pro during his injury layoff, Sumner tried to explain his decision-making process on Twitter. Mack clarified: Sumner could rehab at Xavier and not play, or he could rehab in the pros and not play but start making money.
Since he probably would have been a first-round pick if he was healthy, the Pacers essentially got a steal in drafting Sumner in the second round. Now the team can slowly integrate Sumner into their system as his knee grows stronger.
Last season, the 6-foot-6, 186-pound player averaged 15 points and 5 assists in 21 games before injuring his knee Jan. 29 against St. John’s in New York.
Unlike Bluiett, who twice tested the draft waters without hiring an agent, Sumner announced March 28 on Twitter that he was entering the draft and “fulfilling a lifelong dream.”
Sumner thanked Mack and the Xavier staff for “believing in me and giving me a chance when no one did.” He also professed his love for Xavier Nation and hired an agent.
In the end, the Detroit native played 58 games in a Xavier uniform and scored 663 career points with 223 assists. Sumner played in just six games his first year before redshirting due to chronic tendinitis in his knees. He was sidelined for a couple weeks in the 2015-16 season after suffering a concussion at Villanova.
When he was healthy, he was a major problem for opponents. Sumner’s size provided a mismatch at point guard and his athleticism, quickness and electric dunks made him a juggernaut in transition.
Sumner was the third Big East player selected Thursday night, joining first-round selections Justin Patton (Creighton) and Josh Hart (Villanova). Sumner was the first XU player drafted since Semaj Christon in 2014.