Taylor Hendricks has made history, becoming UCF men’s basketball’s first lottery pick in program history with his selection by the Utah Jazz with the No. 9 overall pick of the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft Thursday evening.
Hendricks, the program’s first one-and-done is now a first-round pick, which is also a first for the Knights.
Hendricks is the third NBA Draft selection in program history. He now joins Jermaine Taylor, formerly UCF’s highest draft pick, and Bennie Shaw. Taylor was the 32nd overall selection in the 2009 draft, just outside of the first round. The pick officially belonged to the Washington Wizards but was traded to the Houston Rockets before stepping on an NBA floor. Shaw was the 146th overall pick, making him a ninth-round selection, by Milwaukee in 1976.
A record nine-time American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week honoree, Hendricks led the Knights in scoring, minutes played, three-point percentage, rebounds and blocks during the 2022-23 campaign.
As of at least the 1992-93 season, Hendricks leads all UCF rookies in single-season points, scoring average, field goals, field goal attempts, field goal percentage, free throw makes, free throw attempts, rebounds, offensive rebounds, rebound average and minutes played.
Hendricks scored 15 or more points in 21 of UCF’s 34 games this season and reached double digits 28 total times. He recorded six games in which he scored 20 or more points, including his career-high 25 at Tulsa and at home against ECU. He finished the as the only player in the country to net 60 or more three pointers, 55 or more blocks and 35 or more dunks. The freshman phenom finished the year with a unanimous nod to The American’s All-Freshman Team and earned an All-Conference Second Team honor as well.
Once Hendricks steps foot in an NBA arena for an official contest, he will become the fifth Knight to play at basketball’s highest level. Tacko Fall (2015-19), Mark Jones (1997-98), Jermaine Taylor (2005-09) and Matt Williams (2012-17) are the four previous members of the Black and Gold to play in an NBA game. Taylor has played the most of the lot, suiting up for 39 games with the Rockets and 26 with the Sacramento Kings for a total of 65 contests. Fall second in total games played with 37 combined with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.
With his Thursday evening selection, Hendricks joins the likes of Hall-of-Famers Dominique Wilkins (1982), John Stockton (1984) and Karl Malone (1985), among others, in a prestigious club of first-round draft picks by the Jazz.