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Bucks take teen from Greece with No. 15 pick

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 28, 2013 at 12:32 am •  Published: June 28, 2013
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Antetokounmpo said he was excited about the opportunity to play in the NBA and at being drafted by the Bucks.

"I still don't believe this is happening." Antetokounmpo said. "I can't describe how excited I feel to get drafted in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks. It's a dream come true. But this is not the end. It's only the beginning, you know, to a very long road that maybe someday will give me the opportunity to make my NBA team."

Milwaukee stumbled into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, going 4-12 to end the season and then was swept in the first round by the eventual champion Miami Heat.

The Bucks have not won a playoff series since advancing to the Eastern Conference finals in 2000-01. The nucleus of the seven players under contract is young. Starting center Larry Sanders is 24; last year's first-round pick, forward John Henson, is 22; and forward Ersan Ilyasova is 26. Jennings, who has been a starter each of his four seasons, is 23.

Hammond said Antetokounmpo started to appear on the NBA's radar in December.

"There are no secrets in the NBA," Hammond said. "You can be at a major NCAA Division 1 school or an NAIA school, if you can play, people know where you're at. This kid just kind of blew up midseason and people started talking about this young kid in Greece and the talent and ability that he had. So we all flocked over to see him. When I was there, I was probably there with five or six other NBA teams at the time watching him."

Hammond said Antetokounmpo is being viewed as being on the roster as opposed to possibly being in the developmental league, although there is a lot of work to do. Antetokounmpo is listed at 210 pounds and both Drew and Hammond said he would have to get stronger, but each emphasized the tremendous upside.

"I remember when we drafted Brandon (Jennings), I said he had all-star speed and quickness. That's all we said," Hammond said. "And, I don't think we've made a habit of saying this sort of thing, but I do think this kid has potential all-star talent. I really believe that he has it."

Hammond said that Antetokounmpo would have to be brought along slowly because of his age, inexperience and cultural differences.

"There is a real transition period for him," Hammond said. "You're talking about a kid, he's only been out of the country one time and that was only a matter of a few weeks ago when he played for the Greek national team."

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AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon contributed to this report.