Tuesday, March 11, 2014 6:54 AM
Sentinel file photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. Alex Len spent two seasons at the University of Maryland before inking a deal with the Phoenix Suns.
Published on: Thursday, September 26, 2013
By Brandy L. Simms
The Phoenix Suns have announced the signing of first-round draft pick Alex Len.
The 7-footer spent the past two seasons at the University of Maryland and was selected fifth overall in this year’s NBA Draft.
However, ankle injuries and surgeries have sidelined the big man for months. But, earlier this month, he was cleared and is expected to begin practicing with the team in time for training camp at the end of the September.
Len became the Terrapins’ first top 10 selection since Chris Wilcox was drafted eighth overall in the 2002 NBA Draft. He was also the first Maryland player selected in the first round since Greivis Vasquez was taken 28th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010.
Len, a Ukraine native, also became the 18th player in Maryland history to be selected in the first round and was the highest drafted Terrapin since Steve Francis was selected second overall in 1999.
“I feel honored to receive this opportunity to represent my school, my family and my country,” Len said. “My fans can expect from me just tremendous work ethic, and I’m going to be a great teammate and I’m going to try to win and help the team win games.”
In two years at Maryland, Len transformed his body and game, adding more than 30 pounds of muscle and nearly doubling his scoring average from his freshman to sophomore campaign.
The 7-foot-1 center led the team in rebounds (7.9 per game) and ranked second in scoring (11.9 per game) last season. He also led the Atlantic Coast Conference in blocked shots and was a member of the All-ACC Defensive Team.
“We are very proud of Alex,” Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon said. “He has worked extremely hard to become a top five selection in the NBA Draft. He is committed to getting better each day and will continue to do so as he makes the transition to the NBA. Alex has come such a long way in just two years both on and off the court and we are all very excited for what the future holds for him.”