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It didn’t take long for Tyler Bey to start wowing his new fan base.
Three years ago last month, just a few pockets of Colorado fans were in the CU Events Center for the Buffaloes’ annual Black-and-Gold scrimmage before wandering over to Folsom Field for that day’s football game. At one point Bey, then an almost painfully shy freshman with gangly limbs, secured a pass while positioned just outside the low block, with zero forward momentum to aid him, and launched himself explosively to the rim for a ferocious dunk.
Those in attendance uttered a few startled gasps at the sheer, raw athleticism now lacing them up for the Buffaloes. Bey displayed his peerless athleticism time and time again during an impressive CU Buffs career, and on Wednesday night the next big step of his basketball journey fell into place as he was selected by Philadelphia with the sixth pick of the second round (36th overall).
Bey reportedly was immediately shipped to the Dallas Mavericks via a trade that is sending Seth Curry back to Philadelphia.
Bey becomes the 35th CU player selected in the NBA draft and the sixth since head coach Tad Boyle took over in 2010. That list over the past decade includes Alec Burks (first round, 2011), Andre Roberson (first round, 2013), Spencer Dinwiddie (second round, 2014), Derrick White (first round, 2017) and George King (second round, 2018).
“It’s a big night for Tyler and his family. It’s a big night for our program,” Boyle said. “Any time our guys are in the discussion of being drafted, it’s exciting. It’s nerve-wracking because you don’t know. You’re hoping for late first round, but if that doesn’t come that’s when it becomes a little frayed nerves, if you will.”
Bey put together a decorated three-year career for the Buffs, finishing ranked eighth in CU history in total rebounds (800), 28th in scoring (1,113), 10th in blocked shots (102), and tied for 21st in steals (98). Bey’s career field goal percentage of .530 is tied for 10th all-time at CU and his 31 career double-doubles ranks ninth.
The 6‑foot‑8 native of Las Vegas was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection as a sophomore was a second-team honoree last season. Bey won the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player award in 2019 and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2020.
Predominantly a front court player during his three-year run with the Buffs, Bey will be tasked with playing more of a wing role at the next level. He turned heads during the NBA’s series of virtual combine workouts in October, setting a new combine record for forwards with a max vertical leap of 43.5 inches.
“Obviously his athleticism speaks for itself given that he set an NBA combine record for vertical jump,” Boyle said. “So that’s exciting. They’re going to get a great athlete who works hard and is a terrific defender and is going to have great, great upside.
“I talked with Tyler late last week, it was either Thursday or Friday, just to check in and see how he’s doing. I spoke to his agent and I’ve had conversations with probably three or four NBA teams over the last few weeks that have interest in him. And a lot over the summer, obviously. I don’t get to see Tyler on a day to day basis anymore. In a normal world he might’ve come back to Boulder and hung out with his teammates a little bit and enjoyed campus and maybe a football game. But that’s just not the world we live in right now. So he’s been kind of hunkered down in Vegas working out.”
Bey was the eighth Pac-12 player picked Wednesday night, following the first-round selections of USC’s Onyeka Okongwu (sixth overall, Atlanta), Washington’s Isaiah Stewart (16th, Portland), Arizona’s Josh Green (Minnesota), and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Zeke Nnaji, who went to the Denver Nuggets at No. 22.
Oregon guard Payton Pritchard (26th, Boston) and Washington freshman Jaden McDaniels (28th, Los Angeles Lakers) also went in the first round. Stanford’s Tyrell Terry was selected by Dallas with the first pick of the second round before Bey was taken by five spots later.