Chicago Bulls pick Arizona defenseman Dalene Terry 18th overall in NBA draft: ‘He’s a bundle of energy’

When Dalene Terry walked out of Phoenix from an NBA Draft party attended by over 100 friends and family, his frenzied excitement crossed two time zones—even during a Zoom call.

The Chicago Bulls selected Terry 18th overall on Thursday, adding wing depth to their roster as the team looks to build around Demar DeRozan in the 2022-23 season. Bulls general manager Mark Eversley said the rookie’s infectious energy played a key role in the team’s selection.

“He’s a tough guy, he’s competitive, he brings a winning spirit to the room,” Eversleigh said. “He is a bundle of energy and I think we need him in the building every day. … We spoke to him about 30 minutes ago and the guy was incredibly excited about being the Chicago Bull. He literally told us that he would run here right now to start.”

Despite consistently holding first-round draft picks, Terry hasn’t jumped off the list after two seasons with Arizona.

The 19-year-old averaged eight points and 3.9 assists in his second season with the Wildcats, playing a utilitarian role that emphasized his ball movement and defense. But he wasn’t a key scorer for the Arizona team that ended the Pac-12 championship and the Sweet 16’s run in the NCAA Tournament, averaging just 6.2 attempts per game.

On Thursday, Terry offered a simple explanation for his low shot: “I’m folding.”

At 6ft 7in, Terry will add the Bulls’ perimeter length, something the short roster sorely lacked. Eversley highlighted Terry’s ability to defend and run on the floor during the transition, two critical factors in the Bulls’ early success last season after defensemen Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso.

“My defense, my versatility immediately bounced back,” Terry said. “This is what I do every day. My energy, my leadership, my resilience… make me who I am.”

Despite the fact that according to preliminary forecasts, he was lower on the draft board, the guard impressed the teams throughout the training sessions. After the game with the Portland Trail Blazers, Terry made no secret of his confidence in his ability to play in the NBA.

“In 10 years there will be a new edition, and it will be different,” Terry said.

Although Terry said he was “delighted” to be drafted at No. 18 so he could be in Chicago, he carefully kept track of every name called in front of him on draft night.

“I remember everyone already,” Terry said. “Trust me. I got it.”

Terry said he was familiar with the Bulls lineup before the team was ranked number one on his list of potential touchdown spots.

“I’ve watched DeMar DeRozan so much this year, it’s crazy,” Terry said, praising Zach LaVine as “the smoothest player ever.”

But the rookie was sold to the Bulls after training in Chicago. Terry met with Bulls executives and coaches at a pre-NBA dinner before training at the Lawyer’s Center. Immediately after he left the Bulls training facility, Terry said he called his agent and told him he wanted to be the Bull.

“Dude, I’m so happy to be here,” Terry said. “I feel like I fit in perfectly.”

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