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Nicholson to Magic Kingdom

Andrew Nicholson said he wasn't going to play favorites. Any NBA destination would do, really. He was just happy to be drafted.

It's no surprise, then, that Nicholson was ecstatic to become the newest member of the Orlando Magic.

The former St. Bonaventure forward, who graduated this year with a physics degree, was drafted at No. 19.

"It felt amazing," said Nicholson, who watched the draft with family and friends in his hometown of Toronto. "It's like a kid waiting for Christmas and it actually came. I was so excited, so elated. I can't even describe it."

UB's Mitchell Watt, projected as a potential late second-round pick, was not taken in either round Thursday and will have to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.

Nicholson's agent called him right before he was picked. Then, at 9:24 p.m., NBA Commissioner David Stern called the name "Andrew Nicholson." It's a moment the 22-year-old star won't forget.

"I've been dreaming about it for so long," Nicholson said. "It's an accomplishment, it was a goal most of my life, and I'm so happy."

Nicholson is only the second St. Bona player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

The first?

NBA legend Bob Lanier, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft.

Half of Nicholson's St. Bonaventure teammates drove up to Toronto to join him for the draft.

Led by Nicholson, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, the Bonnies made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000.

Orlando faces uncertainty throughout the organization. Nicholson joins a team that doesn't have a head coach and just hired Rob Hennigan as general manager.

"We are excited to have Andrew join our Orlando Magic family," Hennigan said in a statement on the team's website. "We feel he embodies the types of values that will put him in a position to achieve success here. He's a humble, high character player who's committed to working hard and playing within a team concept. We are intrigued by his cerebral, instinctual approach to the game."

Nobody knows what will happen with the Magic's star player, Dwight Howard, who has been disgruntled since last year and the subject of trade rumors. But Nicholson is thrilled to have the chance to play with the six-time all-star.

"It's going be very challenging but that's what's going to make me better, the practice," said Nicholson, who averaged 18.5 points as a senior.

Nicholson will head to Orlando this weekend.

"St. Bonaventure, I had a terrific career. I worked hard," Nicholson said. "They have a great tradition and now I'm a part of it."

Nicholson finished second all-time on the St. Bonaventure scoring charts (2,103 points). He had one final message for St. Bonaventure fans.

"Thank you," he said. "Thanks for following, and I'll continue to make 'em proud."

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