Dylan Windler, lightly recruited out of Perry Meridian High School four years ago, was selected 26th in Thursday night’s NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Windler, who concentrated on golf until well into high school, didn’t make the 2015 Indiana All-Stars after a senior season in which he averaged 27.3 points and 10.2 rebounds. His highest-profile Division I offer came from Belmont, and he made the most of it
“When I came in as a freshman, I was just happy to have a scholarship offer,” Windler said last month during a predraft workout with the Indiana Pacers. “At that time, I was just having fun with it. … I got better every year, put the work in over the summer and just tried to get better.”
The 6-8 forward became a starter in his sophomore season and blossomed his junior (17.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 42.6% 3-point shooting) and senior (21.3, 10.8, 42.9%) seasons. He led the Bruins to their first NCAA tournament win in a March “play-in” game against Temple, and he scored 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Maryland in a narrow loss two days later.
He’s still an excellent golfer
Windler planned to play golfwith his Rick Byrd, his coach at Belmont, before Thursday’s draft. Byrd is close to a scratch golfer and Windler remains a 1-handicap.
“Hopefully that will ease the nerves a little bit for me,” Windler said. “Just go have some fun.”
Rare feat for a Belmont, Perry Meridian player
Windler is the second Belmont player taken in the NBA Draft. Joe Gaines was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1972. One Perry Meridian alum has played in the NBA — Andre Owens, who played briefly for the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers between 2005-08.
How Dylan Windler sees himself in the NBA
Windler realizes being a strong 3-point shooter will help him stay in the league. Here’s what else he hopes to offer: “Other things I tried to show was just the way I move without the ball, spacing on the floor, being a high IQ guy who knows how to play the game offensively. Then rebounding from the wing, teams like to see that. And just being competitive and showing that competitive spirit in all the workouts.”