June 20, 2019 - by
Kabengele A First Round NBA Draft Pick

Mfiondu Kabengele Bio

BROOKLYN, N.Y.(seminoles.com) – Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele, who was named as the Sixth Man of the Year in the ACC in 2019, was selected by Brooklyn Nets with the 27th pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft which was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. An early-entrant candidate for the draft, Kabengele is the 13th first round NBA Draft pick in school history and the sixth under Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton.

Kabengele’s rights were quickly traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.

As a Green Room invitee by the NBA Kabengele surrounded himself with his mother and father, Tshilongo and Tshimanga Kabengele.

In only three seasons (one redshirt season) at Florida State, Kabengele earned All-ACC Honorable Mention honors, was named the ACC Sixth Man of the Year and was named to the ACC All-Tournament First Team in leading the Seminoles to a record-setting year in 2019. The Seminoles advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, won a school-record 29 overall games, won a school-record 13 ACC games, finished in fourth place in the ACC standings and played in the ACC Championship game for the third time in school history during the 2018-19 season. Kabengele, who averaged a career-high 13.2 points and 5.9 rebounds as a redshirt sophomore at Florida State, became the first player in school history to lead the Seminoles in scoring without starting a game.

“It feels amazing,” Kabengele told Maria Taylor of ESPN. “You work your whole life for this and I’m just very, very grateful. I learned at (at Florida State). I thank Coach Ham and Coach (Dennis) Gates for believing in me. I thank Coach (Charlton) Young for working on my game, Coach (Stan) Jones and my teammates – everyone at Florida State – I’m thankful for Nole Nation.”

Kabengele played in all 37 games for the Seminoles but was not a starter in a single game in 2019. He was joined by only Robert Martin of Rice (32 games, 0 starts, 389 points, 12.2 ppg) as the two players in the nation who led their respective teams in scoring without starting a game. Kabengele’s play in leading the Seminoles in scoring helped Florida State reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament marking the second consecutive year the Seminoles had advanced at least as far as the Sweet 16. The Seminoles advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2018 NCAA Tournament during his redshirt freshman season. Kabengele ranked 24th in the ACC in scoring and was the only conference player in the top-25 in scoring who did not start a single game in 2019. He also ranked ninth in the ACC in blocked shots with his career-high 1.5 blocked shots per game average.

“Kabengele is 6-10 and another guy whose arms go forever; they go out to 7-3,” said ESPN’s Jay Bilas. “He can post or face up and he’s got a good shooting touch. He’s got very good feet, an excellent offensive rebounder at almost two per game. He blocks shots — almost three blocks per 40 minutes. He’s physical and he’s got a good feel for the game. He’s still improving and he’s got a lot more improving to do. He’s got very good potential as a basketball player.”

As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Kabengele led the Seminoles in total points (489) and average points scored (13.2 ppg) despite playing only 21.6 minutes per game – the fifth highest average total amongst his teammates despite not starting a single game. He was a member of three NCAA Tournament teams during his career at Florida State – he helped the Seminoles reach the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament during his redshirt season, the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 2018 as a redshirt sophomore and the Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA Tournament as a redshirt sophomore. He played in seven career NCAA Tournament games with the Seminoles’ posting a 5-2 record in the NCAA Tournament games he played in during his career.

“We are very, very happy for Fi,” said Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. “He’s made progress every year he has been at Florida State. I think his best basketball is ahead of him. The Clippers got a steal at No. 27 and I am expecting him to go in and be a major contributor immediately for them and make a difference in their team.”

Hamilton has now recruited and coached 17 NBA Draft First Round Selections including now six as the Head Coach of the Seminoles.

Leonard Hamilton’s All-Time First Round Selections
2018 – Mfiondu Kabengele — Brooklyn Nets (to Los Angeles Clippers)
2017 – Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic
2016 – Malik Beasley – Denver Nuggets
2011 – Chris Singleton – Washington Wizards
2009 – Toney Douglas – Los Angeles Lakers
2007 – Al Thornton – Los Angele Clippers
2002 – John Salmons – San Antonio Spurs
1999 – Tim James – Miami Heat
1991 – Byron Houston – Chicago Bulls
1988 – Rex Chapman – Charlotte Bobcats
1986 – Kenny Walker – New York Knicks
1984 – Mel Turpin – Washington Wizards
1984 — Sam Bowie—Portland Trailblazers
1979 – Kyle Macy – Phoenix Suns
1978 – Jack Givens – Atlanta Hawks
1978 – Rick Robey – Indiana Pacers
1975 – Kevin Grevey – Washington Wizards

Florida State’s All-Time First Round NBA Draft Picks
2019 – Mfiondu Kabengele — Brooklyn Nets (to Los Angeles Clippers)
2017 – Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic
2016 – Malik Beasley – Denver Nuggets
2011 – Chris Singleton – Washington Wizards
2009 – Toney Douglas – Los Angeles Lakers
2007 – Al Thornton – Los Angele Clippers
1995 – Bob Sura – Cleveland Cavaliers
1994 – Charlie ward – New York Knicks
1993 – Douglas Edwards – Atlanta Hawks
1993 – Sam Cassell – Atlanta Hawks
1989 – George McCloud – Indiana Pacers
1983 – Mitchell Wiggins – Indiana Pacers
1970 – Dave Cowens – Boston Celtics

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