Last night in Los Angeles, Stefan Jankovic watched the NBA Draft with buddies and close family friends, hoping to hear his name called. Sixty picks were announced across the country in Brooklyn, none of them the former University of Hawaii standout.
"I was frustrated," Jankovic told Hawaii News Now by phone Friday. "It is what it is, all I can really do is move in. It didn't affect me that much, it just motivated me."
Jankovic said he went to sleep not long after the draft ended and woke up Friday morning to word from his agent that multiple teams wanted the reigning Big West Player of the Year's services. The two narrowed the list down to four teams, ultimately deciding to agree to a free agent deal with the Miami Heat, who did not have a pick in the draft.
"I have a really, really, really good opportunity right now with the Miami Heat," Jankovic said. "It's on me. I just have to play basketball and show them I belong in the NBA."
According to Jankovic, the one piece missing in Miami's core is a stretch four, and why the organization brought him in.
"What they expect from me is to shoot the ball and knock down shots. Just stretch the floor at my position."
Jankovic will travel to Miami in the coming days before suiting up for the Heat in Orlando July 2-8, the first stop of the NBA Summer League, before playing in Las Vegas July 8-18.
As he tries to make a strong impression on the organization and earn a guaranteed contract, Jankovic said he'll use his draft snub as motivation.
"It kind of pissed me off a little bit more which is good. That saying 'playing with a chip on your shoulder' really is true."
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