"I feel happy, excited, relieved," said a tearful Ellington. "I'm going to make the most of the opportunity."
Some mock drafts had Ellington going in the middle of the first round. "That's OK," he said. "It's going to make me work harder to get where I want to be and to prove wrong the teams that didn't take me."
Ellington said he worked out twice for Minnesota, most recently on Tuesday. "They have a great group of guys, a lot of young guys," he said. "I think I'll have the chance to go in there and make an immediate impact."
Of being passed on by the 76ers, Ellington said: "My girlfriend [19-year-old Amanda Altschuler] goes to Drexel, so she wanted me to stay local, as did my family. I'm not upset at all, though. This is a blessing."
For the national champion Tar Heels last season, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Ellington averaged 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Ellington was named outstanding player of the NCAA tournament's Final Four after North Carolina topped Michigan State, 89-72, in the final. In his career, he scored in double figures in 95 of 115 games.
Cunningham to Portland. Dante Cunningham, the leading scorer and rebounder on last season's Villanova team that advanced to the Final Four, was selected in the second round, 33d overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
A four-year player, the 6-8 Cunningham jumped onto the NBA radar with a breakout senior season that culminated in being named the Big East's most improved player.
Nivins to Dallas. St. Joe's product Ahmad Nivins was selected in the second round, 56th overall, by the Dallas Mavericks. The 6-9 forward averaged a double-double (19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds) in his senior season and was named the 2009 Atlantic Ten player of the year.
"I don't really think I can even put it into words," Nivins said. "It feels like this isn't even happening. It's a wonderful blessing."
Temple's Dionte Christmas and Philadelphia native Stefon Jackson of UTEP were not drafted.
Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019