NBA Draft’s first-round selections include former Birmingham-Southern star’s son

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The Atlanta Hawks opened the 78th annual NBA Draft by selecting French teenager Zaccharie Risacher on Wednesday night, and when the Boston Celtics closed the first round by picking Creighton guard Baylor Scheierman, a six-year streak for players from Alabama high schools and colleges ended, too.

In each of the past six NBA drafts, at least one prospect who played at an Alabama high school or college had been picked in the first round. But that didn’t happen on Wednesday night.

The streak included Collin Sexton (Alabama) in 2018, Chuma Okeke (Auburn) in 2019, Isaac Okoro (Auburn) and Kira Lewis Jr. (Hazel Green, Alabama) in 2020, Davion Mitchell (Auburn) and Josh Primo (Alabama) in 2021, Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn) and Walker Kessler (Auburn) in 2022 and Brandon Miller (Alabama), Noah Clowney (Alabama) and Kobe Brown (Lee-Huntsville) in 2023.

The streak was the third-longest for the first round involving players with Alabama basketball roots. Eleven straight first rounds from 1978 through 1988 included a player from an Alabama high school or college, and seven in a row occurred from 1991 through 1997.

There was an Alabama basketball connection in the first round, though: Baylor guard Ja’Kobe Walter, chosen at No. 19 by the Toronto Raptors, is the son of Eddie “The Web” Walter, who was a member of Birmingham-Southern’s NAIA Division I men’s basketball championship team for the 1994-95 season. The Panthers defeated Pfeiffer 92-76 on March 21, 1995, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to win the national crown.

California guard Jaylon Tyson, picked No. 20 by the Cleveland Cavaliers, is the brother of Berron Tyson, the director of athletic performance for the women’s basketball and track and field teams at South Alabama. Berron Tyson was a standout at Baker High School in Mobile and a football cornerback and a track athlete at South Alabama.

The first-round picks included:

1. Atlanta Hawks: Forward Zaccharie Risacher, France

2. Washington Wizards: Forward Alex Sarr, France

3. Houston Rockets: Guard Reed Sheppard, Kentucky

4. San Antonio Spurs: Guard Stephon Castle, Connecticut

5. Detroit Pistons: Forward Ron Holland II, NBA G League Ignite

6. Charlotte Hornets: Forward Tidjane Salaun, France

7. Portland Trail Blazers: Center Donovan Clingan, Connecticut

8. San Antonio Spurs: Guard Rob Dillingham, Kentucky (traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves)

9. Memphis Grizzlies: Center Zach Edey, Purdue

10. Utah Jazz: Guard Cody Williams, Colorado

11. Chicago Bulls: Forward Matas Buzelis, NBA G League Ignite

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Guard Nikola Topic, Serbia

13. Sacramento Kings: Guard Devin Carter, Providence

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Guard Bub Carrington, Pittsburgh (traded to Washington Wizards)

15. Miami Heat: Center Kel’el Ware, Indiana

16. Philadelphia 76ers: Guard Jared McCain, Duke

17. Los Angeles Lakers: Forward Dalton Knecht, Tennessee

18. Orlando Magic: Forward Tristan da Silva, Colorado

19. Toronto Raptors: Guard Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

20. Cleveland Cavaliers: Guard Jaylon Tyson, California

21. New Orleans Pelicans: Center Yves Missi, Baylor

22. Phoenix Suns: Forward DaRon Holmes II, Dayton (traded to the Denver Nuggets)

23. Milwaukee Bucks: Guard AJ Johnson, NBL (Australia)

24. New York Knicks: Guard Kyshawn George, Miami (Fla.) (traded to the Washington Wizards)

25. New York Knicks: Guard Pacome Dadiet, France

26. Washington Wizards: Forward Dillon Jones, Weber State (picked for the New York Knicks and traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder)

27. Minnesota Timberwolves: Guard Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois

28. Denver Nuggets: Forward Ryan Dunn, Virginia

29. Utah Jazz: Guard Isaiah Collier, Southern California

30. Boston Celtics: Guard Baylor Scheierman, Creighton

The second round will start at 3 p.m. Thursday after the draft moves across town to ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in Manhattan. The first round was held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday’s selections will close the 2024 draft with 28 choices. The Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns lost a second-round pick apiece for violating the NBA’s tampering rules.

ESPN will televise the second round.

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