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NBA Draft: WSU Cougars, Gonzaga players selected in 2nd round

Jun 27, 2024, 2:39 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

WSU Cougars guard Jaylen Wells picked in NBA Draft...

WSU Cougars guard Jaylen Wells celebrates during a 2024 game. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Two players from Washington colleges had their names called during the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday.

NBA Draft Primer: WSU, UW and Gonzaga prospects in the mix

Sharpshooting WSU Cougars guard Jaylen Wells was the first to go, landing with the Memphis Grizzlies with the 39th overall selection. Versatile Gonzaga forward and Spokane native Anton Watson went 15 picks later to the NBA champion Boston Celtics at No. 54 overall.

Wells connected on 41.7% of his 3-pointers and 81.4% of his free throws while averaging 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.5 steals per game is his only season with the Cougars. His efforts helped lead WSU on a historic run to the NCAA Tournament, the program’s first since 2008. The 6-foot-7, 206-pound junior was an All-Pac 12 honorable mention.

Wells, a Sacramento, California, native, joined WSU after spending two years at NCAA Division II Sonoma State. He averaged a California Collegiate Athletic Association-best 22.4 points per game and shot 44% from beyond the arc in his final season with the Seawolves.

The selection of Wells marked the first time Cougars have been taken in consecutive drafts since 1986-87. Mouhamed Gueye was drafted in the second round by the Charlotte Hornets in 2023.

Wells joins Wooden Award winner Zach Edey in Memphis. The Grizzlies selected Edey, a Purdue product, No. 9 overall. Memphis finished 27-55, 19 games out of the final playoff play-in spot and 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference this past season.

The 6-foot-8, 233-pound Watson was a high school star and claimed back-to-back Class 4A state title at Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep before joining Gonzaga. He played five seasons with the Bulldogs and helped the program reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in four consecutive years, including a run to the national title game in 2021.

Watson averaged career highs of 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in his final season with the Zags and earned a first-team All-West Coast Conference selection. He graduated from Gonzaga as an efficient 58.4% career shooter from the field and averaged 1.5 steals per game or more in each of the past two seasons.

Watson lands with the reigning league champions in the Celtics, who knocked off the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the NBA Finals to cap a dominant showing in the postseason. He joins first-round pick Baylor Scheierman, a Creighton product who went No. 30 overall, in Boston.

 

Other notable draft-eligible players from Washington college who weren’t selected were WSU forward Isaac Jones and UW Huskies forward Keion Brooks Jr.

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