Alabama hopes for NBA first-round draft pick for a second straight year
Alabama basketball is hoping to have a first-round selection in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday, with both guard Josh Primo and forward Herbert Jones considered to be possibilities.
Primo, who gave up his final three years of eligibility after starting as a freshman, is projected as the No. 24 selection by the Houston Rockets in the latest USA Today mock draft while Jones, who had a stellar four-year career, is rated as the No. 41 pick in the second round by San Antonio. ESPN has Primo projected as the No. 26 pick by the Denver Nuggets.
The youngest player in the draft, the Canadian-born Primo was considered a candidate to return to the Crimson Tide until a strong showing at the NBA Draft combine earlier this month. He averaged 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists, while shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point range. His best game of the season came on the road against Auburn, when he dropped 22 points and grabbed four rebounds. He made 30 appearance, starting 19 games although he missed three games in Alabama’s postseason run due to an injury.
Jones was the SEC Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot wingspan, the Greensboro native is considered a potential defensive stopper at the NBA level and a likely second-round pick.
A third potential selection from Alabama is forward John Petty. The most dangerous 3-point shooter for the Crimson Tide is considered a possible late draft choice although he was limited by injury at the combine.
Kira Lewis was a first-round pick by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020. If one of Alabama’s prospects is chosen in the first round, it would mark the third time in program history that UA had first-rounders in consecutive years. The Crimson Tide had first-round draft choices in 1992 (Robert Horry and Latrell Sprewell) and 1993 (James “Hollywood” Robinson) and again in 1995 (Antonio McDyess and Jason Caffey) and 1996 (Roy Rogers).
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