Maryland big man Jalen Smith knew his name would be called in the 2020 NBA Draft, very likely in the first round.
The Phoenix Suns didn’t leave him waiting long. They nabbed him with the No. 10 pick, landing themselves a rotation big man whose defense and shooting should complement franchise center Deandre Ayton.
With ESPN having all the Zoom meetings needed to capture the emotion of draft night on a virtual basis, Smith couldn’t hide his emotions as his name was called by commissioner Adam Silver.
After putting on a Suns hat, he put his head down, but the brim couldn’t hide the tears, as much as Smith tried.
“It was a crazy feeling,” Smith said on a Zoom call with reporters. “This whole night coming in, I told my family I wasn’t going to cry, and they kept telling me you’re going to cry, even though I didn’t think I would. Once that moment hit, those tears kept falling.”
“Just lucky to be in this moment, because so many people want this in their lifetime. Just to be one of those people to get it, there was nothing I could do to stop it.”
Smith, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound stretch big man, averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game as a sophomore last year.
He shot 36.8% from three and 53.8% overall.