THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie’s path to becoming an NBA player began with a declaration in mid-March that he would test the waters by entering his name in the NBA Draft, then made that declaration final on May 21. Thursday night, Okogie will get one step closer to realizing that dream when the NBA holds its annual draft at the Barclays Center beginning at 7 p.m. (ESPN).
The 6-4 guard from Snellville, Ga., who earned third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 2017-18 and made the conference all-freshman team in 2016-17, made a huge impression on team officials at the NBA Combine in May, and has since worked out for more than a dozen teams in preparation for the draft. Many draft projections now have him as a potential, if not likely, first-round selection, generally projected to be taken among the latter 10 picks of the first round. Tech’s last first-round selection was Iman Shumpert, who was made the 17th overall selection by the New York Knicks in 2011.
“Josh is a tremendous young man and an excellent student-athlete,” said Tech head coach Josh Pastner. “He has set a tremendous example, making the Dean’s List this past semester, and deserves a lot of credit for making himself a much better player over the course of his two years here.”
Okogie ranked fourth in the ACC at 18.2 points per game as a sophomore, and averaged 16.9 points over his two seasons with the Yellow Jackets. He surpassed 1,000 career points, one of six Tech players ever to do so before the end of their sophomore years.
Okogie is the 12th Georgia Tech player to become an early entry into the NBA Draft.
His teammate, senior center Ben Lammers, has also worked out for a number of teams but is not projected to be selected in either the first or second rounds. Should he slip into the second round, he and Okogie would be the first Yellow Jacket teammates selected since 2010 (Derrick Favors, third overall pick to New Jersey, and Gani Lawal, second round to Phoenix).
Photo gallery of Georgia Tech’s 18 first-round draft picks
Following is a quick history of Georgia Tech in the NBA Draft, in which a total of 44 Yellow Jackets have been selected …
First-round picks – Georgia Tech has had 18 players taken in the first round overall, 16 of them since 1989. Iman Shumpert was the last Yellow Jacket to be selected in the first round, 17th overall to the New York Knicks in 2011. Two Georgia Tech players been selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in the same year once – Thaddeus Young(12th overall) and Javaris Crittenton (19th) in 2007.
Lottery picks – Eight Tech players have been “lottery picks” (one of the top 14 players chosen) from since the lottery was implemented in 1985. They are: John Salley (11th overall to Detroit, 1985), Tom Hammonds (9th overall to Washington in 1989), Dennis Scott (4th to Orlando in 1990), Kenny Anderson (2nd to New Jersey in 1991), Stephon Marbury (4th to Milwaukee in 1996), Chris Bosh (4th to Toronto in 2003), Thaddeus Young (12th overall to Philadelphia in 2007) and Derrick Favors (3rd overall to New Jersey in 2010).
Highest draft pick – Kenny Anderson (No. 2 overall to New Jersey in 1991)
Next highest picks – Derrick Favors (No. 3 overall to New Jersey), Stephon Marbury (No. 4 overall to Milwaukee in 1996, traded to Minnesota); Dennis Scott (No. 4 overall to Orlando in 1990); Chris Bosh (No. 4 overall to Toronto in 2003)
Early NBA entries – Josh Okogie is the 12th Tech player to make an early entry into the NBA draft. The other early entries were Dennis Scott (1990), Kenny Anderson (1991), Stephon Marbury (1996), Dion Glover (1998), Chris Bosh (2003), Jarrett Jack (2005), Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton (2007), Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors (2010) and Iman Shumpert (2011).
Two players drafted in the same year – The last time two Georgia Tech players were selected in the same draft was 2010, when Derrick Favors was taken third overall by the New Jersey Nets, and Gani Lawal went in the second round, 46th overall, by the Phoenix Suns. Overall, two players have been selected in the same draft 10 times.
Draft choices by team – The hometown NBA team, the Atlanta Hawks, has drafted three Georgia Tech players in its history – guard Phil Wagner in 1968 (6th round), guard George Thomas in 1983 (8th round) and guard Dion Glover in 1999 (1st round), while New Jersey, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Seattle (now Oklahoma City) also have selected three Tech players each. Franchises which have never selected a Tech player in the draft – Charlotte, Cleveland, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis, New Orleans and San Antonio.
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Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its third year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.