BROOKLYN, N.Y. — New York City has always been a hotbed of talent for basketball players. Some of the best players in the history of the sport grew up playing ball in the parks of the boroughs, players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chris Mullin, Stephon Marbury to name a few. Now, a familiar face for Huskies fans will get his chance to join the greats.
The Charlotte Hornets selected UConn sophomore guard James Bouknight as the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Even more magical was he had the opportunity to do it at Barclays Center, in his home of Brooklyn.
During his sophomore year at UConn, Bouknight averaged 18.7 points per game in 15 games and help lead the Huskies back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. He also averaged 5.7 rebounds per game and 1.1 steals per game.
With this pick, Bouknight will join last year's number one overall pick and rookie of the year LaMelo Ball. The Hornets finished in 4th in the Southeast Division with a 33-39 record. Bouknight will also join former Celtic Gordon Hayward was traded to Charlotte in 2020.
Bouknight had asked UConn head coach Dan Hurley and assistant coach Kimani Young to be in attendance during the big night, but they had to decline due to COVID-19 related issues with UConn's coaching staff.
"It is extremely disappointing that Kimai and I can't be with (Bouknight) on such a momentous occasion in his life," Hurley said. "He has done so much to help the UConn program and we couldn't have been more proud and excited to celebrate with James and his family. We have been in touch with them and they know we are wishing James nothing but the greatest success as he takes the next steps in his basketball career."
Regardless, who is there or not, Bouknight will be cheered on by the home crowd as one of its own.
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