BROOKLYN, NY. — It was a long wait for Brandon Boston Junior - a lot longer than he would've liked - but his name was eventually called, as the Memphis Grizzlies selected the former Kentucky guard with the 51st overall pick in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
He is the first UK player ever selected by the Grizzlies. However, Boston’s rights have been proposed in a trade with Memphis, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Clippers with Boston eventually joining the Clippers.
In 12 seasons with Calipari at the helm, Kentucky has churned out three No. 1 selections, 32 first-rounders, 21 lottery picks and 43 total players in the NBA Draft. The 43 draft picks are 15 more than the next closest school (Duke).
“BJ is going to use tonight as fuel and I going to have a great NBA career,” Calipari said. “I am sure of it, just as sure as I am that teams are going to look back and wish they would have taken him sooner. BJ has length, an ability to score that few have and a high ceiling.
“He has landed with a great franchise that will give him time to grow, and my guess is we will look back in a couple of years and realize how much he was hurt this season by his hand injury and the COVID year. I know he is a special player.”
Boston made 24 starts in 25 appearances for the Wildcats last season. He averaged a team-high-tying 11.5 points per game and his 4.5 rebounds per outing led the guards. The Norcross, Georgia, native paced the squad with 33 steals and had six games with three or more swipes.
Known for his ability to score on all three levels, Boston reached double figures in a team-high 17 games and had a pair of 20-point performances. Boston made particular strides from long range as the season wore on, draining 23 3-pointers over the final 12 games.
Boston scored a career-high 21 points with a career-best six 3s in the regular-season finale against South Carolina. He recorded 17 points in back-to-back outings against Arkansas and Auburn. He also posted a career-high four steals in the win over the Tigers. In his return to his home state, Boston scored 18 points at Georgia and followed that with 18 points, six boards, three assists, a block and a steal in the win over LSU.
Boston was the only guard on the team to record a double-double this season with 20 points and a career-best 10 rebounds against Richmond.