For Payton Pritchard, the 2019-20 season came up short, but he showed that four years of hard work pays off in the form of being a first-round NBA Draft pick.
For Oregon Basketball Head Coach Dana Altman it is the sixth former player in four years to be selected in the NBA Draft. Payton Pritchard was taken by the Boston Celtics with the 26th overall pick. He is the first Oregon player drafted by the Celtics in the NBA Draft since Jim Barnett was taken 8th overall back in 1966.
Pritchard joins a historic Oregon class as a first-round selection joining quite the club with football and women’s basketball in 2020. Justin Herbert was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft while Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, and Satou Sabally were first-round picks in the WNBA Draft. Ionescu was the number one overall pick by the New York Liberty.
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Oregon is among one of the top schools that have players head to the NBA after college. Head Coach Dana Altman in his time at Oregon has seen 53 of his players head to the next level. The Ducks are one of just eight programs that have seen six or more NBA draft picks over the last four years, which is pretty elite company.
Payton Pritchard’s numbers speak for themselves and are worthy of a first-round selection. In his time with the Ducks, he amassed 1900 career points, 500 rebounds, and 600 assists. He was named Pac-12 Player of the year in his senior season and was one of just four players nationally that averaged over 20 points per game in his final year as a Duck.
The local connection likely played a role as Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge was born in Eugene and was a multi-sport star at North Eugene High School.
A current player in the NBA, Damian Lillard summed things up best in a tweet congratulating Pritchard and welcoming him to the NBA, “Youngin worked his ass off and earned it!” Lillard wrote, to which Pritchard responded, “Appreciate you big bro.”