Baylor’s Davion Mitchell goes No. 9 overall in 2021 NBA draft, 1 of 4 Bears going pro
Baylor basketball’s historic year continued Thursday night, as the reigning national champions had two players selected in the NBA draft (and two more sign pro contracts afterwards).
Davion Mitchell went first, selected No. 9 overall by the Sacramento Kings — the third Bear ever chosen with a top-10 pick, following Vinnie Johnson (No. 7 in 1979) and Ekpe Udoh (No. 6 in 2010). Few players saw their stock rise higher in the draft than Mitchell, whose suffocating defense was key to the Bears’ championship run and earned him three national Defensive Player of the Year awards. He also showed appreciation for the people behind the scenes who helped him reach the next level, bringing three Baylor graduate assistants — Rem Bakamus, Matt Gray and Peyton Prudhomme, who put in countless hours in the gym with Mitchell, often in the wee hours — to the NBA Draft with him to share in the moment.
Butler (BBA ’21) was chosen early in the second round by the New Orleans Pelicans and will be traded to the Utah Jazz. The pick is considered by many to be a steal for the Jazz; in giving the selection an A+ grade, CBS Sports called the pick “robbery” at No. 40. The Jazz are getting a player whose accolades tell the story of his legacy at Baylor: the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, the first consensus first-team all-American in program history, the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year, Male Sportsperson of the Year, and Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
This year marks the third time that multiple Bears have been selected in the draft, and they’re not the only ones getting a chance. MaCio Teague will get a chance to join Butler with the Utah Jazz, and Mark Vital (BS ’21) will be joining the Portland Trailblazers.
Sic ’em, Bears in the NBA!