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No Alabama prospects selected in NBA Draft for first time since 2017

For the first time in seven years, no players from the state of Alabama’s 43 college programs were selected during this week’s NBA Draft.

Fans have become accustomed to seeing homegrown Alabama players take center stage at the league’s annual event, with Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler selected in the first round of the 2022 draft and Alabama’s Brandon Miller going in the first round of the 2023 draft.

But that streak was officially broken on Thursday, as the second round of the 2024 draft concluded with none of the state’s prospects chosen. Auburn forward Jaylin Williams, UAB guard Eric Gaines, and Alabama guard Aaron Estrada were considered possible second-round picks, but none were selected. Ole Miss guard Allen Flanigan, who spent the first four seasons of his career at Auburn, similarly went undrafted.

Williams signed a training camp deal with the Denver Nuggets in the draft’s aftermath, while Gaines, Estrada, and Flanigan are yet to make decisions about their futures.

RELATED: Auburn’s Williams, UAB’s Gaines headline state’s 2024 NBA Draft prospects

Ja’Kobe Walter, a guard out of Baylor selected 19th overall, is a Texas native but can claim a familial connection to Alabama; his father, Eddie, was a forward on the Birmingham-Southern men’s basketball team during the 90s, winning the NAIA national championship in 1995.

The last year no local players were drafted was 2017, a time when Alabama was in the midst of the Avery Johnson era, Auburn was about to get hit with an FBI corruption probe, and UAB had just come off their worst season since 2012.

Although 2024’s draft season proved unfruitful for the state’s programs, the 2025 draft projects to be a bounce-back year. Alabama’s Derrion Reid, Mark Sears, and Grant Nelson, Auburn’s Johni Broome, and UAB’s Yaxel Lendeborg all have the potential to be selected.

Charles Vaughan is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. 

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