Brandon Clarke’s meteoric rise as a Gonzaga Bulldog is complete, even if he had to wait on draft night a little longer than he thought. The junior forward was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 21st pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night. He will go to the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade, as detailed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Oklahoma City has traded the No. 21 pick to Memphis, league source tells ESPN. Memphis is targeting Gonzaga's Brandon Clarke with No. 21.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2019
Clarke is the second Gonzaga prospect off he board (Rui Hachimura went 9th) and now joins Kelly Olynyk, Domantas Sabonis and Zach Collins as Bulldog big men to be drafted in the first round this decade.
Clarke will bring his outstanding athletic abilities to the Grizzlies in hopes of providing frontcourt depth that can have an impact on both ends of the floor. In his lone season at Gonzaga, Clarke was one of the best defenders in college basketball. The forward averaged 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game, while also scoring just under 17 points per contest. His PER was second only to Zion Williamson, and his efficiency ratings were consistently among the best in the country.
Despite being undersized for a frontcourt player in the NBA, his athleticism and versatility should help him have an impact defensively and on the glass right away.