San Diego State forward Jalen McDaniels was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 52nd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night, making him the first Aztec since Xavier Thames was taken by the Toronto Raptors — then traded to the Brooklyn Nets — with the 59th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.
A three-star recruit out of Federal Way High School in Washington, McDaniels averaged 13.2 points, (on 50.4% shooting), 7.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists during his two-year career. During his final season in San Diego, the 6’10 forward started in all 34 games, averaged 15.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, and went 24-75 from behind the arc after only taking 19 threes as a freshman. All told, McDaniels was an All-Mountain West Second Team selection as a sophomore and made the All-MWC Honorable Mention list as a freshman.
McDaniels was widely projected to be a late second-round pick, so being selected here isn’t too much of a surprise. The Hornets’ coaching staff will view McDaniels as a project player that needs to fill out his frame, establish a consistent jumper and improve as a defender in order to be NBA-ready.
The former Aztec will join fellow Mountain West alum Cody Martin of Nevada, who was taken with the 36th pick