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NBA Draft 2021: Memphis Grizzlies will get Loyola MD’s Santi Aldama in trade with Utah

Aldama was a projected second round pick, but Memphis loved the Patriot League star.

NCAA Basketball: Patriot League Conference Championship- Loyola-Maryland vs Colgate Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The final name Adam Silver called on Thursday night is not one many expected to hear this early in the draft. The Memphis Grizzlies closed out the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft by taking Santi Aldama, the sophomore forward from Loyola Maryland.

The pick officially came from the Utah Jazz, but Aldama will be dealt to the Grizzlies, according to NBA guru Adrian Wojnarowski.

In two seasons with the Greyhounds, Aldama played in just 27 total games, but certainly made the most of them. In 2020-21, he averaged a double-double with 21.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. From his freshman to sophomore years, he improved his shooting numbers across the board, including elevating his three-point shooting from 21.7% to a respectable 36.8%.

As his numbers show, Aldama can rebound and block shots (1.7 per game). While there aren’t many glaring weaknesses to his game, Aldama flew a little under the radar, simply by playing in the Patriot League and missing significant time as a freshman with a knee injury. Still, the Grizzlies appear to have done their homework on him.