In 2020, former Bountiful High and Utah State Aggies basketball star Sam Merrill was the final pick of the NBA draft.
On Saturday, Merrill was the first pick of the NBA’s affiliate league draft.
Veteran reporter Marc Stein reported Friday that Merrill was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2022 NBA G League draft Saturday, and that came to fruition when Merrill was chosen by the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate.
The 6-foot-4, 197-pound Merrill has had a rather adventurous first two years as a professional. He was traded on draft night in 2020 by the New Orleans Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he won an NBA championship while appearing in 38 games as a rookie.
Last summer, he was traded by the Bucks to the Memphis Grizzlies and appeared in just six games last season.
This fall, he spent training camp with the Sacramento Kings — where he was reunited with former Utah State star teammate Neemias Queta — but was waived.
Merrill was one of three players who played collegiate basketball in Utah to get selected in Saturday’s draft. The other two were a pair of former Utah Runnin’ Utes, guard Devon Daniels and big man Jayce Johnson.
Daniels, who transferred to NC State from Utah, was taken 20th overall by Raptors 905, Toronto’s affiliate. Johnson, who transferred to Marquette from Utah, was taken 38th overall by the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s affiliate.
The Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s affiliate, had two selections in the draft after a series of trades (they originally owned the fourth overall pick).
With the 54th pick of the 87-selection draft, the Stars took former Oral Roberts forward Elijah Lufile, and with the 58th pick, they took former Southern Illinois guard Armon Fletcher.