Grizzlies fill point guard void, select Ja Morant at No. 2

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 21, 2019 08:26 AM
Grizzlies fill point guard void, select Ja Morant at No. 2
Murray State's Ja Morant walks on stage after being selected with the second pick overall by the Memphis Grizzlies during the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

By Clay Bailey, Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have wasted no time replacing veteran point guard Mike Conley by selecting Murray State sophomore Ja Morant with the second overall pick in the NBA draft.

Morant appeared to be the Grizzlies target almost as soon as the franchise got the second pick in the lottery. The predictions became more certain Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) when Memphis traded Conley to the Utah Jazz for a trio of players, clearing a spot for Morant with the Grizzlies firmly in rebuilding mode.

The 6'3" Morant was the sparkplug for Murray State as the Racers won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in March. The point guard drew little attention out of high school in South Carolina. But his draft stock skyrocketed as Morant averaged 24.5 points last season — seventh in Division I — while also handing out 10 assists and grabbing 5.7 rebounds. He became the first person to average 20 points and 10 assists since the NCAA began tracking assists in 1983-84.

Morant, 19, had three triple-doubles last season, including one against Marquette in the Racers’ opening victory of the NCAA Tournament.

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