Donovan Mitchell, a sophomore guard for the University of Louisville last season, has been selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 13th pick overall in the 2017 NBA Draft first round. He is expected to be sent to the Utah Jazz in a trade.

“We’re all very, very excited for Donovan on being drafted in the lottery,” said UofL men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino. “He put in a lot of hard work on his game and he’s receiving the rewards for having an incredibly strong work ethic.”

Louisville has produced 24 first-round NBA Draft choices, including 11 in the top ten and five among the top three picks (Pervis Ellison first in 1989; Wes Unseld second in 1968; Darrell Griffith second in 1980; Charlie Tyra second in 1957; Rodney McCray third in 1983).

Mitchell was honored on the All-ACC first team, All-ACC Defensive team, USBWA All-District IV team and NABC All-District 2 first team. The Greenwich, Conn. product helped lead the Cardinals to a 25-9 record against the nation’s third-toughest schedule by the RPI, a tie for second in the ACC and a No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. He was among the final top 30 candidates for the Naismith Trophy for college basketball player of the year.

Mitchell led the ACC in steals (70, 2.0 per game, 23rd in the nation) and paced the Cardinals in scoring (15.6 points per game), 3-point field goals (80), and minutes played (32.3 per game). His 80 three-pointers were the eighth-most in a single season at Louisville. His 18.1 scoring average in ACC games was the sixth best in the league.

A total of 72 former Louisville players have been selected in the NBA Draft, including seven in the last five years. In addition to Mitchell, those recent picks include Chinanu Onuaku (2016, 2nd round, 37th overall selection, Houston Rockets), Terry Rozier (2015, 1st round, 16th, Boston Celtics), Montrezl Harrell (2015, 2nd, 32nd, Houston Rockets), Russ Smith (2nd, 47th, Philadelphia 76ers), Gorgui Dieng (2013, 1st, 21st, Utah Jazz) and Peyton Siva (2013, 2nd, 56th, Detroit Pistons).

Louisville is the only school in the nation to have players drafted in both the last four NFL drafts and the last four NBA drafts.

by Kenny Klein

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