Former Gonzaga standout Corey Kispert was selected No. 15 overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday, making him the first King’s High School (Wash.) graduate to reach the NBA.
The 6-foot-7, 225 pound 22-year-old is widely regarded as the best shooter in the entire draft class and has drawn comparisons to Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris (who is, coincidentally, from Chelan, Wash.).
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Washington selected Kispert to bolster 3-point shooting around all-star guard Bradley Beal.
“I think he’s the best shooter in the draft, 67 percent true field goal percentage, he can shoot it from spot-ups, pull-ups, he’s an excellent cutter that moves without the ball,” ESPN’s Jay Bilas said on the NBA Draft broadcast. “He’s got size at 6-7 and he’s strong, he can take a bump. And then he’s a solid defender. He doesn’t have tremendous lateral quickness, he’s not a blow-by athlete but he’s disciplined and he’s smart.”
Kispert tested the NBA Draft waters after his junior season and went through the league’s evaluation process, but withdrew and returned to Gonzaga after he was evaluated as a second round, potentially late first round pick with doubts he’d improve his stock.
As a senior, he went on to be named a first team All-American and averaged 18.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as a senior, shooting 52.9 percent overall, 44 percent from 3 and 87.8 percent from the free throw line.
“So much hard work and so much failure and trying again, and failure and trying again, and sticking to it, kind of making gains slowly and surely,” Kispert told reports after the selection Thursday. “It’s been a long process, but every bit of it was worth it.”
Kispert’s high school coaching staff and eight teammates met up Thursday evening for a watch party in Seattle.
Kispert led King’s High School (Shoreline, Wash.) to two 1A state championships, a runner-up and a third place finish. He was a four-star recruit and the No. 5 recruit in the state of Washington in 2017, per 247 Sports.
In Washington D.C., Kispert will be reunited with former Gonzaga teammate Rui Hachimura.
As many as three of Kispert’s college teammates at Gonzaga could hear their names called on Thursday. Phenom guard Jalen Suggs was selected by Orlando No. 5 overall and Joel Ayayi and Filip Petrušev are projected to be taken in the second round.
Read more: ‘Are you the next Corey Kispert?’ Tales from the NBA Draft prospect’s days as a small-school Washington high school ‘celebrity’
(Photo courtesy King’s Athletics)