3 things to know about new Thunder forward Jaylen Hoard

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Logan Newman
·3 min read
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The Oklahoma City Thunder announced they had signed forward Jaylen Hoard to a two-way contract on Monday. Hoard, who turned 22 less than a week before he was signed, will have a chance to prove himself to the OKC front office as the season nears its close.

Hoard, from France, is in his second season in the NBA. He was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers last season and played for the Oklahoma City Blue G League team in the bubble last month.

He made his Thunder debut on Monday, tallying 10 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes of play against the Detroit Pistons.

Here are some pieces of background about the new Thunder player.

First basketball memory: Kobe vs. Melo

Hoard said he first became interested in basketball when he watched a playoff game with his dad. Playing in that game: a pair of legends. Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers faced off against Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets. This would have been in 2008 or 2009, the two years that Anthony faced off against the Lakers in the postseason. It's safe to guess that this was 2009, the Western Conference Finals, in which Bryant averaged 34 points and Anthony 27.5 over the six-game series (2008 was a Lakers sweep, and Allen Iverson averaged more points than Anthony). If it was 2009, Hoard would have been 10 years old. Ironically enough, he became teammates with Anthony on the Blazers. He signed a two-way contract with Portland in July 2019 shortly after going undrafted, and Anthony joined the Blazers in November of that year. https://twitter.com/trailblazers/status/1168607021333020672

Played with Theo Maledon in France

Hoard played in the third-tier division of France with the Centre Federal de Basket-ball in 2015-16, when he was 16 years old. At that time, he was on the same team as Theo Maledon, who was 14. Hoard played in both the 2015 FIBA Europe U-16 and 2016 FIBA U-17 world championships. He went off in the 2016 games, recording a tournament-tying 41 points in the opener and averaging 22.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.7 steals overall. He moved to North Carolina in 2016 to play at Wesleyan Christian Academy, where he quickly gained increased attention from scouts. He was a five-star prospect and widely considered one of the top 30 players in the 2018 class.

College and the pros

Hoard attended Wake Forest for one college season, during which he averaged 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds over 30 minutes per game. He declared for the 2019 draft but was not selected. He signed a two-way deal with the Trail Blazers, where he appeared in 13 games at the NBA level. He also played in three playoff games, where he averaged 4.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game. The 6-foot-8 forward spent the bulk of the season on the Texas Legends G League team with both Moses Brown and Isaiah Roby. Over Hoard's 24 appearances, four of which were starts, he averaged 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game. Hoard joined the OKC Blue for the 2021 bubble play, where he posted 9.7 points and 4.9 boards in 22 minutes per game.

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