Atlanta Hawks draft Duke product Jalen Johnson in the first round, add Sharife Cooper in second

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Jul. 30—The Atlanta Hawks, fresh off a run to the Eastern Conference Finals, selected Duke guard/forward Jalen Johnson with their first-round pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft.

They finished their draft by landing Auburn point guard Sharife Cooper, a former star at McEachern, in the second round.

Johnson, 19, is a 6-foot-9, 210-pound wing who played his freshman season in 2020-21 at Duke. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 13 college games before opting out of the remainder of the season after a foot injury.

He was a top-10 prospect as a high schooler in the Class of 2020 who finished his prep career at Nicolet High School in Wisconsin.

Cooper, a McDonald's All-American at McEachern, averaged 20.2, 8.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 12 games last season at Auburn — he was held out until January while the NCAA looked into his eligibility and saw his season cut short by an injury. He scored 25 points or more in five of those 12 games.

The 6-1 Cooper, taken No. 48 overall, is one of only two college freshmen in the last 30 years to average more than 20 points and eight assists — the other is current Hawks point guard Trae Young. Cooper is one of only three players since 2010 to average 20 points, eight assists and four rebounds per game (Ja Morant, Murray State, 2018-19 and Kay Felder, Oakland, 2015-16). He scored or assisted on 471 of Auburn's 996 points (47.2 percent) when in the lineup, and despite only playing in 12 games, his 97 total assists finished eighth overall in the SEC (first among freshmen) and 15th nationally.