Klay Thompson blazed the trail being traveled by CJ Elleby originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
Washington State standout C.J. Elleby was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the NBA draft Wednesday night.
The sharpshooter was taken 46th overall and 16th in the second round. He is the first NBA draft pick out of WSU since 2011 when Klay Thompson went 11th overall.
Elleby had a smile on his face when he talked about Thompson being the last Cougar to be drafted.
I think it’s crazy, but I think it’s just crazy for Coug Nation as well. I feel like I’m representing them, I’m representing Cougs all across the country.
— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) November 19, 2020
Yes, the last WSU guard to be drafted ended up being one of the best shooters of all time in Klay Thompson, and yes, Elleby is a scorer, but not quite Thompson level shooting. However, it’s his defensive effort that he believes will be a big key in him earning minutes at the next level.
I believe that I’m versatile. I don’t need the ball in my hands to affect the game. I feel that being able to be a knock down catch and shooter, and also being able to drive closeouts and being able to be effective on defense, getting deflections and then just also trying to be a solid defender and get stops... Those kinds of things are going to get me on the floor.
Elleby also mentioned that if he didn’t have a tournament in Seattle, he had one in Portland growing up.
He's very happy to stay in the PNW.
“I’m super excited," Elleby said. "I think my family loves it. Obviously I love it. I don’t have to be too far away from them and they can come visit me very easily. So it’s great to still be in the Pacific Northwest because that’s where I’ve grown up.”
Elleby was in grade school when the SuperSonics left Seattle, he added that the Trail Blazers were his team growing up.
And now the Blazers aren’t just figuratively Elleby’s team.