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Ohio State guard Malaki Branham hears name called in NBA draft first round

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Ohio State guard Malaki Branham had a very busy past year. After being named Mr. Basketball in the state of Ohio, he went on to the Buckeye and became a star. The start of his college career got off a bit slowly, but he found his game midway through the season and ended it on a tear.

Now, he can add being a first-round NBA draft pick to that year of firsts because he was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round Thursday night.

Branham has a varied game that should translate well to the next level. He can get inside the lane and finish, has a polished mid-range game, and showed the ability to hit from beyond the arc as well.

During his freshman campaign, Branham averaged 13.7 points, 2.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds. He shot 49.8% from the floor, including 41.6% from 3-point range. But those numbers are skewed because of a slow start.

Through December, Branham only scored in double figures one time. He then had a 35-point outburst on the road vs. Nebraska on January 2, and continued the trend, scoring in double figures in 18 of the last 22 games. He capped it off with a 23-point performance against Villanova in a losing effort in the NCAA Tournament.

It’s a shame we didn’t get to see Branham develop even more at Ohio State, but when you’ve improved your game as much as he did to become a first-round talent, you almost have to go on to bigger and better things.

List

All of Thad Matta's NBA draft picks while at Ohio State

Thad Matta: Ohio State basketball players he sent to the NBA draft
Thad Matta: Ohio State basketball players he sent to the NBA draft

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