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Men’s Basketball

San Antonio Spurs select Blake Wesley in 2022 NBA Draft

| Thursday, June 23, 2022

With the 25th pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected Notre Dame freshman guard Blake Wesley.

Wesley becomes the first Irish player drafted since 2016 and the first-ever ‘one-and-done’ player in program history. Notre Dame has seen just five players drafted in the last 20 years, including only two first-rounders. Wesley joins Jerian Grant (2015) and Ryan Humphrey (2002) as first-round selections from the Irish in the 21st century. He’s the youngest draft pick in program history.

ESPN ranked Wesley as the 22nd-best prospect in the draft class and the fifth-best shooting guard. At 6’5″, 185-pounds, Wesley has great size for a guard with what scouts describe as “NBA-caliber burst” off the dribble. Wesley showcased that burst frequently throughout his lone season in South Bend. He averaged 14.4 points per game, doing a lot of damage via drives into the paint. Additionally, Wesley flashed an ability to overcome poor shooting nights and find a way to impact games. He scored 10+ points in 17 straight games last season.

Ryan Vigilante | The Observer
Blake Wesley attempts a layup in The Fighting Irish’s 89-87 2OT win against Rutgers on March 16, 2022.

ESPN’s pre-draft analysis also lauded Wesley’s defensive improvement: “He‘s looked far more competitive defensively as the year has gone on, using that quickness, length and solid instincts to add value both on and off the ball, making plays in the passing lanes, blowing up handoffs and proving more than capable [of] containing the ball in 1-on-1 situations.”

The former Irish guard figures to be a bit of a project, entering as a raw prospect. His talent certainly can play at the next level, but a wild style of play frequently led to turnovers. In 35 games, Wesley’s turnover count either matched or exceeded his assist total on 24 occasions. Alongside the occasionally chaotic drives, Wesley’s three-point shooting proved itself pretty inconsistent. He finished as a 30.3% shooter from beyond the arc. He made one of his final 16 triple attempts on the year.

However, despite some lows, Wesley’s highs showed exactly why he left the collegiate game after one season. He scored 18 in the Round of 64 against Alabama, taking over that game for long stretches. He dropped 22 points and 7 rebounds against Georgia Tech in an early-season overtime road win. Wesley also improved throughout the year, averaging over 16 points per game in his final nine regular-season ACC games.

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About Aidan Thomas

A junior marketing and ACMS major at Notre Dame, I've countered the success I've enjoyed as a New England sports fan with the painful existence of a Notre Dame football fan.

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