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Jalen Pickett Drafted No. 32 Overall By Denver Nuggets

A Nittany Lion heard their name called in the NBA Draft for the first time since 2018.

Penn State men’s basketball alum and point guard Jalen Pickett was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the second round with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Pickett is the first Penn State hoops alum to hear his name called in the NBA Draft since Tony Carr was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018.

Pickett will join Nittany Lion alum and Nuggets General Manager Calvin Booth whose franchise is fresh off an NBA Championship and a 53-29 season.

The 6’4″, 190-pound Rochester, New York, product was recruited by former Penn State hoops head coach Micah Shrewsberry out of Siena College in 2021.

Through three years with the Saints, Pickett recorded a career average 15 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game. The point guard registered his highest point and assist total per game as a freshman, which helped Pickett earn Siena College Male Student-Athlete and Rookie of the Year honors.

Moreover, the rookie stud earned 2018-19 MAAC Rookie of the Year distinction and was the second freshman in program history to be named to the All-MAAC first team.

The following year, Pickett dropped a similar 15.1 points, six assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game en route to being named the MAAC Player of the Year, four double-doubles, and six 20-plus-point performances.

In his final season in Loudonville, Pickett helped the Saints to a 12-4 conference record and an appearance in the MAAC Championship quarterfinal. The Rochester native maintained the MAAC’s highest assist-per-game total for the third season in a row and held the fifth-highest average block total as a guard in Division I men’s basketball.

Pickett then moved on to Happy Valley under first-year head coach Shrewsberry alongside Nittany Lion veterans Lundy, John Harrar, and Myles Dread. In his first season donning the blue and white, Pickett immediately earned all 31 starts and led the team in average scoring, assists, steals, and minutes played per game.

The group’s season came to an end at the hand of Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal and Pickett manufactured 16 points, six assists, and four rebounds in the final game of his senior season.

In Pickett and Shrewsberry’s second years as Nittany Lions, the duo led the way to Penn State’s second 20-plus-win season in three years, appeared in the Big Ten Tournament Championship, and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 12 years.

In between all of those big moments, Pickett produced big moments of his own, including being named an All-American, a Wooden Award All-American, a top-five candidate for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, and ESPN’s National Player of the Week, among others.

Pickett became the first Division I men’s college basketball player to average 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists per game while shooting 50% from the field in the past 30 seasons. Moreover, the point guard ranked No. 12 in the nation in completed field goals and led the Big Ten in assists per game.

In the point guard’s first NBA Combine in May, Pickett produced in typical fashion, posting eight points, three rebounds, and six assists through 19 minutes in the event’s opening scrimmage.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about random, fun stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, naps, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best Spotify playlist to her email [email protected].

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