NBA Draft: Multiple Buckeyes picked for first time since 2007

Branham, Liddell hear their names called

The Ohio State Buckeyes had multiple players selected Thursday in the NBA Draft for the first time in 15 years.

The San Antonio Spurs drafted Malaki Branham, a 6-foot-5 guard, with the 20th pick of the first round, and the New Orleans Pelicans picked E.J. Liddell, a 6-7 forward, with the 11th pick (41st overall) of the second round.

The last time Ohio State had more than one players drafted was the year it played in the national championship game. In 2007, Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook were all picked in the first round.

Branham, one of 20 players invited to attend the draft in Brooklyn, N.Y., was the fourth Big Ten player drafted Thursday, following Iowa’s Keegan Murray (fourth overall, Sacramento Kings), Purdue’s Jaden Ivey (fifth, Detroit Pistons) and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis (10th, Washington Wizards).

Branham became the 25th Buckeye drafted in the first round and the first since D’Angelo Russell was the second overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015.

Branham, a 6-foot-5 guard, announced in April he was leaving Ohio State after one season. He was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and third-team All-Big Ten. He averaged 13.7 points per game and shot 41.6 percent from 3-point range this season. He was named Ohio Mr. Basketball in 2021 as a senior at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Liddell, who watched the drafted at St. Clair Country Club in his hometown of Belleville, Ill., with a group that included Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann, scored 1,298 points in three seasons at Ohio State.

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