The Sacramento Kings on Thursday made Marquese Chriss just the sixth top-10 NBA draft selection in the history of University of Washington basketball -- then immediately traded him to the Phoenix Suns.
Chriss, an athletic 6-foot-10 forward who left UW after his freshman season, was selected by the Kings with the No. 8 overall pick in the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft in Brooklyn, New York. The Suns, who selected Dragan Bender with the No. 4 overall pick, reportedly traded the No. 13 overall pick, the No. 28 overall pick, a second-round pick in 2020 and the draft rights to Serbian shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic for Chriss, who many projected the Suns would take with the No. 4 pick.
Still wearing a Kings hat during his ESPN interview in New York, Chriss said he was already aware the Suns were going to trade for him. He said he’s fine with playing in Phoenix, and said “I love the city down there, I like the coaching staff, I’m willing to go down there and learn.”
Chriss is the highest-drafted UW player since Terrence Ross was picked No. 8 overall in 2012.
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As a freshman last season, Chriss averaged 13.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He struggled with foul trouble, averaging 4.1 fouls per game and fouling out 15 times, but his athleticism and potential made him one of the draft’s most coveted prospects.
Chriss becomes just the sixth UW player ever drafted in the top 10. The others: Ross, Brandon Roy (No. 6 in 2006), Spencer Hawes (No. 10 in 2007), Detlef Schrempf (No. 8 in 1985) and Bob Houbregs (No. 3 in 1953).
Chriss is the 12th UW player to be drafted in the first round. Eight of those have come in the last 12 years.