Clippers eager to bet on Ohio's Jason Preston – Press Enterprise – California News Times


When Jason Preston was writing this article, he turned from a retired sports blogger to an NBA point guard, saying he would focus on the journey that led him to be called 33rd in the 2021 NBA Draft. ..

He landed with the Clippers on Thursday night. The Clippers traded the 2026 second round pick to Orlando and put him on board.Clippers We also traded up to acquire the 21st pick Keon JohnsonBrandon Boston Jr., a wing of Tennessee and Kentucky Guard, will be cashed from New Orleans at number 51.

21-year-old Preston from Orlando headed to Los Angeles on a completely unconventional route. His background was elastic and self-confident, impressing the Clippers as much as a 6’4 point guard floor. As Lawrence Frank, president of Clippers’ basketball business, explained, vision, competitiveness, and “unorthodox games.”

As a senior at Boone High School, Preston stood in the shade over six feet. Average only 2.2 points per game.. He started just one game that season (“Senior Day”), planned to graduate and “become a regular student”, and enrolled in Central Florida, where he planned to study journalism.

He was even warming up as a contributor to FanSided “Piston Powered” site, He wrote an analysis of players such as former Detroit point guard Reggie Jackson, who appeared as one of the Clippers heroes last year’s postseason.

“Deep digging” Preston said he always knew he was playing, but those Boone Braves were so good that he accepted his role and decided to make it in time for the local REC center. Satisfied. “I was always playing,” he said.

Fate intervened when a friend invited him to the AAU team for several tournaments a few weeks before Preston started college.

“They needed a fifth person,” enthusiastic Preston said on the phone Thursday night. “I said,’Yes, I play. It seems like an opportunity to play, and I didn’t have much opportunity in high school.”

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In these two tournaments, Preston said, “I played really, really well and won some games we shouldn’t have.” It attracted attention from several Division II and low-level Division I college programs, but there were no scholarships available shortly before the next academic year.

Preston had to abandon his plans to go to UCF. Instead, he arrived at Believe Prep in Athens, Tennessee, and despite being taller and stronger, had a hard time finding the minutes again.

“It seemed like there were six different teams, 70 kids, and it was incredible,” he said. “And I bounced from team to team … I was on the bottom team, played pretty well with the boys and bounced to one of the best teams, and towards the end of the year. , I realized I don’t have a movie. ”

So while riding a long team bus, Preston collected some clips that his friend spliced ​​into a two-minute highlight. This effectively demonstrates his vision and ball handling, basketball instinct and selfless playing style.

Believe Prep posted a video on Twitter on April 10, 2018. On May 7, Preston signed with Ohio Bobcats, a mid-major in Athens, Ohio. -American conference title, or NCAA tournament since 2012.

As a junior last season, Preston’s determination helped Ohio win the meeting and confuse Virginia, who was fourth seeded in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Preston started 73 out of 82 games as a bobcat, leading Ohio as a junior with 16.1 points and 7 assists per game, including all 19 games of the final season, from a range of 51.9%, 3 points from the field. Shot 39.5%. ..

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He showed a stunning 31-point, 8-assist, zero turnover performance against No at the time. 8 Illinois Fighting Illinois coach Brad Underwood was impressed by Illinois in November, which subsequently praised it. “He’s an NBA talent.”

In doubt, Preston scored 11 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists in the Virginia turmoil, and fully solidified his position in the NBA’s draftable pool of prospects. rice field.

He felt legitimate interest as Preston worked with the Clippers twice, but he didn’t know how much until Thursday night proving that Preston’s long-standing premonition was correct. ..

“That’s not enough to say how much it means to me,” Preston said. “It’s all a dream come true and I’m here now, but I’m not surprised. To be honest, this is what I’ve planned for the rest of my life. All the work I’ve put into it. It’s great to know all the basketball rewards I’ve seen, and I still have a lot to do and improve.

“I’m very excited that the LA Clippers believe in me.”

Preston said he was thinking of his mother, Judith Seawell, who died Thursday. He introduced him to the game as a boy and shared his love for Pistons with him. She died when he was 15 years old after he fought lung cancer for several years.

“I wish she could be here, but she’s in a much better place and doesn’t have to suffer anymore,” he said. “I got the best mom in the world. She raised me to me today. I am very grateful to her.”

And if you’re wondering, yes, the personal story of defeating Preston’s long odds and overcoming such a substantial loss has moved the Clippers up the draft board. rice field.

“The important thing is to hire people, not just players,” Frank said. “They obviously need to be good enough, but it’s about people and there’s no better term, so I’m betting on a guy to have an NBA career.

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