Xavier guard Semaj Christon had to wait until the midnight hour but was finally selected by the Miami Heat with the 55th overall pick in the second round of Thursday night’s NBA Draft. Christon won’t be joining the four-time defending Eastern Conference champions, however.
The draft rights to Christon were traded not once, but twice before the night was complete.
Miami first traded the rights to Christon along with North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston, who was the 26th overall pick, a 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations to Charlotte in exchange for the rights to No. 24 pick Shabazz Napier of NCAA national champion Connecticut.
The Hornets then traded Christon’s rights to Oklahoma City in exchange for cash considerations. Christon is from Cincinnati and went to Winton Woods High School before attending Brewster Academy (N.H.) for one year and then returning to the Queen City to play at Xavier. Christon will be reunited with former Brewster teammate Mitch McGary in Oklahoma City. The Thunder picked McGary, a forward from Michigan, with the 21st pick in the first round.
Christon played just two seasons at Xavier before declaring his eligibility for the draft in late March after helping the Musketeers return to the NCAA tournament following a one-year absence. Xavier lost to North Carolina State in the First Four round.
Christon led Xavier in scoring in both of his seasons, including averaging 17.0 points per game this past season. He was a unanimous pick for the first team All-Big East conference and was a member of the All-Big East tournament team. He also joined Byron Larkin as the only sophomores to score more than 1,000 points at Xavier. Christon also amassed 281 assists in his two seasons at Xavier.
"Semaj is excited to become an NBA player," said Xavier coach Chris Mack in a statement released by the school. "It’s been his dream since he started bouncing a basketball."
University of Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick was not drafted Thursday, but that’s not necessarily a bad sign for the second most prolific scorer in UC’s history. Only first-round picks automatically receive guaranteed contracts in the NBA. Kilpatrick signed with Philadelphia on Friday as an undrafted free agent and will play in the NBA Las Vegas summer league for the 76ers.
Kilpatrick was a unanimous All-AAC first team pick and helped the Bearcats to a share of the regular season conference championship with Louisville. Only Oscar Robertson scored more than the 2,145 points that Kilpatrick scored in his career at UC.
Kilpatrick wasn’t the only name player with plenty of college accolades to go undrafted. Ohio State guard Aaron Craft, Syracuse forward C.J. Fair and Florida center Patric Young also weren’t picked by any of the 30 NBA teams.