Walker Picked By Portland In NBA Draft

BOULDER- University of Colorado’s Jabari Walker wace selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft with the 57th overall pick Thursday night.

A native of Inglewood, Calif., Walker was a 2021-22 All-Pac-12 Conference First Team selection averaging 14.6 points and a league-best 9.4 rebounds per game. A 6-foot, 9-inch, 215-pound forward, Walker is Colorado’s fourth NBA Draft pick in the last six years and seventh in the 12-year Tad Boyle it was.

“I’m excited for Jabari and his family; a great night and well served,” Boyle said. “It’s great to have another guy drafted, especially one who left early and forfeited his collegiate eligibility to get a chance and he’s got that. His hard work has paid off.”

Walker heads to a Portland team that was 27-55 in 2021-22 and 13th in the Western Conference. The Trailblazers are led by former CU All-American Chauncey Billups, entering his second year as the head coach.

“It’s great that he’ll be coached by a former Buff, but he’s got to earn his roster spot, and (Walker) knows that,” Boyle said. “It’s nice to have that Buff connection but he’s going to have to play his way into the NBA.”

Overall, Walker is Colorado’s 36th NBA Draft pick and the second Buffs pick by Portland. Lee Haven was a ninth round pick by the Trailblazers in 1974.

In his two seasons at Colorado, Walker averaged 11.5 points and 7.2 rebounds, starting in 33 of 59 games. He shot 47.9 percent overall from the field, 78.3 percent from the free throw line, and just a fraction under 40 percent from 3-point range (.399). Walker ranks 14th on Colorado’s all-time list for double-doubles with 19.

As a sophomore, Walker led the Buffaloes in scoring, rebounding, double-doubles (17), field goals made and attempted (160-347), free throws made and attempted (127-162) and was the co-leader in blocked shots (22). He averaged a double-double during the conference season at 15.7 points and 10.4 rebounds an outing.

Walker led the Pac-12 and ranked 10th in NCAA Division I with 17 double-doubles, a number ranking eighth on CU’s single-season list and most since Tyler Bey also had 17 in 2018-19. Along with his national double-double ranking he was 14th in defensive rebounds and 26th in overall rebounding. Walker pulled down 310 rebounds, ranking 12th on CU’s single-season list.

Walker earned Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honors in 2020-21 averaging 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the free throw line, managing those numbers while playing only 14.2 minutes per game. Walker Led all Pac-12 freshmen in points (21.5 ppg) and rebounds (12.3 rpg) extended over a 40 minute game.

He had one of the best NCAA Tournament games by a Colorado player in team history with a career-best 24 points in the win over Georgetown. He hit 9 of 10 from the field including a perfect 5 of 5 from 3-point range – both Colorado records for an NCAA Tournament game.

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