Former Seton Hall men’s basketball player Sandro Mamukelashvili was selected 54th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft by current NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday evening.
Mamukelashvili is the 29th player in program history to be drafted into the NBA and the second after Isaiah Whitehead, who was drafted 42nd overall by the Utah Jazz in 2016, to be drafted during Kevin Willard’s tenure as head coach.
The challenge now for the 22-year-old is to become the first Seton Hall player since Samuel Dalembert to carve a long-term career for himself in the NBA. Though Whitehead spent a few seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, his career never caught fire the same way Dalembert managed to play 13 seasons with six teams from 2001-2015.
Mamukelashvili’s shown throughout his Seton Hall career that he possesses the versatile playmaking and point-scoring abilities required of most NBA-level forwards. While he struggled at times to lead Seton Hall’s offense as their go-to player, his ability to facilitate play toward his hot-handed teammates or provide second option scoring threat during Myles Powell’s senior season in 2019-20 will be valuable assets in his fight to establish himself with the Bucks.
The 6-foot-10 forward is coming off a solid individual senior season with the Pirates, averaging 17.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He was one of two players in the Big East to rank within the conference’s top-five in both scoring and rebounding as well as one of two players to rank within the top-15 in scoring, rebounding, and assisting.
Mamukelashvili also collected a slew of individual awards, including Big East Player of the Year, Haggerty Award Metropolitan Player of the Year, first-team All-Big East, and first-team All-Met Writers. He was a finalist for the 2021 Karl Malone National Power Forward of the Year Award with Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Indiana University’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, University of Pittsburgh’s Justin Champagnie, and Villanova’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.
The NBA is set to return to play for the start of the 2021-22 season on Oct. 19, with the Milwaukee Bucks’ individual team schedule to be announced at a later date.
Justin Sousa can be reach at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.