Posted On: 06/21/19 12:44 AM
The list of Seattle Rotary alumni playing in the NBA is very long and it added four more after the 2019 NBA Draft. The greater Seattle area and Washington State in general has a rich history of producing NBA talent. Rotary has seen the likes of Marvin Williams, Peyton Siva, Dejounte Murray, Aaron Brooks, Brandon Roy and many others spend time in the league. The flurry of NBA players from the Evergreen State took off the in the earlier 2000’s and some of those players are still in the league, but the reload is officially under way and Washington shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
2019 NBA Draft:
Philadelphia 76’s #20 Matisse Thybulle (2015 Eastside Catholic HS) – Matisse was always a high level defender and athlete, but he was not viewed as a sure shot future NBA draftee if you asked anyone when he was in high school. The three-star recruit proved his worth as an elite defender at UW and between that and his character, he quickly gained momentum among the NBA front offices. Matisse played for Darryl Hennings on the Northwest Xpress experiment, which was a collaboration between ICP (Portland, OR) and Seattle Rotary of Washington.
Cleveland Cavs #30 Kevin Porter Jr. ( 2018 Rainier Beach HS) – The most naturally gifted player out of the four Washington guys selected. Porter has displayed elite talent dating back to his days with A-Plus, before joining Rotary on the EYBL Circuit. He has drawn some comparisons to James Harden due to his shiftiness, step back jumpers and brute strength from the off guard position.
Minnesota Timberwolves #43 Jaylen Nowell 2017 (Garfield HS) – The king of the mid-range has been scorching nets since elementary school with Seattle Rotary. He put together one of the best high school resumes of any Seattle basketball player in recent memory and followed that up with a strong couple years with UW. The Pac-12 Player of the Year is the second player to be drafted by the T-Wolves from Washington, with Zach LaVine (2013 Bothell) being the other in 2014.
Charlotte Hornets #52 Jalen McDaniels (2016 Federal Way HS) – The fourth Seattle Rotary alumni selected in the 2019 NBA Draft hails from Federal Way. Jalen is a gym rat with all of the tools to help an NBA team as he continues to get stronger and sure up his jump shot. Jalen grew up in the Rotary program and it would be little surprise to hear his younger brother’s name be called in 12 months.
So, who’s next up?
Current UW freshman Jaden McDaniels (2019 Federal Way HS), younger brother of Jalen, is projected as a first round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The 6’10 SF is rumored to give his own older brother fits during workouts and he could very well be joining his brother in the league in one year. It is worth noting that Jaden is also an alumni from the Seattle Rotary program.
Current WSU Sophomore CJ Elleby (2018 Cleveland HS) tested the waters in this year’s draft, but ultimately decided to return to school for another year. He is on some draft boards for 2020 and with another step in the right direction, he could find himself in next year’s draft. He is a workout buddy of the McDaniels brothers and share the same trainer. CJ is yet another Seattle Rotary alumni.
I cannot get away without mentioning current high school junior to be, Paolo Banchero (2021 O’Dea HS). Paolo is still a few years away from having to worry about the NBA, but the potential is absolutely there for the 5-star prospect. He is on a very similar path as Marvin Williams (2004 Bremerton HS) when you think of a veratile and powerful forward that can do a little bit of everything. Marvin has made over $100 million in his carrer and was selected second in the 2005 NBA Draft. For the time being, we can just enjoy the upcoming talent that is brewing in Washington.