Former Prairie View Star Dalton Knecht Drafted by Los Angeles Lakers at No. 17 in NBA Draft

AURORA – Dalton Knecht, a member of Prairie View’s 2019 graduating class, has been selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft, with the 17th overall pick, on Wednesday night.

As the 17th overall pick, Knecht becomes the ninth-highest NBA draft pick to have graduated from a Colorado high school, and the highest overall since 1997, when George Washington graduate Chauncey Billups was selected with the third pick in the NBA draft.

A complete list of the Colorado high school players selected in the NBA draft is available.

Dalton Knecht is the 27th player overall to be selected in the NBA draft after graduating from a Colorado high school and the first ever from Prairie View.

Knecht traveled a long and winding road to reach this point. Despite averaging 21.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game his senior season, he played for Northeastern Junior College, in Sterling, right out of high school. After his second season there, Knecht was named a first-team NJCAA All-American and averaged 23.9 points on 51.2 percent shooting, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, making him one of junior college’s most coveted basketball prospects. From there, he transfered to the University of Northern Colorado, where he led the conference in scoring, before eventually transferring to the University of Tennessee for his final year of collegiate eligibilty.

While playing for the Volunteers, Knecht emerged as one of the NBA Draft’s top prospects. After the 2023-2024 college basketball season, Knecht was named a consensus 2024 First-Team All-American, the unanimous SEC Player of the Year, the 2024 Julius Erving Award winner (awarded to the nation’s best collegiate small forward), the 2024 SEC Newcomer of the Year, was named ESPN’s Transfer of the Year, was the runner-up for the Associated Press National Player of the Year award, and was a finalist for both the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award (both of which are awarded to the nation’s top collegiate player overall).

More Coverage:

Colorado prep product Dalton Knecht taken 17th overall by Los Angeles Lakers in NBA Draft | Matt Schubert, The Denver Post

Former Northern Colorado men’s basketball player Dalton Knecht selected by Los Angeles Lakers in first round of NBA Draft | Annie Delaney, Greeley Tribune

Lakers thrilled with Dalton Knecht pick: ‘Extraordinary’ value | Dave McMenamin, ESPN


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