Queens native Justin Wright-Foreman was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 53rd pick overall, making him the latest draftee from the borough after Hamidou Diallo went 45th overall one year ago.
The 6-foot-2 point guard also became the first Hofstra Pride player drafted since fellow New Yorker Charles Jenkins was selected 44th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2011.
“He had to have a big load in college,” said Utah general manager Justin Zanik. “As he transitions to the NBA, that’s not the role that’s going to be available to him early. If he can grow into that, great.”
Wright-Foreman finished college as the nation’s second-leading scorer during his senior season, averaging 27.1 points per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the field, 42.5 percent from three and 86.4 percent on free throws.
Wright-Foreman, who graduated from the High School of Construction in 2015, earned Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year honors in each of his last two seasons.
“He can make open shots and he can create shots for himself,” said Zanik. “Anytime you can acquire those type of qualities—whether it’s a guard, wing, big— you want to go after them.
“Every guy that comes into the league needs to work on things,” he added. “He’s very secure with the ball in his hands. However coach Quinn Snyder wants to use him, that’s a good start.”
Wright-Foreman worked out with the Jazz on May 26, about one month prior to the draft.
“I’ve just been working on my playmaking, ways to get me the ball to score, ways to get my teammates involved, my handle,” he said following his day in Utah.
Wright-Foreman will suit up with the Jazz Summer League team, which will begin play on July 1 in Salt Lake City and end two days later.
St. John’s guards Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simon both went undrafted on Thursday and subsequently signed respective deals to play in summer league with NBA teams.
Ponds will play with the Houston Rockets in July, while Simon will join the Chicago Bulls.
“Blessed for the opportunity,” Ponds wrote on Twitter. “I’m officially a Houston Rocket,”
Ponds and Simon helped carry Johnnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid in four seasons this past March. Ponds, who played two years for St. John’s, left as the school’s as fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,870 points. Simon earned Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior.
Former St. John’s center Tariq Owens, who transferred to play with National Championship runner-up Texas Tech this past season, landed a deal with the Phoenix Suns and will play with them this summer.