Ex-Wildcat Sarr goes second in NBA draft, Furphy slides

Murray Wenzel |

NBA commissioner Adam Silver congratulated Alex Sarr after he was drafted by the Washington Wizards.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver congratulated Alex Sarr after he was drafted by the Washington Wizards.

French talent Alex Sarr has made NBL history after earning the No.2 pick in the NBA draft, but Australian prospect Johnny Furphy was left waiting for his name to be called in New York.

Sarr went second to the Washington Wizards after playing last year with the Perth Wildcats.

His countryman Zaccharie Risacher earned the top pick, and a move to the Atlanta Hawks, to follow in the footsteps of French phenom Victor Wembanyama who was first selected last year.

It’s the first time the draft has gone consecutive years without the No.1 selection being someone who played at an American college.

And Sarr is the highest NBL pick, the competition’s seventh Next Star to be drafted in a program that’s handed some of the world’s best prospects the chance of a season in Australia over a US college stint.

“Everywhere I played just built me for this moment,” Sarr, whose brother Olivier plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, said.

“It’s just a first step, but it’s definitely achieving something that was big for me. 

“You know, being drafted, I don’t take it for granted and I’m sure enjoying it.”

Sarr averaged 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks across 24 appearances in what was a fierce examination of the rookie in the physical NBL.

Fellow Next Star AJ Johnson was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 23rd pick after a season at Illawarra, while Bobi Klintman, Trentyn Flowers, Ariel Hukporti and Mantas Rubstavicius could all be called in the second round when the two-day format concludes on Friday (AEST).

LaMelo Ball (pick three, 2020), RJ Hampton (pick 24, 2020) and Australian Josh Giddey (pick six, 2021) have all gone in the first round after cameos in the NBL.

Furphy was reportedly in the mix for a top-10 pick and had been invited into the draft green room, usually a strong indication of a first-round selection.

Johnny Furphy.
Johnny Furphy walks the red carpet before the NBA draft in New York. (AP PHOTO)

But like superstar LeBron James’s son Bronny, the 19-year-old point guard from Melbourne was left at the table.

Sharp-shooting Furphy had shone in his lone college season for the Kansas Jayhawks and there was widespread surprise when he was overlooked at the flashy Barclays Center event in Brooklyn.

He could still earn an NBA nod as a lower pick when the draft is completed in ESPN’s New York studio.


1. Zaccharie Risacher (JL Bourg-en-Bresse) to Atlanta

2. Alex Sarr (Perth Wildcats) to Washington

3. Reed Sheppard (Kentucky) to Houston

4. Stephon Castle (Connecticut) to San Antonio

5. Ron Holland II (G League Ignite) to Detroit.

– with AP