BROOKLYN, New York (WCMH) — Ohio University point guard Jason Preston was drafted by The Los Angeles Clippers in the 2nd round of the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Preston was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 33rd overall pick, but he will play for the Clippers who gave Orlando a future second-round pick and cash for Preston, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Preston is the first Bobcat drafted since Brandon Hunter in 2003.
Preston decided to stay in the NBA Draft process after impressing scouts and coaches at the NBA Combine in June.
The 21-year-old from Orlando helped lead OU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and win since 2012 when the Bobcats beat defending national champion Virginia in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
During OU’s historic 2020-21 season, Preston led the Bobcats in points per game, minutes per game, assists per game and was second on the team in rebounds per game. His 7.3 assists per game was also 5th-highest in the country.
Preston has overcome a tremendous amount of adversity in his life, including the loss of his mother and not receiving any offers to play college basketball after his senior year of high school.
Preston wasn’t recruited out of high school after averaging two points per game his senior year. He enrolled in summer journalism classes at the University of Central Florida with no plan to pursue a basketball career. But luckily for him, an AAU coach noticed Preston playing in some games and suggested he go to prep school.
He enrolled at Believe Sports Academy and started on the third team or, “C Team” as they called it. He made his way up to the “A Team” but ended up going back the “C Team.” Despite getting moved back, he and some friends decided to make a highlight reel. Preston posted the video to Twitter leading to two college offers: Longwood and Ohio University.
During his his freshman year in the 2019-20 season, Preston started 22 of the Bobcats 30 games, averaged six points a game and led the team in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Everything changed during the offseason when former Ohio basketball player Jeff Boals took over as the Bobcats’ head coach. Boals knew he had a diamond in the rough in Preston.
“The first couple games, he was a pass-first point guard,” Boals said. “I’m like ‘JP, you get the ball in the paint every single time. You have to score the ball!’ That’s not the way he’s wired. He ended up with like 28 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists that game, and I think that gave him a lot of confidence for the rest of the year.”
He evolved into one of the nation’s top points guards last season, which the entire nation saw November 27 when the Bobcats almost upset No. 8 Illinois 77-75 — a game featuring Preston who dropped a career-high 31 points.