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(Courtesy University of Houston Athletics)

Red Oak’s Sasser selected 25th overall in 2023 NBA Draft

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports
BROOKLYN, New York — Marcus Sasser became the first-ever Red Oak graduate drafted into the National Basketball Association on Thursday.
The 22-year-old guard also broke a 23-year Ellis County drought when he was selected No. 25 overall in the NBA draft.
Through a bevy of trades, Sasser will ultimately join the backcourt as a Detroit Piston.
Technically, the selection was made by the Memphis Grizzles, who acquired the pick in a trade with the Boston Celtics — headlined by guard and DFW native Marcus Smart going to Memphis and Kristops Porzingas shipping from the Washington Wizards to Boston.
Memphis then agreed to a draft-night trade to send Sasser’s draft rights to the Pistons and the 31st overall pick.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver made the selection official just before 10 p.m. central Thursday inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Celtics will reportedly acquire two future second-round picks and No. 31 in the 2023 NBA draft in exchange for Sasser’s draft rights. Oddly enough, the Celtics are the only franchise in the NBA that uses Red Oak — instead of the traditional Maple — for their home court.
As for the local hoops history, Waxahachie alumnus Desmond Mason was previously the last Ellis County hoopster drafted by an NBA franchise.
The Seattle SuperSonics selected Mason No. 17 overall in the 2000 NBA draft following a stellar campaign at Oklahoma State University. Mason averaged 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game over his 10-year NBA career. He appeared in 3 NBA Slam Dunk contests, winning the title in 2001, and was named to the 2000-01 All-Rookie second team.
Mason made his NBA debut on Oct. 31, 2000 — Sasser (22) was born just over one month prior on Sept. 21.
Should all good things hold, Sasser could make his professional debut the week of Oct. 24.
According to NBADraft.net, Sasser scored an overall 89 and was projected to be the 34th overall selection. The full scouting assessment by Jorrye Nixon can be found below: 

𝙉𝘽𝘼 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣: 𝙅𝙚𝙫𝙤𝙣 𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙚𝙧 (𝙈𝙞𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙪𝙠𝙚𝙚 𝘽𝙪𝙘𝙠𝙨)

𝙎𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙩𝙝𝙨

Sasser is a 6’2 PG/SG with solid length (6’7 wingspan) and quickness on the perimeter, along with above-average footwork, body control and agility … His perimeter J is his bread and butter offensively, where he shot 37% on a robust 7 3-point attempts per game for his career … He Has NBA range, a smooth release & follow through, and unabashed confidence … Very comfortable taking deep shots pulling off the dribble going left or right, and is also a really consistent threat spotting up in rhythm with space … Shows wiggle and space creation skill and likes to utilize step-back jumpers…Had 11 games with 4+ made 3-point shots as a Sr, illustrating his ability to score in bunches with his jumper…Effective utilizing runners when chased off the line; a necessity for players who lack size … Career 82 FT% (85 FT% as a Sr on a career-high 4.2 FTA/G); won’t make many mistakes from the stripe late in games … Takes care of the ball and limits live ball turnovers (1.4 topg for his career) … Can operate in pick and roll offense adequately enough to not look out of place chipping in as a secondary playmaker; uses pace dribbles and the threat of his jumper to create passing lanes for occasional dump-offs to bigs … Decent transition player who can be used as a shooting valve off-ball or occasionally applying pressure calling his own number getting downhill … Competitive defensive player who has the length and lateral quickness to cut off penetration, stagnate offensive possessions and force turnovers (1.6 SPG) … He is among the best point-of-attack perimeter defenders in the 2023 Draft class, but he also shows solid awareness navigating through screens and can disrupt passing lanes off the ball…May see his efficiency rise at the pro level with less shot-creation responsibilities.

𝙒𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙨

Average athleticism as he lacks much in the way of explosiveness and leaping skills … Below average physical profile outside of his relatively long arms, not being particularly impressive with his height, strength or frame … Shoots a ton of jumpers and has a tendency to settle and take ill-advised, closely contested shots … Doesn’t get to the rim very often in half-court offense and struggles to convert amongst the trees in the paint once he gets there due to a lack of elevation … Much more wired to score than facilitate; doesn’t show great playmaking instincts and usually prefers to use screens to get space for his own shots … Handled the ball a ton in college and doesn’t project to see nearly as many possessions for himself at the NBA level … Doesn’t break down the defense often enough in isolation to justify extended on-ball responsibilities, and had possessions when he pounded the ball too much when he should’ve swung it to his teammates … Middling efficiency (around 44 FG% his final 2 college seasons, career 40 FG%) and can be a bit streaky with his shot … Some durability concerns after missing parts of 2 seasons dealing with toe and groin injuries.

𝙊𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙡𝙡

Marcus Sasser had a decorated 4-year career in the AAC with Houston, winning a ton of games and capping his career off with an All-American Sr. season, CPOY award and a Jerry West award for the best SG in college hoops … While Sasser had nice offensive production over his career, he also is not afraid to get his hands dirty on the defensive end, and he has good projections as a pesky perimeter defensive player at the pro level who, at his best, can pressure the ball and force offenses to set up much further out than they would like … Sasser figures to be limited more at the pro level by his lack of size and athleticism than in college, particularly as a finisher and overall shot-creator, but he has the off-ball shooting prowess and pick and roll skills to function alongside more ball-dominant players and he really may benefit from reduced on-ball duties and become a solid contributor in some team’s backcourt as he gets adjusted … Sasser has been projected as a 2nd round pick with the chance to be picked in the late 1st by a playoff team that could use his shooting, defense and experience in the backcourt, and his college pedigree will definitely lend him some favor with teams.

𝙈𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙙

6’1.25″ barefoot, 6’2.75″ in shoes, 8’1.5″ standing reach, 192.6 lbs, 6’7.0″ wingspan at the 2022 NBA G-League Elite Camp … Measured 6′ 1.25″ barefoot, 8′ 3.50″ standing reach, 195.6 lbs and a 6′ 7.00″ wingspan and a 27 inch standing vertical and a 35′ inch max vertical at the 2023 NBA Draft Combine.

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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