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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets Select Jalen Green Second Overall in 2021 NBA Draft

POSTED: July 29, 2021 -- 8:02 p.m. CT

During the 2021 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets selected guard Jalen Green with the second overall pick.

"I think it's awesome," Green answered about the Rockets selecting him. "I'm excited. I love their program, I love their coaches. I'm just ready to go to work."

Green (6'6", 178), who turned 19 years old on February 9, was the first player to sign with NBA G League Ignite, a team dedicated to the development and mentorship of top young prospects in preparation for the NBA Draft. In 15 G League games last season, he averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.53 steals, and 2.1 3-pointers made. Green tallied 30 points, 7 assists, 5 boards, and 3 steals in the Ignite's lone playoff game vs. Raptors 905.

Green believes he can be the centerpiece of the franchise.

"I think I can be that piece," Green said. "I think I can bring that dog mentality, that defensive mindset and an exciting part at the same time. They already got a lot of star players, a lot of excitement on the team. I think they're just missing one more piece and I think I can fulfill that."

Green is proud of his Filipino heritage; and, he looks forward to connecting with the large Filipino community in the city of Houston.

"I'm always excited to represent the Philippines," Green commented. "So, the fact that there's ties in Houston it's kind of like it was scripted. So, I'm excited to take that out there and just represent and put on for the Philippines and can't wait to meet everybody and see the fans. It's going to be exciting."

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Green won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, and 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

The only other time the Rockets drafted a player second overall was in 1970 with the selection of Rudy Tomjanovich. Houston also acquired the draft rights to Steve Francis, who was the No. 2 overall pick by Vancouver in the 1999 NBA Draft. Including Francis, the second overall pick has produced 16 Rookie of the Year winners, most recently Ja Morant in 2019-20 and Kevin Durant in 2007-08.

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