LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Sam Merrill had to wait until the final pick of the NBA Draft to hear his name called, but it was worth it.
Merrill was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 60th and final pick of the draft, becoming the first Aggie basketball player to get drafted in 34 years.
Merrill, the second-leading scorer and No. 2 all-time assist leader in Utah State history and former state champion at Bountiful High School, was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans, who then traded the pick to the Bucks.
Merrill is the first Aggie selected in the NBA Draft since the 1986 season, when Greg Grant was a sixth-round selection by the Detroit Pistons.
He is the first Utah high school player to get drafted since Lone Peak’s Frank Jackson was taken in the 2017 NBA Draft by New Orleans.
With former USU quarterback Jordan Love being drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers in the 2020 NFL Draft, Merrill’s selection marks the first time since the 1968 season that an Aggie has been selected in either the first or second round of each draft in the same calendar year. It appears the duo will share the Badger State.
Merrill finished his career at Utah State as one of the all-time greats and ranks second in school history in both career points (2,197) and career assists (477). He also helped the Aggies capture back-to-back Mountain West Tournament championships and became the first player in league history to earn back-to-back Mountain West Tournament MVP honors.
Merrill led USU is scoring in each of the past two seasons, averaging 20.9 points per game as a junior and 19.7 points per game during his senior campaign en route to becoming just the fourth Aggie in school history to surpass 2,000 career points. In addition to career numbers in points and assists, Merrill’s name is peppered among 12 other all-time records in Utah State history, including a school-record 89.1 percent shooting at the free throw line over the course of his career.