MILWAUKEE (AP) — MarJon Beauchamp’s circuitous path to the Milwaukee Bucks included stops at four high schools, a community college and the NBA G League.
Bucks general manager Milt Newton said Beauchamp was even homeless at one point.
The Bucks believe the tough road he’s taken to the NBA will help the six-foot wing thrive now that he’s finally made it as the 24th overall pick in the draft†
“I like the kind of roughness and adversity that’s part of his background and part of who he is, and his happiness and heart and mind that he has in spite of everything and how he works with it,” says CEO. said Jon Horst. “I think it kind of made him who he is today.”
When he heard his name being called on Thursday, Beauchamp couldn’t help but think about all the obstacles he encountered along the way. On the way to the podium, he fought back tears.
“A lot was going through my head,” Beauchamp said. “I feel like I’ve gone through all the phases I’ve been through. It went through my mind, everything I had to sacrifice to be here today. And man, I’m just blessed to be here. I’m just ready to grow and be a great basketball player and just keep working because that’s all I do. I work.”
The hurdles Beauchamp faced on his way to the NBA can help him deal with all the adversity he faces in the league.
“What it tells us is that he’s a fighter,” Newton said. “It doesn’t matter if he gets knocked down, meaning he might not play as much as he thinks he’s going to play, or if he doesn’t do as well initially. He will continue to go to the gym every day to compete and work hard.”
It’s not just Beauchamp’s intangibles that caused the Bucks to insist they didn’t expect him to still be number 24. They also love his athleticism and ability to defend multiple positions with his 7-foot-1 wingspan.
Beauchamp becomes the first opening round selection the Bucks have held after draft night since winning Donte DiVincenzo 17th in 2018. DiVincenzo spent 3 seasons with the Bucks before being assigned to Sacramento in February as part of the four-team trade that brought them veteran center Serge Ibaka.
Milwaukee has not made much use of the draft lately as it has focused on recruiting veterans to support two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 15th overall roster in 2013.
The Bucks’ playoff roster only featured two other players they drafted: Jordan Nwora from the 2020 second round and Sandro Mamukelashvili, the 2021 roster.
The Bucks will also have limited first-round opportunities in the coming years, having used a large portion of their seed money to recruit established players.
They traded their first-round 2023 picks in the deal that helped them add PJ Tucker for their 2021 championship run. They split their 2025 and 2027 first-round selections in the trade that gave them Jrue Holiday. They also have potential pick swaps with New Orleans in 2024 and 2026 as a result of the holiday trade.
That makes it important that Beauchamp emerge as a quality player as the Bucks try to extend their championship window.
“I’m so excited,” Beauchamp said. “Playing with one of the best players and a great team, to learn from them and from Khris Middleton and all the vets they have is amazing. I feel that God has put me in this position to grow and become one of them. That’s my plan, just to learn and keep growing.”
The 21-year-old Beauchamp is seen as a strong defensive player. He has averaged 15.1 points for the Ignite this season.
Beauchamp and the Bucks believe his time in the G League will help him prepare for the NBA. Beauchamp says that experience “makes him feel like I’m one step ahead of the people who come in.”
“High school basketball is also difficult, but the G League is a whole other level,” Horst said. “So he played against NBA or pro level players at many different times. And I thought he got better throughout the year as the season went on. He continued to find his spots, find his rhythm, the find his confidence,”
Beauchamp came to the Ignite after averaging 30.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists at Yakima (Washington) Valley College in a pandemic-shortened season.
Horst says Beauchamp’s background should help the rookie fit in well with the rest of the roster.
“(We’ve got) a bunch of competitive guys with a chip on their shoulder and something to play for,” Horst said. “And I think he’s one of those guys.”
Notes: The Bucks also acquired the draft rights to Hugo Besson, the 58th and final pick Thursday night, from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for cash compensation. The 6-foot-4 guard played in 25 games with the New Zealand Breakers during the 2021-22 season and averaged 13.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
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