Country: Japan (Beninese Father, Japanese Mother)
Pick: Selected 9th by the Washington Wizards
Bio: Hachimura made history when NBA commissioner Adam Silver called his name on the stage at Barclays Center. The Gonzaga star is the first Japanese player ever to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft. He says hopes to be an inspiration for other biracial Japanese kids — taking pride in being Half-African and Half-Japanese– while also acknowledging the challenges he and his family faced growing up.
“They looked at me like I was different,” Hachimura told reporters before the draft. “I got used to it. It is what it is because they don’t have but so many black people in Japan.”
He first burst onto the radar of scouts during his performances for Team Japan in U-17 World Championships in 2014, where he stood out despite his squad’s poor performances. He was invited to the prestigious Jordan Brand International Game one year later, where scored nine points while repping his home country.
He would take his talents to Gonzaga and enjoy a breakout junior season. He was named a Consensus All-American, Conference Player of the Year, and a Wooden Award finalist. He led the Bulldogs in scoring on their way to a 33-win season that concluded with a trip to the Elite Eight.