After an impressive season with the Cougs, Mouhamed Gueye has been selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the NBA Draft. The pick started with the Hornets but ended the night with the Hawks after a number of trades. At 39th overall, Gueye is the highest selected Coug since Klay Thompson in 2011 and the first Coug to be drafted since C.J. Elleby in the second round of the 2020 Draft.
Gueye is exactly the kind of player the NBA wants right now. While he played center at Washington State, his natural position is power forward. As a 6-foot-11 giant, Gueye has the size to beat most other power forwards. However, he has also shown great movement ability, keeping in front of guards on defense and dribbling his way around the post on offense.
Particularly of note, Gueye has only been playing organized basketball for four years. Over just two years he went from a soccer player to a four-star recruit. Two years after that, he put up one of the best seasons ever in Crimson and Gray and earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 First Team.
While Gueye certainly played well enough last season to deserve to be picked regardless, this extremely fast development is certainly part of why NBA teams wanted him. Potential is king in the second round, and few players have more than Gueye.
Gueye joins an Atlanta team that is coming off a somewhat disappointing season. Despite making a blockbuster trade for a second star in Dejounte Murray to pair with Trae Young, the Hawks did not manage to advance out of the first round of the playoffs.
While second-round picks are rarely made based on need, the Hawks could greatly use what Gueye might become. He has a very real shot to be a contributor within the first few years of his career, and if he continues his quick development he might just become a star.