The youngest player in the 2021 NBA Draft is officially off the board.
During the first round of the draft on Thursday evening, Alabama guard Joshua Primo was selected by the San Antonio Spurs as the No. 12 overall pick. He is 18 years old.
Primo, a product of Canada, played his freshman season with coach Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide last season. During his sole season with Alabama, Primo started in 19 of the team's 33 games — the most of any freshman. In total, he averaged 22.4 minutes per game.
Despite only starting 19 games, Primo finished the season fifth on the team in total points with 244 — an average of 8.1 per game. He also recorded 101 total rebounds, an average of 3.4 per game.
On the defensive side of the basketball, Primo totaled 17 steals and nine blocks.
"He's got a lot of ability," ESPN's Jay Bilas told reporters on Tuesday. "I was really impressed with him, and just — he can be a sniper shooting the ball. He's got — he really shot past, I thought — I thought Herb Jones was going to be the best prospect off that team and Primo wound up being."
With Primo's selection, Oats and Alabama now have back-to-back seasons where a player was selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. In the 2020 draft, guard Kira Lewis Jr. was picked by the New Orleans Pelicans. The two years will no doubt have an impact on Oats and his staff's recruiting prowess — something that has impressed Crimson Tide fans since their arrival in Tuscaloosa.
Oats praised Primo during a segment on The Paul Finebaum Show on Tuesday, saying that he had tremendous upside despite his age.
“I’ve got a GM of one of the better teams in the NBA shot me a text an hour or so ago," Oats said. "They’re looking to talk to me about Primo, and they’re a late, first-round pick. He’s one of those guys that they’re gonna project how good can he be, and that’s what they want to know — how good could he be in two or three years? And I think he’s got a ton of upside because he’s got a ton of upside and he’s gonna get there. He’s a long, athletic guard that makes shots at a high level.”
Here's Sports Illustrated's analysis of Primo, according to its mock draft:
Joshua Primo, SG, Alabama
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Freshman
After a strong showing at the combine and impressive predraft process behind closed doors, Primo now looks like a lock to land somewhere in the first round, with his range beginning in the late teens and running down into the 20s. He’s demonstrated a more diverse offensive game than he showed in a spot-up role at Alabama, with combo guard skills and an impressive level of poise and focus. The fact he’s the youngest draft-eligible prospect adds a layer of appeal as a long-term project, and he’s in the mix for teams that can afford to be patient. Primo has starter-level upside in the long run.