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Dalton Knecht Heading to Hollywood With 17th Overall Pick in NBA Draft

Dalton Knecht
Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

Former Tennessee wing Dalton Knecht is officially bound for the NBA – Hollywood, to be more specific.

During the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday night from Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Knecht with the 17th overall pick.

Knecht now joins up with NBA superstars Lebron James and Anthony Davis along with newly appointed head coach JJ Redick.

The reigning SEC Player of the Year is the third player from the conference off the board in the 2024 draft behind Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard at No. 3 and Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham at No. 8.

Knecht’s selection on Wednesday night marks the fourth straight year that Rick Barnes has sent a player to the NBA. Tennessee saw Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson enter the NBA as first-round draft picks in 2021 followed by Kennedy Chandler during the second round of the 2022 draft. Former Tennessee wing Julian Phillips was taken early in the second round of the 2023 draft.

More from RTI: Former Vol Jaden Springer Wins NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics

After spending the early portions of his career at Northeastern Junior College and Northern Colorado, Dalton Knecht made the leap to the SEC to prove that he could play against the top collegiate players in the nation. Knecht not only proved that he could play but showed that he could dominate.

In just one season at Tennessee and in Division I basketball, Knecht averaged 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on 45.8 percent shooting while leading the Vols to an Elite Eight appearance. Knecht was named the SEC Player of the Year, the SEC Newcomer of the Year, a consensus First Team All-American, and a First Team All-SEC selection.

The 23-year-old stepped his game up in the NCAA postseason and proved time and time again that he wasn’t afraid to be the guy in the spotlight. Knecht had six games with 35 or more points last season and averaged 26.0 points per game in the NCAA tournament with 37 points against Purdue in the Elite Eight.

As a projected Top 10 pick before the draft, Knecht was invited to the NBA Green Room in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Dalton was with his parents Corey and Connie Knecht as well as Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes.

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