Illinois Natives Max Christie, EJ Liddell both taken in the 2022 NBA Draft

What began as a long night for two former Illinois prep players ended up being a worthwhile wait as Rolling Meadow’s Max Christie and Belleville West’s EJ Liddell were drafted into the NBA.

The first round came and went with not a single Illinois player being drafted for the seventh NBA Draft in a row. Whitney Young’s Jahlil Okafor was the last to be drafted in the first round when he was selected third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2015 NBA Draft.

For more draft history, check out Illinois High School Basketball‘s website, here.

Max Christie- Los Angeles Lakers

Max Christie was taken with the 35th pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. He joins Anthony Davis (Perspectives), Talen Horton-Tucker (Simeon), and Kendrick Nunn (Simeon) on the Lakers roster.

After an impressive high school campaign for his hometown Rolling Meadows, Christie headed to East Lansing to play for the Michigan State Spartans. He played just one season and earned Big Ten All Freshman honors.

He played and started all 29 games he played in last season for the Spartans. He averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.

EJ Liddell- New Orleans Pelicans

Three seasons at Ohio State was not enough for some teams to recognize what EJ Liddell can bring to their organization. The New Orleans Pelicans stayed patient and pounced at the opportunity when they drafted Liddell with the 41st pick. It could very likely be the steal of the draft.

Liddell is one of the best players out of Illinois in recent memory. He was named Illinois Mr. Basketball twice and won two state championship during his junior and senior year. Despite that, he came off the bench his first year at Ohio State but did play in 31 games and average 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

He stepped it up the next two season. He played and started 29 games during his sophomore year. Liddell averaged 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.

That sophomore campaign was enough to prove he belongs at the next level but he chose to return for another year at OSU. It paid off as he improved in many categories and areas of his game. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game over 32 games. He also had 9 double-doubles.

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