Maryland's Jalen Smith

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020, file photo, Maryland's Jalen Smith (25) dunks as Rutgers' Myles Johnson (15) watches. 

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Phoenix Suns decided to go with size depth during Wednesday's NBA Draft.

With the 10th overall pick, the Suns chose Jalen Smith from the University of Maryland. After his name was called, the cameras saw him get emotional with his family.

"This whole night coming in I told my family I wasn't going to cry, and they kept telling me you're going to cry, even though I didn't think I would," said Smith. "Once that moment hit, those tears kept falling."

At 6-foot-10, he's considered a power forward/center and will probably be center Deandre Ayton's back up.

"Being beside Deandre Ayton is going to be a major thing, just because I always had a dominant big next to me every time I was playing basketball, and I was able to learn from them. I feel like that's something I can pick at with Deandre Ayton throughout my career," Smith said.

Last season, Smith averaged 15.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg while shooting 37% from 3-point land. He was a 2020 Third Team All-American and a First Team All-Big Ten member. He blocked more than two shots per game and was chosen to the All-Big Ten Defensive Team.

Many experts considered him a mid- to late-first round pick, so some believe the Suns reached with the 10th pick. But the franchise must have liked his defense and his stretch-4 ability. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said Smith's pick-and-roll instincts are "excellent."

 

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