Wizards select Rui Hachimura, NBA's first Japanese-born first-round pick

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With the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected Rui Hachimura Thursday night.

Hachimura, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward out of Gonzaga, becomes the first Japanese-born player in NBA history to be selected in the first round of the draft. The 21-year-old is a current member of the Japanese national team.

Hachimura averaged 19.7 points on 59.1 percent shooting from the field, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks over 37 games (37 starts) as a junior with the Bulldogs in 2018-19.

Chauncey Billups referred to Hachimura as "a young Kawhi Leonard" on the ESPN broadcast, stressing emphasis on the word 'young.'

"With the ninth pick in the 2019 @NBADraft, the Washington Wizards select ... Rui Hachimura (@rui_8mura) from Toyama, Japan and @ZagMBB." #WizDraft | #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/mInsqAf4Hh

— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 21, 2019

Rui Hachimura is the first Japanese-born player to be drafted in the first round of the #NBADraft!This one's for you, Japan ---- pic.twitter.com/Tu6K2Syujf

— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 21, 2019

Congratulations to Rui Hachimura, the first Japanese player to be drafted in the first round of the #NBADraft! We're excited that @rui_8mura will join us here in DC, and look forward to his efforts as part of Japan's @Tokyo2020 Basketball team! https://t.co/7h2IuTplcN

— Japan Embassy DC (@JapanEmbDC) June 21, 2019

Get familiar with the newest member of the team, @rui_8mura!#WizDraft | #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/UeP9P5aRyD

— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 21, 2019

RUI! ---- #WizDraft | #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/aBAmoZyEhX

— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 21, 2019

Rui makes a young fan's night -- pic.twitter.com/KPg1qqMkmn

— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) June 21, 2019

Now for some live reaction from Twitter:

With the 9th overall pick, the #Wizards select Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura.Here’s the crowd’s reaction here in DC... pic.twitter.com/B4qoD2OtNE

— Travon Miles (@Tray47ABC) June 21, 2019

NOOOOOO https://t.co/XHGXtUPnCI

— ᑎIᑕK ᗩᔕᕼOOᕼ -- (@NickAshooh) June 21, 2019

pic.twitter.com/Sh8VLWcX9Y

— danny rouhier (@funnydanny) June 21, 2019

Wizards fans rn pic.twitter.com/x60Q6B1rgI

— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) June 21, 2019

Rui Hachimura is a very efficient two-point scorer, and thrives in the lost art of the midrange. pic.twitter.com/jWCiIqEvhX

— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) June 21, 2019

Did we get Gonzaga’s best player?-No. Even better. Their 2nd best player. -The Wizards

— danny rouhier (@funnydanny) June 21, 2019

It’s not a bad pick. Just saw many slot Cam Reddish or Sekou Doumbouya here. https://t.co/AJBBUj6byJ

— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) June 21, 2019

I think Rui Hachimura is going to be a fine player for the Wizards. Just surprised they didn’t go for Reddish.

— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) June 21, 2019

Longtime executive Tommy Sheppard, who has filled in on an interim capacity since Ernie Grunfeld's April firing, was entrusted by Ted Leonsis to guide the Wizards through the draft and into free agency. This marks Sheppard's first big roster decision running basketball operations.

Rui Hachimura told me that he didn't meet with the Wizards before he was selected ninth. He didn't speak to anyone from the team, either. This was just as surprising to him as anyone else.

— Ben Mehic (@BenMehicNBA) June 21, 2019

Here is a player who did NOT come to Washington for a workout -- just to show you how little workouts factor into the draft decisions

— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) June 21, 2019

#Wizards interim president Tommy Sheppard addressing watch party and said the team has beem checking out Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura for a while: pic.twitter.com/PefOCzLUUC

— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) June 21, 2019

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