Courtesy / UT Athletics


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –Dalton Knecht became the ninth-highest drafted player in University of Tennessee men’s basketball history Wednesday night, as he went No. 17 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2024 NBA Draft.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Knecht’s name at 9:58 p.m. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., live on ABC and ESPN. He was the 11th collegian selected, including the third from the SEC.

The highest-drafted Volunteer since Marcus Haislip went No. 13 in 2002, Knecht is the 10th top-20 pick in Tennessee history and the first since Tobias Harris went No. 19 in 2011. He is the 54th total NBA Draft choice from Tennessee, including the 16th in the top 30 and the 12th in the first round.

Three prior Volunteers have been drafted by the Lakers, two of whom were chosen when the team played in Minneapolis. Knecht joins Doug Atkins (No. 119 in 1953), Carl Widseth (No. 83 in 1956) and A.W. Davis (No. 43 in 1965) on that list.

Knecht is the 44th NBA player Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has coached in his 37 years leading a program, including the 33rd draftee, 19th first-rounder and 11th top-20 pick. Knecht is the 10th player Barnes has guided from Rocky Top to the NBA, including the eighth draftee and the fourth—all in the last six drafts—in the first round.

Just 11 prior individuals from a Colorado high school have been selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, with Knecht the first since Derrick White went No. 29 in 2017. Knecht is the highest-drafted such player since Chauncey Billups went third in 1997 and is the eighth-highest draftee ever from Colorado high school, with all but Billups coming over 40 years ago. The Prairie View High School graduate is the 10th top-20 selection from a Colorado high school, including the first since Jason Smith went No. 20 in 2007.

Born in Fargo, N.D., Knecht is the second-highest-drafted player ever born in the Peace Garden State, trailing the state’s only other first-rounder, Doug McDermott, who went No. 11 in 2014. Knecht, who competed at Northern Colorado from 2021-23, is the sixth individual who played in the Big Sky to go in the first round, including the first since Damian Lillard went sixth in 2012.

Following his two seasons at Northeastern Junior College, Knecht totaled 1,739 points in three years at the Division I level, an average of 16.9 per contest across 103 appearances. Before transferring to Tennessee in advance of the 2023-24 season, the 6-foot-6, 213-pounder spent two years at Northern Colorado, where he won the Big Sky scoring title in 2022-23 at 20.2 points per game.

During his lone season at Tennessee as a fifth-year guard, Knecht led the SEC in scoring at 21.7 points per game, good for eighth-best in the country. The four-time SEC Player of the Week and two-time USBWA National Player of the Week added 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per outing, while shooting 45.8 percent overall, 39.7 percent beyond the arc and 77.2 percent at the line.

The SEC Player of the Year and Julius Erving Award designee, Knecht collected consensus First Team All-America status, becoming the fourth Volunteer ever to do so. The runner-up for Associated Press National Player of the Year and a finalist for both the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award, Knecht became the first SEC player since Shaquille O’Neal (Feb. 1991) to record back-to-back 35-point games.

Knecht scored 35-plus points six times in 2023-24 to break Bernard King’s single-season program record (five in 1975-76) and logged 30-plus eight times, matching Allan Houston (1989-90) for fourth-most by a Volunteer in a campaign. Knecht averaged 25.5 points per game in league play and 24.8 points per game on the road, both the second-best marks by an SEC player in the last two decades, with the former tops nationally in any league this season and the latter third-best (min. 3 GP) among DI players in 2023-24.

This is the fourth consecutive year a Tennessee player has been selected in the NBA Draft. Just nine other colleges entered 2024 with at least a three-year streak.

To keep up with the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team on social media, follow @Vol_Hoops on Instagram and X/Twitter, as well as /tennesseebasketball on Facebook.  


What's happening

Paint It Forward! (with McLain’s Painting Service)

Paint It Forward! (with McLain’s Painting Service)

UPDATE: Congratulations to Alzheimer’s Tennessee for being selected as the 2024 Nonprofit Paint It Forward recipient! NewsTalk 98.7 is teaming up with McLain’s Painting Service to help “Paint It Forward” this spring. Nominate your favorite Non-profit organization to get a fresh coat of paint up to $10,000 provided by Sherwin Williams!

Free NewsTalk 98.7 App

Free NewsTalk 98.7 App

Take WOKI with you wherever you go with the free NewsTalk 98.7 App, available on the App Store and Google Play!

Listen Live

Listen Live

We’re making it even easier for you to stay connected to NewsTalk 98.7 wherever you go! Besides tuning in on your radio, you can also stream 98.7 through your computer, smartphone, tablet, and your smart speaker.