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Tracing Jason Preston's rise from being a 2 ppg player in high school to scoring his first NBA points for LA Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day
Jason Preston (LA Clippers' media day)

Rookie Jason Preston scored his first NBA points when he drilled a 3-pointer late in the LA Clippers' 118-112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. The bucket marked the latest chapter in an incredibly long journey to the league. Back in high school, he averaged just two points per game over two seasons.

The Orlando, Florida, native had an underwhelming and disappointing high school run, not receiving any college offers until he played AAU basketball. After his AAU experience, Preston wound up playing for a college preparatory school. It was there that he went through a growth spurt and proved himself to be a capable player while nearly averaging a double-double.

College offers then began to roll in for Preston. After choosing to play for Ohio, he earned All-Freshman team honors in the Mid-American Conference. The following year, he showed that he was more than a role player, scoring a season-high 27 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. He continued to put on stellar performances as a sophomore en route to finishing second in the country for assists.

In his junior year, Preston had a breakout season, leading Ohio past Virginia 62-58 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a massive upset. As a junior, he averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, earning first team All-MAC honors before declaring for the 2021 NBA draft.

Below you can see some of his college highlights.

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Jason Preston's NBA career

After declaring for the 2021 draft, Preston found himself in some pretty elite company. The draft class saw hot prospects like Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley joined by other highly touted players like Josh Giddey and Jonathan Kuminga. As a result of the stacked draft class, Preston was ultimately selected as the 33rd pick by the Orlando Magic.

However, he was traded on draft night to the LA Clippers, with whom he signed a three-year rookie extension in August 2021. Unfortunately for him, he suffered a foot injury while working out before the preseason and underwent surgery that sidelined him for the entirety of last season.

Ohio vs. Creighton
Ohio vs. Creighton

Preston finally made his debut in October when the Clippers played the Phoenix Suns. In the appearance, he played just two minutes, finishing with no points, rebounds or assists. On Tuesday in Portland, Preston drilled a 3-pointer en route to a Clippers win, marking his arrival in the league.

After being forced to claw his way up from a 2 ppg scorer to one of the most highly touted MAC prospects in recent memory, it was a feel-good moment. With injury woes hopefully behind him, only time will tell whether he's able to build on the momentum.

Below you can see highlights from the team's win.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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