BasketballSports & Rec

Derrick Alston Jr.’s journey and pursuit to be in the NBA

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

Former Boise State men’s basketball player Derrick Alston Jr. has made some noise in the NBA scene, becoming the latest Bronco to achieve his NBA aspirations.

Alston declared for the NBA Draft after his senior year but went undrafted. However, he then joined the Golden State Warriors summer league team to make a name for himself. In the four games he played, he averaged 5.75 points, four rebounds and 0.75 assists.  

With the summer league wrapping up, Alston was waiting for an opportunity to sign his first contract with an NBA team. On Sep. 13, 2021, Alston signed with the Utah Jazz, making the training camp roster.

In a press release from Dec. 14, 2019, Boise State men’s basketball head coach Leon Rice had high praise for Alston as a player.

“The thing that makes him special is his feel for the game. That’s what separates him from everybody that’s six-foot-nine out there in the college basketball world; his feel is in the 99th percentile,” coach Rice said.

From his time at Boise State, Alston had the skill set to make it in the NBA. This 6-foot-9 forward can stretch the floor and use his wingspan to his advantage on the defensive side of the ball. As well as great finishing on the rim and underrated playmaking on the offensive side of the ball. 

In a 2021 draft workout with the Indiana Pacers, Alston spoke with Pacers.com’s Wheat Hotchkiss about what skills he thinks can translate to the professional level.

“I think my shooting ability is something that can translate right away [to the NBA], and my length and athleticism will definitely help me stand on the defensive end and also on the glass,” Alston said.

Alston was a fan favorite when it came to Boise State basketball. He was fun to watch with his highlight dunks, three-point shooting and defensive plays night in and night out. 

Alston would be only the eighth Bronco in program history to be named to the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) all-district team. 

He also ranks no.10 on the Boise State career scoring list at 1,479 points and is one of four players in Division 1 basketball to score 475 points while shooting at least 44 percent from the field, 38 percent from three-point range and 85 percent at the free throw line.  

Boise State sophomore and construction management major Bryson Greer has been watching Alston ever since he joined the men’s basketball team as a redshirt freshman. Greer said he truly admires his style of play.

“My favorite part about [Alston’s] game was not only the double threat on offense, with him being able to pull up for a three and drive on any guard guarding him, but also his length on defense,” Greer said.

Greer noticed his aggression grew as well throughout his four years at Boise State and how it added a whole new dimension to his game. He commended Alston for playing well on both sides of the ball.

Greer added words of encouragement for Alston as he strives for his dream of playing in the NBA.

“My advice to him would be to keep shooting,” Greer said. “You are a really fun player to watch. Your walk-on story was super inspirational. Your speed and agility at your height are very impressive to watch. Your presence on any NBA team would be incredible to watch.”

Alston has cemented his legacy in the men’s basketball program. He will be remembered for everything he accomplished throughout his four years at Boise State.  

With the NBA regular season underway, Alston was waived by the Utah Jazz in final cuts. However, he signed an Exhibit 10 deal and will be playing for the Jazz’s G League, a development league team. which could result in the Jazz calling him up to play in the NBA if he is showing strides in the G League.

Alston is on the cusp of becoming something in the NBA, and his old teammates, coaches and fans look forward to seeing what he can do in the future.

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson
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