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Louisiana players make their mark on the 2018 NBA Draft

Louisiana has a rich basketball tradition filled with Hall of Fame natives such as Karl Malone, Robert Parish and Joe Dumars. With the 2018 NBA Draft in the books, these four players with Louisiana ties could be next in line to write their own legacies.

Texas A&M sophomore forward Robert Williams (No. 27 to Boston Celtics) and Cincinnati junior shooting guard Jacob Evans (No. 28 to Golden State Warriors) went back-to-back in the late first round. Tulane junior small forward Melvin Frazier (No. 35 to Orlando Magic) and Chalmette High School center Mitchell Robinson (No. 36 to New York Knicks) went consecutively in the early second round.

Here’s some key information about each player as they embark on their professional careers.

Robert Williams

The 6-foot-10, 241-pound Williams, who attended North Caddo High School, was the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana for the Class of 2016. While at Texas A&M, Williams captured SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman.

Under the tutelage of Celtics coach Brad Stevens, the explosive Williams could transform into an impactful big man in the mold of Houston Rockets standout Clint Capela. With five-time NBA All-Star Al Horford in the middle, Williams will have one of the most respected centers in the league to lean on for guidance.

Jacob Evans

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Evans was a four-star Class of 2015 prospect coming out of St. Michael the Archangel. Last season, the versatile Evans earned first-team All-AAC honors and was a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year award.

Evans can make an immediate impact for the back-to-back defending NBA champion Warriors. His two-way skill set is similar to 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, who will serve as an excellent mentor to the rookie.

Melvin Frazier

The 6-foot-6, 201-pound Frazier is the first Tulane player drafted since second round pick Jerald Honeycutt to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1997.

Frazier is leaving Louisiana for the first time in his basketball career, as he attended L.W. Higgins High School and remained in-state collegiately. Last season, Frazier earned a spot on the All-AAC Second Team and won the conference’s Most Improved Player award.

On a roster loaded with a staggering 16 of 19 players under the age of 30, the 21-year-old Frazier can earn an immediate spot in the rotation for the Magic, who are currently in a six-season playoff drought.

Mitchell Robinson

As a senior, the 7-foot-1, 225-pound Robinson guided Chalmette High School to the state semifinals for the first time in 32 years and was the program’s first-ever McDonald’s All-American.

Robinson committed to Western Kentucky but never played for the Hilltoppers due to an indefinite suspension for violating team rules during the summer. Robinson visited LSU and the University of New Orleans amongst other schools in the hopes of being granted eligibility to resume playing collegiately.

However, Robinson ultimately forgoed college and on Sept. 18, 2017 declared himself for the NBA Draft.

An elite shot blocker, Robinson could mesh well with 7-foot-3 All-Star Porzingis (currently rehabbing from an ACL injury) to form a potential Twin Towers duo for the Knicks, who have not reached the postseason since 2012-13.