Sam Merrill’s dream has come true.
The Utah State guard got drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 60th overall pick Wednesday in the 2020 NBA Draft, marking the last pick of the night. Merrill was projected by several mock drafts to go late in the second round.
Merrill spent four years at Utah State, leading an Aggies team that won back-to-back Mountain West Conference Tournament championships. His brightest moment occurred early this year when he made a game-winning 3-pointer to seal the title over the No. 5 San Diego State.
Former Aggies teammate Abel Porter congratulated Merrill on Twitter when the Bucks pick was first reporter by The Athletic.
“I am now the biggest Bucks fan on earth #FeartheDeer,” Porter wrote.
After a freshman season where he scored less than 10 points per game, Merrill became a staple for the Aggies. He played at least 35 minutes per game in his next three seasons.
Merrill averaged 16.6 points, 3.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds and one steal per game in his Utah State career. On the offensive end, Merrill has always been efficient, shooting 47% from the field and 42% from the 3-point line through four years.
USU athletic director John Hartwell also congratulated Merrill on Twitter. He wrote that the Bucks got a great player “and an even better person.”
Merrill is the first Aggie to be drafted into the NBA since Greg Grant in 1986.
Shortly after the pick was announced, The Athletic reported that Merrill signed a partially guaranteed two-year contract with the Bucks. One and a half of those years and $1.4 million are guaranteed, per the report.
Before college, Merrill won a 4A state championship with Bountiful High School.
BYU star Yoeli Childs, however, did not get his name called Wednesday. He was not widely considered as a player that would get drafted.
Childs is now a free agents, giving him the ability to sign with any NBA, G League or international team.
Childs reportedly had predraft interviews with the majority of the NBA’s 30 teams. He had a breakout season in 2019-20 with the BYU Cougars, who went 24-8 overall in his senior year.
The 6-foot-8 forward last season averaged a career high 22.2 points per game and shot 58.8% from the field and 48.9% from the 3-point line. He also became the only player in BYU history to amass more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Childs declared for the NBA after his junior year and worked out for several teams, but decided to return to the Cougars for his senior year.
Childs grew up in South Jordan and in June opened up about this experience as a Black man in predominately white Utah in response to the various protests against racial injustice that were occurring at the time.
Childs won a 5A state championship with Bingham High School in 2016.
Merrill and Childs both had stellar senior seasons with Utah State and BYU respectively. The Aggies were on their way to the NCAA Tournament in March before the coronavirus pandemic caused its cancellation.