Utah Jazz select Baylor guard Keyonte George at No. 16

From Baylor University, the 6-foot-4 George brings shotmaking to a rebuilding franchise.

Baylor guard Keyonte George (1) scores against Iowa State forward Aljaz Kunc (5) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Waco, Texas. (Chris Jones/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)

Freshman combo guard Keyonte George from Baylor is headed to the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz used the No. 16 pick — the second of their three first-round picks — to grab a talented guard who could play a significant role in their rebuild moving forward.

While the Jazz had an opportunity to select a falling top-of-lottery talent, Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, they ended up going another direction with the pick.

But George is no slouch. He was one of the highest-recruited players in the 2022 high school draft class; ESPN had him as the sixth-best player in the 2022 class, while Rivals and 247Sports both considered him the ninth-best player.

In college, though, he had a relatively up and down season for Baylor. The 19-year-old, 6-foot-4 guard showed an ability to score from all three levels, including a really high 3-point rate for the Bears; no one else on the Bears took more shots.

George averaged 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists for Baylor last season, shooting 37.6% from the field, 33.8% from deep, and 79.3% from the free-throw line.

But he wasn’t the most efficient player in the class, shooting 33% from deep, and occasionally forcing an extra turnover or two. For a high-usage player, he really competed on the defensive end. The hope is that if you ask him to take a more complementary role, his skills can overcome his weaknesses.

“This is the best moment of my life, I can’t even explain how I feel,” George said after being drafted. “But I understand this is just the beginning.”

George follows a long history of Baylor players with the Jazz, including Jared Butler, Royce O’Neale, Ekpe Udoh, and John Lucas III.

With the No. 9 pick, the Jazz drafted Central Florida’s Taylor Hendricks.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz fans Cayleb Pearson, left, and Sean Mullins cheer at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City as the Jazz selected Taylor Hendricks with the No. 9 pick in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 22, 2023.

This story will be updated.