Cason Wallace: The Rising Star from Hamilton Park-22

Cason Wallace: The Rising Star from Hamilton Park-22

Cason Wallace:OverView

Cason Wallace is one of the most exciting young players in the NBA. The 19-year-old guard was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 10th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, after a stellar freshman season at Kentucky. Wallace is a versatile and athletic playmaker who can score, pass, rebound and defend at a high level. He has drawn comparisons to Milwaukee Bucks ace defender Jrue Holiday, who helped his team win the 2021 NBA championship.

Wallace grew up in Hamilton Park, a historic, originally all-Black neighborhood in northeast Dallas, Texas. He wore a suit with the letters “HPT” written all over it during the NBA draft, paying homage to his Texas roots. Hamilton Park was named after Dr. Richard T. Hamilton, a Black physician and civic leader who helped develop the community after multiple bombings of Black neighborhoods in South Dallas.

Wallace attended Richardson High School, where he led his team to its second-ever UIL state tournament appearance as a junior. He averaged 19.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.5 blocks as a senior, earning the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American honors. He was also part of an elite local recruiting class that included Brandon Miller (No. 2 pick by Charlotte Hornets), Keyonte George (No. 4 pick by Houston Rockets) and Harrison Ingram (No. 14 pick by Indiana Pacers).

Wallace chose to play for Kentucky, where he continued to impress with his all-around game. He averaged 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals in 32.2 minutes across 32 games for the Wildcats. He led Kentucky in steals in 19 of his 32 games and in assists in 16 games. He shot 44.6% from the floor, 34.6% from three and 75.7% from the foul line.

Wallace was originally projected to be a late first-round or early second-round pick, but he boosted his stock with his impressive performance at the NBA Draft Combine and individual workouts with teams. He caught the eye of the Thunder, who traded up two spots with the Dallas Mavericks to select him at No. 10. The Thunder also acquired Davis Bertans from the Mavericks, while sending Dereck Lively II (No. 12 pick) and two future second-round picks to Dallas.

Wallace joins a young and talented Thunder team that is rebuilding for the future. He will have the opportunity to learn from veteran point guard Chris Paul, who was acquired by the Thunder in a trade with the Golden State Warriors that sent Jordan Poole to Washington. Wallace will also team up with Chet Holmgren, last year’s No. 2 overall pick who missed most of his rookie season due to injury.

Wallace has a bright future ahead of him in the NBA. He has the skills, work ethic and personality to become a star in the league. He is also proud of his roots and his journey from Hamilton Park to Oklahoma City.

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