Malachi Flynn selected 29th overall by Toronto Raptors in 2020 NBA Draft


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Then-junior guard Malachi Flynn celebrates after cutting down a piece of the hoop following the Aztecs’ 82-59 win over New Mexico on Feb. 11. The win culminated in the Aztecs claiming the Mountain West Conference regular season title.

by Devin Whatley, Arts & Culture Editor

When former San Diego State men’s basketball guard Malachi Flynn initially transferred to SDSU, he came south from his Pacific Northwest home in Tacoma, Washington.

Now after hearing his name called in the NBA Draft, he’s going to be heading north across the border. 

Flynn was selected as the 29th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He joins fellow Aztecs Michael Cage and Kawhi Leonard as the only first-round NBA draft picks in school history. 

Head coach Brian Dutcher said he felt fulfilled to see Flynn join a special group of Aztecs who have made the next step into the league.

“I’m happy for them on a personal level that they can go ahead and make a living playing this game they love,” Dutcher said.

Even though he comes to Toronto from a mid-major school, Flynn won’t be the first on his new team.

He joins a slew of Raptors players who had successful careers at mid-major schools and have been able to translate it to the professional realm. 

Pascal Siakam played for New Mexico State in college, and after being drafted in 2016 became an all-star and All-NBA player in his fourth season. 

Fred VanVleet led Wichita State to the Sweet 16 during the 2011-12 season. Before becoming a free agent this offseason, he was a starting guard in the Raptors’ backcourt.  

One strength Flynn has as he heads to the NBA is high praise from his coaches for being able to play basketball at a high level. 

“He’s too good at what he does, which is run a team, play the right way, play with grit and determination,” Dutcher said. 

Many of Flynn’s former teammates reacted positively to the news, sharing praise and congratulations on Twitter. 

Dutcher said he always knew Flynn would be headed for success in the pros. 

“Like I told him, he’s going to be on an NBA roster,” he said. “He’s too good not to be.”

As he heads to Toronto, Flynn will fight for playing time and a roster spot like all NBA rookies do. After tonight, however, he adds another accomplishment to finish his decorated career on The Mesa as another Aztec headed to the pros.