For the first time since 2018, it seems the Milwaukee Bucks plan to keep their first-round draft choice.
MarJon Beauchamp, a product of the G League Ignite, was selected with the No. 24 overall pick Thursday night at the Barclays Center. Beauchamp, whose basketball story is nothing short of inspiring, was raved about by Bucks general manager Jon Horst in the aftermath of the annual event. All signs point to Beauchamp making his eventual NBA debut at Fiserv Forum or in front of a Milwaukee road crowd.
We’ll learn more about Beauchamp and what he brings to the Bucks, both on and off the court, in the coming months, perhaps as soon as Milwaukee’s Summer League schedule starts July 8.
In the meantime, let’s dive deep and get to know the 21-year-old swingman as best we can.
As we disclosed in our draft profile of Beauchamp, you won’t find many with as interesting a playing past. We’d like to slightly amend that statement: you won’t find many with as interesting a past.
Beauchamp sacrificed time with his family and the comfort of home to pursue his basketball dreams. A native of Yakima, Wash., he bounced between prep programs, battled homelessness and traveled more than 1,200 miles to join a private school in Arizona that played many of its games at neutral sites.
Playing for Dream City Christian School on the “Grind Session” circuit, Beauchamp competed with and against some of the nation’s top players. His performance drew interest from blue blood Arizona and other prominent programs across the country such as Florida State, Marquette and Washington.
A highly-touted recruit with NBA aspirations, Beauchamp decided to skip college and join an experimental training program based in the Bay Area called Chameleon BX led by Frank Matrisciano, aka “The Masked Trainer,” whose regimen was instrumental in helping Blake Griffin become the No. 1 pick.
When the Chameleon BX program collapsed in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beauchamp felt lost – lost mentally and lost physically. He questioned his love for the game. He dealt with the anxieties of not having a place to play, and no longer a path designed to take him straight to the NBA.
Beauchamp rekindled his passion for basketball in the unlikeliest of places, well, sort of. In March 2021, he joined forces with childhood friends and familiar coaches at Yakima Valley College. He made his college debut a month later, representing his hometown, and on June 1 he poured in a career high 50 points. Beauchamp wound up leading the Northwest Athletic Conference in scoring, posting averages of 30.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per contest, to go along with a revived basketball journey.
Beauchamp signed with the G League Ignite last September and averaged 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists over a dozen games. The 6-foot-6 guard-forward became the 270th draft pick in Bucks history.
– Beauchamp was the second of three Ignite teammates drafted Thursday night, following top-10 pick Dyson Daniels and ahead of Jaden Hardy who slipped out of Round 1 and was taken at No. 37 overall. The three-man haul matched the Ignite’s total from 2021 when Jalen Green went No. 2 to the Rockets, Jonathan Kuminga joined Golden State at No. 7 and Isaiah Todd was the first off the board in Round 2. (Note: Todd was Milwaukee’s lone selection last season but his draft rights were dealt to Indiana.)
– Beauchamp was one of four 2022 first-round picks who chose to forgo the traditional college route and play in a developmental professional league. Ousmane Dieng, who played for the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers (No. 11 overall) joined ABA League star Nikola Jovic (No. 27) and the G Leaguer Daniels (No. 8). Of the 58 total draft picks this cycle, 14 enter the NBA ranks via developmental pro leagues (9 in 2021).
– Beauchamp, born Oct. 12, 2000, is older than every 2022 first-round pick except former Kansas Jayhawk Ochai Agbaji (22 years old) and former Iowa Hawkeye Keegan Murray (21; born Aug. 19, 2000) and thus has an age or shall we say experience advantage – teenagers tend to be viewed as the greatest NBA prospects … however there are always outliers. There were 41 picks aged 20 or younger this year.
THEY SAID IT
“God never gave up on me. Everything I had to go through. All the adversity and no one believing in me. This is special.” – A choked up Beauchamp moments after hearing his name called
“I feel like I found myself. I found new ways in my game … building good habits. Finding a defensive motor and learning the defensive terminology. I would give that advice to any kid that wants to be a pro. I feel like I’m a step ahead of people coming in.” – Beauchamp on what the G League did for him
“We didn’t think he was going to be there at No. 24 and we were desperately trying to move up to make sure that we could get in a range that we could get him. But he was there, and we’re happy with that selection.” – Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton on how the pick played out
“He’s played against really good players. One thing about the G League is it’s a bunch of fast, quick, athletic guys, and I think he really held his own. We studied the heck out of him and he was pretty impactful defensively this year, being kind of a big wing but playing [against] a lot of guards.” – Horst
Horst, Newton discuss Bucks 1st-round pick MarJon Beauchamp
Beauchamp hoped to stick with his No. 14, which he donned in the G League, in the NBA, but won’t be able to in Milwaukee because it was retired by the franchise after Jon McGlocklin, nicknamed “The Original Buck,” wore it from 1968-76. McGlocklin was key to the city’s first NBA championship in 1971.
Fun Fact: Beauchamp, instead, will rep No. 0 for Milwaukee because he “came from nothing,” and will be the first Bucks player to wear that number since former first-round selection Donte DiVincenzo did from 2020-22. Others to put on the No. 0 jersey in team history include Drew Gooden, Gary Payton II, Xavier Munford and Trevon Duval. For what it’s worth, seven former Bucks have sported the double-zero look.
Four years. Four different high schools. Success found Beauchamp at each stop, but he really blossomed, averaging 26 points, 11 rebounds and five assists en route to Metro League Player of the Year honors as a junior at Rainier Beach in Seattle. His farthest move took him to Glendale, Ariz., where he finished his prep career at Dream City, a program that also produced 2022 lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe.
Fun Fact: Beauchamp learned from two-time All-NBA guard Brandon Roy, one of the top players of the late 2000s, during his first two years of high school. Beauchamp moved to Seattle after eighth grade to play for Roy at Nathan Hale – and won a state championship together – and followed his coach to Garfield High School as a sophomore, winning another title, before transferring schools for a third time.
Reputation and basketball are in Beauchamp’s bloodline. His grandfather, Henry, was the first African-American mayor in Yakima, and his father Jon played college hoops at Eastern Washington.
Fun Fact: Beauchamp has communicated plans to give back. He wants to help renovate the Henry Beauchamp Community Center, whose mission is to foster self-sufficiency and dignity for children, youth and families in Southeast Yakima. He also hopes to bring an “MJB Basketball Camp” to undetermined cities soon. Beauchamp asked his followers on social media June 13 to reply with possible destinations.