2022 NBA draft: Wake Forest's Jake LaRavia goes 19th overall after correcting mix-up over his age
Rewind back a few months, and Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia wasn't seen as a significant prospect for the 2022 NBA draft. He had turned in an impressive career with the Demon Deacons, but the junior was seen as a mid-second round prospect at best.
LaRavia ended up going 19th overall on draft night, landing with the Memphis Grizzlies via a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. What happened? Well, LaRavia and his agent had to solve a rather unique problem.
NBA teams reportedly thought he was 2 years older than he really was.
When LaRavia declared for the draft, he noticed that a number of "prominent" media outlets had him listed at 22 years old when he was really 20 years old, he told Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com. Those two years are a pretty massive difference, as teams are going to be much more excited about the upside of a 20-year-old.
The error became so unavoidable that searching LaRavia's age returned the wrong number, leading to LaRavia and his people having to fix the bizarre situation.
"I didn't really know about the whole age thing and how that plays a huge role [in how NBA executives value prospects], but it actually plays a big role in this process,” LaRavia told BasketballNews. “I was getting a bunch of people hitting me up like, 'Jake, you're 22?' So, I looked it up on Google, like, ‘How old is Jake LaRavia?’ and it said 22. I was like, ‘Alright, we gotta get this fixed.’
“I was just telling a bunch of people that it was wrong, and my agents did their job and told everyone that I'm 20. We were finally able to get that fixed, so that was good."
LaRavia's agent reportedly proved to the NBA his client was born on Nov. 3, 2001, leading the 6-foot-9, 228-pounder to shoot up draft boards. That was apparently to the chagrin of some teams who were already aware of his real age and hoped to nab a steal late in the draft.
Instead, LaRavia went comfortably in the first round and will now join a Grizzlies team looking to contend for an NBA title next season.
Jake LaRavia to Memphis pic.twitter.com/Kz0E64NghZ
— Kyle Neddenriep (@KyleNeddenriep) June 24, 2022
The Grizzlies traded the 22nd and 29th pick of the 2022 NBA draft, as well as a future second-rounder for LaRavia, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
LaRavia spent the first two seasons of his college career at Indiana State before transferring to Wake Forest, where he averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 steals, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 55.9 percent from the field in one season, earning second-team All-ACC honors.