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Ex-NCAA star rips Hawks’ No. 1 overall pick Zaccharie Risacher: ‘Absurd’

The Atlanta Hawks had the first overall selection in the 2024 NBA Draft Wednesday night, and they selected Zaccharie Risacher, the 19-year-old Frenchman. 

At least one observer thinks it was a bad move.

Frank Mason III, college basketball’s 2017 National Player of the Year with the Kansas Jayhawks, expressed his opinion about the pick on social media after playing against Risacher, a 6-foot-8 forward, in France last year. 

“Played this young guy in France this past season; no way he’s the number one pick in the NBA raft lol, but I guess!” Mason posted on X. “Solid young player, but # 1 pick is absurd.”

Mason, the 34th overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2017 NBA Draft, bounced around the league from 2017-21, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic before trying his luck overseas. 


He joined SLUC Nancy in France’s top league, Betclic Élite, where he averaged 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists over 21 games last season to earn himself an All-Star Game appearance. 

Risacher also played in the ProA League with JL Bourg-en-Bresse, where he was 18 years old for most of his 32 games. He averaged 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game over 22 minutes. 

Risacher at draft

Mason missed both games against JL Bourg-en-Bresse, which dominated SLUC Nancy, and Risacher scored 11 and 10 points in those meetings. 

Mason isn’t alone in his skepticism about Risacher playing in the NBA. The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo believes others who played in France, including Risacher’s teammates, were likely shocked when the Hawks called his name. 

“I get what the high side of it is, but I imagine there’s teammates of him in France that are like, ‘I cannot believe that guy was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft,” Russillo said on the “Bill Simmons Podcast.”

Zaccharie Risacher and Frank Mason III

Fellow Frenchmen Alexandre Sarr was another frontrunner for the No. 1 pick, but he went to the Washington Wizards at No. 2. 

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