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Chauncey Billups, New Blazers Draftee Jabari Walker Carry Colorado Connection

Billups and Walker share an alma mater.

NCAA Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Tournament Semifinal - Colorado vs Arizona Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

A quarter-century ago, Colorado Buffaloes point guard Chauncey Billups was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 3rd overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.

Now, 25 years later, the Colorado alum has paved the way for another Buffalo to enter the NBA.

On Thursday, Jabari Walker became the ninth player from Colorado basketball to be drafted since Billups.

It’s uncertain as to whether Billups’ affiliation with Colorado led to the Portland Trail Blazers drafting Walker with the 57th overall pick, but it should make Walker feel a little more at home when he starts his NBA career.

“It’s great that he’ll be coached by a former Buff, but he’s got to earn his roster spot, and (Walker) knows that,” Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said. “It’s nice to have that Buff connection but he’s going to have to play his way into the NBA.”

Walker, a 2021-22 All-Pac-12 Conference First Team selection, averaged 14.6 points and a PAC-12 best 9.4 rebounds per game.