Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Canadian basketball player (born 1998)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Gilgeous-Alexander in 2022
No. 2 – Oklahoma City Thunder
PositionPoint guard / shooting guard
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1998-07-12) July 12, 1998 (age 25)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school
CollegeKentucky (2017–18)
NBA draft2018: 1st round, 11th overall pick
Selected by the Charlotte Hornets
Playing career2018–present
Career history
2018–2019Los Angeles Clippers
2019–presentOklahoma City Thunder
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Shaivonte Aician Gilgeous-Alexander (/ʃ ˈɡɪləs/ SHAY GIL-jəss; born July 12, 1998), also known by his initials SGA, is a Canadian professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one year of college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats and was selected 11th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2018 NBA draft before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers that same night.

In his rookie year, Gilgeous-Alexander was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team before being traded to the Thunder in July 2019. In his first year with Oklahoma City, he was their leading scorer and helped them make the playoffs as a fifth seed. After dealing with injuries the next two seasons, Gilgeous-Alexander was named to his first NBA All-Star Game and was voted to the All-NBA First Team in 2023, when he finished fourth in the league in scoring with 31.4 points per game.

With the Canadian national basketball team, Gilgeous-Alexander won the bronze medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup and was named to the World Cup All-Tournament Team. He was given the Northern Star Award in 2023 as Canadian athlete of the year, only the second basketball player so honoured.

Early life

Gilgeous-Alexander was born in Toronto, Ontario, and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario.[1] His mother, Charmaine Gilgeous, is a former track athlete who competed for Antigua and Barbuda at the 1992 Summer Olympics.[2] His father, Vaughn Alexander, coached him as a youth.[3] He began high school in Hamilton at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School before switching to Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School. He then transferred to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (located in Chattanooga, Tennessee) for his junior and senior years to improve his basketball skills, graduating in 2017.[4][5]

High school career

Growing up in Hamilton, he did not make the St. Thomas More junior team in grade 9 and subsequently played on the school's midget squad.[6] He ended up winning team MVP and the midget boys' city championship.[citation needed] He then attended Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School before heading to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2015.[7] "I just thought I needed to play better competition ...," he said. As a senior, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists.[8]

In early 2016, he participated in the Basketball Without Borders Camp.[9]

A four-star recruit (by ESPN), Gilgeous-Alexander originally committed to Florida, but re-opened his recruitment in October 2016.[10] His final five schools were Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Texas and UNLV.[8] The following month, he announced his decision to play college basketball at Kentucky.[10] He was named the most valuable player of the Kentucky Derby Classic.[11] At the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit, he represented the World Select Team and scored eleven points in 21 minutes of action.[12]

College career

Gilgeous-Alexander started the 2017–18 season as a reserve, sitting behind freshman point guard Quade Green, but still averaged over 30 minutes per game. After a tough loss to UCLA, Alexander erupted against Louisville in December, scoring 24 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, dishing out 4 assists, and securing 3 steals.[13] When he first stepped on the University of Kentucky's campus, Gilgeous-Alexander had long hair. However, he cut his hair early in the season and some say this started his progression from sixth man to starting point guard.[14] He continued to lead the team for the following two games, scoring 21 points against Georgia and 18 against LSU. He was a consistent contributor to a "struggling" UK team that had a four-game losing streak during the season. He became a starter along with four other freshmen: Hamidou Diallo, Nick Richards, Kevin Knox II, and P. J. Washington. Despite their losses, his PPG shot up to 12.9 along with 3.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Gilgeous-Alexander had a great SEC tournament and continued that momentum into the NCAA Tournament. After playing great basketball in the first two rounds against Davidson and Buffalo, Kentucky lost to Kansas State in the Sweet 16. Gilgeous-Alexander's final college basketball moment was a missed three-point attempt at the buzzer. On April 9, 2018, he declared for the 2018 NBA draft.[15]

Professional career

Los Angeles Clippers (2018–2019)

2018–2019: Rookie season

Gilgeous-Alexander with the Clippers in 2018

On June 21, 2018, Gilgeous-Alexander was selected with the eleventh overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2018 NBA draft, before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers the same day, in exchange for the pick after him (which ended up being Miles Bridges) and two future second-round picks.[16] He went on to play for the team in the 2018 NBA Summer League, where he averaged 19 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

On December 17, 2018, Gilgeous-Alexander scored a season-best of 24 points in a 127–131 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.[17] On January 18, 2019, Gilgeous-Alexander tied his season-best of 24 points in a 112–94 loss to the Golden State Warriors.[18] Eleven days later, he was named a member of the World Team representing Canada for the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge.[19] On April 21, 2019, he scored a new career-high of 25 points in a 105–113 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2019 playoffs.[20]

Oklahoma City Thunder (2019–present)

2019–2020: Improving as a sophomore

On July 10, 2019, the Clippers traded Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round draft picks, and the rights to swap two other first-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for NBA All-Star Paul George.[21] On October 8, 2019, Gilgeous-Alexander made his preseason debut with the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Dallas Mavericks. He recorded 24 points and four rebounds in a 119–104 win over the Mavericks. On December 22, 2019, Gilgeous-Alexander scored a then career-high 32 points with five assists, three rebounds, and two steals in a 118–112 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.[22] On January 13, 2020, Gilgeous-Alexander recorded his first NBA triple double with 20 points, 10 assists and a career-high 20 rebounds in a 117–104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, becoming the second player after Russell Westbrook to record a 20–20–10 statline in the last 30 years and the youngest ever to achieve it.[23][24]

2020–2022: Breakthrough and injuries

Gilgeous-Alexander against the Wizards in 2022

On December 26, 2020, Gilgeous-Alexander put up 24 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, and a game-winning jump shot in a 109–107 win against the Charlotte Hornets.[25] On February 24, 2021, Gilgeous-Alexander scored a then career-high 42 points to give the Oklahoma City Thunder a 102–99 win over the San Antonio Spurs.[26] On March 24, 2021, after playing 35 games, his season ended due to a tear in his plantar fascia.[27]

On August 3, 2021, Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder agreed to a five-year, $172 million rookie extension; this contract ballooned to the five-year, $207 million rookie maximum extension when Gilgeous-Alexander was named to the All-NBA Team in May 2023.[28]

On December 18, 2021, Gilgeous-Alexander scored 18 points and made a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Thunder over his former team, the Los Angeles Clippers, 104–103.[29] Four days later, he recorded his second career triple double, with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists, in a 108–94 victory over the Denver Nuggets.[30] On December 27, Gilgeous-Alexander was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 10 (December 20–26), his first NBA Player of the Week award. He led Oklahoma to a 3–1 week with averages of 27.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists.[31] On March 28, 2022, Gilgeous-Alexander was ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. [32] He finished the season averaging career highs of 24.5 points and 5.9 assists per game.[32]

2022–present: First All-Star and All-NBA First Team selection

On October 31, 2022, Gilgeous-Alexander was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 2 (October 24–30), his second career NBA Player of the Week award. He led Oklahoma to an undefeated 3–0 week with averages of 31.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 7.7 assists.[33] On November 16, Gilgeous-Alexander tied a then career-high with 42 points, alongside a game-winning three-pointer, six rebounds and seven assists, in a 121–120 win over the Washington Wizards.[34] On December 19, Gilgeous-Alexander put up 35 points alongside a buzzer-beating game-winner in a 123–121 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.[35] On December 23, Gilgeous-Alexander recorded a career-high 44 points, with 10 rebounds and 6 assists, in a 128–125 overtime loss against the New Orleans Pelicans.[36]

On February 2, 2023, Gilgeous-Alexander was named to his first-ever NBA All-Star Game as a reserve guard for the Western Conference.[37] On February 4, he recorded 42 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks in a 153–121 win over the Houston Rockets.[38] On February 10, Gilgeous-Alexander tied his career-high with 44 points on 13-of-16 shooting from the field and 18-of-19 shooting from the free throw line in a 138–129 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. He became the first player in Thunder history to score 40-plus points on 80% shooting.[39] Gilgeous-Alexander ended the season with a career-high 31.4 points per game average, joining Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as the only players in Thunder history to average at least 30 points per game in a season.[40] Shai became the second guard in NBA history behind Michael Jordan to average at least 30 points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal and one blocked shot while shooting at least 50 percent from the field. He subsequently became the youngest guard in NBA history to average 30 points on 50 percent from the field beating Jordan’s record.[41][42] On May 2, Gilgeous-Alexander finished fifth in voting for the NBA Most Valuable Player.[43] He was also named to his first All-NBA First Team.[44]

On November 8, 2023, Gilgeous-Alexander scored 43 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line in a 128–120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.[45] On November 14, Gilgeous-Alexander put up 28 points and a career-high seven steals in a 123–87 win over the San Antonio Spurs. He also had his fifth straight game with 25 points on 55% FG, which is the longest streak in Thunder franchise history[46] On November 18, Gilgeous-Alexander recorded 40 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks in a 130–123 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors.[47] On December 16, Gilgeous-Alexander put up 25 points, six rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and a game-winning mid-range jumpshot in a 118–117 win over the Denver Nuggets.[48] On January 25, 2024, Gilgeous-Alexander was named a Western Conference starter for the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, marking his second consecutive selection and his first selection as a starter.[49] On March 12, Gilgeous-Alexander put up 30 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in a 121–111 loss to the Indiana Pacers. He put up his 48th 30-point game of the season, surpassing Kevin Durant's previous Thunder franchise record for the most 30-point games in a season of 47.[50]

National team career

Gilgeous-Alexander played for the Canadian junior national team that competed in the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile, averaging 7.8 points, 5.4 assists, 4.0 rebounds in a contest en route to winning silver.[51] Later in the same year he joined the senior national team at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.[52] Canada was defeated by France in the tournament final, missing qualification to the 2016 Summer Olympics.[53]

On May 24, 2022, Gilgeous-Alexander was one of fourteen players to agree to a three-year commitment to play with the national team, aiming to break a decades-long trend of failing to qualify for the Olympic basketball tournament.[54] At the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Gilgeous-Alexander was the central figure on the Canadian roster, leading them on a historic deep run.[55][56] On September 3, they qualified to the quarter-finals of the tournament, in the process securing a berth at the 2024 Summer Olympics, which he called "almost indescribable."[57] The team ultimately won the bronze medal after defeating the United States in the third-place game. This was Canada's first ever World Cup medal, and first medal at a major global tournament since the 1936 Summer Olympics.[58][59] In recognition of his individual play, Gilgeous-Alexander was named to the World Cup All-Tournament Team.[60] For both this and his feats in the NBA in 2023, he received the Northern Star Award as Canada's athlete of the year and the Lionel Conacher Award as the Canadian Press' choice for Canadian male athlete of the year. Gilgeous-Alexander was only the second basketball player to receive the two honours, in both cases after Steve Nash.[61][62]

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 *  Led the league

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2018–19 L.A. Clippers 82* 73 26.5 .476 .367 .800 2.8 3.3 1.2 .5 10.8
2019–20 Oklahoma City 70 70 34.7 .471 .347 .807 5.9 3.3 1.1 .7 19.0
2020–21 Oklahoma City 35 35 33.7 .500 .418 .808 4.7 5.9 .8 .7 23.7
2021–22 Oklahoma City 56 56 34.7 .453 .300 .810 5.0 5.9 1.3 .8 24.5
2022–23 Oklahoma City 68 68 35.5 .510 .345 .905 4.8 5.5 1.6 1.0 31.4
Career 311 302 32.6 .484 .347 .845 4.6 4.5 1.2 .7 21.1
All-Star 2 1 18.8 .762 .727 3.0 6.5 .5 .0 20.0

Play-in

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2023 Oklahoma City 2 2 38.7 .390 .333 1.000 6.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 27.0
Career 2 2 38.7 .390 .333 1.000 6.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 27.0

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2019 L.A. Clippers 6 6 28.8 .467 .500 .850 2.7 3.2 1.0 .8 13.7
2020 Oklahoma City 7 7 39.9 .433 .400 .957 5.3 4.1 1.0 .4 16.3
Career 13 13 34.8 .447 .434 .907 4.1 3.7 1.0 .6 15.1

College

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2017–18 Kentucky 37 24 33.7 .485 .404 .817 4.1 5.1 1.6 .5 14.4

Personal life

Gilgeous-Alexander's younger brother, Thomasi, was a college basketball player for the Evansville Purple Aces.[63] and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.[64] His younger cousin, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, is an NBA player for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The two have a close relationship and shared a room at high school coach Zach Ferrell's house.[65]

In July 2020, Gilgeous-Alexander signed an endorsement deal with Converse.[66]

In spring 2023, Gilgeous-Alexander purchased a lakefront property in Burlington, Ontario previously occupied by bankrupt cryptocurrency trader Aiden Pleterski. Within days of moving in, Gilgeous-Alexander moved out due to security concerns, and shortly thereafter filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the purchase. The basketball player alleges that the seller, a real estate investor who had leased the property to Pleterski, disclosed neither the property's link to the trader, nor various threats that have been made against the property by Pleterski's investors.[67][68]

References

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External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
  • Career statistics and player information from NBA.com Edit this at Wikidata and Basketball-Reference.com Edit this at Wikidata
  • Kentucky Wildcats bio
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at nbadraft.net
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