Sports

Former St. John’s star athlete signs two-year deal with Bucks

Former St. John’s Prep three-sport standout Pat Connaughton agreed to a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, the team announced earlier this week.

“Pat is a talented wing player with a tremendous work ethic and great character,” Bucks General Manager Jon Horst said in a statement. “We believe he will continue to grow and develop his skills working with Coach Bud (Mike Budenholzer) and his staff. We are excited to welcome him to the Bucks organization and we know he will be a positive addition to our roster both on and off the court.”

Connaughton, a native of Arlington, played football, baseball and basketball at St. John’s. He was named the Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year in 2011, his senior season.

After graduating from St. John’s, Connaughton took his basketball talents to Division I Notre Dame. He helped lead the Fighting Irish to their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship during his senior year in 2015. Notre Dame qualified for the NCAA Tournament that season and fell short to Kentucky in the Elite Eight round. Connaughton finished that game with eight points, nine rebounds and three assists. He was named to the All-ACC Third Team that season.

He also pitched for Notre Dame’s baseball team and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the 121st pick of the 2014 MLB Draft. Connaughton pitched briefly for the Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds, but decided to pursue a professional basketball career.

Connaughton’s career in the NBA started in 2016. He was originally drafted with the 41st overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets. Connaughton, along with Mason Plumlee, was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers shortly after. Connaughton spent the first three seasons of his career in Portland.

The 6-foot-5 guard took on an elevated role as a reserve for the Trail Blazers last year, when he averaged 5.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game, while shooting at 42.3 percent and 35.2 percent from beyond the arc. He scored a career-high 24 points in Portland’s season-opening win over Phoenix last October. The 25-year-old helped Portland reach the playoffs during each of his three seasons with the team.

He holds career averages of 3.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 12.6 minutes.

The first year of Connaughton’s new contract is fully guaranteed. Connaughton joins a young Milwaukee team that reached the postseason last year but fell to the Celtics in first-round series that went seven games. The team hired Mike Budenholzer, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks, as its new head coach in May. In a separate move, the Bucks waived guard Brandon Jennings earlier this week.

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