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Jordan Walsh receives warm Boston welcome hosting a Celtics court unveil

Young Celtics fans showed an unusually loud embrace for a second round pick, reflecting intrigue in Jordan Walsh.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Jordan Walsh entered the Cambridge community center and jogged through a line of children assembled to welcome him to Boston and unveil a new court. Dressed in his EYBL sweatpants, a Celtics windbreaker, a winter hat and Yeezy Foam Runners, Boston rolled out the green carpet for the No. 38 pick.

The ceremony contrasted against the more low-key arrival of J.D. Davison one year ago and the draft-and-stash of Juhann Begarin, Brad Stevens’ first selection in 2021. Walsh arrived more reminiscent of a first-round talent, and given the wide array of assessments on where he ranked in the class stemming back to his top-20 high school ranking, he may prove that effective. For now, he glowed in front of family members while his agent Ramon Sessions stood nearby. Walsh nodded when a reporter compared to moment to my career.

“It was amazing,” Walsh told CLNS Media. “It was great. I got to be in the atmosphere of a Boston workout, feel what it feels like to be in a winning culture’s workout in their gym. You can feel it everything we did, even when we were just doing ball-handling drills and stretching, it’s always loud, people are screaming, people are always cheering you on.”

“To be able to feel that and be in that, it means a lot, it’s special and I’m glad Boston was the one that chose me. It was amazing, it was a dream come true, to hear your name called, it means the world to a guy like me that’s been dreaming of that ... I’m glad they entrusted me with their pick.”

Walsh acknowledged defense will drive his case to reach the floor at 19-years-old at the loaded wing position for the second-best team in the east over the past two seasons. He pitched his case to play alongside and accentuate Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and reached out to Al Horford expressing interest in working out ahead of next month’s Summer League.

Walsh will join Davison, Aleksander Balcerowski (Gran Canaria), Kamar Baldwin (Maine), Justin Bean (Memphis G-League), Justin Champagnie (Boston), Mychal Mulder (Miami G-League), Jay Scrubb (Orlando) and Vincent Valerio-Bodon (Debreceni EAC, Hungary), among the early reporting.

Eugene German (Qingdao Eagles, China), Sam Griesel (Nebraska) and Reggie Kissoonlal (Maine) will reportedly round out the roster. That should provide Walsh some ball-handling he mentioned in the pre-draft process rediscovering after playing a team-oriented role at Arkansas.

“(I’m) a guy that harps on defense, who plays super hard, who’s tough, who’s going to be consistent in that aspect,” Walsh said. “Who’s going to do the simple things that help winning, that maybe other people may overlook, diving on the floor. I heard that Boston likes people who dive on the floor more than people who dunk the ball. That guy’s going to be me. I’ll still do a little dunking, but I’m just a guy who wants to do whatever it takes to win.”

“(Shooting) is very important. To play with guys like Tatum and Brown, you have to be able to open the floor for them, because they draw so much attention that they need to be able to make that extra pass and have a guy make that shot.”

Strong shooting sessions in Walsh’s pair of Celtics workouts intrigued Stevens and the Boston front office among a number of potential targets between the first and second round. The Celtics traded back three times to recover second-round draft capital they lacked through the 2028 season and to take advantage of the new second-round exception expected in the new CBA.

That’ll slot Walsh in for an active roster spot, rather than the two-way experience Davison undertook in year one. Some G-League reps may, nonetheless, await Walsh as he adapts to professional play on a winning team.

Though their games may not completely align, fans seemed to take solace in acquiring a prospect similarly dedicated to hustling as outgoing guard Marcus Smart. The children in attendance for the camp swarmed Walsh as he exited the facility, then yelled goodbye Jordan as he and his father John, mother Sandra and brother Joshua boarded their bus.

“I got here last night and it’s starting to sink in. This helps for sure. The kids here have definitely welcomed me to the Celtics,” Walsh said. “It’s been fun. I love the city so far. I love the food I’ve eaten, I love the people, I love the facilities. I’ve fallen in love with Boston and I haven’t even been here 24 hours.”

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