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Payton Pritchard
Payton Pritchard
Position: G
Born: 01/28/98
Height: 6-1 / 1.85
Weight:206 lbs. / 93.4 kg.
Salary: $2,137,440
Payton Pritchard is here because he is a ruthless competitor, someone who would cry when he lost one-on-one games to an NBA veteran when he was just 15. Someone who would dribble weighted basketballs until blood dripped from his callused hands. Someone who played so constantly that coaches at every level would plead with him to take just one day off, just get some rest, just chill out a bit. “He’s just the most driven, relentless kid,” Celtics director of scouting Dave Lewin said. “Being good at basketball is more important to him than anything.” ‘“He’s just the most driven, relentless kid. Being good at basketball is more important to him than anything.”’
When Pritchard was in sixth grade, West Linn coach Eric Viuhkola invited him to the varsity team’s morning workouts. One day Pritchard was drilling 3-pointers as if they were layups, and Viuhkola was impressed. “You might even have been the second-best shooter in the gym today,” the coach said. Viuhkola always told his players that he was the best shooter in the gym. He just thought it was funny. But 12-year-old Pritchard did not. “Man, he pierced his eyes right through me,” Viuhkola recalled. “He says, ‘No, no, I’m the best shooter in the gym.’ He was the most competitive person I’d ever been around in my life.”
Lewin, the Celtics’ scouting director, was at one of those scrimmages in 2014 when he noticed a tiny high school sophomore facing the international team that included future NBA stars Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns. It was Pritchard, who had recently led West Linn to its second consecutive state title. “He was the first kid that I can recall that was brought in to scrimmage while he was still in high school, and he really held his own,” Lewin said. “He was good. We took note of that.”