Jayson Tatum, a graduate of Chaminade High in St. Louis who dazzled a capacity crowd at the Highland Optimist Shootout in 2016, posted a double-double in his first professional game Tuesday night with the Boston Celtics.
The 6-foot-9 Tatum scored 14 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes as the Celtics lost to the host Cleveland Cavaliers 102-99 at Quicken Loans Arena. Tatum was 5-for-12 from the field and contributed three assists.
Tatum, who started at forward, became the first Celtics rookie to record a double-double in his first game since Hall of Famer Larry Bird in 1979.
Tatum, 19, played one season at Duke University, averaging 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. He was the third player chosen in the NBA Draft in June, following Markelle Fultz (Philadelphia) and Lonzo Ball (Los Angeles Lakers). He’s playing on a five-year, $43.1 million contract that pays him $5 million as a rookie.
He’s also the new spokesman for St. Louis-based Imo’s Pizza, and his commercial are airing regularly.
Tuesday, Tatum missed his first five shots from the field – his first attempt was blocked by Cavaliers star LeBron James – and had just two points at halftime. But he settled in during the second half with 12 points, including eight in the third quarter. He had five rebounds in each half.
Tatum scored 24 of his 32 points in the second half in Chaminade’s 81-66 victory over Althoff in the Highland Optimist Shootout in 2016. He also had 12 rebounds, three steals and two assists. Both Althoff and Chaminade went on to capture state championships.
Tatum helped offset an injury to Gordon Hayward, who exited less than six minutes into the game with a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia.
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm