Sexton, 19, averaged 19.2 points and 3.6 assists as a freshman for the Crimson Tide.
Sexton worked out for the Cavs in Cleveland the day after the NBA Finals and made such an impression that Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert went to Twitter to tout him as a prospect.
Multiple team sources praised Sexton’s character and competitive nature to ESPN.
“It just shows all my hard work paid off,” Sexton told ESPN’s Maria Taylor during the Draft broadcast when asked about his rise from being an unranked prospect to a lottery pick. “I just grinded. I started at the bottom and came back up to the top. That’s the biggest thing, just to show people what I can do.”
Sexton was asked to share his recruiting pitch to LeBron James to bring the three-time champion back to Cleveland for next season and beyond.
“Man, LeBron, let’s do it!” Sexton said. “Let’s do it. I see you needed a few pieces — one or two pieces last season — and let’s do it. Let’s go back to the Finals. Let’s do it!”
The Cavs tried to trade up to acquire the Memphis Grizzlies‘ No. 4 pick on Thursday, a team source told ESPN, to no avail.
The picks comes two years and two days after Irving hit the biggest shot in franchise history with a go-ahead 3-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, assuring the Cavs their first championship.
It was the highest selection by a team coming off an NBA Finals appearance since the Celtics selected Len Bias second overall in 1986, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.