Christian school alum drafted by Chicago Bulls in first round

Sunrise Christian Academy graduate Matas Buzelis was just selected 11th overall in the NBA draft.

The 19-year-old was overwhelmed with emotion, declaring himself “blessed.”

“I’m blessed,…

Sunrise Christian Academy graduate Matas Buzelis was just selected 11th overall in the NBA draft.

The 19-year-old was overwhelmed with emotion, declaring himself “blessed.”

“I’m blessed, man. This is what I wanted. I wanted to be here. Thank you to the Bulls organization,” Buzelis told an interviewer.

The son of Lithuanian immigrants and a Chicago native, Buzelis attended Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas – home of one of the nation’s most elite high school basketball programs.  

Sunrise has produced over 100 NCAA Division I men’s basketball players, including Kansas Jayhawk-turned-Toronto Raptor Gradey Dick

In a documentary produced by The Lion, then-coach Luke Barnwell attributed the program’s success to its Christ-centered approach.  

“Dr. [James] Naismith invented the game 150 years ago with the intention to disciple young men,” Barnwell explained. “I would stand here and tell you 150 years later, that mission hasn’t changed. 

“I think [God has] blessed us for sure. When you have the crazy results that we have, it doesn’t scientifically or mathematically make sense. There has to be a blessing.” 

For Buzelis, that blessing now continues into the NBA.  

Prior to being drafted by the Bulls, he played one year in the NBA’s developmental league.  

During his senior year at Sunrise Christian, he averaged 15.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, shooting 54% from the field, 42% percent from 3-point range and 80% from the free throw line.