History has been made. For the first time in program history, a player from Auburn University has been selected in the top three of the NBA Draft.
On Thursday night, the Houston Rockets picked Jabari Smith with the third pick in the draft. The selection marks the tenth time someone from Auburn has been taken in the first round and fifth time inside the top five. Auburn’s last first-round pick was Isaac Okoro who was taken No. 5 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2020.
The 6-foot-10 power forward only spent one season at Auburn but gave Auburn fans a lot to cheer about and cemented himself as one of the best players to come through the program.
At 16.9 points per game, Smith led the Tigers in that category and proved to be a highlight-reel player every game.
Smith also grabbed 7.4 rebounds per game and dished two assists per game.
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What made Smith’s season so incredible was the way he stepped up during SEC play. His career high in points came against Vanderbilt where the Commodores jumped out to a 14-3 lead before Smith hit seven three-pointers and scored 31 points while guiding Auburn to a home win.
Smith also dropped 25 points on the road against Alabama in a back-and-forth game early in the SEC season. The freshman also notched seven rebounds and rejected a career-high four shots - showcasing that he was more than just a scorer.
While at Auburn, Smith recorded 14 20-point games and nine 10-rebound games. Smith also recorded seven double-doubles.
Smith was recognized as the SEC Freshman of the Year, the first in school history, and a member of the All-SEC First Team and Sports Illustrated’s All-American First Team. Smith received six All-American nominations which is the most in program history and was the first Auburn All-American since 1999.
The newly-named Rocket was a consensus five-star out of high school and led Auburn to a regular season SEC title and the school’s first ever No. 1 ranking in the AP poll while Auburn won 19 consecutive games.
The Rockets only compiled 20 wins last season, leading them to a last-place finish in the Western conference and the worst record in the NBA. However, Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. are a couple young players that could pair well next to Smith.
Auburn fans can see Smith in action in the NBA Summer League when the Rockets face the Magic on July 7 in Las Vegas. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
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