The Pacers have drafted the AP Pac-12 Player of the Year two years in a row, taking Chris Duarte with the 13th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and Bennedict Mathurin with the sixth overall pick in 2022.
We won’t know until draft night where Jaime Jaquez, the latest Pac-12 Player of the Year, will end up, but he was in Indiana on Friday for the Pacers’ first pre-draft workout.
Jaquez, UConn guard Andre Jackson Jr., and Missouri forward Kobe Brown headlined a group that also included Creighton forward Arthur Kaluma, Lithuanian guard Liutaurus Lelevicius, and North Dakota State center Grant Nelson. Those six prospects went through testing and drills in front of the Pacers front office, coaches, and scouts at the Ascension St. Vincent Center.
All but Lelevicius will be heading to Chicago shortly for the NBA Draft Combine, which begins on Monday. The NBA Draft Lottery will also take place in Chicago on Tuesday, where the Pacers will find out where their top pick falls in this year’s draft, which will take place on June 22. Indiana could pick anywhere from first through fourth or seventh through 11th, depending on how the ping pong balls bounce in the lottery. The Blue & Gold also own two additional first round picks — the 26th and 29th overall selections — and two second round picks.
Jaquez, a 6-7 forward, is well known to college basketball fans from his four years at UCLA. He really emerged on the national scene in Indianapolis as a sophomore, when the entire NCAA Tournament was held in Central Indiana due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jaquez scored 27 points in an overtime win over Michigan State in the First Four and then helped lead the Bruins on a surprise run to the Final Four.