Men's Basketball Sports

Jarace Walker picked 8th by Indiana Pacers in NBA Draft

Jarace Walker is the highest drafted Cougar since Hakeem Olajuwon went first overall in 1984. | Anh Le/The Cougar

UH forward Jarace Walker went eighth overall to the Indiana Pacers in the 2023 NBA Draft Thursday night, becoming the first Cougar selected in the top 10 in almost 40 years.

Indiana originally had the seventh pick in the draft but swapped picks with the Washington Wizards, who made the picks on the Pacers’ behalf.

A former five-star recruit out of IMG Academy, Walker entered Houston as the program’s highest-ranked recruit ever in 2022. In one season with the Cougars, he averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while playing in all but one of the team’s 37 games. Walker earned the All-American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year award, as well as All-Conference Second Team honors.

The Pennsylvania native helped lead UH to a historic 33-4 season which saw Houston hold the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll for a total of six weeks on the way to its fourth-straight Sweet 16 appearance.

Walker is the highest-drafted Cougar since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984, and the third UH player to be drafted under head coach Kelvin Sampson.

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