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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Men's Basketball

Walker, Sasser make history in first round of NBA Draft

Freshman forward Jarace Walker was drafted eighth overall by the Indiana Pacers. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

Two UH Cougars, forward Jarace Walker and guard Marcus Sasser, went off the board in the first round of the NBA Draft for the first time since Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Young were drafted first and fourteenth overall in 1984.

Walker was selected eighth overall to the Indiana Pacers — the highest a Cougar has gone in the draft since Olajuwon — and Sasser went 25th to the Detroit Pistons.

Both players played integral parts in the Cougars’ historic 2022-23 campaign, leading the team in scoring to a 33-4 record and a Sweet 16 appearance. UH also spent time atop the AP Poll for the first time since 1983.

During that season, Walker was voted the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, while Sasser earned All-America First Team honors, the first Cougar to do so since Olajuwon.

Walker and Sasser are the third and fourth UH players to be drafted under head coach Kelvin Sampson and are also the first pair of players in Sampson’s career ever to be drafted in the first round in the same year.

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