BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WHNT) — Former Auburn star Jabari Smith was selected third overall by the Houston Rockets on Thursday night in the 2022 NBA Draft. Smith becomes the highest draft pick in program history.
Smith was a consensus All-American and the SEC Freshman of the Year. He averaged a team-high 16.9 points per game and his 79 3-pointers made broke the school record for 3-pointers made by a freshman.
Smith’s father, Jabari Smith Sr., was drafted in the second round by the Sacramento Kings in 2000 and his cousin, Kwame Brown, was the No. 1 overall pick in 2001.
Later in the draft, Auburn’s Walker Kessler was selected 22nd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies, who then traded his rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves so now the All-American big man is headed to Minnesota.
Kessler averaging 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots per game to be named the SEC, Naismith and NABC Division I Defensive Player of the Year. His 155 blocks set a new Auburn single-season record and he recorded two of the three triple-doubles in program history.
Kessler’s father Chad was selected in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1987, and his uncle Alec was selected 12 overall by Houston in 1990.
Smith and Kessler become the first time in Auburn history that a pair of teammates have both been taken in the first round of the same draft. With these two selections, Auburn now has 34 all-time NBA draft picks including 10 first-round picks.
Duke’s Paolo Banchero was selected No. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic.