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Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler selected in first round of NBA Draft


BROOKLYN, NY (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 top 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.

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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 first overall pick in 2001.

Later in the draft, Auburn’s Walker Kessler was selected 22nd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies, who later traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, so now the big American is heading to Minnesota.

Kessler averaged 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots per game to be named SEC, Naismith and NABC Division I Defensive Player of the Year. His 155 blocks set a new single-season record at Auburn and he recorded two of three triple-doubles in program history.

Kessler’s father, Chad, was selected in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Clippers in 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 are taken in the first round of the same draft. With those 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.

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