Bruce Pearl reveals when he thought Jabari Smith Jr. could be No. 1 overall pick in 2022 NBA Draft
Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers won the SEC regular-season men’s basketball title this past year, thanks in large part to the efforts of freshman sensation Jabari Smith Jr.
Now, with the 2022 NBA Draft approaching on Thursday in Brooklyn, Smith is the favorite to hear his name called with the No. 1 overall pick.
Speaking on Tuesday, Pearl was asked when he knew Smith had No. 1 pick potential, and he pointed to a double-overtime loss to UConn in the Bahamas as that moment:
asked Auburn HC Bruce Pearl when he thought PF Jabari Smith could become the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft
"Really, it was the UConn game. When I watched him battle three straight nights in the Battle For Atlantis… I was like, 'OK, this one here's different.'"
— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) June 21, 2022
In that loss to the Huskies at the Battle 4 Atlantis, Smith recorded 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists while playing in 39 of a possible 50 minutes of game action.
The Orlando Magic have the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft, so we’ll see if the Auburn star is heading to Florida, or if he falls to the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2.