Tari Eason a First-Round NBA Draft Selection to Houston
BATON ROUGE – LSU forward Tari Eason, the Southeastern Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year, was selected Thursday in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, held at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Eason, the 17th all-time LSU player to be selected in the first round and the second consecutive year LSU has had a first-round selection, was the number 17 selection in the opening round to the Houston Rockets.
Eason had a breakout 2021-22 season at LSU after transferring from Cincinnati, where he played as a freshman. A first-team All-SEC selection and an AP Honorable Mention All-America selection, Eason averaged 16.9 point, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.9 steals a game while playing 24.4 minutes per game.
Eason scored in double figures in 29 games for the Tigers with 11 games of 20 points or more and seven double doubles. He was named a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award and finished sixth in the SEC in scoring, ninth in rebounds, T4 in steals and ninth in offensive rebound average (2.27).
In the media room at the NBA Draft, here is the transcript from Tari Eason:
Q. What are you going to bring to the Rockets, knowing that they are a young team?
TARI EASON: I think I’m just going to bring a defensive versatility and a competitive edge and just a winning mindset to the team.
Q. During the Combine, you spoke about a confidence about you being able to guard one through five. Where does that confidence come from? Because we saw it on display, not just in the words you were saying. Was it LSU or before that?
TARI EASON: It really just stems from my competitive nature. I believe that no one can score on me, or not, or I make it hard for people to score on me. I know it’s the NBA and certain dudes are going to score and things are going to happen. But I pride myself on my defense and really just my competitive spirit always.
Q. Whether personal goal or a goal you want to strive for with your team, what are you looking to achieve at the NBA level?
TARI EASON: I just want to learn as much as I can personally and just grow as much as I can as a player.
Earlier, on the ABC television broadcast, Tari said:
On the support from his mom…
“This is so special. My mom and I have been through so much together. She has been in my corner since day one. She has pushed me. She has made me the man I am today and I am forever and eternally grateful to her. “
On a skill he will add to the Rockets…
“My versality and my competitive spirit. I will be out there doing whatever I can to win.”
ESPN College Basketball analyst Jay Bilas said of Eason on the draft telecast: “He’s a transition wing with a 7-1 wingspan. Very athletic. He’s a defender, a rebounder — especially an offensive rebounder — he averaged two-and-a-half offensive rebounds per game. He has a ton of value. He came off the bench. He was a sixth man … He never complained. He didn’t demand to be a starter. He’s a team guy. He can stretch it out and shoot it; 36 percent from three and an 80 percent free throw shooter and top five in college basketball in player efficiency rating in just over 33.”
There will be more updates to the story as the NBA Draft continues.
LSU First Round NBA Draft Picks
2022 – Tari Eason — Houston Rockets
2021 – Cameron Thomas – Brooklyn Nets
2016 – Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers (1st)
2015 – Jarell Martin – Memphis Grizzlies
2008 – Anthony Randolph – Golden State Warriors
2006 – Tyrus Thomas – Portland (4th)
2000 – Stromile Swift – Vancouver (2nd)
1993 – Geert Hammink – Orlando Magic
1992 – Shaquille O’Neal – Orlando Magic (1st)
1991 – Stanley Roberts – Orlando Magic
1990 – Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Chris Jackson) – Denver Nuggets (3rd)
1986 – John Williams – Washington Bullets
1985 – Jerry Reynolds – Milwaukee Bucks
1983 – Howard Carter – Denver Nuggets
1970 – Pete Maravich – Atlanta Hawks (3rd)
1954 – Bob Pettit – Milwaukee Hawks (2nd)
1952 – Joe Dean – Indianapolis Olympians