Former Ohio State standout guard Duane Washington Jr. couldn’t find a new team through the 60 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft Thursday night, but he did find his way onto a team.
Washington signed with the Indiana Pacers, according to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowkski.
After surprising some by declaring for the draft following his junior season back in July, Washington put together a strong showing at the NBA Draft Combine.
Forward E.J. Liddell considered declaring early but ultimately decided to return to Ohio State, citing, among other things, the ability to profit off of his name, image and likeness following NIL rights that were passed in the NCAA in early July.
Washington starred for the No. 2 seeded Buckeyes in 2020, averaging a team-high 16.4 points per game on 41 percent shooting from the field, hitting 37.4 percent of his 7.7 three-point attempts per game. He added 2.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds for the Buckeyes per game, but served primarily as an on-ball scorer, keeping the Ohio State offense afloat for much of the season. He was named an All-Big Ten player for his efforts.
He finished his career in Columbus with 1,073 points and 185-career three-pointers, which is good enough for No. 4 all-time in Ohio State history. He would have been Ohio State’s first draft pick since forward Keita Bates-Diop was selected in the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018, and the second selection of the Chris Holtmann era.
Washington could have been the 54th Buckeye drafted all-time. Another Holtmann player, Jae’Sean Tate, worked his way into the league after starting his career internationally and was named to the All-Rookie team in 2020 with the Houston Rockets.
Washington, like Tate, went undrafted, but will have his shot earlier with an NBA team.