BREAKING: Jabari Smith selected No. 3 overall by Houston Rockets

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Former Auburn power forward Jabari Smith didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called on Thursday night — although it might have been a bit longer than he’d expected.

Smith was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the third overall pick in the NBA draft, making him narrowly the highest Auburn draft pick in the program’s history — the previous best was the fourth overall pick in 1986 and 1988, which came from Chuck Person (Pacers) and Chris Morris (Nets), respectively.

The Georgia native was the odds-on favorite to be taken first overall through most weeks leading up to the draft, but any uncertainty came at the behest of his two biggest competitors in Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero. In what has come as a bit of a shock, the Magic went with Banchero and the Thunder went with Holmgren, leaving the Rockets to grab Smith with the third-overall pick.

Smith had a phenomenal season in the one year he played for the Tigers. He averaged 16.9 points per game and shot 42.9 percent from the field while also averaging 7.4 rebounds per game. Smith was a key part in bringing Auburn to a regular-season championship for the 2021-22 season, the fifth such title to come to the Plains since the program’s inception.

Despite not being picked No. 1 overall, head coach Bruce Pearl will certainly be pleased — a top-three showing should certainly boost recruitment to a school that has now proven it can produce high-level talent for the next level.

List

Every Auburn basketball player drafted in first round of NBA Draft