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Butler, Michigan basketball stars workout for Pacers

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Draft workouts continued for the Indiana Pacers on Friday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and this time around, a familiar face was in the crowd.

Andrew Smith, the four-year Butler Bulldog who was a part of many of the program’s great moments and two National runner-up runs, joined Iowa State’s Chris Babb, Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., Arizona’s Solomon Hill, North Texas’ Tony Mitchell, and Axel Toupane from France.

The 6’9 Smith, who averaged 11.31 points and 6.09 rebounds while leading Butler to a 27-9 season during his senior year, was working out with the Pacers a day after his first workout with the Chicago Bulls.

“It was great,” said Smith about his workout with Indiana. “I really enjoyed it. It was a fun environment, and it was a little bit different than the one I did yesterday with the Bulls. This was more on the court while the Bulls was just more testing, so I enjoyed it. There were five other good guys out here with me, and I thought we competed really well.

So far in his two workouts the Bulldogs center has found himself being a familiar face to the other potential draftees, as many of them know him from his days representing the Bulldogs and some of their more memorable games on the court. Smith claims that he has been working out on his conditioning and his mid-range jumper to prepare for these workouts, and believes he has what it could take to potentially make an NBA roster.

“My outside shot has improved quite a bit,” said Smith. “I think the biggest thing for me is just my defense. That is what we focused on at Butler, and that is what I’ve been able to be pretty effective at. As I move on to the professional game I’ll be able to score a little bit, but I think defensively will be my main focus.”

Taking jump shots at the other end of the court was Michigan Junior Tim Hardaway Jr., who on some mock drafts across the internet has been hovering around the number-24 spot in which Indiana has in the draft. Hardaway Jr. averaged 14.53 points for a Michigan squad that finished runner-up in this year’s National championship game. Hardaway Jr. said he watched plenty of the Pacers in action during both the regular season and the playoffs, and believes he could fit in with the team.

“Paul George is a great player,” said Hardaway Jr. “They have Hill, and a lot of guys who can get up and down the court. Our type of style, when I was at Michigan, was getting up and down, shooting threes, and getting after it.”

Hardaway doesn’t recall much from his father, Tim Hardaway, days with the Pacers when the retired-veteran played ten games with the organization back during the 2002-03 season. He hoped that during his Pacers workout, and during his workouts across the Association, that he will be able to show off his strengths.

“Shooting the ball well and shooting it consistently,” said Hardaway Jr. about his strengths.

“Shooting the ball at a consistent basis, and making sure that I am a great defender out there, rebounding in traffic, and just being a vocal-leader out there. I think if you talk throughout these workouts, it will make it a lot easier on not only yourself, but these other guys who are with you.”