INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers introduced their top draft pick Friday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse where 20-year old T.J. Leaf, coach Mate McMillan and general manager Kevin Pritchard met the media after Thursday’s draft.
Leaf, a 6-10 inside-outside player who left UCLA after his freshman year has some Indiana in his blood. His father Brad grew up in Indianapolis, played for legendary Jack Keefer at Lawrence North, then suited up at the University of Evansville.
“All I’ve heard growing up is Indiana, Indiana, Indiana,” said Leaf, who was recruited by IU. “From the Colts, the Pacers, IU, so I definitely have a feel for it. Even in high school, basketball’s such a huge deal here, so I can’t wait to get out here and get a better feel for it.”
Leaf actually met a Pacer teammate at the draft in Brooklyn. Myles Turner was working for NBA-TV, and met after he was chosen by the blue and gold. Turner said he was a sleeper who could turn into a star. “Myles is a great guy,” added Leaf. “We talked about what to expect, playing with a bunch of great guys, he’s pretty cool too. I can’t wait to get started.”
Leaf will also bring a Bruin teammate with him to Indiana. Fellow 6-10 freshman Ike Anigbogu was drafted by the Pacers with the 47th pick in the 2nd round. The Pacers also signed former Xavier star Edmond Sumner from New Orleans for cash considerations. He was the Pelicans 2nd round pick.