The Pacers began a series of pre-draft workouts on Tuesday morning, and a number of players with local ties among those getting invitations. Purdue product Carsen Edwards, Perry Meridian grad Dylan Windler, and Butler’s Derrik Smits all putting in work in front of Pacers brass including General Manager Kevin Pritchard and consultant Larry Bird.
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“I mean the pressure is there but I also put the pressure on myself which is just wanting to do well, it’s a blessing to be here and have this opportunity,” former Boilermakers guard Edwards said. “I enjoy just working out and just doing basketball and not worrying about school,” he added with a laugh.
Edwards was the Big Ten’s leading scorer last season and declared for the NBA Draft after breaking two different NCAA Tournament records in the Boilers run to the Elite Eight. He’s fresh off an invite to the league’s scouting combine in Chicago in which he said he spent time meeting with numerous teams and getting feedback ahead of the June draft.
“For the most part I am just trying to hear from these NBA teams, just do what they want,” he explained. “I just want one team to love me. I just come in and try to play my role.”
For Smits, the son of Pacers legend Rik Smits, he explained that he will play for Butler this fall and he’s using these pre-draft workouts to learn how to improve his game.
“Offseasons are huge for me,” Smits, who played previously at Valparaiso, explained. I try to make the jump every year, improve on little things as well as all-around game. Over the years I have grown into may body and become more skilled of a player. That’s helped me in the long run.”
Windler, the Indy native who is coming off a strong senior season at Belmont, was happy with his performance in front of his hometown franchise.
“I think it went really well,” he explained. “I really liked the way they ran the workout here. It was super competitive. A lot of 1-on-1, a lot of 3-on3, so that’s right up my alley. I like being able to play live.”
The Pacers currently hold the 18th pick in the NBA Draft, which is set for June 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.