‘He will set the bar high’: Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl talks Jabari Smith Jr., Rockets’ No. 3 overall draft pick

Auburn forward Jabari Smith (10) drives around South Florida forward Sam Hines Jr. (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Chris O'Meara, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

If there’s anybody who knows a thing or two about the Houston Rockets’ No. 3 overall pick, Jabari Smith Jr., It’s his college head coach, Bruce Pearl.

Together the two helped lead the Auburn Tigers to a regular season conference title.

Pearl joined KPRC 2′s Chancellor Johnson for an exclusive interview on the highly touted rookie.

“What defines Jabari, he’s all about winning. He’s going to be an incredible teammate. He’s got the right confidence and swag with the desire and understanding he’s 19 years old. He will set the bar high. It will be for Houston to win championships and for him to develop into an NBA All-Star,” Pearl said.

As a coach in the SEC, Pearl also had an opportunity to see the other two Rockets rookies up close and personal. Tari Eason played at LSU and TyTy Washington Jr. played at Kentucky-- Pearl is a fan of both.

“I think Houston had the best draft of anybody in the league. Getting Jabari where they got him. Eason pound for pound is probably the best athlete of size in the draft. TyTy has always been one of my favorites. He too is going to be a guy that plays every night for the Houston Rockets,” Pearl said.

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