Pascal Siakam joined an elite group Thursday, June 23.
The former New Mexico State men’s basketball star became just the third Aggie to be hear his name called in the first round of the NBA Draft, and fourth native of Cameroon to be selected since 2000.
The Toronto Raptors drafted Siakam, a 6-9 forward, as the 27th overall pick.
Siakam is just the third player in NM State history and the first in 46 years to be drafted in the first round since Sam Lacey (fifth overall) and Jimmy Collins (11th) in 1970. The Douala, Cameroon, native is also the first player drafted in the NBA since Randy Brown, who was the fourth pick in the second round of the 1991 NBA Draft.
“I am so proud to have helped him on his journey,” former NMSU and current UNLV coach Marvin Menzies posted on Twitter.
Doug Smith, who covers the Raptors for the Toronto Star, tweeted the question: “The Cameroon Kevin Durant?”
Siakam had a breakout season in 2015-16, averaging 20.3 points and 11.6 rebounds and earned AP All-America Honorable Mention. He also racked up Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, NABC First-Team All-District VI, USBWA All-District VIII and Lou Henson All-America honors.
He led the nation with 27 double-doubles as a redshirt sophomore and was finished in the top 40 in several statistical categories, averaging 20.3 points (26th), 11.6 rebounds (eighth) and 2.4 blocks (32nd). Of the 22 players in 2015-16 that averaged a double-double, Siakam was the only player to score 20-plus points per game.
In just two seasons in Las Cruces, Siakam recorded 1,126 points – which ranks 21st in the program’s all-time scoring list. His two-year total in points is also the fourth-best in NM State history while his 658 career rebounds rank him 15th all-time.
His 690 points this season is the second-most in Aggie history for a single season while his 396 rebounds were the third-highest. The 396 boards was also the fourth-best mark in a single-season for the WAC. Siakam’s 658 career rebounds also ranks him 15th in conference history.
“Having Pascal in an Aggie uniform was a blessing for all of us who watched him play,” Aggie head coach Paul Weir said. “To see him grow and transform from the day he arrived on campus is amazing. I wish we could take all the credit, but the reality is that Pascal is a tremendously driven young man who will accomplish incredible things.”