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The Pacers signed two more undrafted rookies to Exhibit 10 deals Friday, Villanova’s Jermaine Samuels Jr. and Michigan’s Eli Brooks, a league source confirmed to IndyStar. They join Murray State 3-point specialist Tevin Brown.
CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander was the first to report Samuels’ contract, while MLive’s Andrew Kahn broke the news on Brooks.
Samuels, 23, was the only player to be invited to two pre-draft workouts for the Pacers, showcasing his skill set June 10 and June 20. The 6-7 forward spent five seasons at Villanova and was a rarely used freshman on its national championship team in 2017-18. Samuels had a bigger role as an upperclassman, averaging 11.1 points and a career-high 6.5 rebounds per game in his final season to help the Wildcats reach the Final Four in April.
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“I think it was watching the guys before me,” Samuels said of his college maturation. “Watching Mikal (Bridges), Donte (DiVincenzo), Eric Paschall, Jalen Brunson. Those guys went through bumps and bruises. Some of those guys redshirted, and I wanted to be able to say that I never gave up on myself, never gave in. I wanted to be on the same pedestal as those guys, no matter what it took.
“I think a lot of that came from looking at myself in the mirror, knowing what I want to be. It definitely took some time, but I’m glad I got there, and I’m still continuing to try to get better.”
Brooks, also 23, worked out for the Pacers on June 17. The 6-1 guard played five seasons at Michigan and guided the Wolverines to the Sweet Sixteen earlier this year, where they lost to Samuels and Villanova. Brooks averaged a career-high 12.8 points, 2.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in 2021-22.
An Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed one-year deal worth the league minimum, which often allows undrafted players, like Brooks, Samuels and Brown, to compete in the offseason for a spot on an NBA team’s roster. A franchise is allowed to carry 20 players on its roster during the offseason but must drop down to the league maximum of 17 players by the start of the regular season.
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Brooks, Samuels and Brown join fellow Pacers rookie trio, Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard and Baylor’s Kendall Brown, who were chosen with the Nos. 6, 31, and 48 picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Indiana faces Charlotte in its Summer League opener July 8 in Las Vegas.
Follow IndyStar Pacers beat writer James Boyd on Twitter: @RomeovilleKid. Reach him via email: email@example.com.