NBA’s Indiana Pacers Draft Israeli Player T.J. Leaf in First Round (VIDEO)

T.J Leaf Credit: UCLA
The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Indiana Pacers Thursday became the second team in the league’s history to pick an Israeli-born player in the first round of the draft, selecting 6-foot-10 power forward T.J. Leaf.

Leaf averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in his only season for University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The Pacers drafted him with the 18th pick. In 2009, the Sacramento Kings used the 23rd pick on small forward Omri Casspi, who became the first Israeli-born player in NBA history.

T.J. Leaf playing on team Israel CREDIT: T.J. Leaf TWITTER

Leaf was born in Tel Aviv while his father was playing professional basketball in Israel for 17 years.

Germany’s Mike Koch (right) steals the ball from Israel’s Brad Leaf during an European Basketball Championship match Saturday June 24 1995 in Athens. (Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Sacramento Kings small forward Omri Casspi – the first Israeli to play in the NBA, wears Tefillin CREDIT: Ascent of Safed

Depending on the future destination for Casspi, who is a free agent this summer after playing for three NBA teams last season alone, Leaf may end up being the league’s only Israeli-born player for the 2017-2018 season.