Duane Washington Jr. wasn't selected in the 2021 NBA draft, but it didn't take him long to sign a contract after the draft.
Just moments after the draft ended early Friday morning, the former Ohio State guard agreed to a two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
Ohio State's Duane Washington has agreed to a two-way deal with the Indiana Pacers, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 30, 2021
Washington was hoping to become the first Ohio State player to be selected in the NBA draft since Keita Bates-Diop in 2018, and the first Buckeye recruited by Chris Holtmann and his staff to get drafted, but instead, he'll have to try to earn his way onto the Pacers' roster as an undrafted free agent.
Players signed to two-way contracts are eligible to spend up to 45 days on an NBA roster while also playing in the NBA G League. As long as Washington remains on a two-way contract, he would not be eligible to play in the NBA playoffs.
Washington, who spent three years at Ohio State, was viewed as a a fringe draft pick, and it didn’t help his case that he finished his career in a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Oral Roberts, where he scored 18 points but made just seven of 21 shots from the field.
But he turned that game into fuel as he went through the NBA draft process.
“That game made me who I am right now,” Washington said a month ago. “I wouldn't change anything for the world. It turned me into a monster. For me, just keep going, getting better every single day and understanding guys who know basketball know it's not the end of the world. I'm not going to quit, not going to give up after that. As you see, we just went out there and played against each other right now. For me, just having the opportunity to go play at the highest level is what it's always been about and Ohio State has helped me get there.”
Washington, who led the Buckeyes with 16.4 points per game last season on a 41/37.4/83.5 shooting split, entered into the G League Elite Camp and shined. There, he caught the eyes of evaluators enough to be one of the four participants in that 40-player showcase to earn an invitation to the NBA draft combine. He parlayed those performances in Chicago into more workouts with teams, and eventually made the decision on June 29 to stay in the draft pool and end his college career.
Washington bet on himself, and while that didn't result in him being drafted, he'll still get his shot to make it into the league.