Former Gonzaga Bulldogs point guard Andrew Nembhard agreed to a four-year $8.6 million dollar deal with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
The deal guarantees Nembhard $6.4 million in his first three years, which is the most guaranteed money ever given to a collegiate second round pick.
Nembhard’s story is a special one. He initially went to Florida out of High School, but things didn’t go exactly to plan while with the Gators. He spent two seasons in Gainesville before declaring for the NBA draft and simultaneously putting his name in the transfer portal.
He opted to continue his college career at Gonzaga, expecting he’d have to sit out the 20-21 season. Instead he was granted eligibility just before the season began, and played a secondary guard role behind/next to Jalen Suggs during Gonzaga’s incredible season that ended in a heartbreaking loss to Baylor in the title game.
Nembhard then took over the keys to the kingdom in 21-22, leading Gonzaga back to the No. 1 overall seed and into the Sweet 16 for a seventh straight year, before the team eventually fell to Arkansas.
Even after averaging 11.8 points and 5.8 assists while shooting 38.3% from deep, Nembhard didn’t really jump onto the NBA draft radar until an excellent performance at the combine. That got folks discussing him as a late first or early second round pick.
He ended up going to a rebuilding Pacers squad with the 31st overall pick, and played a lot of minutes during summer league – posting averages of 6.6 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 0.8 steals.
While he struggled to shoot the rock across five games in Las Vegas, he did plenty to prove he deserves a spot on Indiana’s roster in the short term, and clearly they are invested in him for the next couple years as well.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him secure a backup point guard role as soon as this season, and if he finds consistency in his outside shot he could end up outplaying the dollar figures on this contract in no time.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.