Rockets make a connection with LSU’s Tari Eason

CHICAGO — Having gone through the first round of meet-and-greets with NBA teams, including his sit-down with the Rockets’ front office, LSU’s Tari Eason knew how to answer questions.

Among the players considered likely to fall in the range of the Rockets’ second first-round pick at No. 17, Eason nailed his response to the question he found a relative challenge, hitting on the sweet spot between confident and humble, certain of his abilities but determined to improve.

Asked if his rise up the draft boards through his lone season at LSU after transferring from Cincinnati, making him a candidate to go in the middle of the first round, was from his improvement or being discovered, Eason did not hesitate.

“A little bit of both,” he said. “As my game grows, as I continue to work — because I’m always working, continuing to get better — more of my talents will start to show the things I can do. At the same time, I feel like I’ve been a pretty good player.”

Eason would not entirely fit Rafael Stone’s draft night MO as Rockets general manager. Having turned 21 this month, Eason would be older than any of Stone’s first five draft-night additions and almost certainly older than whomever the Rockets select with the third pick of the draft. But he also is the high-energy, athletic type with outstanding defensive switchability that Stone has often favored.

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