Ike Anigbogu scores his first NBA points — ‘This moment I’ll never forget’

As the Pacers cruised to another win Tuesday night, 101-83 over the Sacramento Kings, a 20-plus point lead allowed head coach Nate McMillan to rest his core group. It was beneficial to the team with this being on the front end of a back-to-back with a game to be played in Cleveland the following night.

For the players out of the rotation, it meant playing time and opportunity.

With 4:55 to play and the Pacers leading by 25 — they led wire-to-wire — McMillan inserted the team’s youngest and oldest players, Ike Anigbogu and Damien Wilkins, respectively, into the lineup.

This was Anigbogu’s fourth appearance in seven games but he had yet to score – until tonight. He finished with four points and a rebound.

His first career points in the NBA occurred with 3:05 left. Make. Make.

“It felt really good coming onto this level and being able to prove yourself,” he said afterwards, smiling ear to ear. “This moment I’ll never forget.”

His first field goal was scored a couple minutes later from 18 feet out. So, of course he’s rooting for more Pacers blowouts, right?

“Yeah. If we keep this up, I’d love to play [more]. In every opportunity, you got to put it out with all your effort.”

Anigbogu was drafted by the Pacers with the 47th overall pick out of UCLA. He’s the youngest player in The Association having turned 19 on Oct. 22. And because he tweaked his knee during a pre-draft workout, his only started scrimmaging with the team a week into training camp.

“I’ve been watching a lot of Al [Jefferson]. [Domantas] Sabonis has really been good, too. He’s came into a big role with this group and produced. Mostly [learned from] all of our bigs. Myles [Turner] has already well-established his role so everybody is good for me to watch.”

See Also: Myles Turner progressing through concussion protocol

Anigbogu, who estimated that he’s added seven pounds of muscle, is not ready for heavy minutes, but that’s no surprise. He would be a sophomore in college and the NBA is entirely new to him. In addition, bigs typically develop late so it’s important to not make a snap judgement.

“He is a defensive presence right now, today. That’s what he’ll bring,” Pacers President Kevin Pritchard said on media day.

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