Nick Zeisloft discusses his opportunity with the Pacers

Zeisloft (15) watches the team scrimmage beside Myles Turner.

Zeisloft (15) watches the team scrimmage beside Myles Turner.

Former Indiana University guard Nick Zeisloft signed his first NBA contract on Sept. 6, 2016. He didn’t receive an invitation to play for an NBA team during Summer League action in July, but the Pacers later asked him to join them for a week of workouts at the end of August.

The 23-year-old from La Grange, Illinois ended up signing a one-year deal for the league minimum ($543,471), of which only $25,000 is guaranteed, per league sources. Ultimately, this is a deal for the Pacers to own the rights to Zeisloft when it comes time for the Developmental League. The Pacers own the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and that’s where Zeisloft, along with Julyan Stone and Alex Poythress, will end up.

[Newest Pacer Alex Poythress: ‘All I wanted was an opportunity’]

The 6-4, 210-pound guard, wearing No. 15, will suit up in the Pacers’ first of six preseason games Tuesday in New Orleans.

Here’s a brief Q&A with Zeisloft on joining the Pacers and what he’s trying to prove to scouts and team officials.

How did the opportunity to join the Pacers come about?

I came in to workout for a week or so at the end of August. I just thought it was going to be a week of workouts and open gym and playing with the team. And then they invited me back for another week, liked what I was doing, and decided to sign me to a contract the next week. It all fell into a place how I never expected it to, and it worked out well.

Were you under the impression that the workout was a tryout, or that they were simply needing an extra body?

Zeisloft earned his Master's degree from Indiana University.

Zeisloft earned his Master’s degree from Indiana University.

Any time someone has you in, I guess it’s kind of like they are checking out what you can do. It just felt like workouts and open gyms, and it was all a lot of fun how it all came about.

We didn’t see in any of the three NBA Summer Leagues. So, how did you spend your summer?

Yeah, I wasn’t invited into summer league. I was working out on my own a lot and getting better on my own a lot back in the Grange, sometimes in Bloomington. I was all over.

What are you trying to show the decision makers for a chance at making it in the NBA?

I’ll have to play with the ball more some, just because of my size in the NBA. Ball skills. Working on everything. Defending on this level is tough and so just improving in that way, too. Just a lot of things. It all matters.

I’ve been told to expect to see Christian Watford join the Mad Ants this upcoming season. What will that be like for you — two IU guys?

I didn’t know that. That would be a lot of fun. Christian is a great player. Never got to play with him because our paths didn’t cross at IU. He’s a great guy, hard worker, and I’ve talked to him several times and like being around him off the court. He’s a great dude to play with.

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