Pacers rookie Georges Niang to wear No. 32

Niang is Iowa State's all-time winningest player.

Niang is Iowa State’s all-time winningest player.

George Niang arrived in Indianapolis on Tuesday and got right after it. He reintroduced himself to staff members, checked out the locker room again — he was part of the Pacers’ seventh and final pre-draft workout on June 17 — and picked a number.

31, which he wore for four years at Iowa State, is one of four numbers retired and hanging in the rafters. He was No. 20 in high school.

“I plan on wearing number 32. One step ahead,” Niang, the 50th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, said, “so I’ll be number 32.”

[Pacers Podcast with Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm]

Now Niang’s former college coach, Fred Hoiberg, wore 32 in his final years in the league up in Minnesota. However, he was No. 20 during his four seasons with the Pacers (1995-99).

The two have spoken since draft night, but with Hoiberg entering his second season as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, one of five teams in the Central Division along with the Pacers, Niang joked that those conversations will have to end.

“He’s a rival now,” Niang said with a big grin. “I can’t be talking to him anymore.”

Hoiberg’s Bulls, by the way, had the 48th pick — two spots ahead of the Pacers’ selection — but they used it to take Paul Zipser from Germany.

“Yeah, we’re not going to talk about that because I’m happy to be in Indy,” said Niang.

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