The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Pro Sports

June 27, 2014

Highland's Dixon-Tatum eyes summer spot with Pacers

ANDERSON — Asauhn Dixon-Tatum suddenly is a hot commodity.

The Highland High School graduate was not selected in Thursday's NBA Draft, but he has invitations from two NBA teams — the Indiana Pacers and the Orlando Magic — to join their summer league rosters.

Dixon-Tatum, who blocked 64 shots last season as a senior at Auburn, will try out for the Pacers during the franchise's summer league camp from Monday through Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"I am very excited," the 7-foot center said Friday during a telephone interview. "It's a chance, an opportunity that presented itself, and I'm going to try to take advantage of it."

If Dixon-Tatum makes Indiana's summer league team, he will compete in five games from July 5 through July 11 in Orlando. Other teams competing in the Florida-based version of the NBA's summer league this year include the host Magic, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers.

Summer league games will be broadcast on NBA TV.

Agent James Peterson said NBA teams are attracted by Dixon-Tatum's length and athleticism.

"He's a great rebounder and shot-blocker," Peterson said. "He's very raw, but he has tremendous upside."

The Pacers did not have a first-round pick in Thursday's draft and sold their second-rounder (No. 57 overall) to the New York Knicks. The move was made in part to help manage the salary cap as Indiana attempts to re-sign pending free agent Lance Stephenson.

Indiana has just eight players under contract for the 2014 season and isn't expected to have much money available for additional free agents — circumstances that could open the door for players to make the roster by unconventional means.

Rasual Butler competed for the Pacers' summer league team last year and earned an invitation to training camp. He used that offer as a springboard to the main roster and appeared in 50 regular season games and 11 playoff contests.

Dixon-Tatum would love a similar opportunity.

"Every day I try to get better than I was yesterday," he said. "I am a diamond in the rough. I'm a diamond that just needs a little polishing."

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