The Pacers got a glimpse of G League Ignite’s Fanbo Zeng, and they’re bringing him back for more.
The 6-11 forward, who did a pre-draft workout for the Pacers on June 8, inked an Exhibit 10 deal Saturday with Indiana, a league source told IndyStar. The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report the signing.
Zeng is the fourth undrafted player to join the Pacers on an Exhibit 10 contract, following Murray State’s Tevin Brown, Villanova’s Jermain Samuels Jr. and Michigan’s Eli Brooks.
The 19-year-old averaged 3.8 points and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 36.4% overall and 40.0% on 3s in nine games for G League Ignite. Zeng played alongside first-round draft picks Dyson Daniels and MarJon Beauchamp, second-round pick Jaden Hardy and a handful of former NBA veterans.
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“I got to say I appreciate the G League Ignite,” Zeng said after his Pacers workout. “It helped me a lot to get better, to learn on the court and off the court how to become a pro, how to take care of my body, all of that stuff. All of the old vets teach me a lot of stuff on the court, too, especially in the locker room. It’s more about mental health.”
One of those vets was fellow lefty and former Pacers fan favorite CJ Miles. The 6-6 swingman played three seasons in Indiana from 2014-17, averaging a career-high 13.5 points per game in 2014-15.
“Man, he’s a great shooter,” Zeng said. “The first day I practiced with him he had like 20 3s in a row, and he’s been teaching me on the court how to be confident when I catch the ball to just knock down the shot.”
Zeng, born in China, moved to the United States to attend high school. He shined in his two seasons at Windermere Preparatory School in Florida, but after going home to China in 2020, he was unable to return stateside due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Zeng still landed several Division-I scholarship offers and committed to Gonzaga before decommitting and signing with G League Ignite.
After going undrafted, an Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed one-year deal worth the league minimum that gives Zeng, Brooks, Samuels and Brown a chance to compete in the offseason for a spot on the Pacers’ roster. An NBA team is allowed to have 20 players on its roster during the offseason but must drop down to the league maximum of 17 players by the start of the regular season.
All four of the Pacers’ undrafted rookies are expected to play in Summer League, starting July 8 against Charlotte in Las Vegas.
“Like all the basketball going on right now, we’re switching one through five, I’ll be able to guard a guard, and when I’m open I’ll knock down the open 3,” Zeng said, describing his game . “I’m a great stretch four for the team space.”
Follow IndyStar Pacers beat writer James Boyd on Twitter: @RomeovilleKid. Reach him via email: email@example.com.