July 5, 1997

    Austin Croshere Signs Three Year Contract with Indiana Pacers

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Providence College basketball standout, Austin Croshere, drafted in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, became a full-time Pacer when he signed his first pro contract on Thursday in Indianapolis.

    Croshere is just the second NBA First Round pick to sign so far this summer. Atlanta's Ed Gray was first signing earlier last week. According to a story in the Indianapolis Star/News, the two-time PC co-captain is the earliest first round signee for the Pacers ever. Croshere plans to participate in the Pacers rookie training camp that starts this weekend.

    The Star/News story reported that the Pacers offered the maximum allowed under the rookie salary structure, leaving only the guarantees and schedule of advances as items for negotiation. Once Croshere's agent, Leigh Steinberg, took care of the final negotiations, the deal was finished and Croshere became a Pacer.

    The three-year deal worth just over $4-million dollars makes Croshere the 21st Providence College player to play in the NBA and he is one of six former Friars currently on an NBA roster.

    The Pacers were 39-43 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1989. New coach Larry Bird will be looking for Croshere to contributing to getting the Pacers back in the playoff picture.

    "He's got the height, he's got outside shooting, he's got above average speed, he's a tough competitor and he's one of the hardest working kids in the draft," said Bird prior to Thursday's signing. "A lot of guys work hard, but this kid goes the extra mile for you. That means a lot to me, because I know what it takes to be a champion. His skills are not where we want them right now, but we feel he'll get better because he's such a hard worker," added the former NBA great.

    Croshere, a First Team All-BIG EAST selection and the ECAC Co-Player of the Year, helped the Friars to a 24-12 record in 1996-97 and he led the Friars with 17.9 points per game. He finished his PC career ranked eighth all-time in scoring with 1,523 points.

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