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NBA Draft 2022: Tari Eason, former Garfield and Federal Way star, picked No. 17 by Houston Rockets

The Seattle product, SBLive's 2020 state player of the year, rode strong sophomore season at LSU into first round draft selection.

LSU forward Tari Eason, a former Garfield and Federal Way standout, was taken No. 17 overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday.

He's the second greater Seattle area product to be taken in the first round of three projected. O'Dea graduate Paolo Banchero was the No. 1 overall pick and MarJon Beauchamp, a Yakima native who played for Nathan Hale, Garfield and Rainier Beach, is projected to go late first round/early second round.

In his one season at LSU, the versatile forward played his way into draft consideration, averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals while shooting 37 percent from 3-point range.

He was joined by his mother, Teroya Eason, in an interview in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after the pick, and spoke about her support toward his professional dreams.

"Me and my mom have been through a lot together," Tari Eason said on the ESPN broadcast. "She’s someone who’ve been in my corner since day one, someone who’s pushed me, someone who’s truly made me the man I had today and I’m forever and eternally grateful to her."

The same things that have impressed NBA franchises in the lead-up to the draft were what made him a great high school player. The Ringer's draft analysis of Eason tabs him as a "gritty defender equipped to thrive in the NBA with the body of a forward and effectiveness of a guard."

(NBA Draft 2022 preview: A look at the 3 Washington high school products projected to go in the first round)

Those surprised at Eason's rise from a consensus three-star prospect to a projected first round pick in just two years might not have paid close enough attention to his senior year. 

After transferring back to Garfield following a strong junior season at Federal Way playing alongside now-Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, Eason stepped up as the leader on a Bulldogs team with several Division I prospects. 

He was named SBLive's 2020 state player of the year across all classifications after an impressive postseason run. 

His output (23 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 1.4 blocks) increased in the 3A state playoffs, when he averaged 21 points and 12 boards per game, leading the Bulldogs to a convincing 25-point 3A state championship win over Paolo Banchero and O'Dea in the Tacoma Dome.

Eason was invited to the draft green room at the Barclays Center, and fittingly wore a green jacket, black shirt and shades on the red carpet. 

He joins former Rainier Beach standout Kevin Porter Jr. in Houston.

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