INDIANAPOLIS – Scottie Pippen Jr. has no way of avoiding this. When the Vanderbilt star travels the country training for the June 23 NBA draft, someone always has a story about his Hall of Famer dad.
The same name just reinforces it, even if Pippen Sr. pronounces his name as “Scotty”.
“Both of our names originally had a ‘Y’ in them,” Pippen Jr. said. “My father’s name has a Y on the birth certificate, but he changed it to sign it. Although we are both “Y”.
Pippen Jr. laughed as he explained the change in their name after training for Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, but regardless of the letters, the 21-year-old is honored to bear the name “legend”.
Pippen Sr. was a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls along with Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time. However, despite what his father has achieved, the younger Pippen knows that a familiar name doesn’t guarantee him anything, especially given how different they are.
“He is 6-8,” Pippen Jr. said of his father, “I am (6-1). This is a completely different era of basketball.
“I’m my own player.”
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On Wednesday, Pippen Jr. was joined by Andrew Nembhard of Gonzaga, Drake Jeffries of Wyoming, Quenton Jackson of Texas A&M, Australian Luke Travers and Gabriele Procida of Italy’s Fortitudo Bologna. Everyone Pippen Jr. was at least three inches, and to get a chance to play in the NBA, he will need to show that he can be productive despite his height, as he did in Vanderbilt.
“I got on the worst team in the SEC, a 0-18 team that didn’t win a game (in 2018-19), so it was a rough start when I first got there,” Pippen Jr. said. “But I think it was the perfect place for me. It helped me get hungry, it helped me work harder.”
Pippen Jr. started 89 of 90 games in three seasons at Vanderbilt. The Commodores won a total of six games during his first two seasons, but they went awry in his 2021–22 junior campaign. Pippen averaged 20.4 points, his second consecutive season of over 20 points per game, leading to seven program wins, more than the previous three seasons combined.
After making multiple All-SEC First Team stints in 2021 and 2022, Pippen Jr. firmly believes he belongs in the NBA, and his dad isn’t his only connection to the next level.
Pacers defensemen Dwayne Washington Jr. and Pippen Jr. were teammates at California’s powerful Sierra Canyon High School and won the 2018 state championship together.
“His dad and my dad knew each other, so we were always close,” Pippen Jr. said. “Even last year during draft preparation, when I was testing the waters (before returning to Vanderbilt), we trained together every day, lifted together every day, we hung out every night, so Dwayne and I are very close.”
Even with their close bond, Pippen Jr. still didn’t alert Washington that he would be working for the Pacers, opting instead to talk to him afterward. It’s just not in his nature to ask for favors or preferential treatment, and he used that working mindset to guide him throughout the vague drafting process.
Unlike his father, who was selected fifth overall in the 1987 draft, Pippen Jr. is looking to make it to the second round. He said he has worked with 10 teams so far and decided not to reveal which ones. But besides the Pacers, who have a 6th, 31st, and 58th pick, he was also ranked by the Hawks, Lakers, Nets, and Wizards. for Hoops Hype.
Vanderbilt star Scottie Pippen Jr. speaks to the media after the Pacers’ pre-draft practice.
Vanderbilt star Scottie Pippen Jr., son of Bulls legend, averaged 20.4 points per game in the 2021-22 season.
James Boyd, Indianapolis Star
“Everyone knows that I can score a ball,” said Pippen Jr. “I made it to the SEC, which is one of the highest levels of college. So I’m just coming here to show that I can compete on both ends, defensively and offensively.”
Pippen Jr. talked to his father, one of the best two-way players, every day as the draft approached. But if he doesn’t hear his name next week, he won’t be upset. Washington went undrafted last season before receiving a G-League call and a multi-year contract with the Pacers.
Pippen Jr. thinks he could follow the same path as he seeks to create his own legacy.
“I’ve been proving to myself all my life,” Pippen Jr. said. “So I think the journey will continue.”
Follow IndyStar Pacers insider James Boyd on Twitter at @RomeovilleKid.