The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have signed forward-center Nathan Jawai to a two-year contract. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed. The club acquired the draft rights to Jawai from the Indiana Pacers. He was the 41st overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Jawai (pronounced JA-why) was the unanimous 2008 Rookie of the Year in Australia’s National Basketball League. He averaged 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in 30 games for the Cairns Taipans. He ranked third in the NBL in rebounding, fifth in field goal percentage (.575) and ninth in blocked shots (1.0). He also captured MVP honors of the 2008 NBL All-Star Game after registering 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Jawai, 6-foot-10, 280 pounds, scored 20 or more points 12 times and posted 13 double-doubles for Cairns. He had a career-best 28 points on 13-for-16 shooting and pulled down 15 rebounds at Townsville. He grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds and added 22 points at Sydney. Jawai also recorded a 25-point/16-rebound effort against Singapore.
Jawai attended Midland Junior College in Midland, Texas in 2006-07. He appeared in 13 games, averaging 11.4 points, 5.8 rebound and 1.0 blocks, before returning home to Australia.
He is the first indigenous (Aboriginal) player from Australia to be drafted by an NBA team.
Jawai will participate for the Raptors’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League (July 11-19).