Daily News Staff
St. Croix’s and former Syracuse University center Rakeem Christmas has survived Indiana Pacers’ final cuts Sunday and should be on the team’s opening night roster, according to Syracuse.com
Indiana cut its roster down to 15 players during the weekend. NBA teams are allowed to carry 15 players on its roster, although teams can have just 12 players in uniform for games.
Christmas, a 6-9 center, played at Syracuse from 2011 to 2015. He was a breakout star for Syracuse in his senior year before being drafted in the second round last summer.
Christmas played in the summer league with the Pacers, starting four of the five games in Orlando, Fla.
He was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 NBA draft, but after two trades that summer, he wound up with the Pacers. He spent most of last season with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Mad Ants, the Pacers’ NBA D-League affiliate.
Christmas made his NBA debut in the Pacers’ final game of the 2015-16 regular season. He scored four points and grabbed one rebound in a 97-92 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Christmas has appeared in three preseason games for the Pacers this fall. He has averaged 1.7 points and 1.0 rebounds.
Indiana opens the 2016-17 regular season on Wednesday with a home game against the Dallas Mavericks. He will see former Syracuse teammate Chris McCullough on Friday as the Pacers travel to play the Brooklyn Nets and then on Saturday, Indiana will play at Chicago where former Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams is now a member of the Bulls.
Christmas, who grew up on St. Croix, held basketball camps in the Virgin Islands during the summer.