Former Aggie men’s basketball star Pascal Siakam fulfilled his father’s dream this spring when he was drafted by the NBA’s Toronto Raptors with the 27th overall pick. He was the first Aggie player selected in the NBA draft in 25 years. Pascal's father, Tchamo Siakam, loved watching professional basketball and told his four sons in Cameroon it was his dream to see one of them play in the NBA.
Tragically, his father was killed in a car accident in 2014 before he could see that dream come to fruition. Pascal relied on the support of his Aggie teammates and coaches as he worked through his grief, and went on to deliver a stunning performance in the 2015-16 season, averaging 20.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He led the nation with 27 double-doubles.
Pascal was named the unanimous choice for WAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year after being selected as WAC Player of the Week an unprecedented five times in his last season with the Aggies. He was named First Team All-WAC and selected to the WAC All-Defensive Team. He was also honored by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as a member of their All-District VIII Team and to the WAC All-Tournament Team.
In the days leading up to the draft, Pascal told NBA.com reporter Chris Dortch that his father was on his mind as he continued to prepare.
“This is for whole family – that’s what drives me – most of all for my dad,” Siakam said in the interview with Dortch. “I still think about the conversations he had with me and my brothers. He was so excited talking about basketball, and the NBA.
“And now I'm this close. It’s unbelievable. If I can make that dream become a reality, it will have been the best thing I ever did in my life.”
Carrying a Torch
Louis Vega ’91 had the honor of bearing the Olympic torch in Rio de Janeiro in preparation for the 2016 Summer Games. Vega is the chief of staff and vice president of Olympic and Sports Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company. He also returned to Brazil later in the summer to participate in the 2016 Paralympics.