Though no Florida Gators were selected in the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday, it did not take long for two of the team’s most accomplished eligible players – center Patric Young and point guard Scottie Wilbekin – to receive opportunities to compete in the NBA Summer Leagues over the next few weeks.
Young, who was unanimously projected as an early second-round pick before surprisingly going undrafted, told OnlyGators.com on Friday afternoon that he has agreed to play for the New Orleans Pelicans from July 11-21 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 2014 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Young did not participate in a workout with the Pelicans but did visit with the team during the 2014 NBA Pre-Draft Combine back in May.
“The head coach [Monty Williams] wasn’t there, but I did get a chance to speak with general manager Dell Demps. He was a pretty cool guy. The interview seemed to go well, and they seemed impressed by me, said they would love to get me down to New Orleans for a workout,” Young wrote in his Path to the Draft blog on OnlyGators.com.
“It was a pretty typical interview overall. You can tell if a team has done homework on you because they asked about my dad playing football in the past, my history in general. I don’t think any of them knew that I played baseball in high school and baseball was my first sport, so I think they were all surprised by that.”
Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest. He was a three-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a dominant defensive force for the Gators during his career.
Wilbekin’s agent, Matt Ramker, announced Thursday night on Twitter that his client will play in summer league games with the Memphis Grizzlies from July 5-11 in Orlando, Florida, and the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas.
The 2014 SEC Player of the Year, Wilbekin averaged 13.1 points, 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 34.0 minutes per game as a senior. He was the straw that stirred the drink most of the year for Florida, bouncing back from a second suspension for a violation of team rules in as many seasons.
Those off-court issues, coupled with Wilbekin’s size, led to him not being selected in the draft.
Should Young make the Pelicans roster, which will be an uphill battle considering he will have to compete for a spot with Ryan Anderson, Omer Asik, Anthony Davis and Jeff Withey already locked on the team, he will be the first Gators player on a New Orleans NBA team since Neal Walk in 1974-75 (New Orleans Jazz).
Wilbekin has an easier going, trying to prove he deserves a shot in Philadelphia, which currently lists its point guards as including Michael Carter-Williams, Pierre Jackson, Vasilije Micic and Casper Ware. Memphis has former Florida PG Nick Calathes, Mike Conley and Beno Udrih on its roster, though Calathes is considering attempting to play overseas in 2014-15 as he is fighting an NBA drug suspension.
Also undrafted was forward Casey Prather, who Friday night agreed to terms with the Atlanta Hawks.
Even if not signed by the teams they play for in summer league games, players can often earn roster spots on other franchises that get the opportunity to perform additional evaluations at these events.