Three UConn Huskies from last year’s team have earned opportunities to play professionally. The odds are stacked against them, but they will have a chance to prove their mettle in the NBA’s Summer League.
The Oklahoma City Thunder used the 56th overall pick to select Daniel Hamilton. He was the only Husky to hear his named called on draft night, becoming the 46th overall draft selection in UConn history. It seems very likely that his first assignment will be with the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s D-League affiliate. The team’s General Manager, Sam Presti, openly stated that Hamilton needs some time to work on his game.
“Needs some development, but one of the things we take a lot of pride in is continuing to work with guys,” Presti told reporters in Oklahoma City. “Dakari Johnson [and others] are guys that have come leaps and bounds since being in our program, and we take a lot of pride in that. We want to be a place where people get better. We want to be a place where players improve, and I think Daniel has an opportunity to do that. He's got size and skill, I just think he needs some more time."
Hamilton will need to accustom himself to playing in front of tiny crowds, and taking a bus to small towns. As Dom Amore points out, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Hamilton can now devote more of his time to basketball and also have the opportunity to compete against tougher competition.
On the other hand, both Sterling Gibbs and Shonn Miller have found homes with NBA Summer League teams.
After participating in two separate pre-draft workouts with the Washington Wizards, Gibbs will be playing with the Wizards’ Summer League team in Las Vegas. Some other players joining Gibbs in Vegas include, Daniel Ochefu, Kelly Oubre, and James Southerland, among others.
Shonn Miller has agreed to compete with the Utah Jazz this summer. Miller brings a fantastic low post presence to a summer team which includes Marcus Paige, Oliver Hanlan, and Trey Lyles.
All three of these former Huskies face a steep uphill battle to making an NBA roster, but at least they’ll get a chance to keep playing and chasing the dream. Great for them.