Former Hoosiers to play in NBA Summer League


Senior guard Yogi Ferrell and junior guard Troy Williams walk back to the court after a timeout during the second half of the Sweet Sixteen game against number one seed North Carolina on . The Hoosiers lost 101-86. James Benedict and James Benedict Buy Photos

Five former Hoosiers will have a chance to showcase their skills as they participate in the NBA summer leagues over the next few weeks.

The Utah and Orlando leagues are already in full swing and the Las Vegas Summer League is set to begin on July 7.

These IU hopefuls are on the cusps of making a roster and this year’s summer leagues could go a long way in determining if they do so. Here’s the list of former Hoosiers who are hoping to prove themselves this summer:

Thomas Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (Las Vegas Summer League)

Bryant will trade in his candy-striped sweats as he suits up for the purple and gold in this year’s Vegas league. The Lakers drafted the 6-foot-10 big man with the 42nd overall pick in last month’s annual NBA Draft.

IU had two players from the 2016-17 team get drafted this year, but Bryant will be the only drafted Hoosier in action this summer as OG Anunoby still recovers from his knee injury suffered last season.

Since he was taken in the second round, Bryant doesn’t have the luxuries that come with being a first-round pick such as signing a guaranteed contract. This means he will have to work himself onto the roster in the next few months.

Bryant’s ability to stretch the floor with his combination of size and shooting is what lured Magic Johnson and the Lakers into drafting him.

During his time with IU, he averaged 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and shot an outstanding 59 percent from the field. Bryant made the 2015-16 Big Ten All-Freshman team as well as the all-conference third team in his initial season.

Bryant and the Lakers will play the Clippers on Friday, July 7 (8:30 p.m./ESPN), the Celtics on Saturday, July 8 (8:30 p.m./ESPN) and the Kings on Monday, July 10 (10:30 p.m./NBA TV).

James Blackmon Jr., Philadelphia 76ers (Utah and Vegas Summer League)

Blackmon was the third Hoosier from last year’s team to find out he’ll be playing at the professional level. After not being selected in June’s draft, he was quickly picked up by the 76ers and signed with the team as an undrafted free agent.

As the only former IU player participating in the Utah summer league, he did not play in Philly’s first game as he was scheduled to have the night off. He could see the floor sooner than the rest of the Hoosiers on the list since the Utah league has already begun.

The 6-foot-4 sharpshooter played for three seasons while in Bloomington. Blackmon made the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2015. Scoring was never an issue for him as he averaged nearly 16 points per game as freshman and improved on that number each year he played.

Blackmon will have a chance to play on July 5 and 6 in the Utah league, but the 76ers might elect to play him in just the Vegas league. Philadelphia will play the Warriors on Saturday, July 8 (10:30 p.m./ESPN), the Spurs on Sunday, July 9 (10:30 p.m./ESPN2) and the Celtics on Tuesday, July 11 (6:30 p.m./ESPN2)

Yogi Ferrell, Dallas Mavericks (Las Vegas Summer League)

After bursting onto the NBA scene last year as an undrafted free agent, Ferrell found himself a home with Dallas towards the end of last season. His play was good enough that Dallas picked up his team option for next year.

Ferrell played for the Nets in the 2016 Summer League before he was moved to the team’s development league affiliate shortly after the regular season began. After signing a 10-day contract with the Mavericks in late January, he began to garner attention from the NBA.

He was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for the month of February. In that month, Ferrell led all Western Conference rookies in scoring, assists and minutes per game. At the end of the year, he was honored by making the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

Ferrell was a fan-favorite at IU as a player on Tom Crean’s team. His small size and stature didn’t stop him as he was never intimidated by the opponents. As member of the 2013 Big Ten All-Freshman Team, he ran the Hoosier offense from day one.

By the end of his college career, Ferrell had racked up accomplishments including second and third team All-American selections. He also helped rebuild the IU basketball program, taking them from one of the worst teams in the Big Ten to an eventual No. 1 overall ranking.

Ferrell will team up in the backcourt with the Mavs first round draft pick this year, Dennis Smith Jr. Dallas will play the Bulls on Saturday, July 8 (4:30 p.m./NBA TV), the Suns on Sunday, July 9 (4:30 p.m./ESPN) and the Heat on Tuesday, July 11 (8:00 p.m./NBA TV).

Troy Williams, Houston Rockets (Las Vegas Summer League)

After deciding to forgo his senior year, Williams joined his then-teammate Ferrell as both went undrafted in last year’s draft. He played for the Phoenix Suns in the 2016 NBA Summer League, averaging 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.

Williams had an eventful rookie year as he signed with the Grizzles before the start of the regular season, but eventually he ended up with the Houston Rockets. He also spent some time in the NBA Development League where he was crowned the D-League Slam Dunk Contest champion.

This stint in the summer league should be a time for him to show team officials how much he’s grown in the past year. While many summer league players are rookies who have never played at the NBA level, Williams’ past experience in the league allowed him to standout.

Williams was very 
durable when he was at IU, playing in at least 32 games in each season. His scoring improved in each of his three seasons as well as his defensive numbers. After his sophomore year, he elected to not go to the draft and instead returned to college where he went on to make the Third-team All-Big Ten as a junior.

Houston will kick off its summer schedule in Las Vegas. The Rockets will play the Nuggets on Friday, July 7 (10:00 p.m./NBA TV), the Cavaliers on Saturday, July 8 (10:00 p.m./ESPNU) and the Suns on Monday, July 10 (6:30 p.m./NBA TV)

Will Sheehey, Toronto Raptors (Las Vegas Summer League)

Sheehey will join the Raptors for his third trip to the NBA Summer League. The undrafted Hoosier finished last season with the Raptors 905 team in the development league.

The former IU standout has been all over the place in the past few years. Since 2014, he’s played on two different summer league teams and spent time in Europe working on his game. He also played in 38 games and won a development league title last season.

While with Raptors 905, he averaged 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Toronto has now given him another chance to prove he’s NBA ready as it prepares for the Vegas league.

Sheehey would have been alongside recently-drafted Hoosier, OG Anunoby, but an ACL injury from last year is still keeping the Raptors first round pick out of action.

As a Hoosier, Sheehey was responsible for bringing a spark to the team from the bench as he won the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year award as a junior. His numbers were never eye-popping, but he was a crucial part to the IU team that won the outright Big Ten Championship in 2013.

The Raptors will play the Pelicans on Friday, July 7 (6:00 p.m./NBA TV), the Timberwolves on Saturday, July 8 (6:30 p.m./NBA TV) and the Nuggets on Monday, July 10 (8:00 p.m./ESPNU).

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