After a disappointing night for former Kansas Jayhawk Sherron Collins at last month's NBA draft, he was offered an opportunity to play summer league ball for the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats and seven other teams wrap up play Friday in Orlando before the remaining 22 teams get going in Las Vegas next week. So far, the early returns aren't encouraging for KU fans.
Collins started out with a solid seven points in 14 minutes of action in the team's first game on Monday, but couldn't keep the momentum going on Tuesday, scoring just two points in ten minutes while dishing out a pair of assists. He was held out of Wednesday's game against the Celtics, while Jeremy Pargo, his primary competition for a point guard spot, has averaged eight points and five assists per game. If the Bobcats don't like what they see in Collins, the winningest player in KU basketball history could get another opportunity with a training camp invite, but Collins needs to prove he's healthy, which has been a tremendous challenge since the college hoops season ended back in April.
Former KSU Wildcat Denis Clemente is another member of the Bobcats roster who has struggled to get going. He hasn't cracked the scoring column in 15 minutes of play between two games, and like Collins, did not play Wednesday. His future in basketball appears to be overseas, but don't be surprised if he pops up on a preseason roster.
Cole Aldrich, Collins' old teammate in Lawrence, has yet to take the floor for the Thunder due to stipulations that prevent draft day trades from being finalized until July 8. Unlike Collins, Aldrich's roster spot is safe and warm, so his absence from summer league play doesn't figure to be a hindrance to his development.
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of 22 teams participating in summer league competition next week in Las Vegas, where Xavier Henry is anxious to get his feet wet and become acclimated with the pro style of play. Joining him on the Grizzlies' summer league roster are former Jayhawk Darrell Arthur and former Missouri Tiger DeMarre Carroll. Arthur missed 50 games last season with a pectoral tear, so he'll simply look to put the injury behind him and return to developing as a low post player. Carroll will hope to gain a tighter hold as a role player off the bench after playing in 71 games his rookie season.
Michael Beasley (Miami Heat), Leo Lyons (New York Knicks) and Russell Robinson (Indiana Pacers) round out players from area Big XII colleges playing in the summer league. Beasley and Lyons will play in Vegas next week, while Robinson has had a rough go of it in Orlando and doesn't figure to make the Pacers' roster.
If you can look past the sloppy play (teams average nearly a turnover per minute) and glorified pickup game style (there's no limit on personal fouls), the summer league is a chance to see the league's prosperous rookie class. If you're a college hoops junkie like me, it's also an opportunity to see some familiar faces battle it out for precious roster spots.