The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is set to begin on Friday and Nebraska fans will get a chance to see a pair of former Huskers kickstart their professional careers.
Isaiah Roby, who the Dallas Mavericks acquired using the 45th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is on Dallas’ roster while undrafted free agent James Palmer Jr. will play with the Phoenix Suns.
The 11-day, 83-game event will feature all 30 NBA teams, along with the Chinese and Croatian National Teams. It includes four preliminary games as well as bracket play.
- No. 3 – Daryl Macon, G, Arkansas
- No. 8 – Stephen Thompson Jr., G, Oregon State
- No. 9 – Isaiah Roby, F, Nebraska
- No. 16 – Wael Arakji, G, Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut
- No. 18 – Yudai Baba, G, Alvark Tokyo
- No. 20 – Cameron Payne, G, Murray State
- No. 21 – Dyshawn Pierre, G/F, Dayton
- No. 24 – Josh Reaves, G, Penn State
- No. 30 – Trahson Burrell, F, Memphis
- No. 32 – Shayne Whittington, F/C, Western Michigan
- No. 33 – Finn Delany, G/F, Southwest Baptist
- No. 35 – Youssou Ndoye, C, St. Bonaventure
- No. 37 – Kostas Antetokounmpo, F, Dayton
- No. 40 – Antonius Cleveland, G/F, Southeast Missouri State
Mike Seiner will serve as Dallas’ coach with assistants Mike Shedd, God Shammed and Jenny Boucek.
Roby was Dallas’ only draft pick this year. He’s joined on the team by Darryl Macon and Kostas Antetokounmpo who the Mavericks signed to two-way contracts last season. Roby faced off against Josh Reaves a handful of times during his three years in Lincoln as he played his college ball at Penn State and was an all-Big Ten defender. Cameron Payne is a former lottery pick by the Oklahoma City who got traded to Chicago but never quite found his place in the league.
The Mavericks will begin play on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets at 6 p.m. CST. On Saturday, Dallas will play against the Houston Rockets at 8 p.m. CST. They’ll take Sunday off before returning to the court to face the Sacramento Kings on Monday at 2:30 p.m. and they’ll wrap preliminary play up against Croatia next Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. The first three games will be televised on NBA TV while the final one will be on ESPNU.
- No. 0 – Jalen Lecque, G, Brewster Academy
- No. 2 – Elie Okobo, G, Pau-Lacq-Orthez
- No. 4 – Dakarai Tucker, F, Utah
- No. 8 – Jared Harper, G, Auburn
- No. 12 – Tariq Owens, Texas Tech
- No. 15 – David Krämer, G, Ratiopharm Ulm
- No. 17 – Billy Garrett Jr., G, DePaul
- No. 18 – Xavier Cooks, F, Winthrop
- No. 26 – Ray Spalding, F/C, Louisville
- No. 30 – Retin Obasohan, G, Alabama
- No. 36 – Landry Nnoko, C, Clemson
- No. 38 – Jack Salt, C, Virginia
- No. 41 – Rayvonte Rice, G, Illinois
- No. 45 – Derek Willis, F, Kentucky
- No. 52 – Justin Tillman, F, VCU
- No. 60 – James Palmer Jr., G, Nebraska
New assistant Willie Green will coach the Summer Suns alongside Darko Rajakovic, Mark Bryant, Randy Ayers, Larry Greer, Steve Blake, Riccardo Fois, Ben Strong and Bret Burchard.
The Suns will likely add first-round draft picks Cameron Johnson (drafted 11th out of North Carolina) and Ty Jerome (drafted 23rd out Virginia) to the roster on Sunday after the trades that the Suns used to acquire those picks won’t be official until then.
Palmer was a two-time All-Big Ten performer for the Huskers who signed a Summer League deal with the Suns after going undrafted.
In addition to the draft picks who will join the team later, the Suns took French point guard Elie Okobo with the 32nd pick in last year’s draft and he played in 53 games with 16 starts, averaging 5.7 points and 2.4 assists. Ray Spalding, a 6-foot-10 forward out of Louisville, got drafted in the second round by the Mavericks last year, but Dallas cut him and he signed with the Suns, seeing the court in 13 games.
After the draft, the Suns signed Jalen Lecque after he went undrafted. The 6-foot-4 guard skipped college and entered the draft after spending a post-grad year at Brewster Academy in new Hampshire. Jack Salt, a 7-foot center, won a national championship this year playing alongside Jerome at Virginia. Tariq Owens is a dynamic shot-blocker from Texas Tech who began his career at St. John’s while new Nebraska assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih was there.
The Suns will open play on Friday night at 10:30 p.m. CST against the Denver Nuggets. They’ll take Saturday off before facing the New York Knicks at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. Both of those games will be on ESPN. On Tuesday, Phoenix will play against Memphis at 6:30 p.m. and the Suns will wrap up preliminary play next Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs at 8 p.m.. The last two games will be on NBA TV.
Following preliminary play, the top eight teams will be seeded into a tournament bracket while the remaining teams will be matched up to play a consolation game.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.