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Ben Bokun | | July 8, 2019

13 former college basketball players to watch in the NBA Summer League

Andy Katz breaks down Nos. 21-25 of his top players for the 2019-2020 season

With the 2019 NBA Summer League already in full force, an abundance of former collegiate talent takes to the hardwood in this month's competition.

We survey the 13 most intriguing ex-college basketball players to watch this summer season.

The league takes place in Sacramento and Salt Lake City from July 1-3 before moving to Las Vegas from July 5-15.

FULL PLAYER LIST: Summer League 2019 participants

Only eight teams — the Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Sacramento Kings — will play in California and Utah before meeting the other 22 NBA franchises in Nevada after Independence Day. Croatia and China will be joining the pool, bringing the participant total to 32 teams.

Summer League serves as a developmental period for both players and front offices. Though a final champion is eventually crowned, player performance and personal skills are emphasized. 

Editor's note: Zion Williamson and Jimmer Fredette were originally included in this list. Williamson, after scoring 11 points in his summer debut with the Pelicans, will miss the remainder of Summer League games due to a bruised knee. Fredette left the Warriors' Summer League team after two games.

1. Kevin Knox, power forward, Kentucky (2017-18), New York Knicks

Kevin Knox at Kentucky

The New York Knicks' ninth overall pick in last year's draft put on a 2018 Summer League showing that will stand the test of time — 21.2 points, 2.2 assists and 6.5 rebounds per contest in four games.

But the Kentucky product had trouble building off the momentum in the regular season and struggled to find consistency, averaging 12.8 points, 1.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds as a rookie. 

3-pointer by Kevin Knox

At just 19 years old, it makes sense to give Knox, who notched 15.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in one year of college, a look while he's in Las Vegas again to see if he can replicate last summer's dominance. 

2. Michael Porter Jr., forward, Missouri (2017-18), Denver Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. at Missouri

Once ranked the second-best high school recruit in the 2017 class, Porter Jr. committed to Missouri and only played in three games due to a back injury in his first appearance with the Tigers. Still, the Denver Nuggets chose him as the 14th overall pick in the 2018 Draft. 

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Watch Steph drain 40 points against Gonzaga in the 2008 NCAA tournament

The 21-year-old missed the entire 2018-19 NBA season while rehabbing the same injury. So Porter Jr. hasn't played basketball in over a year or faced professional athletes in a competitive setting, making him a fascinating player to observe. 

Porter suffered a knee sprain last week but still hopes to play at some point in this tournament.

3. R.J. Barrett, guard/forward, Duke (2018-19), New York Knicks

RJ Barrett at Duke

Forming a duo with fellow freshman Zion Williamson at Duke last season, Barrett proved himself enough to become the third overall pick by the New York Knicks in 2019. The Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year award winner and first-team All-American tied Williamson for a team-leading average of 22.6 points and added 4.3 assists and 7.6 rebounds per appearance in 38 games. 

NBA Draft: RJ Barrett's top NCAA tournament highlights

Because of his reputation as a prodigious scorer, Barrett has the potential to light up this year's Summer League. 

4. De'Andre Hunter, forward, Virginia (2017-19), Atlanta Hawks

De'Andre Hunter at Virginia

A two-year player with the Cavaliers, Hunter went from starting zero games his freshman year to all 38 as a sophomore, guiding Virginia to a national title in 2019.

Averaging 15.2 points, two assists and 5.1 rebounds this past season influenced the Atlanta Hawks to trade up in the draft and take the guard at No. 4 overall. 

Watch De'Andre Hunter's 27-point championship performance

He's played alongside terrific athletes at Virginia and it won't be any different when Hunter joins a Hawks squad loaded with young talent throughout the next couple weeks. 

5. Darius Garland, guard, Vanderbilt (2018-19), Cleveland Cavaliers

Garland at Vanderbilt

Like Porter Jr., Garland is a bit of an enigma as a result of playing just five career games after a meniscus injury at Vanderbilt. But the highly-touted point guard is expected to have the explosiveness to perform at the professional level — Garland was selected fifth overall in the draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers this June. His Summer League status is questionable. 

6. Mohamed Bamba, center, Texas (2017-18), Orlando Magic

Mo Bamba at Texas

The 7-foot center was taken with the sixth overall draft pick in 2018 for a reason, but had a disappointing rookie season with the Orlando Magic. Bamba averaged just 6.2 points, five rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, paling in comparison to his one-year statistics in college at Texas, where he scored 12.9 points, grabbed 10.5 boards and swatted away 3.7 shots per game. 

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The big man has a chance to get things right this Summer League, possibly in time to adjust to the NBA regular season. 

7. Kyle Guy, guard, Virginia (2017-19), Sacramento Kings

Kyle Guy at Virginia

In three seasons with Virginia, Guy put his impressive scoring abilities on display. The shooting guard contributed 15.4 points, 2.1 dishes and 4.5 rebounds in his 2018-19 title-winning junior campaign. Guy's 64 points in the last three games of the 2019 NCAA tournament helped clinch the national championship for the Cavaliers and earned him Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors. 

Watch Guy's 24 points help lead Virginia to first national title

He snuck his way in the 2019 NBA Draft as the 55th overall pick and will have a lot to prove early on. The Sacramento Kings are hoping he can replicate his March Madness dominance. 

8. Ethan Happ, forward, Wisconsin (2016-19), Chicago Bulls

Ethan Happ at Wisconsin

Happ, the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award winner, spent four years at Wisconsin and filled up the stat sheet with 15.3 points, three assists, 8.8 boards and 1.1 blocks per game from 2016-19. But it wasn't enough to get the post player drafted because of concerns with his shooting ability and a subpar 46.6 percentage from the free throw line his senior season.

So the second-team All-American has signed with the Chicago Bulls to participate on the team's Summer League roster. As a former college star, a solid performance in Las Vegas could lead to another contract.

9. Tacko Fall, center, UCF (2016-19), Boston Celtics

Tacko Fall at UCF

Fall has emerged as a fan favorite over the past four college basketball seasons because of his considerable height at 7-6. Despite his size, the towering center went undrafted — Fall recently signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Boston Celtics and will play this summer. 

GAMES TO WATCH: The compete schedule of the conference games between the Big Ten and the ACC

Shooting a career 74 percent from the field while draining 10.1 points a game and picking up 7.7 rebounds, the four-year UCF starter seeks to translate his skills to the NBA.

10. Luke Maye, forward, North Carolina (2016-19), Milwaukee Bucks

Luke Maye at UNC

Maye made quite an impact in his last two seasons with North Carolina, putting up 15.9 points, 2.4 assists and 10.3 rebounds from 2017-19. The forward won a national championship with the Tar Heels in 2018 and was named to the AP All-American Third Team in the same year. 

Maye was a consistent performer in conference play and snagged 2018 first-team All-ACC honors. Standing at 6-8, the four-year UNC baller aims to take advantage of his new contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and battle for a roster spot in the NBA after going undrafted this June.  

11. Fletcher Magee, guard, Wofford (2016-19), Milwaukee Bucks

Fletcher Magee at Wofford

Hitting 3-pointer No. 505 in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Seton Hall back in March, Magee took over as the NCAA career leader in three-point field goals made. And his four campaigns with Wofford weren't too shabby either, knocking down 43.5 percent of his threes with 3.8 made per game. 

Magee averaged a per-contest mark of 18.8 points in four seasons with Wofford and strives to show out with the Milwaukee Bucks' Summer League team as the fun, prolific 3-point shooter he was in college. 

12. Carsen Edwards, guard, Purdue (2017-19), Boston Celtics

Carsen Edwards at Purdue

Edwards was named the Most Outstanding Player in the South region of this year's NCAA Tournament for his record-breaking performance — shattering the single-tournament 3-point record after making 28 in four games.

The 2019 second-team All-American nearly led Purdue to the Final Four but was ousted in a tight Elite Eight matchup with Virginia. Edwards averaged 24.3 points, 2.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game in his third and final year with the Boilermakers. 

The point guard makes his Boston Celtics debut in July after going 33rd overall in the 2019 Draft. 

NBA Draft: Carsen Edwards' top NCAA tournament highlights

13. Tyler Herro, guard, Kentucky (2018-19), Miami Heat

Herro at Kentucky

Herro may not be the most decorated first round pick in last month's NBA Draft, but he showed massive upside in his freshman season at Kentucky and is still only 19 years old. The shooting guard stepped up for the Wildcats and started all 37 games, burying 14 points with 2.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per outing. 

NBA Draft: Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and PJ Washington's top NCAA tournament highlights

The Miami Heat appear to have high expectations for Herro, taking him with the 13th overall pick in 2019. 



Andy Katz's latest Power 36 rankings | 2020 March Madness schedule
Players to watch: SEC | Pac-12 | Big Ten | Big East | Big 12 | ACC | AAC
Rule change: 3-point line extends 

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