After a 7-year hiatus, the Utah Summer League returned last night with two games featuring the summer league editions of the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, and the host Utah Jazz. Originally known as the Rocky Mountain Revue, the Utah Summer League operated under that name from 1984 to 2008 before being cancelled in 2009. The 2015 edition of the Utah Summer League will be a six game, four day event running from July 6th – 9th.
The four teams featured in the Utah Summer League are loaded with a number of prospects who participated in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT). The PIT is an annual pre-draft tournament featuring 64 seniors competing in front of many NBA scouts and general managers. Five participants from the 2015 PIT were drafted in the 2015 NBA Draft – Richaun Holmes (76ers-37th), Darrun Hilliard (Pistons-38th), Pat Connaughton (Nets-41st), Marcus Thornton (Celtics-45th), Cady Lalanne (Spurs-55th) – and seven PIT participants were in action in the Utah Summer League last night.
In the first game of the night, the Spurs defeated the 76ers, 74-71. The game featured the pro debut of Jahlil Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Okafor finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers in his first NBA game. Richaun Holmes, a 6’8” forward from Bowling Green, also made his pro debut for the Sixers. Holmes had an impressive showing at the 2015 PIT and the Sixers selected him with the 37th pick in the draft. In 16 minutes, Holmes finished with nine points, three rebounds, two steals, and one block.
The Spurs featured a roster with four 2015 PIT participants. Cady Lalanne, the 55th pick in the 2015 draft, played 26 minutes and finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and four blocks. Treveon Graham from VCU claimed MVP honors at the 2015 PIT and showed a solid all-around game for the Spurs in his 13 minutes of action last night. He made both of his shot attempts and finished with four points, three rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Stefan Nastic (Stanford) played 11 minutes for the Spurs and finished with three points, one rebound, and one block. Darion Atkins (Virginia) was named to the 2015 PIT All-Tournament team but only played three minutes for the Spurs last night.
The Jazz defeated the Celtics, 100-82, in the second game on the Utah Summer League schedule. The game featured two former PIT participants, Marcus Thornton and Jack Cooley. Thornton, drafted 45th by the Boston Celtics, played in only five minutes for the Celtics and missed his only field goal attempt. Cooley participated in the 2013 PIT and finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds in only 16 minutes of game action.
A number of other former PIT participants are also participating in the Orlando Summer League as well . . .
Darrun Hilliard, drafted 38 by the Pistons, has averaged 8.7 points per game and has shot 44.4% from three-point range in three summer league games with the Pistons. DJ Newbill was named to the 2015 PIT All-Tournament team and has averaged four points, four rebounds, and two steals per game for the Clippers. Levi Randolph has also averaged 7.5 points and three rebounds for the Thunder’s summer league team. Shayne Whittington, a 2014 PIT participant, has also averaged 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 50.0% from three-point range. Brandon Davies, the MVP of the 2013 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, has also averaged 4.5 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Orlando Blue squad.