Terps Summer League Review


Recently, the NBA embarked on their ever more fruitless Summer League, a one to two week long preseason where no one good ever plays. HOWEVER, eight former Terps played this year, so I meant to say that this incredibly important showcase of talent every summer is a can’t-miss event.

Recent Terps (Greivis Vasquez), old Terps (Nik Caner-Medley), and Terps in between (James Gist) suited up for a variety of teams, trying to solidify a roster spot. Most of them are trying to play on American soil for the first time since they were a Terrapin (excluding previous summer leagues).

So, without further ado, how the Terps performed:

Nik Caner-Medley, Clippers – Played two games along side former college stars Blake Griffin, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe and Willie Warren. Scored 17 in his first game, impressing all who watched and giving him a good chance to find a roster spot if he could continue it through the summer. However, he injured his wrist in the second game, and sat out the rest of the summer. Verdict: Back to Estudiantes Madrid.

James Gist, Spurs – Similarly to Caner-Medley, Gist wowed at the beginning of the Summer League, before succumbing to injury (broken hand). Gist was drafted by the Spurs in 2008, so he has a better chance than most Terps of staying with his team. It really comes down to whether San Antonio decides to re-sign Roger Mason Jr. (or pick up someone else at small forward). Unfortunately for Gist, I think they do. Verdict: D-League.

Eric Hayes, Wizards – One of the greatest shooters in Maryland history was cut before the games started. Verdict: Somewhere in Europe. Hayes is a quality guard who can shoot from the outside as well as cut surprisingly well towards the basket. He will find work.

Ekene Ibekwe, Trail Blazers – Played five games with Portland, averaging five points, six rebounds and two blocks per game. In the first game, Ibekwe put up impressive numbers – 10 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks – but it’s unlikely that he will be able to secure a roster spot. Verdict: Back to Hapoel Gilboa/Afula.

Chris McCray, Grizzlies – The first Terp we’ve encountered so far with NBA experience, McCray averaged four points per game in five appearances and was completely unimpressive. Even with the Grizzlies, he won’t be able to find a roster spot. Verdict: D-League.

Landon Milbourne, Hawks – As a player whose progress was tangible every game that he played with the Terps, Milbourne had high expectations from Terps fans coming into the Summer League. However, with only two points per game and less than a rebound per game, it is highly unlikely that he’s going to make the Hawks’ opening roster. Optimists (like me) see Milbourne as a smaller version of Lamar Odom – a left handed power forward who can dribble, shoot, and play great defense. Pessimists see Milbourne as an undersized, underskilled big man who can’t cut it at the top level. Verdict: D-League to start, but a call-up midseason.

Jamar Smith, Timberwolves – A player with a largely forgettable Terp career had an extremely forgettable Summer League. Smith averaged less than two points per game and only totaled one rebound in five games. Verdict: Back to the Italian second league.

D.J. Strawberry, Lakers – The most impressive Terp of the Summer League, Strawberry averaged 13 points and over 2 rebounds per game with the defending champions, placing himself squarely into the picture for next season’s Laker roster. A lot of it depends on what happens with Shannon Brown, who the Lakers have made a priority to sign for next year. Even if Brown does come back to Staples Center, there is a small chance that Strawberry makes the roster. Verdict: More likely, however, he ends up in the D-League, and will be called up to the Lakers at the first sign of injury or poor play.

Greivis Vasquez, Grizzlies – Vasquez, one of the Grizzlies’ first round picks, averaged seven points, four assists, and two rebounds in the Summer League. On the whole, he looked good, although he had his rough spots (including a seven turnover performance). Luckily for Greivis and for Maryland fans, he plays for one of the worst teams in the NBA, so the question is not if he makes the roster, but what role he’ll play. Verdict: Backup point guard. Mike Conley has the starting spot for Memphis, and Greivis has great court vision. He should get some quality minutes next season and have the chance to impress.