The day after the 2014 NBA Draft was held, news broke that former Weber State University men’s basketball star and reigning Big Sky Conference MVP Davion Berry was invited by the Portland Trail Blazers to play for their summer league team.
Berry had workouts with several teams leading up to the NBA Draft on Thursday, including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz. Although he put up good performances at the pre-draft workouts, including what Berry thought was one of his best workouts with the Jazz, it wasn’t enough for his name to be called in the draft.
“I had different options of where I could play,” Berry said. “I was happy that the Trail Blazers gave me the honor of playing with their basketball team.”
The NBA Summer League runs through the month of July, with two separate events taking place in Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada. The Summer League is a showcase for teams to get a better idea of how their rookies and younger players will perform. Teams will also invite undrafted rookies to play on their summer team, to get a look at them to see if the team wants to sign the player to a contract.
Berry said that he was looking forward to showing the Trail Blazers, as well as the rest of the NBA, what he is capable of doing.
“(I have to) knock down shots, show them I can play the point guard,” Berry said. “Show them that I’m a good teammate while on the bench, and off the court. I’m just a basketball player, (I’ll) just do whatever they need me to do.”
Most of the time, undrafted rookies will not end up signing with a team after the Summer League, and will end up playing in the development league or will play overseas. It is not unheard of though for undrafted players to sign a contract with an NBA team after the Summer League.
Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin went undrafted in 2010, but after a strong showing in the Summer League, where he averaged 9.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and shot a team-high 54.5 percent from the field, Lin signed a two-year contract with the Golden State Warriors.
The Trail Blazers will have their Summer League team play in the Las Vegas Summer League, starting on July 11. Two years ago, former Wildcat Damian Lillard tore up the Las Vegas Summer League, shooting 43.8 percent from the field, while averaging 26.5 points and 5.3 assists per game, including a 31 point game against the Atlanta Hawks summer league team.
Lillard was later named co-MVP of the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League after finishing second in scoring in the league, and first in scoring among rookies.
Berry said that although he hadn’t talked with Lillard yet about being signed to the Summer League team, he was excited about the opportunity to play with his close friend.
“Hopefully I’ll get to play alongside (Lillard),” Berry said. “He’s like my brother. We just talk about everything.”
If Berry puts up a great performance during the Las Vegas Summer League, any NBA team interested in him can sign him to a contract. If Berry joins Lillard and signs a contract with the Trail Blazers, Berry and Lillard would become the first pair of Wildcats to play on the same professional basketball team since Larry Bergh and Justus Thigpen played on the 1969-70 Pittsburgh Pipers in the American Basketball Association.
Whether he ends up signing a contract with Portland, or somewhere else, Berry remains focused on playing basketball.
“That’s my ultimate goal, to get to the NBA,” Berry said. “It will just be a blessing if I get a contract offer from Portland or any NBA team.”