As the 2016–17 academic year ended, Wildcats from three different teams on campus began their professional careers.
Jeremy Senglin spent four years as the point guard for the men’s basketball team and is attempting to make the jump from college to the NBA. Senglin was the star of his graduating class and was a highly-rated player going into the 2017 NBA Draft.
Despite leading the country in made 3-pointers during his senior year, Senglin was not selected in the NBA Draft — there was not even an announcement of where Senglin would sign on the day of the draft.
It wasn’t until the next day that the Texas product officially signed a professional contract. Chris Haynes of ESPN first reported that the Brooklyn Nets made a Big Sky Conference coup, signing Senglin and 2016 conference MVP Jacob Wiley from Southern Utah University.
Even though he was one of the best scorers in college basketball during the 2016–17 season, Senglin is not a sure-fire lock to join the Nets next year.
Standing at 6–foot–2–inches, he’s considered undersized for an NBA point guard, so he’ll have to show off his sharpshooting ability and sheer talent to force his way onto either the main club in Brooklyn or their corresponding G-League team.
The G-League is the 2017 rebranding of what was formerly the NBA D-League. Senglin’s 3-point shooting is his best chance, as he’s stuck behind three other players at point guard on the Nets roster, and he has the best shot from behind the arc of the bunch.
At a pre-draft workout, Senglin said, “I’m confident in myself and my abilities going in. After playing against these guys and seeing where I’m at, I feel really confident where I’m at.”
Jeremy Lin is the entrenched starter for the Nets, as he’s heading into his eighth NBA season and will be making $12 million next year, and D’Angelo Russell was recently acquired in a trade to be the point guard of the future.
This means he only has to outperform Spencer Dinwiddie to earn a spot on the Brooklyn roster.
Senglin’s first chance to prove his value and show his talent will be at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas from July 7–17.
The second member of the Weber State men’s basketball team to join the professional ranks is former power-forward Kyndahl Hill. Hill spent four years in Ogden and never missed a single game in his college career.
In his junior season, Hill was the Big Sky Conference’s top reserve player, coming off the bench in 33 out of 35 games and helping the team into the NCAA Tournament for the second time in his career.
Hill made his professional decision well before the NBA Draft, tweeting almost three weeks before the event that he would go and play professional basketball in Denmark.
The highest profile member of the Weber State football team heading to the NFL was star linebacker Tre’von Johnson.
The Salt Lake City native was an integral member of the football team from the moment he stepped on the WSU campus. Johnson was the most likely member of the Wildcats team to be drafted this season, but as the draft came to a close no team called Johnson’s name.
However, it was not long after the draft before Johnson announced on Twitter he was signing with the Arizona Cardinals. At the Weber State pro day, Johnson listed the Cardinals as one organization that had frequent contact with him.
Johnson tweeted, “31 other NFL teams will regret this move for years to come but I am extremely happy to say I’m an Arizona Cardinal.”
Despite his collegiate success, Johnson is not a lock to make the Cardinals roster as he currently sits behind accomplished veterans like Karlos Dansby and Chandler Jones, as well as highly rated young players like first-round pick Haason Reddick, on the depth chart.
“I know I can run fast, so I didn’t try to think about, ‘Oh, I have 10 scouts there and they’re timing me,’ I just got out there and ran like I was a little kid again,” Johnson said. “(The scouts) say I’ll be in the league next year.”
Even if he doesn’t make the Cardinals final roster, there is a good chance Johnson could either find a place on another team’s roster, or go the route of former WSU teammate Devonte Johnson and join an NFL practice squad.
While Tre’von Johnson was the biggest name heading from Ogden to the NFL, another Wildcat would make the jump to professional football; his leap was just slightly further.
Jadrian Clark started for the Wildcats at quarterback for slightly more than two seasons and was the face of the resurgence the program saw over the past two seasons.
Clark never pushed too hard to play in the NFL, having not participated in Weber Sate’s pro day. Instead, he signed his professional contract to play for the Kirchdorf Wildcats in Germany.
Clark immediately stepped in as the starter for the team, which is currently 2–2–1 in five games in the German Football League 2, the second highest professional league in Germany. It took Clark some time to adjust to not only the country but the team as well.
Clark said, “The lifestyle here is considerably different, but it has been life changing to be exposed to so many different cultures.”
After his first game with the team, head coach Christoph Riener spoke about Clark’s struggles acclimating.
“The timing wasn’t all there yet, but the offense line delivered an exceptional game,” Riener said.
Since then, Clark has continued to grow with the team, positioning themselves in fifth place in the southern division. He is also the fourth rated passer in the league by passing efficiency and yards per game.
His 17 passing touchdowns are also tied for the fourth most in the division. Clark is one of only three Americans on the team and is joined, most notably, by Madison Mangum.
Mangum was a wide receiver for WSU’s conference rival Idaho State University and is the brother of BYU’s quarterback Tanner Mangum. The two have become one of the most potent offensive duos in the GFL2.
Calvin Steyn spent only two seasons on the offensive line with the Wildcats before making the leap to the NFL. He transferred from Saddleback Junior College after his sophomore season.
Steyn was an all-conference honorable mention his junior year and second team All-Big Sky his senior year.
Steyn went undrafted and, after the draft, signed with the Seattle Seahawks, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.
He’s one of three players from Utah in this year’s Seahawks free agent crop, joining BYU running back Algernon Brown and Utah State defensive back Marquan Ellison.
Cameron Young was the second offensive lineman to join the NFL this season. He was a four-year starter for the Wildcats after redshirting his first year in Ogden.
Young never missed a game in his career at WSU and was also second team All-Big Sky Conference his senior season.
Young went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft and was signed afterward by the Detroit Lions, according to Pride of Detroit, a subset of SB Nation.
Joining Young in the Lions UDFA class is Josh Thornton, who played with Southern Utah University and was also on the Big Sky all-conference second team.
Deeshyra Thomas was the only member of the Weber State women’s basketball team to graduate this season and is attempting to start a professional career.
Soon after graduating, she signed with the Flash Agency as professional representation. Despite having an agent, she has not yet signed with any team in the United States or abroad.
No matter what any of these athletes are able to accomplish in their professional careers, they will all be Wildcats forever and carry on the tradition of Weber State University.