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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Ideal scenario for undrafted UA alumni

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Bill Mason, Cat Tran Driver (Brown hair) Dennis Cady, Cat Tran Driver (black and white striped shirt) AJ Dowgiert, Cat Tran Driver (Plaid/Checkered Shirt)

While draft night was a great night to be a Kentucky Wildcat, it was also pleasing to be an Arizona Wildcat. Stanley Johnson was drafted to the Detroit Pistons and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who originally signed to the Portland Trail Blazers, traded to the Brooklyn Nets. However, two of the arguably most beloved players in recent history and consistent offensive players last year, Brandon Ashley and T.J. McConnell, did not hear their names called last Thursday — but all is not lost.

Ashley signed to compete in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Atlanta Hawks after considering the Los Angeles Lakers and McConnell inked a six-figure deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jordan Farmar, for instance, started his career with the Lakers before playing in leagues in Israel and Turkey while unsigned to an NBA team.

With the NBA draft only being two rounds, having players who were stars in college not get drafted has become a common occurrence in this day and age. Quite often, second round and undrafted players re locate overseas for a period of time before returning to the league.

Ashley’s decision to sign with the Hawks makes more sense than the Lakers due to their reliance on outside shooting from their big men such as Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Pero Antic. Had he joined the Lakers, we would have no idea how he would fit into their future plans. With Kobe Bryant, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell on the team, Ashley might not have even touched the ball even if he did join the team.

McConnell on the Sixers could become very interesting considering their current point guard situation and their drafting of Duke All-American Jahlil Okafor. Their current point guards are the little-known duo of 2013 second-round pick Isaiah Canaan, who is also on the Sixers Summer League team, and NBA journeyman Ish Smith. Factor in Philly’s current penchant for not caring at the moment and we could see McConnell in the state he grew up in.

The way McConnell’s contract is set up, he will play on Philadelphia’s summer league teams in Utah and Las Vegas and also attend their fall camp. Even if he fails to make their roster, he will receive the six-figure sum Philly inked him to.

Being undrafted does not mean we may as well consider their careers over. From the electrifying Jeremy Lin, to lockdown defender Raja Bell, to All-Stars Ben Wallace and John Starks, sometimes going undrafted means you were the victim of uncontrollable circumstances.

No matter the outcomes of their pro careers, Wildcat nation will honor what McConnell and Ashley achieve in the future. While the highlights and praise may have been given mostly to Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson last year, and Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon in 2013, Ashley and McConnell each contributed tremendously with their consistency and unselfishness. Wherever their careers may take them, basketball won’t be in their rear view for many years to come.

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