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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Former Wildcats making noise: T.J. McConnell makes the 76ers roster, Rondae surprises his mother with a house

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Then-Arizona point guard TJ McConnell (4) dribbles down court in McKale Center on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015. The Philadelphia 76ers point guard recently hit the game-winning shot against the Brooklyn Nets and has produced in the NBA preseason thus far.

Time and time again he was told that he would never make it. Never make it to the collegiate level. Never be drafted. Never play division one. Never play in the NBA.

All that has changed, as former Arizona basketball point guard T.J. McConnell made the Philadelphia 76ers roster Monday afternoon.

McConnell defied odds; he made an NBA roster.

“I almost teared up in the coach’s office. I had to sit down,” McConnell said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

McConnell is the first Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athlete to make it to the big stage since the 1990s.

McConnell went undrafted. He was recruited by Duquesne and played there two seasons before transferring to the UA under head coach Sean Miller.

He wasn’t ranked in the top 100 coming out of high school and was just a two-star recruit.

“There are haters everywhere,” McConnell said to the Post-Gazette. “Still haters today.”

I can think of someone else who was a two-star recruit for Arizona. Does Scooby Wright III ring a bell?

McConnell deserves it all. Moving forward, he has a real chance to make a big difference in an up-and-coming team.

Three Wildcats cut

It wasn’t all good news for former Arizona basketball players, however. Three former Wildcats in Denver Nuggets guard Nick Johnson, Dallas Mavericks forward Brandon Ashley and Utah Jazz forward Grant Jerrett were all waived by their respective teams.

All three will do their best to make it in the NBA Development League affiliates or to play overseas.

Rondae: the standup guy

If one thing was made clear in his time at Arizona, it was that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has a whole lot of heart.

Over the weekend, NBA fans everywhere were treated to a video of Rondae and his brother buying a house for their mother, Rylanda Hollis.

“To actually be able to show her the house and stuff on her birthday, it was a dream come true,” Hollis-Jefferson said to the New York Post. “It was a blessing.”


Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.


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