Basketball players

Tar Heels in the pros: Former UNC men’s basketball players shine in NBA Summer League

It is traditional for former UNC men’s basketball players to return to Chapel Hill each summer and play with the team. But amid the many pickup games at Chapel Hill, which saw Coby White and Cameron Johnson pass, some professional Tar Heels are having a busy offseason competing in the NBA Summer League, playing for Team USA and navigating new trades. . .

Here’s a look at some Tar Heels currently in action in the NBA Summer League competition in Las Vegas.

Day’Ron Sharpe

Day’Ron Sharpe began his North Carolina career as the fourth Tar Heel to record a double-double in his first game. After averaging 9.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a freshman, Sharpe declared for the 2021 NBA draft. The Phoenix Suns drafted Sharpe as the 29th overall pick and shortly after , they traded his draft rights with the Brooklyn Nets.

After appearing in 32 games with the Nets this season, Sharpe is playing on their summer league team to gain more experience at the pro level. In his first game this summer, he finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds. Currently, he leads the team in player efficiency and total rebound percentage.

Sharpe also made headlines this week with a poster-worthy dunk in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Brady Manek

During UNC’s NCAA Tournament last season, all eyes were on Brady Manek, the 6-foot-9 graduate transfer from the University of Oklahoma. Manek averaged just over 15 points per game and led the team in 3-point shooting percentage with a 40.3% clip.

After going undrafted in the 2022 NBA draft, Manek stayed close, signing with the Charlotte Hornets to play on their summer league team. Recently, Manek scored in the Hornets’ double overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, shooting 3-9 from the field and scoring 8 points in just 12 minutes.

If Manek continues to perform well in Las Vegas with the Hornets, he could land a 2-way deal with an NBA team, join an NBA G League team, or continue professionally overseas.

justin jackson

During his junior season at UNC, Justin Jackson was named ACC Player of the Year and first-team All-American by consensus. In the 2017 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers selected the 2017 national champion as their 15th overall pick.

Jackson, now signed to the Texas Legends of the G League, made headlines after his performance representing Team USA in the World Cup qualifying squad. Jackson scored 26 points in Team USA’s 83-75 win over Puerto Rico, tying the USA men’s World Cup qualifying team’s single-game scoring record.

Jackson didn’t slow down in the NBA Summer League, as his 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting led the Boston Celtics in their 103-92 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

Garrison Brooks

Although former UNC forward Garrison Brooks spent his fifth and final year of college eligibility playing for Mississippi State, he had four productive seasons as a Tar Heel. Brooks ranks in the top 50 in points scored and top 25 in rebounds in UNC program history.

After the 2022 NBA draft, Brooks signed a 10-piece deal with the New York Knicks, which allows him to play for the New York summer league team and attend summer camp. practice with the Knicks in the fall. If he plays well, Brooks could play professionally for the G League affiliate Knicks next season.

So far, Brooks has played very few minutes for the Knicks, logging just under 6 minutes in the Knicks’ first three games this summer.


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