Now that Lebron-apalooza has finally come to an end, and most of the big name free agents have been signed, the NBA season is now officially over.
Now is the time of year when most sports fans sit around reading fantasy football magazines (guilty as charged) while ESPN plays a seemingly endless amount of College Football Live shows. How long can you really talk about Boise State? Really? But to those true die-hard hoop heads, the ones that wear basketball jerseys to their cousins baptism (my aunt is still mad at me), there is something for us to be grateful for.
The summer marks the return of the NBA Las Vegas Summer League which gives young players the opportunity to showcase their skills and maybe, just maybe, find a spot on an NBA roster.
With the San Antonio Spurs first summer league game today versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, two players hoping to make a lasting impression on the Spurs this summer in Las Vegas are Josh Lomers and Gary Neal.
Standing at seven feet tall and weighing 280 pounds, Josh Lomers is the biggest player on the Spurs’ summer roster. Lomers, who went to high school north of San Antonio in the town of Boerne, is hoping to use his big body to fight for his spot on a team that is looking for a big presence down low.
Lomers kept his basketball skill set in Texas when he decided to play basketball at Baylor University. In his senior year with the Bears, Lomers averaged 6.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1 block in 17 minutes per contest.”
“I was always a Spurs fan,” Lomers told to members of the San Antonio media before flying out to Las Vegas. “They always seem to have a lot more character guys then other teams do and that’s always really appealed to me.”
While Lomers was balling close to home, Gary Neal took his highly explosive offensive game across the pond, and averaged over 20 points a game during the 2009-2010 season for Benetton Treviso of the Italian League.
During the 2006-2007 season, his senior season with the Towson Tigers, Neal averaged a team high 23.5 points per game. But it was in Italy where Neal flourished. Being the “go to guy” for a rebuilding franchise allowed Neal the freedom to become the better all around offensive player that he is now.
However, there may seem to be some character issues with Neal. He played his freshman and sophomore year at La Salle where he won Atlantic Ten Rookie of the year his freshman season averaging 18.6 points per game. But Neal was let go from the team before his Junior season due to rape allegations by a female basketball player from the University of New Haven. Neal was later acquitted.
So don’t be upset my fellow basketball junkies. There is plenty of basketball to be watched. Plenty of young players willing to give it their all just for the chance to grab a spot on any roster. And while it might be a long shot for Lomers and Neal to grab a spot on the San Antonio bench, it’ll still be fun to watch, because these summer league players are the bright young future of the league.
Who Knows, maybe one day we’ll be watching an hour long special on ESPN entitled the “Lomers Decision.”