Former Longhorns prepare for rookie season in NBA summer league debuts

Akshay Mirchandani

The Longhorns men’s baskeball program had a busy offseason with the hiring of new head coach Shaka Smart, but it was also a big summer for a few former Texas standouts.

Two members of last year’s squad were drafted into the NBA, while other old players made news around the league.  

Myles Turner
The Indiana Pacers selected former Texas forward Myles Turner with the No. 11 pick in the 2015 NBA draft, making him the seventh lottery pick in Longhorn history. Turner played his lone season with Texas last year, winning the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

“I’m willing to work. I’m willing to take my game to the next level,” Turner said. “Whatever it takes to get this program rolling more than it already was.”

Turner dominated on the Pacers’ Orlando summer league team from July 4–10, averaging 18.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in three games. The 6-foot-11-inch center might get a chance to play a significant role with the departures of center Roy Hibbert and forward David West in Indiana’s front court.

Jonathan Holmes
Forward Jonathan Holmes went undrafted after spending four years at Texas, but he signed a multi-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Aug. 13. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Los Angeles Times reported that it is a two-year deal worth up to $1.4 million, with $100,000 guaranteed for year one.

Holmes was invited to play with the Boston Celtics’ summer league team after going undrafted. From July 6–9, Holmes played in the Utah
summer league, where he averaged 6.3 points and 4.0 rebounds on 33.3 percent shooting.

He improved in the Las Vegas summer league from July 10–20, averaging 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game on 55.6 percent shooting from the field in five games.

All-star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is back in Texas after signing a four-year, $80 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs in July. Aldridge was one of the most coveted free agents on the market this summer and left the Portland Trail Blazers to join the five-time NBA champions.

While Aldridge joined the Spurs, former Longhorn guard Cory Joseph left San Antonio to sign a four-year, $30 million deal with the Toronto Raptors. Joseph has played his entire four-year career with San Antonio.

Former Longhorn forward Tristan Thompson also hit free agency after helping the Cleveland Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals in June. Thompson, a restricted free agent, has yet to sign a contract with Cleveland or anyone else, and the two sides are still reportedly far apart in talks.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is back on the court, practicing with Team USA. A foot injury limited Durant to just 27 games last season.