The rise in Virginia basketball has, not surprisingly, also led to a rise in former UVA hoopsters getting run in professional leagues around the world. There are currently five Hoos in the NBA, and at least 13 others playing in some other pro league.
Let’s take a quick look around at all these guys and how they did this season. We’ll start off with the NBA guys, since they are the most visible. These guys are listed in order of NBA seniority.
Mike Scott, Washington Wizards – After missing most of the 2016-17 season due to a combination of injury and legal stuff, Scott returned this year with the Washington Wizards. He played in 76 games with one start, and averaged almost nine points per game to go along with three rebounds. He shot over 40% from three and over 50% from the field. He’s become a pretty deadly three-point shooter, and with his size that is valuable to NBA teams. Expect the 29-year-old to stick around a while longer.
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets – Harris had a breakout year this season, averaging 11 points per game. He shot 42% from three and almost 50% from the field. He also shot almost 83% from the FT line. For several years, Joe was among the worst players in the NBA. He made $1.5M this year (part of a two-year/$2M contract he signed in 2016). He’ll get quite a bump this offseason. He may stay in New Jersey, but he’ll be a highly sought after free agent and might make $5M or more.
Justin Anderson, Philadelphia 76ers – Simba’s career is going the opposite direction from Joe’s. He played in just 38 games this year for the surprisingly good Sixers. He averaged six points per game in just 13 minutes per game. He shot 33% from three, which is a career high. He’s good enough defensively that he could get rotation minutes if he shoots closer to 40% from three, but he’s still got a ways to go.
Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks – Brogdon followed up his Rookie of the Year season with another strong season. He missed almost half the season with a torn tendon in his quadricep. He started 20 out of 48 games he played in, and averaged over 13 points per game to go along with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. He also shot 38% from three, 48% from the field and 88% from the FT line. He’s a big part of the Bucks future.
London Perrantes, Cleveland Cavaliers – London was very good in the G-League, averaging 12 points and almost eight assists per game in 35 contests. He shot just 31% from three and 38% from the field, but he shot 84% from the stripe and was a strong team leader. He also saw action in 14 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but just under five minutes per game and averaged less than one point and assist per game.
Five NBA guys isn’t bad. Especially considering how long it had been since the Hoos had even a single NBA talent.
Next we’ll look at some other Hoos playing pro ball around the world. These guys are listed in alphabetical order.
Darion Atkins, Strasbourg (France) – Over 39 games, Atkins averaged nine points, five rebounds, and a block per game over about 21 minutes. He had previous been in the D/G-League with the Westchester Knicks.
Jason Cain, Tau Castello (Spain) – I bet you didn’t think Jason Cain was still playing pro ball. He played in the Spanish 2nd division for the 3rd consecutive year (for different teams), Cain’s numbers dropped this year for the 2nd year in a row. In 2015-16, Cain averaged 13 and six, shooting over 40% from three and 45% from the field. Last year, he averaged 12 and five with 47% FG and 39% 3PT. This year, he shot just 42% from the field and 31% from three, and averaged just eight and four. He left the team in January and did not play any more.
Anthony Gill, Khimki Moscow (Russia) – Gill usually starts for his team, playing in 32 games and averaging over 25 mpg. He scored just under 12 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He shot over 63% from the field, almost 48% from three and about 74% from the FT line. Those are pretty good numbers.
Sylvan Landesberg, Estudiantes (Spain) – Landesberg spent most of his career in Israel where he is a citizen due to his father being Jewish. But this year he moved to Spain and started for Estudiantes, where one of his his teammates is Nic Caner-Medley from Maryland. He averaged just under 20 points per game in 27 minutes, which was 2nd in the Spanish League.
Akil Mitchell, Long Island Nets – After bouncing around from France to New Zealand, Mitchell has spent the last season-and-a-half in the G-League. This year, he played in 30 games (17 starts), averaging 8.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and almost a steal and block per game. That’s in about 26 minutes per game. He shot almost 60% from the field, but just 26% from 3 and just 36% from the FT line. He needs to work on the 3 point shot, because he’s good enough defensively to make the NBA if he can knock down 35% of his treys. He’s just 25 years old.
J.R. Reynolds, BCM Gravelines (France) – The elder statesman of UVA alums still playing pro ball, Reynolds played 16 games for Gravelines, with two starts. He averaged just under six points per game, seeing about 20 minutes per game. He shot just 33% from the field and under 30% from three. He did make 19-of-22 from the line though and averaged four assists per game.
Mike Tobey, Iberostar Tenerife (Spain) – Tobey starts for the Canaries, playing just over 20 minutes per game (Euroleague games are just 40 minutes). He averaged about 11 points, 6.5 rebounds and a block per game. He shot nearly 60% from the field, including 33% (9-for-27) from 3, but just 58% from the FT line.
The final group is UVA players who transferred out and went to play for another school. These guys are still former Hoos. Once again, they are listed in alphabetical order.
Billy Baron, Eskisehir Basket (Turkey) – Billy is probably the best player on his team, which is a mid-tier team in the Turkish Superleague. He averaged 32 mpg, along with about 16 points and 3.5 assists. He shot 44% from three, 40% overall and 90% from the line.
K.T. Harrell, Basic-Fit Brussells (Belgium) – Harrell starts for his team, and averaged 25 minutes per game, scoring about 10 points, with two rebounds and two assists. He shot over 50% from the field, but just 28% from three. He’s bounced from Turkey to Italy to Belgium, but seems to have settled in with Brussels. They are one of the worst teams in a poor Belgium league.
Paul Jesperson, Gimnasia Indalo (Argentina) – Paul spent last year with a Spanish second division team. I can’t say for sure that Argentina’s first division is better than Spain’s 2nd, but I’d assume so. Paul played just six games, averaging 12.5 minutes along with 3.3 points. He was 4-for-17 from three, which was his main contribution. That’s poor shooting from a guy who should be better than that.
Gary Forbes, Gymnastikos S. Larissa BC (Greece) – Forbes played four games in the Greek league this year, with one start. He averaged 6.8 points in 15 minutes of playing time per game. His season ended before Halloween.
Tristan Spurlock, Gimnasia Indalo (Argentina) – It was a strange season for Tristan. He began the season in Mexico for 11 games (four starts), averaging just three points per game in 17 minutes. He moved to Israel, but didn’t stick around very long. He then went to Argentina (where he’d played the previous year) and played eight games for La Union de Formosa. Then he moved to another team in the same league, where he joined up with another former Hoo in Jesperson. Spurlock he finished out the season. He started 12 of 13 games for Indalo , averaging six points, five rebounds and two assists per game over 24 minutes.
There is one final player we’re watching.
B.J. Stith, ODU – The younger Stith brother played one season for the Hoos before transferring to ODU, where his father is an assistant coach. Stith shot over 40% from three and averaged 14 points and five rebounds per game for the Monarchs. He’s still got one year of college eligibility remaining.