Myck Kabongo, the former Longhorns point guard who was not among the 60 players selected in Thursday night’s NBA draft, will play for the two-time defending league champion Miami Heat’s summer league team.
Kabongo, who left Texas after his sophomore season, had been projected in several mock drafts as slotted for either the middle or bottom of the second round.
Regardless, neither second-round picks nor free agents like Kabongo have to receive guaranteed contracts. Only first-round picks must receive guarantees, thanks to the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Kabongo will try to earn a contract in the summer league.
Back in 2011, three Longhorns were drafted in the first round — Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton and Cory Joseph. But no Longhorns have been taken the last two years. In 2012, undrafted Longhorn J’Covan Brown was supposed to play on Miami’s summer league team, but a foot injury prevented his participation. He played part of last season in Greece.
Kabongo has a calling card for Miami besides whatever talent and skill he has exhibited. He and Heat star LeBron James have the same agent, Rich Paul. Efforts to reach Paul’s agency were unsuccessful Friday.
Miami has two point guards under contract for next season — starter Mario Chalmers and backup Norris Cole. But the Heat sometimes don’t use a point guard at all because James can handle the ball and initiate offense.
Kabongo was once regarded as a potential top-half pick of the first round. But he failed to meet expectations as a freshman, and a 23-game NCAA-mandated suspension restricted him to just 11 appearances as a sophomore. The 6-1 point guard averaged 14.6 points, five rebounds, and 5.5 assists a game, against 3.4 turnovers.
Reviews from Kabongo’s pre-draft workouts were mixed.
A reporter for Yahoo tweeted Thursday before the draft, “One NBA exec said Texas G Myck Kabongo was possible late 1st after impressive interview and said he’s was bigger than expected & a leader.”
But one NBA team source who watched Kabongo work out before the draft said he was not that impressive.
“Physically, he’s good — he’s fast and he has energy,” said the source. “He has a chance to make a roster because of his speed. But he didn’t shoot well, and when he drove by people and got to the bucket, he finished about one out of four times.”