High-flying swingman D.J. Stephens is joining Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg pending a physical, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Stephens was with the Bucks last season on a 10-day contract and joined the Pelicans for training camp this fall. The terms of his Russian deal aren’t immediately clear.
Stephens went undrafted out of the University of Memphis in 2013 in spite of a vertical leap that was the highest in the recorded history of the NBA’s predraft combine, as DraftExpress shows. He never averaged double figures in points during his four years at Memphis, but he used his athleticism on the other end of the floor, winning the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year award in his senior season. The 6’5″ Stephens, who turns 24 this month, split last season between Ilisiakos BC of Greece, Anadolu Efes of Turkey, and the Bucks, with whom he scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in 15 total minutes across three games on his 10-day deal.
He reportedly auditioned for the Jazz in September before signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Pelicans for camp. Stephens appeared in only three preseason games for New Orleans, with a total of five points and two rebounds, and the Pelicans let go of him shortly before opening night.