Jay Huff

Five G League Players Making Bids For NBA Call-Ups

The NBA G League’s regular season won’t begin for another month, but all 30 NBAGL teams are currently competing in the Showcase Cup, a round-robin event that culminates in a single-elimination tournament at the G League’s Winter Showcase from December 19-22.

We’re only midway through the 16-game Showcase Cup, with each NBAGL team having played between seven and 10 games so far, but a number of standout performers are making their mark.

Some of those top players, like Luka Garza of the Iowa Wolves or Jaden Hardy of the Texas Legends, are already under contract with NBA teams and aren’t free agents. But many of the G League players turning heads are free to sign with any NBA club at any time.

Listed below are five early G League standouts who are making strong cases to be considered for NBA call-ups at some point this season. This is hardly a comprehensive list of the NBAGL’s top performers — it’s a safe bet that many more will receive NBA consideration in the coming days, weeks, or months, especially when the 10-day signing period begins in January. But these five players are worth singling out for their early-season play.

Let’s dive in…


Sharife Cooper, G, Cleveland Charge

A two-way player with the Hawks last season, Cooper accepted a two-way qualifying offer from Atlanta in July, but was waived shortly thereafter and spent training camp with the Cavaliers, becoming an affiliate player for Cleveland.

In 10 games so far for the Charge, Cooper has been one of the G League’s most dynamic offensive players, pouring in 25.3 points per game on .489/.433/.811 shooting while also chipping in 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per night.

Cooper isn’t a consistent defender, but his offensive ability will intrigue NBA evaluators. He’s the G League’s reigning Performer of the Week after posting back-to-back 40-point games on November 15 and 17 and has helped lead the Charge to a 6-4 record.

Carlik Jones, G, Windy City Bulls

Jones, 25 next month, got a brief taste of NBA action last winter as a 10-day hardship signee for the Mavericks and the Nuggets, appearing in five total games for the two teams. After spending training camp with the Bulls, he’s back in the G League this season for the Windy City Bulls, whose 6-2 record places them atop the Central.

Jones has been a major reason for Windy City’s early success, leading the team with 17.5 PPG and 8.1 APG. After struggling to consistently make his three-pointers in his first pro season in 2021/22, the former Louisville standout is hitting 41.9% of his treys so far this season and making 1.6 per game.

Jay Huff, F/C, South Bay Lakers

Huff began the 2021/22 season on a two-way contract with the Lakers and made brief appearances in four NBA games before being waived in January. The 24-year-old is still in the organization at South Bay and has emerged as one of the G League’s most fearsome rim protectors — he has blocked 35 shots in his first eight games this season and comfortably leads the league with 4.4 BPG.

Huff’s impact has gone beyond his shot-blocking ability. He’s also one of South Bay’s go-to scorers, averaging 17.9 PPG on 68.1% shooting; he leads the club with 8.9 RPG; and he has even shown off some play-making ability, averaging 3.1 APG.

If Huff can boost his three-point rate a few points (currently 29.4%), he’ll become an even more appealing target for NBA teams looking to develop a frontcourt prospect.

James Akinjo, G, Westchester Knicks

Although Akinjo earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team during his final college season in 2021/22, the Baylor guard struggled mightily with his shot, making just 38.3% attempts from the field and 29.5% from beyond the arc. So it has been encouraging to see him boost those averages to 46.4% and 46.7% in his first seven G League games.

The Westchester Knicks are just 1-6 so far, but Akinjo has been a bright spot, pouring in 19.9 points per night and tying for the G League lead with an impressive 11.1 assists per game.

Jontay Porter, F/C, Wisconsin Herd

The younger brother of Michael Porter Jr., Jontay Porter is a former five-star recruit whose college career was derailed by a pair of ACL tears. He’s still just 23 years old though and has been healthy through the Herd’s first 10 games.

Despite playing just 26.2 minutes per game and primarily coming off the bench, Porter has filled up the box score in Wisconsin, averaging 16.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.8 BPG while making 3.1 three-pointers per game at a 46.3% rate.

The Grizzlies took a flier on Porter during the 2020/21 season and played him in 11 games — it may be just a matter of time before he earns another shot at the NBA level.

Lakers Cut Shaq Harrison, Jay Huff, Nate Pierre-Louis

The Lakers have waived guard Shaquille Harrison, center Jay Huff, and guard Nate Pierre-Louis, the team announced today in a press release.

The cuts had been expected after word broke that sharpshooter Matt Ryan secured a spot on the Lakers’ 15-man regular season roster. The team is carrying 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus Ryan, Austin Reaves, and Wenyen Gabriel on non-guaranteed deals.

Harrison, Huff, and Pierre-Louis were all with the Lakers on non-guaranteed training camp contracts that included Exhibit 10 language. All three are candidates to join the South Bay Lakers, L.A.’s G League affiliate, assuming they clear waivers.

While it’s possible that a last-minute move is coming, the Lakers’ roster is now set for the regular season, with 15 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals.

Lakers Sign Jay Huff To Exhibit 10 Contract

The Lakers have officially signed big man Jay Huff to an Exhibit 10 contract, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Huff, who went undrafted out of Virginia in 2021, spent the first couple months of his rookie season on a two-way contract with the Lakers and appeared in four NBA games before being waived. The 7’1″ center continued to play for the South Bay Lakers in the G League after being released by the NBA team, averaging 15.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 2.5 BPG in 28 regular season NBAGL games, all starts (25.9 MPG).

Huff suited up for the Lakers’ Summer League teams in San Francisco and Las Vegas this summer and played well, averaging 10.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.0 BPG in four appearances (18.4 MPG).

The Lakers now have 19 players under contract. Of those, 12 have guaranteed deals, two (Austin Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel) have standard non-guaranteed contracts, and two (Cole Swider and Scotty Pippen Jr.) are on two-way deals. Huff joins Fabian White and Javante McCoy as the players on Exhibit 10 pacts.

Dion Waiters, Tyreke Evans Among FAs Attending Mavs’ Mini-Camp

The Mavericks are hosting a free agent mini-camp this week that will have over 30 players in attendance, our JD Shaw reports (via Twitter).

The list of participants includes a handful with extensive NBA experience, including veteran guards Dion Waiters, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway.

Jalen Lecque, Chris Clemons, Emanuel Terry, Grant Riller, Jay Huff, and Tyler Hall are among the other mini-camp invitees who have played in at least one regular season NBA game. A.J. Lawson, Andrew Andrews, Isaiah Brown, Justin Gorham, and Sekou Wiggs are some of the participants without NBA experience (Twitter links).

Teams are permitted to carry up to 20 players during the offseason, giving them some flexibility to take fliers on veterans or youngsters who could come to training camp on non-guaranteed contracts and compete for a 15-man roster spot.

It’s possible one or more of the players at Dallas’ mini-camp this week will make a strong enough impression to earn a camp invite. As Shaw notes, some of the mini-camp participants could also be invited to join the Mavericks’ Summer League team next month.

It’s worth noting that even after agreeing to trade four players for Christian Wood, the Mavs don’t project to have a ton of open 15-man roster spots for 2022/23. Dallas will have nine players on guaranteed salaries, plus Maxi Kleber and Frank Ntilikina on non-guaranteed contracts. Jalen Brunson and Theo Pinson are free agents, but the team reportedly wants to bring back both. If all of those players return, it would leave just two openings on the Mavs’ standard regular season roster.

Lakers Sign Sekou Doumbouya To Two-Way Deal, Waive Jay Huff

The Lakers have made a change to one of their two-way contract slots, announcing today that they’ve signed forward Sekou Doumbouya to a two-way deal and waived big man Jay Huff.

Doumbouya began the season on a two-way contract with the Lakers, but was waived in November while he was recovering from a foot injury. At the time, Los Angeles brought in Chaundee Brown to fill Doumbouya’s two-way slot. Brown has since been replaced by Mason Jones, while Doumbouya is now taking Huff’s spot.

Doumbouya, 21, was the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft and spent the first two years of his NBA career in Detroit. However, he struggled to score efficiently during his time with the Pistons, averaging 5.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG on .384/.254/.691 shooting in 94 games (17.3 MPG).

The Pistons sent Doumbouya to the Nets in their DeAndre Jordan trade during the 2021 offseason, and the young forward was subsequently flipped to the Rockets, who waived him. In the month he spent with the Lakers earlier this season, Doumbouya averaged 7.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG in two appearances (8.0 MPG).

Huff, who caught on with the Lakers after going undrafted out of Virginia, logged just 20 total minutes with the team across four games. At the G League level, he recorded 10.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 2.3 BPG in eight games (22.1 MPG) for the South Bay Lakers.

Lakers Sign Jay Huff To Two-Way Contract

The Lakers have signed rookie free agent big man Jay Huff to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release.

A 7’1″ forward/center, Huff spent his college career at Virginia and was a full-time starter for the first time as a senior in 2020/21. He averaged 13.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 2.6 BPG with a stellar .585/.387/.837 shooting line in 25 games (27.0 MPG). Huff, who won a national title in 2019, made the All-ACC Second Team and the ACC All-Defensive Team in 2021.

After going undrafted in July, Huff caught on with the Wizards, signing an Exhibit 10 deal with the team in August and playing for Washington in both the Las Vegas Summer League and the preseason. He was cut last week, with the Wizards probably hoping he’d play for the Capital City Go-Go, their G League affiliate. Instead, Huff has caught on with another NBA team.

Huff is the fourth player the Lakers have signed to a two-way contract already since the new league year began in August. The team initially inked Austin Reaves and Joel Ayayi to two-way deals, but later promoted Reaves to the standard roster and released Ayayi. Sekou Doumbouya took Reaves’ two-way slot and now Huff has replaced Ayayi.

The Lakers still have an open spot on their 15-man roster.

Wizards Cut Jay Huff, Jordan Schakel

The Wizards removed a pair of players from their preseason roster, announcing today (via Twitter) that they’ve waived Jay Huff and Jordan Schakel.

A 7’1″ forward/center, Huff spent his college career at Virginia and was a full-time starter for the first time as a senior in 2020/21. He averaged 13.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 2.6 BPG with a stellar .585/.387/.837 shooting line in 25 games (27.0 MPG). Huff, who won a national title in 2019, made the All-ACC Second Team and the ACC All-Defensive Team in 2021.

The 6’6″ Schakel averaged 14.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, and 1.0 SPG on .473/.461/.908 shooting in his final college season at San Diego State in ’20/21. The 23-year-old was named to the All-Mountain West Second Team and to the Mountain West All-Tournament Team.

Both players had signed Exhibit 10 contracts with Washington as undrafted free agents and now appear on track to join the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards’ G League affiliate.

Wizards Sign Jay Huff To Exhibit 10 Contract

The Wizards have officially signed undrafted rookie free agent Jay Huff to a one-year contract, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Fred Katz of The Athletic previously reported that the deal will be a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract.

A 7’1″ forward/center, Huff spent his college career at Virginia and was a full-time starter for the first time as a senior in 2020/21. He averaged 13.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 2.6 BPG with a stellar .585/.387/.837 shooting line in 25 games (27.0 MPG).

Huff, who won a national title in 2019, made the All-ACC Second Team and the ACC All-Defensive Team in 2021.

Washington has also reportedly agreed to sign former Saint Louis guard Jordan Goodwin to an Exhibit 10, but there’s no indication that deal is official yet.

Wizards To Sign Jay Huff, Jordan Goodwin To Exhibit 10 Deals

The Wizards are signing undrafted free agents Jay Huff and Jordan Goodwin to Exhibit 10 contracts, according to a pair of reports from Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter links).

A 7’1″ forward/center, Huff spent his college career at Virginia and was a full-time starter for the first time as a senior in 2020/21. He averaged 13.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 2.6 BPG with a stellar .585/.387/.837 shooting line in 25 games (27.0 MPG). Huff, who won a national title in 2019, made the All-ACC Second Team and the ACC All-Defensive Team in 2021.

As for Goodwin, the 6’3″ guard averaged a double-double in back-to-back years for Saint Louis, including 14.5 PPG and 10.1 RPG in 21 games (33.1 MPG) this past season. Goodwin’s shot (.430/.314/.643) is inconsistent, but he’s a decent play-maker (3.9 APG) and made the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive team twice in 2020 and 2021.

An Exhibit 10 contract can be converted into a two-way or standard NBA deal if a team decides it wants to keep a player around beyond training camp. It can also ensure a player receives a bonus worth up to $50K if he ends up joining his team’s G League affiliate, so it’s possible Huff and/or Goodwin eventually play for the Capital City Go-Go.

Southeast Workouts: Wizards, Magic, Hornets, Hawks

The Wizards worked out six draft prospects today, and there are four more scheduled for tomorrow, according to team announcements. Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey, Texas’ Greg Brown III, and Isaiah Todd, of the G League Ignite, headlined today’s workouts, along with Jay Huff, Blake Francis, and Colbey Ross.

Tomorrow’s slate of workouts will include Troy Baxter Jr., Obadiah Noel, Jamorko Pickett, and Devontae Shuler.

We have more draft workout news from around the Southeast Division:

  • Corey Kispert, the sharp-shooting senior out of Gonzaga, worked out today for the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The 6’6″ guard/forward would fill a much-needed role for a Magic team that is well-stocked at some positions but still low on shooters.
  • The Hornets worked out potential lottery pick Jalen Johnson today, according to a tweet from the team. Johnson had a turbulent year at Duke, and eventually withdrew from the program, but came in with a high pedigree and an intriguing point-forward skillset.
  • Ruot Monyyong, out of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will work out for the Hawks on Wednesday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The 6’10 big man was the 2019/20 All-Sun Defensive Player of the Year.