Sir’Jabari Rice

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Lively, Irving, Rice

Dillon Brooks was determined to beat his former team. The Rockets wing got his wish as they downed the Grizzlies on Friday night, 103-96, with Brooks scoring 26 points in 40 minutes.

“He had 24 of his 26 after the half. He stepped it up offensively,” Rockets head cach Ime Udoka told Kelly Iko of The Athletic and other media members. “He hit a big shot late, but his aggressiveness and scoring was needed in the second half. It felt like the group galvanized around him.”

Brooks’ career with Memphis ended on a sour note, but Houston wanted his edgy attitude and defensive prowess enough to sign him to a four-year, $86MM contract in free agency.

“It’s a lot of emotion. A lot of things I’ve been holding in and just wanted to release for this time,” he said. “It just felt good with my people in the arena, watching me play. It just felt good.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks rookie center Dereck Lively sprained his left ankle against Portland on Saturday night. He’s in a walking boot and won’t play against Denver on Monday, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). Lively has started in 22 of 23 games.
  • Mavericks star guard Kyrie Irving will also miss Monday’s contest, Townsend adds in another tweet. He’s been out since Dec. 8 due to a right heel contusion.
  • The Spurs’ NBA G League team in Austin has acquired the rights to undrafted rookie guard Sir’Jabari Rice, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. He was on a two-way deal until being placed on waivers Thursday to make room for guard David Duke Jr. Rice didn’t appear in an NBA game before being waived.

Spurs Waive Rice, Sign Duke To Two-Way Deal

8:20pm: The Spurs have officially signed Duke and waived Rice, according to a press release from the team.

3:43pm: The Spurs plan to sign David Duke Jr. to a two-way contract, agent Todd Ramasar tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

San Antonio is waiving Sir’Jabari Rice to make room for Duke, reports ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (via Twitter). That move is official, per’s transaction log.

Duke spent the past two seasons with the Nets on two-way deals prior to being converted to a standard contract in April. The former Providence guard averaged 4.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 45 games with Brooklyn from 2021-23, shooting 40.3% from the floor in 12.6 minutes per contest.

Duke, 24, inked an Exhibit 10 deal with the Sixers for training camp and was waived before the ’23/24 season began. He’s been playing for their G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.

Rice, who went undrafted in June’s draft, spent four college seasons at New Mexico State before transferring to Texas for his super-senior year in 2022/23. The 6’4″ guard appeared in 38 games for the Longhorns last season, averaging 13.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG on .464/.371/.863 shooting.

Rice has yet to appear in an NBA game. He’s been playing for San Antonio’s G League affiliate in Austin to open his rookie season.

Spurs Sign Sir’Jabari Rice To Two-Way Deal

JULY 5: The Spurs have officially signed Rice to his two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release.

JUNE 23: The Spurs have agreed to sign undrafted rookie free agent Sir’Jabari Rice to a two-way contract, agent Corey Barker tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Rice spent four college seasons at New Mexico State before transferring to Texas for his super-senior year in 2022/23. The 6’4″ guard appeared in 38 games for the Longhorns in 2022/23, averaging 13.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG on .464/.371/.863 shooting.

Rice ranks 17th on ESPN’s list of prospects who didn’t get drafted on Thursday.

With teams permitted to carry up to three players on two-way deals in 2023/24, the Spurs will still have a pair of open two-way slots after agreeing to sign Rice.

Draft Notes: Pacers, Hawks, Kalkbrenner, Harrison, Bates

Ricky Council IV (Arkansas), Nikola Djurisic (Serbia), Tevian Jones (Southern Utah), Darius McGhee (Liberty), Jordan Miller (Miami) and Keisei Tominaga (Nebraska) will work out for the Pacers on Tuesday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Council, ranked No. 56 on ESPN’s Best Available list, and Djurisic (No. 59) are the highest-rated players visiting Indianapolis.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe (No. 75) headlines the group of six prospects that the Hawks will evaluate on Tuesday, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. Overtime Elite’s Jazian Gortman, North Carolina’s Leaky Black, UAB’s Trey Jemison, TCU’s Emanuel Miller and Texas’ Sir’Jabari Rice will join him.
  • Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner is withdrawing from the draft and returning to school, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein tweets. Kalkbrenner was considered a second-round prospect, ranking No. 62 on ESPN’s list.
  • Grand Canyon’s Rayshon Harrison is also returning to school, Rothstein adds in another tweet.
  • Eastern Michigan’s Emoni Bates interviewed well at the combine, which boosted his stock and made a lot of teams take a closer look at him, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Bates is considered a second-round prospect (No. 57).

Draft Notes: Wembanyama, Henderson, Combine, Roach

Victor Wembanyama will be the grand prize at Tuesday’s draft lottery, so Brian Windhorst and Jonathan Givony of ESPN took a look at the decade-long development of the French phenom. Long before he grew into a 7’5″ international star, Wembanyama was considered a special prospect even at age eight. The authors cite a YouTube video in which he intercepts a pass in a 2012 game and covers about 30 feet in two dribbles before laying the ball into the basket.

Wembanyama grew up in an athletic family near Paris with his mother playing basketball professionally before becoming a youth coach and his father competing as a long jumper. Wembanyama also learned the game from Karim Boubekri, a coach who developed his strategies by watching Pete Maravich and the AND1 Mixtape stars. That brought a level of creativity to Wembanyama’s game that he was determined to preserve, even if it meant battling with his coaches.

“I was probably born with that will to do things differently and do things my way,” he said. “I’m really glad I kept that willpower, to not (let) sometimes coaches put me in a box. That’s really an everyday fight.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • G League guard Scoot Henderson, who’s a strong candidate to be taken second overall, is receiving assistance from Stephen Curry‘s training team as he prepares for his NBA future, writes Janie McCauley of The Associated Press. Henderson and his sister Moochie, who will play at Georgia State, have partnered with Curry’s company, SC30 Inc. “Just getting this early training and early knowledge from Steph mentoring me and the people around him, it’s a blessing,” Scoot Henderson said. “Me just turning 19, just getting that knowledge early, it’s really cool.”
  • Wembanyama and Henderson occupy the top two spots in the latest mock draft issued by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Brandon Miller, Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson round out the top five.
  • With the NBA Draft Combine starting today, eight players have been called up from the G League Elite Camp, Givony tweets. They are Jazian Gortman of Overtime Elite, Sir’Jabari Rice of Texas, Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall of Clemson, Johni Broome of Auburn, Tosan Evbuomwan of Princeton, Kendric Davis of Memphis and Dillon Jones of Weber State.
  • Jeremy Roach has elected to pull his name out of the draft and return to Duke for another season, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. Roach wasn’t listed on ESPN’s big board and was considered unlikely to be drafted.

50 Prospects Reportedly Invited To G League Elite Camp

A total of 50 prospects for the 2023 NBA draft have been invited to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of Forbes and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter links).

Those players are as follows:

The name of the G League Elite Camp is a bit of a misnomer — when first introduced, the event showcased NBAGL players, but the field of participants now consists exclusively of draft prospects. The event will take place on May 13 and 14 in Chicago, ahead of this year’s draft combine.

Like the combine, the Elite Camp brings young players to Chicago to meet NBA teams and participate in drills and scrimmages. While the combine focuses on the top prospects in a given draft class, the Elite Camp generally features prospects who are trying to break into that upper echelon of prospects but are more likely to go undrafted. The top performers at the event typically receive invites to the combine.

Of the 50 G League Elite Camp invitees, 15 show up on Jonathan Givony’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects at However, no Elite Camp invitee ranks higher than No. 58 (Hart) on ESPN’s board.

The G League Elite Camp will give the invitees who declared for the draft as early entrants an opportunity to see where they stand ahead of the draft withdrawal deadline on May 31. Not all of the players who participate in this event will remain in the draft pool.

Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers guard Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.