Kaleb Tarczewski: From undrafted to playing for two NBA teams in the summer


Kaleb Tarczewski gets a chance in the NBA; we are still waiting to hear if Gabe York and Ryan Anderson get their shot as well.

Wildcats fans are dying to know, did any of our Arizona Basketball players get drafted? No, but Kaleb Tarczewski was signed by the Washington Wizards, oh and the Detroit Pistons may want him for NBA Summer League too!

Five Pac-12 players were drafted on Thursday night from three schools: No. 3 Jaylen Brown (Cal Bears), No. 8 Marquese Chriss (Washington Huskies), No. 9 Jakob Poeltl (Utah Utes), No. 29 Dejounte Murray (Huskies) and No. 60 Tyrone Wallace (Cal). Yes, no Wildcats.

Fans were very disappointed that their seasoned recent graduates and Arizona basketball players were snubbed in the NBA Draft in 2016. Last season we heard two Wildcats names called, Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

If a player doesn’t get drafted, the next possibility, of course, is to be signed by an NBA team and play in the NBA Summer League. If that doesn’t happen, playing overseas or at some point in the NBA D-League are also options.

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If you recall, our beloved point guard T.J. McConnell got his shot in Philadelphia to play summer league ball. McConnell ended up at the top of the rookies stats list in steals and assists in fewer minutes than fellow Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell. He also took on the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and made headlines.

After the NBA Draft was over, Twitter came alive with reports that Center Kaleb Tarczewski, who worked out for the Lakers and other NBA teams, signed with the Washington Wizards.

The Wizards did not have a pick in the draft, and they had five roster spots to fill, with a lot of cap space. Washington easily became the team targeting players that went undrafted. This was not lost on agents. Kaleb was signed along with Texas A&M’s Daniel House (also a college graduate) and Miami guard Sheldon McClellan.

Zeus will battle with the Wizards center from last year’s NBA Summer League team, Jaleel Roberts. The three rookies will be playing for a chance to be invited to the Wizards training camp and hopefully earn a roster spot. Washington is a 7 hour and 44 minute drive up the I-91 to where Kaleb grew up in Claremont, NH.

There were also reports on Twitter that Zeus may also be able to play for the Pistons’ team that will play in the Orlando section of the NBA Summer League (July 2-8). The Wizards will play from July 9-18 in Las Vegas. So it is feasible that he plays for both teams. Wonder the last time that has happened?

If Kaleb does indeed also play for Detroit, he may not be playing with his fellow Wildcat Stanley Johnson even though some think he will be. Johnson’s coach, Stan Van Gundy, was asked about whether Johnson was going to play in summer league, this is what he had to say:

"My concern, again, is I know Stanley’s mentality and I want him working on things he needs to work on. I don’t want to put him in situations where his concern is doing what he can do well right now to try to win that game. We’ve been through a season of that. He’s got great strengths in terms of his competitiveness and his defense, being able to guard multiple positions and all of that. This is a skill development summer."

I guess Stanley will be honing in on his skills this summer; Kaleb will be playing on two teams it seems, and we wait to find out if any NBA team needs a guard in Gabe York or a forward in Ryan Anderson or Mark Tollefsen. Eight International players were drafted in the first round on Thursday night, perhaps coming off the heels of Phil Jackson hitting pay dirt with 7-foot-3, European sensation Kristaps Porzingis.

must read: Arizona Basketball: Kaleb Tarczewski’s Top 5 Games

Next year, Terrance Ferguson could be one of those foreign players, but that would certainly be sad for Wildcats fans who have already fallen for him.