Jabari Walker leads the way among former CU Buffs in NBA Summer League

Jabari Walker played well above his slotting as the next-to-last pick in last month’s NBA Draft.

Yet Walker wasn’t the only former Colorado basketball star who enjoyed a few stellar showings during the NBA Summer League.

The summer slate came to a conclusion on Sunday as Walker, a second-round pick (57th overall) of Portland, capped his professional excursion with a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double in a Trail Blazers win against the New York Knicks.

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It was the second double-double for Walker in five Summer League games. Walker made his professional debut on July 7 and went 5-for-5 with 11 points and seven rebounds in just 15 minutes off the bench. Walker’s previous double-double also occurred against the Knicks on July 11, as he went 6-for-8 with 16 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Walker clearly displayed pro-level skills during his two seasons at CU, posting a career 3-point percentage of .399 and leading the Pac-12 Conference in rebounding during the 2021-22 season (9.4). Walker was considered a fringe draft prospect and was omitted from many reputable mock drafts, but the Chauncey Billups-led Trail Blazers gave Walker an opportunity late in the second round. During the Summer League, Walker, who turns 20 on July 30, certainly took advantage of that opportunity.

In five Summer League games, Walker averaged 12.4 points and 9.0 rebounds. He shot .629 overall from the field (22-for-35) with a 6-for-14 mark on 3-pointers. Walker also went 12-for-15 at the free throw line and recorded five blocked shots along with five steals. Walker’s career turnover total at CU (104) was nearly double his assist total (54), but he managed to reverse that in his first five pro games, recording seven assists against four turnovers.

Walker’s former Buffs teammate McKinley Wright IV also enjoyed a few solid performances in the Summer League. Playing for Phoenix after he was not retained by Minnesota, Wright started all five Summer League games for the Suns, averaging 8.4 points, 5.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds. Wright shot just .389 from the floor (3-for-9 on 3-pointers) with an assist-to-turnover rate of 2.3.

After playing sparingly in four of the first five games for Sacramento, former CU forward Jeriah Horne ended his Summer League run with a flourish on Sunday, going 8-for-15 with 20 points, four rebounds and three assists against Houston. Horne recorded just 16 total points while going 6-for-17 in his four previous summer appearances for the Kings.

Tyler Bey, a second-round pick out of CU in 2020, played in five Summer League games for Philadelphia. Bey posted his strongest outing of the summer last week against Miami, going 4-for-4 from the floor and 5-for-6 at the free throw line to score 14 points in 17 minutes. Overall in five games, Bey averaged 4.8 points and 3.2 rebounds while recording a .538 field goal percentage (7-for-13).

Former Buffs forward George King played alongside Walker for Portland, scoring six points over three appearances off the bench. King struggled to a 2-for-11 mark. Colorado Springs native D’Shawn Schwartz appeared in just one of five games for the Knicks, recording two points on a pair of free throws with two steals in four minutes against Chicago on July 10.

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