UNCs Meeks makes most of NBA summer opportunity

The undrafted free agent leaves Las Vegas having scored in double figures in three of his four summer league games and making a positive impression on Toronto Raptors coach Patrick Mutombo

NBA.com photo—NBA.com photo
Former UNC star Justin Jackson scored 29 points for the Sacramento Kings on Friday in their Las Vegas NBA Summer League consolation game win against the Phoenix Suns

Friday was consolation day at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League, where the teams already eliminated from the tournament playoff got one last chance to play and undrafted free agents got one final chance to show they deserve a regular roster spot. Or at the very least, an invitation to audition further at training camp. Of all the players with state college ties at the event, no one took better advantage of that final opportunity than North Carolina big man Kennedy Meeks. Seeing his most extensive playing time of the tournament — 27 minutes — the former Tar Heel put up 18 points and nine rebounds, along with three assists for the Toronto Raptors in their 78-75 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He even made a pair of 3-pointers, shots that would likely have made college coach Roy Williams cringe had he attempted them while still in Chapel Hill. Meeks leaves Vegas having scored in double figures in three of his four summer league games and making a positive impression on Raptors coach Patrick Mutombo. “He works hard,” Mutombo told Raptors.com. “He pays attention to detail. He’s smart and he has a good feel for the game.”Meeks’ national championship frontcourt mate Isaiah Hicks also finished the tournament on a high note by having his best game of the week for the Los Angeles Clippers. Hicks had 13 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 24 minutes of the Clippers’ 109-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Veteran teammates and fellow UNC alumni Brice Johnson and Kendall Marshall also played in the game for LA, with Johnson tallying 17 points and Marshall posting his second 11-assist game of the tournament. Campbell’s Eric Griffin stated his case for a full-time NBA job with 11 points and four rebounds for the Utah Jazz in a 97-76 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. UNC’s Marcus Paige had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Minnesota Timberwolves in their 80-73 victory against Washington. NC State’s C.J. Williams had had nine points while Davidson’s Jack Gibbs added seven points and seven assists in the game. The Timberwolves fourth state player, Duke’s Amile Jefferson, finished with three rebounds while being held scoreless. Also of note, Duke’s Matt Jones had three points and four rebounds for the Houston Rockets in their 92-85 loss to Atlanta. Another former Blue Devil, Ryan Kelly, scored eight points for the Hawks while UNC’s Nate Britt had a basket and two assists. Among the former state college stars drafted in the first round of this year’s draft, UNC’s Justin Jackson finished with a flourish by hitting for 29 points in the Sacramento Kings’ 93-87 win against Phoenix. The ACC Player of the Year also had four rebounds and three assists. One-and-done Tar Heel Tony Bradley bounced back from two down games in a row to finish with 19 points and eight rebounds in Utah’s win against Milwaukee, and Wake Forest’s John Collins wrapped up his tournament with seven points and five boards in just 17 minutes of Atlanta’s loss to Houston. The championship bracket of the tournament resumes Saturday with quarterfinal action, including a showdown between the Dallas Mavericks and NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr. against the Boston Celtics and Duke’s Jayson Tatum. Here are the cumulative stats for all state players participating in the Las Vegas Summer League:Brandon Ingram, Duke (Lakers): 1 game, 26.0 ppg, 9-17 FG, 1-4 3PT, 7-8 FT, 3.0 apg, 3.0 spgQuinn Cook, Duke (Pelicans): 5 G, 20.6 ppg, 43-74 FG, 8-16 3PT, 9-10 FT, 3.6 rpg, 4.8 apgDennis Smith, NC State (Mavs) 4 G, 20.0 ppg, 24-51 FG, 9-22 3PT, 23-31 FT, 6.3 rpg, 4.3 apgJayson Tatum, Duke (Celtics): 3 G, 17.7 ppg, 19-45 FG, 2-3 3PT, 13-15 FT, 8.0 rpgJohn Collins, Wake Forest (Hawks): 5 G, 15.4 ppg, 32-54 FG, 1-1 3PT, 13-18 FT, 9.2 rpgJustin Jackson, UNC (Kings): 6 G, 14.2 ppg, 27-73 FG, 6-29 3PT, 11-12 FT, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 apgBrice Johnson, UNC (Clippers): 4 G, 13.8 ppg, 22-40 FG, 11-15 FT, 5.0 rpg, 1.3 bpgMarcus Paige, UNC (T-wolves): 5 G, 12.4 ppg, 22-63 FG, 13-33 3PT, 5-6 FT, 2.8 rpg, 5.0 apgKennedy Meeks, UNC (Raptors): 4 G, 11.3 ppg, 20-36 FG, 3-8 3PT, 2-4 FT, 5.5 rpgC.J. Williams, NC State (T-wolves): 5 G, 10.9 ppg, 18-47 FG, 4-18 3PT, 14-17 FT, 2.8 rpgEric Griffin, Campbell (Jazz): 3 G, 10.7 ppg, 11-25 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-9 FT, 7.0 rpg, 4.0 bpgTony Bradley, UNC (Jazz): 5 G, 10.6 ppg, 25-48 FG, 3-4 FT, 6.6 rpg, 1.2 bpgRyan Kelly Duke (Hawks): 4 G, 10.0 ppg, 12-33 FG, 3-12 3PT, 13-19 FT, 2.8 rpgJack Gibbs, Davidson (T-wolves): 5 G, 9.2 ppg, 18-51 FG, 9-27 3PT, 3-6 FT, 3