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Pelicans' Summer Roster Features Wide Array of Backgrounds
July 3, 2014
Six players with official NBA experience will headline the New Orleans Pelicans’ summer league team, which begins play in Las Vegas on July 11. Included among that group is a 10-year NBA veteran and three players who spent at least part of last season with the Pelicans. The roster mix also includes the son of a current NBA referee. Here’s a closer look at the team’s roster:
LUKE BABBITT: Signed in February after playing overseas in Russia, the sharp-shooting forward played in 27 regular season games for the Pelicans, including two starts. The former Portland first-round pick previously played three full seasons for the Trail Blazers.
JAMES SOUTHERLAND: The swingman scored 10 points in his Pelicans debut on April 11 at Oklahoma City, just his second official NBA game. Southerland appeared in three of New Orleans’ final four games, after widespread injuries drastically reduced its number of available players.
JEFF WITHEY: The 39th overall draft pick in 2013, Withey played more as his rookie season progressed, culminating in two mid-April starts in wins over Oklahoma City and Houston. Overall, the Kansas product appeared in 58 games. This is his second straight year on the Pelicans’ summer roster.
RUSS SMITH: The 47th overall pick of last week’s draft, the Louisville guard will immediately get an opportunity to compete against other pros. Nicknamed “Russdiculous” by college coach Rick Pitino, Smith has been an entertaining player on and off the court, as well as an NCAA champion.
CAMERON AYERS: The 2013-14 Patriot League Player of the Year is a guard from Bucknell who averaged 15.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Bison. Ayers also shot 40.8 percent from three-point range and 85.8 percent from the foul line. He’s the son of Pelicans assistant coach Randy Ayers.
DREW CRAWFORD: A Northwestern product, the 6-foot-5 guard was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2010 and was All-Conference Third Team in both 2012 and 2014. He was scheduled to complete his college career in 2012-13, but had season-ending shoulder surgery. He’s the son of NBA referee Dan Crawford.
PATRIC YOUNG: The burly big man from the University of Florida, who has drawn comparisons to players like DeJuan Blair, was projected by many to be selected in the June 26 draft, but was not picked. Young averaged 11.0 points and 6.2 rebounds in 2013-14, helping lead the Gators to the Final Four.
JOSH HOWARD: With 10 NBA seasons under his belt, the 34-year-old forward will likely be the most experienced player in Las Vegas on any of the 24 teams. He played in the D-League last season, in an attempt to get back to the NBA. Howard started for the 2005-06 Mavericks team that reached the NBA Finals.
DEQUAN JONES: The 6-foot-8 forward played for the Orlando Magic during the 2012-13 season, appearing in 63 games, including 17 starts. He spent last season in the D-League with the Reno Bighorns, averaging 13.7 points and 4.8 rebounds. He shot 40.6 percent from three-point range.
SAMARDO SAMUELS: The Louisville product played for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first three seasons of the post-LeBron James era, totaling 109 appearances and 11 starts. The rugged interior player has averaged 3.4 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game in the NBA. He played in Italy last season.
JOSH CARTER: The former Texas A&M standout has played professionally overseas since 2009, after becoming the winningest player in Aggies program history. The swingman played for Montepaschi Siena of the Italian League in 2013-14.
COURTNEY FELLS: The Mississippi native is a shooting guard who played in college at North Carolina State. He has played overseas since 2009, but was one of the final cuts in San Antonio Spurs training camp last October. He has also played in the D-League for the Austin Toros.
ABDUL GADDY: Undrafted in 2013, the University of Washington guard spent last season in the D-League with the Maine Red Claws, averaging 9.0 points and a team-leading 5.0 assists. He recorded a triple-double in a March game vs. Austin.