New Orleans’ 2008 NBA Summer League squad will include 13 players, including Hornets veterans Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright. The club’s 2007 second-round pick, Adam Haluska, is also on the roster.
Including Armstrong and Wright, a total of five summer-league Hornets have suited up during an official NBA regular season game. Here is a brief look at each of the 13 players:
Hilton Armstrong (Connecticut): The No. 12 overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, he is trying to prove that he deserves the backup center role behind Tyson Chandler. The 6-foot-11 two-year veteran was the primary reserve center during the latter portion of the 2007-08 regular season, as well as the first round of the playoffs vs. Dallas, but he fell out of the rotation in the West semifinals and was inactive for Game 7 vs. San Antonio. This looms as a big offseason.
Julian Wright (Kansas): The No. 13 overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, he finished 2007-08 on the upswing. Wright was in and out of the rotation for the first four months of the regular season, but made nice contributions off the bench beginning in early March. Byron Scott has emphasized the importance of Wright continuing to improve his outside shot. He already is the best athlete on the team and has displayed an excellent basketball IQ.
DRAFTED BUT NO NBA EXPERIENCE
Adam Haluska (Iowa): The No. 43 overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, he was on the New Orleans roster prior to his being traded to Houston in February, but never appeared in an official NBA regular season game. After being waived by the Rockets, Haluska played 11 games for Iowa in the D-League and put up solid numbers. The Iowa native averaged 18.7 points and 4.7 rebounds, highlighted by a 38-point game vs. Dakota on April 3.
Derrick Byars (Vanderbilt): The No. 42 overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, the Hornets were high on his ability, but he was selected one spot before their second-round choice. The shooting guard was picked by Portland, but traded on draft night to Philadelphia. The 76ers cut him in October, after Byars made one appearance during preseason.
NBA EXPERIENCE ON OTHER TEAMS
Ndudi Ebi (Westbury Christian HS, Texas): The No. 26 overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by Minnesota, he appeared in a total of 19 games for the Timberwolves over two seasons. He also has experience in the D-League and played in Israel in 2007-08.
Frank Williams (Illinois): The No. 25 overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft by New York, he played a total of 86 NBA games over three seasons for the Knicks and Bulls. He’s a 6-foot-3 combo guard who did not shoot the ball well enough to cement a spot in the league. Williams’ most recent season on an NBA roster was 2004-05.
Courtney Sims (Michigan): A 6-11 center, he appeared in three games for the Indiana Pacers during the 2007-08 season after going undrafted. He later joined Haluska in the D-League as a member of the Iowa Energy.
NO NBA EXPERIENCE
Brandon Bowman (Georgetown): Went undrafted in 2006. A 6-9 small forward who played two seasons in the D-League, then moved on to Italian professional league.
Bobby Brown (Cal State-Fullerton): The all-time leading scorer in his school’s history, the 6-1 point guard went undrafted in 2007. He worked out for the Hornets on the same day as Nick Young, who was a first-round pick of the Washington Wizards.
Dalron Johnson (UNLV): Went undrafted in 2003. Played in Turkey last season.
Larry Owens (Oral Roberts): A 6-9 forward who went undrafted in 2006. Incidentally, he worked out for the Hornets on the same day as 2006 first-round picks Armstrong and Cedric Simmons.
Shaun Pruitt (Illinois): A 6-10 center who went undrafted in 2008. Averaged 12.6 points and 7.3 rebounds at Illinois during his senior season.
Filip Videnov (Western Kentucky): A native of Bulgaria, he played in Italy last season. He’s a 6-foot-5, 28-year-old shooting guard whose senior season at Western Kentucky was 2002-03.