Each May, droves of potential draft prospects make their way to the Windy City, itching to showcase their talents and abilities to scouts, coaches and front office execs. You might be thinking of the Draft Combine, but what happens when you don’t get an invite?
Jose Alvarado, Terance Mann, Max Strus, Oshae Brissett and Mac McClung. None of ’em got an invite, initially. They earned it, though, after showing out at the G League’s Elite Camp.
On May 16-17, 44 prospects will participate in 5-on-5 scrimmages and strength and agility drills hoping for an invite to the combine later in the week.
LSU’s Shareef O’Neal, Kansas’ Davis McCormack and UNC’s Brady Manek are among those expected to attend with the hopes of following in the same path the big steppers named above did in their journey to the L.
Here are some of the G League’s Elite Camp biggest success stories.
“Grand Theft” Alvarado, who attended the camp in 2021, took the NBA by storm this season, but before then, the electric 6-foot guard was just another undrafted player, albeit one with the ACC DPOY award. After signing a two-way deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, it took just five games for the team to call Alvarado up from the Birmingham Squadron, where he was averaging 19.8 points and 3.4 swipes per game. His 11 games with 3-plus steals and the two forced 8-second violations he had on Point God Chris Paul in the 2022 playoffs has not only made Alvarado a fan favorite in NOLA but across the entire L. And now, the Elite Camp alum has a well-deserved four-year guaranteed contract to show for it.
In 2019, Terance Mann’s phone was on 1% as he headed to the airport, going home after not being invited to the Draft Combine despite showing out at the G League Elite Camp. As he was preparing to check his bag, the 23-year-old looked down at his phone and saw a number he didn’t recognize. It was the NBA, calling to tell him to turn back around so he could take part in the Combine after all. Now coming off his third year in the League, the FSU product averaged 10.8 points and 5.2 boards for the Clippers, showcasing flashes of brilliance and growth as a secondary option, highlighted by back-to-back 20-pieces in February.
Former undrafted DePaul prospect Max Strus is lighting it up for the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semis. The third-year sharpshooter was able to showcase his scintillating skills for scouts during the Elite Camp in 2019. In 23 minutes per game, Strus is averaging 10.3 points on 41 percent shooting from downtown, knocking down nearly three trey balls a night. The definition of an unphased shooter, Strus shot 50 percent from three with defenders within two feet of him and now remains a vital part of the Heat’s championship run.
Before he was flying through the air in Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Oshae Brissett signed with the Toronto Raptors as a two-way player, averaging 14.7 points and 6.5 boards for the Raptors 905 G League squad. Starting the 2021-22 campaign with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (the Pacers’ G League affiliate), the undrafted prospect out of Syracuse was ultimately given the opportunity to sign with the Pacers for the remainder of the season, where he proved a force to be reckoned with in the paint, dropping 27 points and 6 boards in a late February win over the Celtics and 28 and 8 in their final game of the season.
An undrafted guard out of Texas Tech and now the reigning G League Rookie of the Year, Mac McClung showcased his top-tier athleticism and dawg mentality to scouts and coaches at last year’s Elite Camp. After averaging 21.7 points and 7.7 dimes while swiping 1.4 steals per game in the G League, the rookie signed a two-way deal with the Lakers, appearing in their season finale, where he tallied 6 points, 3 boards and a signature reverse throw-down.
Follow along on G League (@nbagleague) and SLAM socials for details on players throughout Elite Camp, storylines and stream info.
Photos via Getty Images.