Following the NBA Draft in June, the Los Angeles Lakers quickly signed a number of undrafted rookies to participate on their Summer League team. One of the more intriguing names was former North Carolina point guard Joel Berry II.
A three-year starter with the Tar Heels, Berry was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2017, leading North Carolina to the National Championship. Despite a stellar career with the Tar Heels, Berry’s non-flashy game and lack of elite physical tools kept him from getting drafted.
While that disappointed Berry, his mood quickly changed once the Lakers came calling after the draft. In an interview with HoopsHype’s Drew Ruiz, Berry spoke about his excitement at joining another prestigious organization:
“When Magic [Johnson] called me that night of the draft and [spoke of] how they wanted me on their summer league team. … For me to go from one prestigious program in Carolina to a prestigious NBA organization, that’s what I’m about being a part of the best with the Lakers organization. It doesn’t get any better than that with the players that have gone through that organization. When I made that decision, I was really excited about it.”
Unfortunately for Berry, an ankle injury prevented him from participating in Summer League, but that didn’t stop the Lakers from inviting him to training camp.
Berry’s chances of making the Lakers roster seem pretty slim as the team already has 15 guaranteed contracts. Additionally, both of their two-way contracts are filled as well with Travis Wear recently being the recipient of the second.
Nonetheless, Berry will look to defy the odds in training camp. While it is most likely he could end up on the team’s G League affiliate, Berry will do everything possible to catch the eye of the front office and coaches with this opportunity.
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