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Poythress joins Magic for NBA Summer League

By Jimmy Trodglen

Editor

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Alex Poythress waited through 60 NBA Draft picks to hear his name, only to be subjected to a disappointing night in Brooklyn.

The former Kentucky forward, who was Class AAA Mr. Basketball his senior year at Northeast, was projected to be a late second round pick and become the fourth Kentucky player selected during the annual draft.

Poythress waited, only to never hear his name called.

Poythress wasn’t selected Thursday, a draft that witnessed 14 international players chosen among the 60 picked. However, that doesn’t mean Poythress’ prospects of playing in the NBA were erased.

Poythress signed with the Orlando Magic during the NBA Summer League, according to multiple media reports Friday afternoon.

Jonathan Givony with DraftExpress was the first to report on Twitter that Poythress would sign with the Magic for the summer league. Now Poythress has another platform to prove he would be a valuable commodity for a NBA team.

Poythress worked out with 11 NBA teams leading up to the draft, and online reports indicated the 6-foot-8 forward left an impression good enough to validate a team taking a chance on a talent who rallied after an ACL injury sidelined him for much of his junior season.

Following Thursday’s draft, UK coach John Calipari tweeted Poythress had made significant strides from his knee injury.

“Although Alex didn’t get drafted, I’m proud of the position he’s put himself in after what he went through a year and a half ago,” Calipari tweeted.

Calipari also tweeted Poythress could follow the same path of another former Wildcat.

“I’m confident Alex will get a contract like Aaron Harrison last season,” Calipari said in a Tweet.

Harrison left UK early for the NBA Draft, but was never picked. He was signed by the Charlotte Hornets during the ’15 NBA Summer League, then played in the NBA Developmental League before playing in 21 games with the Hornets during his rookie season.

Poythress, who graduated from Kentucky in three years and was a CoSIDA Academic All-American, averaged 10.2 points and 6.0 rebounds his senior season.

Only eight games into his junior season, Poythress went down with an ACL injury in his left knee. Poythress was named to the All-SEC Freshman team when he averaged 11.2 points and 6 rebounds.

In his four seasons at UK, Poythress was a starter and sixth man. He played in 112 games, scored 966 points and had 597 career rebounds.

Coming out of Northeast, Poythress was a McDonald’s All-American and the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year.

Jimmy Trodglen, editor, Twitter@Tnsports360.com