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Caleb McConnell shines in second NBA Summer League game



Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

In his second NBA Summer League appearance on Thursday night, former Rutgers star Caleb McConnell had a standout performance. He played to his strengths in being very active on the defensive end and making winning plays in the 100-91 win for the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Philadelphia 76ers.

McConnell finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block in 14 minutes of action. He was 4 of 10 from the floor, including 50% from two-point range and had just 1 turnover. His =/- of 8 was the second best on the team.

In this highlight, McConnell’s ferocious block led to points in transition for OKC.

McConnell played within himself in the halfcourt offense and made a smart play that lead to an easy bucket.

This was a McConnell special with the steal and score in transition. His hook shot showcased the work he’s been putting in on the offensive end.

The strong performance followed a Wednesday night debut in which McConnell finished with a rebound, an assist, and a block in 8 minutes. His best play was a blocked shot. Both blocks in the summer league came on McConnell coming from the help side to make the play.

McConnell did not play in the opening game for OKC.

It should be no surprise that McConnell is excelling on the defensive end in his two appearances. It’s not just about steals and blocks, but his understanding of team defense, his awareness and anticipation skills, as well as playing with a high motor.

McConnell is also drawing attention of the Thunder beat writers. Here was a high praise tweet from Brandon Rahbar of The Daily Thunder.


And this was from Rylan Stiles, another credentialed media member for the Thunder.

Following June’s NBA Draft, McConnell signed an Exhibit-10 contract with Oklahoma City. Doing well this week is critical to McConnell gaining more security and being retained by the Thunder. Thursday night’s performance certainly warranted serious consideration and was noticed by General Manager Sam Presti. It’s nice to see the Thunder media seeing the value that the two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year brings on the court.

I’ll update his progress as the Summer League continues. The first three games were in Salt Lake City, Utah. The next set of games move to Las Vegas.

Oklahoma City has at least four games remaining with a playoff games to follow. The league holds the Championship game on July 17. McConnell will next be in action on Saturday, July 8 when the Thunder take on the Dallas Mavericks on ESPN2.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. RUinChiTown

    July 9, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    Great to see another RU star doing well on the G-League summer games.

    But, does his strong D alone translate to the NBA?

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