Hours after not being selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, former Rutgers star Caleb McConnell has signed an Exhibit-10 contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The deal is a one-year, minimum-salary NBA deal that allows the franchise to convert the contract to a two-way contract if that change is made before the start of the regular season. He’s expected to play on the OKC summer league team in the hopes of solidifying his place in the organization.
McConnell was one of 64 players invited to play in Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April. In three games overall, McConnell averaged 12.3 points on 55.2% shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 31.0 minutes per contest.
In addition, Caleb McConnell competed at the G League Elite Camp in May.
While McConnell impressed scouts throughout the NBA draft process with his defense, questions remain on his ability to consistently make shots. His potential to stick in the league in the near and long term future will likely be determined by his shooting.
The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year Award winner averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 steals in 31.7 minutes per game last season for Rutgers. He shot 45.8% from two-point range, 20.3% from three-point range and 65.0% from the foul line. He finished his Rutgers career as the program’s all-time steals leader with 221, passing the great Eddie Jordan (220) in his final game.
McConnell marks the second straight year that a former Rutgers player under head coach Steve Pikiell has signed an NBA deal. Last year, Ron Harper Jr. signed a two-way deal with the Toronto Raptors. He played in nine NBA games while also shining in 29 games for the organization’s G League affiliate 905 Raptors.
Now a professional basketball player, McConnell’s contributions in making Rutgers a winning program during his career will never be forgotten.
Hopefully, McConnell can stick with the Thunder and exceed expectations like he has throughout his basketball career.
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