ESPN’s Chad Ford projected the 6’3”, 180-pound Texas point guard to land with the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 48 overall on Thursday night. Los Angeles didn’t select him. Neither did the next 12 teams, and the 20-year-old Canadian—ESPN’s 11th-ranked prospect in the 2011 recruiting class—went undrafted.
Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that, according to sources, Kabongo will play on the Heat’s summer league team.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reacted to the news, saying that Kabongo could be the steal which team president Pat Riley and scouting director Chet Kammerer were anticipating.
Kabongo finished his sophomore campaign averaging 14.6 points, 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. His final season with the Longhorns was shortened due to a 23-game suspension for unethical conduct and accepting benefits.
“Kabongo accepted airfare, personal training instruction and then provided false and misleading information during two separate interviews with university officials,” reads an excerpt from the NCAA’s official report.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski and Pat Forde reported that LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, faced NCAA investigation for allegedly breaking rules to call NBA front offices for Kabongo, according to sources.
Despite the floor general’s suspension, Ford still listed “great kid” as one of Kabongo’s strengths. His only weaknesses, according to the draft analyst, were his lack of size and his suspension. Ford even said after Kabongo declared for the draft that the point could’ve been a lottery pick if it weren’t for his suspension.
If Kabongo stays in Miami, he will have plenty of competition for playing time. The Heat’s rotation included five guards this postseason—Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Mike Miller—and all of them are scheduled to return to South Beach next season, with the possible exception of Allen. Fox Sports’ Chris Thomasson reported that the 37-year-old shooting guard is expected to utilize his player option to opt out of his contract, but still re-sign with Miami.
Kabongo’s opportunity to earn minutes could increase in the 2014-15 campaign, as Chalmers is an unrestricted free agent, Wade has an early termination option, and Miller has a player option next summer.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.
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