The NBA Summer League kicked off in Las Vegas, and players did whatever it took to crack a roster spot in the league.
Among the many young players were a handful of former San Diego State Aztecs hoops’ stars.
Trey Kell played with the Phoenix Suns squad. Recent graduates Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel played for the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings, respectively. Jeremy Castleberry and Malachi Flynn rounded out the remaining Aztecs to make appearances in Las Vegas.
Tuesday, the Summer League in Las Vegas concluded with Schakel’s Kings bringing home the title. Here is how the former Aztecs stars performed.
Kell departed from the Aztecs in 2018 and went undrafted. Since then, he starred overseas and earned an opportunity to showcase his talent on the NBA spectrum. In the first game with the Suns, Kell played just under 20 minutes and scored seven points while adding three rebounds and three assists.
The second game for Kell did not go as well. He played just under eight minutes and scored only three points with one board. The Suns as a whole scored only 57 points on the day against the Utah Jazz.
Kell was then a DNP-Coach Decision in the third game before returning for the fourth Suns’ matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. He scored two points on 1-5 from the field, including an 0-4 clip from beyond the arc. That would be the end of Kell’s run as he drew a DNP-Coach’s Decision once again in the final game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The opportunity was there for Kell, although he didn’t shoot the ball all that well in Vegas and will hope to earn a training camp invite.
Before the beginning of the Summer League, Matt Mithcell struck a deal overseas with SIG Strasbourg in France, putting his NBA aspirations on hold.
However, Mitchell was given an out clause and headed to join the San Antonio Spurs. In the Salt Lake City Summer League, Mitchell dropped 11 points in 19 minutes and looked the part.
Matt Mitchell finishes with 11 points in 19 minutes in his Spurs Summer League debut. 💪 pic.twitter.com/9zax3r4CMR
— Jon Schaeffer (@jonschaeffer) August 4, 2021
In Vegas, he did not dress. If Mitchell does not get an opportunity in training camp, he will head overseas and has a perfect chance to improve his game. Mitchell’s Old World team is one of the top clubs in Europe. It finished fourth in the 2020-2021 Basketball Champions League.
The former Aztecs star joined the Golden State Warriors for the California Classic Summer League in Sacramento. Schakel made a massive impression in just two games with the Warriors.
UDFA Summer League invite Jordan Schakel (22pts, 3rbs, 1stl, 8/16 FG, 6/11 3PT in 2 California Classic games) is a really intriguing sharpshooter.
San Diego St. Stats:
2017/18: 34.6% (27/78 3PT)
2018/19: 41.5% (44/106 3PT)
2019/20: 43.6% (71/163 3PT)
2020/21: 46.1% (83/180 3PT) pic.twitter.com/iOQLkqILYp
— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) August 6, 2021
His three-point shot was falling, and if he wants to stick around in the NBA, that will prove critical. For the Las Vegas Summer League, Schakel joined the Sacramento Kings.
Schakel didn’t suit up for the first game but did play in the second one against the Washington Wizards. He posted just four points and a pair of steals and went 0-5 from downtown. In the next game, Schakel put up seven points with four boards and a steal, playing nearly 14 minutes.
In his next game, Schakel made headlines with — he had a sweet alley-oop pass to Emanuel Terry. He finished the game with six points, four rebounds, and one Sportscenter Top Play (OR Something like that)
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) August 15, 2021
Schakel did not shoot as well in Vegas as in the California Classic, but he still showcased his playmaking ability. The Kings Summer League finale was in the title game, where they thrashed the Boston Celtics by a final score of 100-67.
Schakel played just north of 13 minutes and went scoreless on the evening with two boards and an assist. All in all, it appears that Schakel might have done enough to garner a training camp invite.
Malachi Flynn made his summer league debut this year. Building off his terrific end to the NBA season last year, Flynn was one of the stars of the Las Vegas Summer League.
In his first game, he went nuclear. The talented guard dropped 23 points on 8-13 from the field, including four three-pointers, and chipped in six boards.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 9, 2021
The second game did not favor Flynn as much. He put up 16 points but shot just 6-19 from the field and had six fouls in a loss to the Warriors.
He scored 13 points on another subpar shooting performance against the Houston Rockets, finishing 5-14 from the field and 2-7 from beyond the arc while turning the ball over four times.
Malachi Flynn with the quick cross as he attacks in transition and finishes the acrobatic lay! pic.twitter.com/BEqjxv2H7J
— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) August 15, 2021
The fourth game was arguably Flynn’s best statistical outing. He shot 5-13 from the field and 3-9 from downtown but finished with 15 points, ten rebounds, and seven assists, just a few shy of a triple-double. That would be Flynn’s final outing in Las Vegas, as he received a DNP-Coach’s Decision in their finale against the Brooklyn Nets.
As a whole, Flynn flashed his playmaking ability and his stellar defense, two things that will lead to big minutes as a part of Nick Nurse’s rotation in Toronto. With the departure of Kyle Lowry and questions regarding the future of Goran Dragic, there could be a significant role in Flynn’s future.
— NBA (@NBA) August 13, 2021
Jeremy Castleberry – Los Angeles Clippers
Castleberry made a coaching appearance with the Los Angeles Clippers. The former Aztec is currently part of Ty Lue’s staff with the Clippers– and Aztecs legend Kawhi Leonard. The two went to high school together, played at San Diego State together, and have been right next to each other in the NBA.
Castleberry spent a few years with the San Antonio Spurs, then went to the Toronto Raptors, and is now with the Clippers. Castleberry was also on the shortlist to replace Tim Shelton as an assistant with the Aztecs. He elected to stay in the NBA and finally got a chance to showcase his skills as the main man.
During the Clippers’ Summer League, they went just 1-4, although Castleberry left the players with many good impressions.
Jeremy Castleberry: "The biggest feedback I can give is you got to continue to do the things that got you there.
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) August 15, 2021
The Clippers did lose two of those four by a combined five points, so the competitiveness was evident from Castleberry’s squad in Vegas.