The Miami Heat will be looking at 24 prospects when Summer League play starts tomorrow in Orlando. Headlined by rookie forward James Ennis and reserve center Jarvis Varnado, the Heat’s summer roster has a number of interesting names that could become contributors for Miami in the future.
The Heat begins summer league play in Orlando on Sunday, July 7 and will play five games over six days. The Las Vegas team will compete in at least five games from July 13-22.
The team will be coached by Heat assistant coach and video coordinator Dan Craig. Last year’s second-round pick, former LSU center Justin Hamilton, will not play due to a hamstring injury.
12 players will participate in both Orlando and Las Vegas. Rookie forward Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State); guard Vincent Council (Providence); center LeRon Dendy (Middle Tennessee State); guard Larry Drew C 6-2 180 (UCLA); center Michael Dunigan (Oregon); Ennis (Long Beach State); forward Eric Griffin (Campbell); guard Scotty Hopson (Tennessee); guard Myck Kabongo (Texas); guard D.J. Kennedy (St. John’s); guard James Nunnally (Santa Barbara); and Varnado (Mississippi State), who was a reserve during the Heat’s championship run.
Four players that will participate in Orlando only. Guard Ian Clark (Belmont); center Dewayne Dedmon (USC); guard Cedric Jackson (Cleveland State); and guard/forward D.J. Stephens(Memphis).
The remaining eight players will be limited to Las Vegas competition. Guard Dwight Buycks (Marquette); guard J.R. Giddens (New Mexico); forward Jamelle Hagins (Delaware); forward Damion James (Texas); guard Travis Leslie (Georgia); guard Anthony Marshall (UNLV); guard Tony Taylor (George Washington) and forward/center Ricky Sanchez (IMG Academy/Puerto Rico), who the Heat acquired in last season’s trade of Dexter Pittman to Memphis.
In addition to headliners Varnado and Ennis; there are three additional names who have garned some attention. Kabongo surprisingly went undrafted. Our Jae Bradley talked about why the Canadian point guard could be the steal of the draft.
Another player who went undrafted is Jackie Carmichael who, at 6-9, 240 pounds, reminds me of a young Udonis Haslem. With Haslem nearing the last lap of his career, the Heat could stash Carmichael and allow him to develop into UD’s replacement.
The third guy is Memphis guard/forward D.J. Stephens. I recently completed my undergad at the University of Central Florida, which, along with Memphis, moved from Conference USA to the new American Athletic Conference this month. I had the opporunity to see Stephens play in person and the guy jumps off the court, literally. He has a 46-inch vertical, the highest ever recorded by the NBA, according to Chad Ford. Let me repeat that.
He could kiss the rim. In fact, he did.
The Heat isn’t doing any major tweaking this offseason, but some of these undrafted free agent acquisitions could become contributors in the future. This might be Riley’s farm system for the summer of 2014’s unavoidable rebuild.