Former Gators trio accepts NBA summer league invitations


Former Florida center Patric Young, left, point guard Scottie Wilbekin, middle, and small forward Casey Prather, right, defend former Kentucky forward and current NBA lottery pick Julius Randle during the Gators' 61-60 win in the SEC championship March 16 in Atlanta. The three UF players went unselected in Thursday night's NBA draft but have opportunities to play in the league's summer league.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 27, 2014 at 6:31 p.m.

A day after not being picked in the NBA draft, three prominent former Florida Gators found landing spots with summer league teams on Friday.

Center Patric Young confirmed he’s accepted an invite with the New Orleans Pelicans summer squad, forward Casey Prather accepted an invite with the Atlanta Hawks, and point guard Scottie Wilbekin has accepted summer league stints with both the Memphis Grizzlies in Orlando and the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas.

Young was a surprise draft snub, given he was projected to go in the early-to-mid second round on some NBA mock draft websites. But the Jacksonville native may have landed in a good situation. The Pelicans acquired just one player during the 2014 NBA draft, Louisville guard Russ Smith via trade, so Young will come into summer league on relatively equal footing with other rookies. And other than standout center Anthony Davis, the Pelicans lack young, physical post players.

Young did not work out for the Pelicans, but said they were one of the first teams to interview him during the NBA draft combine.

“I think that during the interview they were impressed that my focus was on rebounding and playing solid defense,” Young said.

The Pelicans begin summer league play in Las Vegas on July 11. The news took some of the sting out of not hearing his name called Thursday night. Young, who had invited family and friends to a gathering at a bowling alley/arcade in his native Jacksonville, had worked out for 13 different teams during a 28-day stretch.

“Obviously, there’s disappointment and there is a lot that goes through your mind, whether you are going to get your chance,” Young said. “I’m just thankful now that weight is off my shoulders and I will get that chance to show that I belong in the league.”

Coincidentally, Young had one of the best games of his career against Davis when the two were rivals starting at center for Florida and Kentucky. Young finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds going head-to-head against the former Kentucky standout in a 74-59 loss to the Wildcats in 2012 at the O’Connell Center.

“I wouldn’t say we’re friends, but there’s a measure of respect there,” Young said. “Hopefully, if I make the team, he’s someone I can learn from and I won’t get my shot blocked too much.”

Wilbekin’s agent, Matt Ramker, announced shortly after the draft that the Gainesville native will play this summer for both the Grizzlies and 76ers.

Prather’s stepfather Jeffrey Reid said that Prather chose the Hawks over two or three other teams. Prather averaged a team-high 14.1 points for the Gators this season and scored in double figures in UF’s first 18 games.

If Prather makes the Hawks as an undrafted free agent, he will join former UF standout Al Horford as a second former Gator on Atlanta’s roster.

The Hawks start summer league play on July 12 in Las Vegas.

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