Former Hawkeyes seizing NBA Summer League opportunities

Luka Garza, Keegan Murray, and Joe Wieskamp are on Summer League rosters.


Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 13, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Vit Krejci (27) during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

Three former Hawkeyes are currently listed on NBA Summer League rosters, rookie Keegan Murray, Luka Garza, and Joe Wieskamp. Weiskamp and Garza began action for the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers this week while Murray continued his impressive play for the Sacramento Kings.

Wieskamp, a second-round draft choice of the San Antonio Spurs in 2021, is likely out for the rest of Summer League after he suffered an ankle injury in practice.

Last season, Wieskamp averaged 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game for the Austin Spurs of the G League. He converted 32.1 percent of his 3-point attempts.

The 6-foot-6 swingman will have to wait until the regular season to impress coaches as he looks to carve out minutes in the Spurs’ rotation behind Josh Primo, Malaki Branham, and Devin Vassell.

Garza was picked by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 2021 draft. He signed with the Portland Trail Blazers after he was cut by the Pistons on June 28.

Thus far, he hasn’t earned significant playing time, averaging just fifteen minutes per game. In those limited minutes, he has flashed the scoring prowess that won him the Wooden and Naismith Awards during his senior season in Iowa City.

The 6-foot-10 big man has netted 5.5 points per contest in two games played, despite a low volume of attempts. Garza’s 50 percent clip from long distance could turn some heads as he battles Greg Brown III and Trenton Watford for a spot on Portland’s fifteen-man roster.

The story of the Summer League so far has been the all-around game of Keegan Murray. Although he faced critics after being drafted No. 4 overall to the Kings, Murray has been the best player in the league.

RELATED: Former Iowa men’s basketball player Keegan Murray impressing in NBA Summer League

The Cedar Rapids product has dominated the competition, providing highlight moments on several occasions.

He knocked down a game-tying triple against the Orlando Magic to send the game to overtime on July 9. He went coast to coast with one dribble past half court against the Oklahoma City Thunder on July 13, which went viral on Twitter.

His game has been far more than just highlight plays, though. He’s averaging 21.8 points per game in six games played, which is best in the Summer League.

Recently, Murray has performed well on both ends of the floor. He recorded 29 points against the Thunder on Wednesday, while he helped limit No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren to just eight points.

Murray’s Wednesday night performance earned praise from sports pundit Skip Bayless, who claimed Murray “outplayed” Holmgren on Twitter.

As Murray’s stock continues to skyrocket, so do his chances at Rookie of the Year honors. Murray’s odds went from +1000 on July 7 to +900 on July 8, per Sporting News.

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