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Men's Basketball

Hoos Going Pro: New Kids on the Block Show Out

Kyle Guy, Miami Heat

After beginning the season with the Cleveland Charge, Kyle Guy received an NBA call-up from the Heat after they lost quite a few players to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Virginia legend and deadeye shooter wasted no time proving that he belongs in the league.

For a Miami Heat team that had just three of its regular rotation players (Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Kyle Lowry), Guy stepped up big-time. While he remains the same knockdown shooter off the catch that he was in college, Guy has also expanded his game off the dribble. He had a nice spin move to the rim in the second half, dribbled into a few triples, and broke down the defense a few times to create open looks for his teammates.

Guy will get a few more chances to showcase his abilities before his 10-day contract. Stay tuned especially for the Heat-Kings game on January 2, where the Heat will still be shorthanded and KG will have a prime opportunity to show out against his former team, the Sacramento Kings.

Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder

Another player granted an expanded role due to player shortages in the NBA, Jerome — like Guy — has shown that he deserves more playing time going forward. In his last two games, Jerome is averaging 17.5 points per game to go with 6.5 rebounds and 5 assists. He’s added four steals as well over that timespan, all while turning the ball over just twice in over 31 minutes per game.

Jerome had the highest-scoring game of his career thus far against the Phoenix Suns, recording 24 points and showcasing a playstyle reminiscent of his Virginia days: tough floaters and finishes in the paint, coupled with a killer jumper.

Aside from potential All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome might be the best guard on a Thunder team that has been surprisingly competitive this season (they have the same record as Damian Lillard’s Trailblazers). As of late, Virginia’s championship-winning backcourt mates have both proven their ability to play at a high level in the NBA.

Justin Anderson, Cleveland Cavaliers

Justin Anderson, like Guy, received an impromptu NBA call-up in the wake of health and safety protocol absences for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In just his second game with the team, the Cavs called upon Anderson to play almost 31 minutes — a tall order for any NBA player still learning the ropes of their new organization.

However, Anderson also rose to the occasion. Back on the Cavaliers for the first time since college, Simba took care of business, just like all UVA fans would expect. Anderson finished the game with 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and the Cavs outscored the Raptors by 31 points in his 31 minutes of playing time. Not too bad.

Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans

After a stellar preseason and summer league performance, Trey Murphy continues to adapt to the NBA game. After a cold start to the season from beyond the arc, Murphy spent a brief stint with the Birmingham Squadron, New Orleans’s G-League affiliate. He’s also been an unfortunate victim of circumstance: fellow rookie Herb Jones has had an excellent start to the season, and the defensive-minded four’s minutes have eaten into Trey’s chances to see the floor.

He did put together maybe the best game of his NBA career this month, though. Against the Dallas Mavericks, he scored nine points in just nine minutes of playing time and knocked down all three of his three-point attempts.

Anthony Gill, Washington Wizards

Gill has seen some NBA minutes for the Wizards recently, with their crowded big man rotation temporarily thinned out by injury and health and safety protocols. His best performance came in his last game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where Gill scored eight points in 12 minutes of game action. He knocked down three of his five shots, including one three, and added three rebounds.

Sam Hauser and Jay Huff, Celtics and Lakers (two-way contracts)

Both Hauser and Huff have recently been called up to the NBA on their two-way contracts to fill some spot minutes for shorthanded rosters.

Hauser scored the first points of his NBA career against the Bucks on December 13 on a three-pointer, and then knocked down two more triples in games against the Timberwolves and the Clippers for the Celtics. He was then placed in health and safety protocols, a sign he’ll miss some time.

Huff briefly saw time in two games against the Suns and Spurs. He collected a total of two rebounds and attempted two shots, but wasn’t able to record his first NBA bucket.

Injury Updates

De’Andre Hunter remains out for the Atlanta Hawks as he recovers from wrist surgery. He averaged 10.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game before his injury.

Malcolm Brogdon was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and has played just one total game for the Indiana Pacers since December 15. He’s averaging 19.0 points and 6.1 assists per game this year.

Joe Harris remains out for the Brooklyn Nets after undergoing ankle surgery. Before his surgery, Harris was averaging 11.3 points per game while shooting 46.6% from three.

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