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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Brynton Lemar’s hoop dreams aren’t over


Graduating senior lands workout with NBA Sacramento Kings

For many outgoing seniors who are competing in NCAA basketball, their final game at the college level marks the end of their basketball careers. For others, like UC Davis’s own Brynton Lemar, it was simply another step on his journey to the next level. While the future remains uncertain, Lemar got a much-needed boost when he landed a coveted workout with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. It was an opportunity that Lemar was certain not to waste.

Right now, workouts are in full effect and I have to be ready, I have to be in shape,” Lemar said. “I have to be mentally ready and also physically. So there’s really not a break between this basketball stuff, 24/7.”

In 2015, Lemar’s teammate Corey Hawkins received a similar opportunity. Hawkins also worked out for the Kings and was invited to play for their Summer League squad. The NBA Summer League is a showcase not only for those young players who have just been drafted, but also for those who went undrafted and are hoping to make it in the NBA. Hawkins, who was unable to participate in that season’s Summer League due to injury, reached out to Lemar and gave him advice for his ongoing journey.

“[Hawkins] really helped me realize what they’re going to do,” Lemar said. “He gave me the rundown about what’s going to happen, and what to mentally prepare for.”

Lemar also got to meet with some current NBA players, with young Kings players Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis offering advice to prospective colleagues like Lemar. According to Lemar, opportunities like this help prepare him for his stressful journey to the ranks of the NBA.

The workout is brief; just one hour and fifteen minutes according to Lemar. In that hour, he is matched up against some of the top college players in the nation, all of whom have the same goal that he does. Lemar accepts this challenge, as he knows that these are the players whom he will have to get through in order to achieve his NBA dreams.

I was excited to showcase my skills in front of the front office of the Kings,” Lemar said. “I felt good about it. I know I can compete at that level — I compete every day. I feel like I’m an NBA player, it’s just a matter of opportunity. Going to a small school, we’re not on that national skill like Kansas or Kansas State, but I had the opportunity to showcase what I had against those players.”

It is with this optimism that Lemar enters life after college. He is taking his final weeks as a student at UC Davis to reflect on all he has learned during his last four years at the school.

“I know that all good things come to an end,” Lemar said. “My career here at Davis has been fun. I’m going to miss it, but I know that I’m on to bigger and better things.”

As graduation rapidly approaches, there will be no rest. Lemar is hoping to get in on a few more workouts and see what happens from there. Whatever it is, he is approaching it with an open mind and competitive thirst.

“Draft, Summer League, maybe going to Europe in early August,” Lemar said. “It’s going to be an exciting summer.”

Lemar should know his immediate NBA future by the time NBA Summer Leagues begin in early July.


Written by: Bradely Geiser — sports@theaggie.org


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