0

Former Gwinnett stars making marks in NBA summer league

Houston Rockets first-round draft picks Royce White, left, Terrence Jones, center, and Jeremy Lamb  pick up their jerseys at a news conference on Friday, June 29, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Houston Rockets first-round draft picks Royce White, left, Terrence Jones, center, and Jeremy Lamb pick up their jerseys at a news conference on Friday, June 29, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Players participating in the NBA's summer league often fit into one of two main categories.

Some are rookies looking to make a solid first impression off their selection in the NBA draft earlier in the summer. Another group includes rookies who went undrafted or young players early in their careers looking to either demonstrate to the teams they are under contract with that they deserve a closer look at more playing time or to get an invitation to a team's training camp.

Players in both categories were among the four individuals who played their high school basketball in Gwinnett County dotting rosters at the recently completed 2012 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Norcross grad Jeremy Lamb fit the first category, and made a huge initial splash less than a month after being selected with the No. 12 overall pick in this year's draft by the Houston Rockets.

The 6-foot-5, 179-pound guard out of the University of Connecticut averaged 20 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.8 assists and 29.2 minutes per game in helping Houston to a 4-1 record in the summer league.

That performance earned Lamb a No. 2 ranking in NBA.com's "Rookie Ladder," which rated the dozens of rookies participating in the summer league.

Another Norcross grad, 2007 Daily Post Boys Player of the Year Gani Lawal, led the Gwinnett contingent that fit the other category.

The 6-9, 234-pound former All-ACC forward at Georgia Tech got off to a slow start, but got progressively stronger in five games as an unsigned player with the Denver Nuggets.

Lawal, a former Phoenix Suns draft pick who missed much of his rookie season with a torn knee ligament before playing last season overseas, averaged 8.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, shot 52.8 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line for the Nuggets (1-4).

He also scored in double figures in each of his final two games in the five-game league schedule.

Likewise, Berkmar grad Wesley Witherspoon was looking to make an impression after being undrafted out of the University of Memphis this summer.

The 6-9, 212-pound forward averaged 8.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.8 steals per game and shot 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 70.6 percent from the line as an unsigned player with the New York Knicks (0-5).

Wesleyan grad Trey Thompkins rounded out Gwinnett's contingent in the summer league, though the former All-SEC forward at Georgia was limited to just one game due to a sore left Achilles tendon and bruised left knee.

Still, the 6-10, 245-pound forward went for seven points and seven rebounds with a blocked shot in that game for the Los Angeles Clippers.