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Seminoles Find Success In NBA Summer League

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Highlighted by Mfiondu Kabengele earning a two-way contract with the Boston Celtics, seven different Seminoles enjoyed success in the recently completed NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas. Kabengele averaged 14.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots in leading the Celtics to a 3-2 record – and most importantly, he signed a two-way contract with the last season’s Eastern Conference champions and NBA runner-ups.

According to Celtics.com Kabengele will have an opportunity to split his playing time during the 2022-23 season between Boston and Portland, Maine – home of Maine Celtics of the G League.

Celtics.com had plenty to say about the former Seminole who was named the 2019 ACC Sixth Man of the Year and a first round draft pick of the Brooklyn Nets.

“Perhaps Boston’s biggest surprise of the summer was Mfiondu Kabengele, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound center, who made such a good impression that it earned him a contract with the team by the end of the showcase. Kabengele was statistically the best all-around player on the roster, finishing among the top five in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He provided an imposing presence around the rim, averaging team-high marks of 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. He also finished fourth in both points (14.8) and assists per game (2.4) and was fifth on the steals list (0.8). The Celtics didn’t want a player of his caliber to slip from their grasp, so they signed him to a two-way contract immediately following their final game of the summer.”

John Butler, one of five one-and-done players under Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton, enjoyed a perfect game in his final performance of the NBA Summer League for the New Orleans Pelicans. He was 9-for-9 from the field, connecting on all six attempts from beyond the arc. I have totaled seven rebounds and finished the game with 25 points. It was a masterful performance from Butler.

Butler’s outstanding performance as a starter against Oklahoma City increased his averages to 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in four games played for the Pelicans. He went from playing three minutes in the Pelicans opening round game against league champion Portland, to a starters’ role and 35 minutes played in their final game against Oklahoma City.

Pelicans Head Coach Jarron Collins was very complimentary of Butler’s play following his perfect night.

The seven-footer from Florida State “did what he does in terms of just providing that floor-spacing ability in someone that is 7’1,” said Collins. “He was pretty active on defense, but again just catch-and-shoot opportunities. He just put the ball in the basket. He even hit the one-dribble pull-up. So, he showed his game from him, his versatility from him in terms of being a rim protector but also being someone who can space the floor.

RaiQuan Gray, a second-round of the Nets in 2021, made the most of his time in Las Vegas as he averaged 7.0 point and 7.6 rebounds and 24.9 minutes in five games for Brooklyn. Gray started each of the Nets’ five games and enjoyed his best scoring game with 11 points against Kabengele and the Celtics. I have totaled nine rebounds against Minnesota. Brooklyn finished with a 3-2 record and earned its victories against Philadelphia, Minnesota and Boston.

Balsa Koprivica starred for the NBA team that obtained his rights following the 2021 NBA Draft – the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 11.3 minutes in four games played. His playing time allowed him to average 4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. Koprivica scored 10 points on a perfect five of five shooting performance from the field in an 82-79 loss to Cleveland. I have played 15 minutes as a starter in that outing at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Malik Osborne averaged 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in four games for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 10.5 minutes per game and shot the ball well — .818 from the field, .667 from the 3-point and was perfect from the free throw line. Osborne was a perfect four of four from the field for 13 points in the Cavaliers’ 99-90 win over San Antonio. I have totaled six points and five rebounds in a Cavaliers’ win over Detroit.

Anthony Polite, who finished his career as one of Florida State’s all-time best 3-point shooters, was a member of the San Antonio Spurs’ Summer League Team. He earned playing time in one game and scored three points for the Spurs who finished with a 1-4 record. True to his form, Polite was successful on his only made 3-point attempts during his time with San Antonio.

Polite will likely begin his professional career in France, where he has signed his first contract for the upcoming fall season.

MJ Walker, who signed with the Knicks as a free agent following his senior season at Florida State, averaged nearly five minutes played per game and averaged two points and 1 rebound in three games played for New York. In his first season as a professional player, Walker averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a member of the West Chester Knicks. I have played in two NBA games for the Phoenix Suns during the 2021-22 season.

Seminole fans interested in purchasing season tickets for all home regular season games at the Donald L. Tucker Center can learn more here, or are encouraged to call the Florida State Ticket Office at 1-888-FSU-NOLE.

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