Cory Jefferson waited and waited to have his named called on draft night.
But during NBA Summer League play in Orlando, he wasn’t going to wait to make a name for himself.
“I definitely went out like I was the 60th pick, the last in the draft, and I wanted to show that I can definitely play better than the pick that I was,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds on the Brooklyn Nets summer league team earlier this month.
Jefferson is one of the greatest players out of Killeen High School and became a standout at Baylor.
He entered the NBA Draft this summer and held a watch party where he waited almost five hours to hear his name be called. He eventually was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs traded his
draft rights to the Nets later that night.
And on July 5, Jefferson had his first NBA experience when the Nets played the Indiana Pacers’ summer league team. He scored six points, hauled in nine rebounds and had two steals in 16 minutes of play.
“It was fun to be out there having anything to do with the NBA,” Jefferson said. “It was fun to be out there and I tried to enjoy everything.”
While at Killeen High, Jefferson and the Kangaroos never lost a home game. He led Killeen to three consecutive 30-win seasons. As a sophomore during the 2006-07 season, he averaged 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.1 blocks to garner All-District 16-4A honors.
In his senior season, Jefferson averaged 19 points, six rebounds and shot 53.6 percent from the field. He became a name across the Lone Star State after earning the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 4A Player of the Year Award and was an All-District 25-4A first-team selection.
At Baylor, Jefferson broke into the starting lineup his junior year, 2012-13. In that season, Jefferson averaged 13 points and seven rebounds and helped the Bears win the NIT championship.
Last season, Jefferson averaged 13 points and eight rebounds and helped Baylor make it to the NCAA Sweet 16 before losing to eventual Final Four participant Wisconsin.
Jefferson finished his collegiate career with 60 double-digit scoring games and was part of two Bears teams that reached the NCAA Elite Eight.
Jefferson went on a tour of NBA cities and facilities working out for different teams that were interested in drafting him. But this month he looked to take advantage of his first NBA game experience.
“There wasn’t really any nervousness or chills, it was just about taking it all in,” Jefferson said. “I was finally a part of something that had to do with the NBA. It was just a good experience.”
At 6-foot-9, 218 pounds, Jefferson is a forward and one of the adjustments he needed to make was to play against larger posts. But those adjustments have been made; as league play went on, Jefferson got more minutes and made more of an impression.
After that first game against Indiana, Jefferson had eight points and five rebounds against Miami.
He followed that up with nine points and five rebounds against Oklahoma City and 14 points and eight rebounds against Philadelphia.
He wrapped up summer league play with a 19-point, seven-rebound and three-block performance against Houston.
“I felt like all of them were my best games,” Jefferson said. “The things that I wanted to do, the concepts, I felt like I accomplished pretty much most of them.”
Jefferson plans to take a couple of weeks to rest and allow his body to recover from heavy workouts and will attend the NBA Rookie Transition Program in August.
The Nets finished with a 44-38 record last season and new head coach Lionel Hollins takes over the team after Jason Kidd moved on to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Contact Albert Alvarado at firstname.lastname@example.org