Last year San Diego State said farewell to Angelo Chol, Skylar Spencer, and Winston Shepard. None of the three was likely to be drafted, however basketball has been part of their first post-college summer.
Shepard spent time playing for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Summer League. In less than 13 minutes a game Shepard averaged 5.6 points and 2.2 rebounds. The one opportunity that he had to start and play extensive minutes he scored 17 points and collected six rebounds.
An invite to an NBA training camp did not come, but that does not mean that Shepard will not be playing professionally this season. Shepard has signed to play professionally with TLI Alba Ferhervar in the Hungarian first division.
Chol spent the summer working on his game in San Diego. He was once again, like he has for the last five years, working with Brian Ganster and Elite Ballers Performance Training to help him refine his game and prepare him for professional basketball.
“We feel that he is a natural four at the next level. So obviously we focused on fixing the foundation of his shot to create comfort and consistency in being able to knock down perimeter shots,” Ganster said. “In addition we’ve focused heavily on his face up game, being able to create out of a jab series. Lastly we’ve spent a lot of time on ball handling.”
The preparation helped Chol shine in the Global Basketball Summer League (GBSL), a recruiting showcase for international coaches. During the GBSL, Chol averaged 16 points and nine rebounds while shooting 65% from the field.
His hard work training and success at the GBSL led to a contract with Illiabum Clube from Portugal. It is obvious that Chol has developed a strong game and will have a great opportunity to shine with Illiabum.
Ganster added, “overall Angelo has expanded his game tremendously over the past three months… He’s going to be a handful and I am excited to see how far he can go in professional ball.”
As of right now Spencer has still not signed with any team, but he has been busy working out and preparing for the next step in his basketball journey. It first started with a tour of China with World Vision Hoops. Upon returning from China, Spencer has continued working hard to create an opportunity for himself in the professional basketball ranks.
According to his agent, Benjamin Khabie from Vision Quest Agency, “Skylar just got done with a three-day workout for the Oklahoma City Thunder and has interest from a number of overseas teams in addition to interest from other NBA Developmental League teams.”
It appears Spencer will be taking his game to the next level the question now is where? Wherever he ends up he will definitely be a force in the paint and a shot blocker extraordinaire.
It looks like the entire 2016 graduating class will be playing basketball at the next level. While none are in the NBA yet, their basketball dreams are just beginning. It speaks volumes for the program and each individual that the entire class will be continuing their basketball career. No matter where they go, I am sure that we will all be proud of these Aztecs for Life.
Franklin Heads to China
Jamaal Franklin has been successful playing in China. Last year he averaged a triple-double (33.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 10.3 assists) while playing for Shanxi Zhongyu. This year he signed a one-year contract with Shanxi for $1.4 million. He has an early exit provision in case an NBA team is interested in signing him.
Stephens Returning to Japan
DeShawn Stephens spent his first three professional basketball years in Japan. Last year he went to Europe to find his place in basketball, however the fit just was never there. This year Stephens signed with the Akita Northern Happinets, the team he had the most success with, for his second tour of duty with the team.
Thames Going Overseas
Xavier Thames, who had most recently played for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the D-League, signed a two-year contract with MZT Skopje of Macedonia. This is Thames second tour abroad after a drama-filled stint with Sevilla in Spain in 2014. Thames looks to make a name for himself in Europe over the next two years with MZT.
Other Notable Aztecs (asterisk denotes club for 2016 season)
Billy White- Halifax Hurricanes (Canada)
Josh Davis- Shimane Susanoo Magic (Japan)
Brandon Heath- APOEL (Cyprus)*
Malcolm Thomas- Los Angeles D-Fenders (NBDL)
Richie Williams- Phoenix Hagen (Germany)*
Kyle Spain- Denain ASC Voltaire (France)*
Lorrenzo Wade- Ateniesnes de Manati (Puerto Rico)*
Brian Carwell (Australia-semipro)*