Former Louisville basketball star earns contract

#26 Ray Spalding of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
#26 Ray Spalding of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images) /

Former Louisville basketball star Ray Spalding has not played in the NBA since April of 2019. As he patiently awaited his opportunity, he continued to put up numbers in the G League. There, he kept on improving as a player and was signed by the Charlotte Hornets to a two-way deal back in Jan. 2020.

Unfortunately, he was released in late November without much opportunity to prove that he was capable of being an NBA option. Just two games into the G League season, Spalding is reportedly getting another shot with a team.

Spalding earned his contract for excellent play

Through two games this season, Spalding has averaged over 18 points and 13 rebounds per game while shooting 60 percent from the field. And just check out that hair.

Spalding had been known as a 6’9″ super athlete coming out of Louisville in 2018. That led him to being drafted 56th overall in that year’s NBA Draft that eventually saw him land with the Dallas Mavericks after a draft-day trade. Since, he has been bouncing around the league as he tried to find his way into a consistent NBA rotation.

What has kept him from the league for so long?

In a shooting era of basketball, Spalding has not been able to hold up consistently as a shooter. He’s a bit of a tweener at 6’9″ so shooting for him is a must to improve. While he still remains inconsistent in this aspect of the game, the Rockets clearly felt like his first two games were enough to ink him to a deal.

Spalding had 21 points,13 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals in his third to last game in “the association” in 2019. At that time, he had already been traded from Dallas to Phoenix as a rookie.

To see a Louisville native get a real opportunity in the league would be a perfect story to write. There is still plenty to salvage with Spalding as a big-time athlete and a hustle player on the glass.

Perhaps his opportunity finally comes with the Houston Rockets.

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