Gardner makes Bulls summer league team

Published 10:39pm Saturday, July 19, 2014

The NBA is interested in Suffolk’s Davante Gardner.

The former Marquette University standout continues to break precedents for King’s Fork High School alums as he was recently selected to join the Chicago Bulls roster of recently graduated college players, young NBA players and draftees competing in the NBA Summer League July 11-21 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Former King’s Fork High School star Davante Gardner was named the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in front of NBA scouts and played this past week on the Chicago Bulls’ summer league team.
Former King’s Fork High School star Davante Gardner was named the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in front of NBA scouts and played this past week on the Chicago Bulls’ summer league team.

“I always wanted to play in the NBA,” Gardner said on Friday, noting that the summer league affords him a special tryout to achieve that goal.

He has had to make the most of the time he has been given on the court, as he said he has received “just spot minutes,” but Gardner said he believes he has made a positive impression in those small windows.

“I think I did very well with the minutes that I got,” he said. “I would like more, but still, the NBA is a business, so you got to get used to it.”

Through the Bulls’ first four games, the highlight for Gardner had been his performance in a 107-73 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves’ team Tuesday.

With a mere five minutes and 14 seconds of playing time, he went 3-for-4 from the field, making a post-up shot and going 2-for-2 from the three-point line, producing eight points and three rebounds.

King’s Fork coach Josh Worrell was excited for Gardner, who is the first player of Worrell’s and the school’s to make an NBA Summer League team.

Worrell said a lot of really good players do not get invited to play in the league. So, it is a big opportunity for Gardner, and not necessarily just with the Bulls.

“Basically, all the teams will be able to watch him, so hopefully he’ll get on some way,” Worrell said.

Gardner’s former coach at Marquette University, Buzz Williams, now with Virginia Tech, was thrilled for the two-time Big East Conference Sixth Man of the Year who led the Golden Eagles last season, averaging 14.9 points per game.

“It is incredibly exciting for Davante to have the opportunity he has in Vegas in summer league,” Williams stated in an email.

After college, likely helping Gardner get on the Bulls radar were the workouts his agent arranged for him with other teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.

Worrell also pointed to Gardner’s performance in front of NBA scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he was named Most Valuable Player.

Gardner said a highlight of the summer league has been interacting with and getting advice from current and former NBA players in town to watch the games.

Before heading west, he and his teammates were also able to work out with Bulls star and former league MVP Derrick Rose.

“It was great,” Gardner said. “I knew he was going to be there, but I didn’t really think he was going to play with us, but he actually did.”

The Bulls (4-0) played their final game Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings (3-1).

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