How many basketball players think they have what it takes to play professional basketball, but never got a real chance to prove themselves? For those living in Central Florida, you will soon have that chance.
The Lakeland Magic, the NBA G League affiliate of the Orlando Magic, will be conducting tryouts next month. They will take place on September 23 at Polk State College beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Lakeland General Manager Anthony Parker and Coach Stan Heath will be heavily involved for previously undiscovered talent. According to the Magic, as many as five players could be invited to fall training camp.
“We’re really excited about the tryout,” Parker told OrlandoMagic.com. “We have a talented area here with guys that have had some success playing the game, so I’m anxious to see who comes out.”
Parker had a 15-year pro career, including 9 in the NBA. He spent the 1999-2000 season in Orlando.
Heath has spent nearly 30 years in coaching, including 7 seasons as coach of the USF Bulls from 2007-2014.
It is clearly worth a try. Over the past three seasons, 104 players who auditioned for G League teams made opening night rosters. A select few rose far enough to play in the NBA.
One such player just signed with the Orlando Magic earlier this summer. After trying out and making the Austin, Tex. Toros, Jonathan Simmons made a name for himself and was eventually signed by the San Antonio Spurs.
“I think I made the best of the opportunity that I had and I just kept pushing from there,” Simmons said.
David Nwaba and Alfonzo McKinnie are two other examples of achieving a lifelong dream. Both starred in the G League, then signed this summer with the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors, respectively.
“We all grow up saying you can be anything you want, anything can happen, but when you have somebody that’s actually done it, that kind of gives you encouragement that this is possible,” said Parker.
More information the tryout, including pre-registration, is available here.