As the Kings prepare for preseason action, learn more about Sacramento’s trio of training camp invitees looking to make their mark in October.
Along with building chemistry and camaraderie while mastering defensive and offensive schemes during Kings training camp in Santa Barbara, three up-and-comers are aiming to impress Sacramento’s coaching staff.
Forward DeQuan Jones faced similar circumstances last season and embraced the opportunity with the Magic, showcasing his quickness, athleticism and strong work ethic in Summer League and training camp. The undrafted Miami product made Orlando’s final roster, and scored in double-digits three times during preseason action, including 22 points on 9-of-13 from the field against Detroit on Oct. 16, 2012.
Jones – a 2012 NCAA Final Four slam-dunk contest semifinalist – appeared in 63 regular season games with Orlando in 2012-13, averaging 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per contest. Exhibiting a quick first step and highlight-reel leaping ability, as well as the physical tools to develop into a lockdown wing defender, the Georgia native tallied 5.4 points on 51.9 percent from the field to go along with 2.5 rebounds and 0.6 steals per outing in 17 starts.
The 6-foot-8 forward scored 15 points in the Magic’s finale in the 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League – connecting on 3-of-4 from behind the arc – and concluded the tournament with averages of 4.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game.
An accomplished scorer and playmaker, Brandon Heath spent the last three years playing for PBC Lukoil Academic of the National Basketball League of Bulgaria, averaging 12.0 points, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals per contest in 2012-13 en route to leading his team to the championship. The explosive 6-foot-4 guard’s additional professional experience includes stints in France and Cyprus, as well as a 2008-09 campaign with the NBA D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders, during which he tallied 15.4 points and 4.2 assists per outing.
Capable of putting the ball in the basket in a variety of ways – from pull-ups to step-back jumpers beyond the arc – the California native finished his collegiate career as the leading scorer in Mountain West Conference history (2,189 points), earning Conference Player of the Year and All-American honorable mention accolades as a junior. Heath, the San Diego State Aztecs’ all-time leader in numerous statistical categories – including points, field goals (749) and three-pointers made (281), double-digit scoring games (112) and steals (217) – will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame on Nov. 1.
Big man Hamady Ndiaye – earning a second consecutive training camp invite from the Kings – spent the 2012-13 campaign honing his skills in China for the second straight year. The defensive specialist led the CBA in blocks (3.9 per game) while recording 11.1 points on 52 percent from the field and 8.9 rebounds with the Tianjin Golden Lions.
Over the summer, the 7-foot center helped the Senegalese National Team qualify for next year’s FIBA World Cup, tallying 5.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per outing in the 2013 FIBA Africa Championship Tournament. No. 55 also ranked eighth in swats (1.8 per game) during 2013 Las Vegas Summer League action, while chipping in 2.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per contest with the Dallas Mavericks.
The 2009-10 Big East Defensive Player of the Year and Rutgers University’s single-season (145) and career blocks leader (358) played two seasons with the Washington Wizards and the team’s D-League affiliate after being selected 56th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. Ndiaye led the D-League in block percentage (8.6) and ranked second in blocks per game (2.7) in 2011-12, and holds a 2.2 swats-per-36-minutes average in 19 career NBA contests.