The Collegian
Saturday, April 20, 2024

Two former Spiders participate in NBA Summer League

<p>Jacob Gilyard signed with the Memphis Grizzlies on Sept. 23 and Grant Golden signed with the Denver Nuggets on Sept. 26. Photos by Thomas Takele. &nbsp;</p>

Jacob Gilyard signed with the Memphis Grizzlies on Sept. 23 and Grant Golden signed with the Denver Nuggets on Sept. 26. Photos by Thomas Takele.  

Former University of Richmond men’s basketball standouts Jacob Gilyard, ‘22 and Grant Golden, ‘22, each played in the NBA 2K24 Summer League earlier this month.

The Summer League is a tournament dedicated to giving drafted, undrafted and G-League players an opportunity to showcase their skills during the NBA offseason. The tournament takes place every summer. 

This year, games began July 3 in Sacramento and Salt Lake City and then continued through July 17 in Las Vegas. 

Gilyard played for the Memphis Grizzlies’ Summer League squad while Golden played for the Denver Nuggets. 

In six games, Gilyard scored 39 points, had 39 assists, grabbed 23 rebounds and had 16 steals. On July 7, Gilyard, the all-time NCAA steals leader, even notched seven steals in one game

“1 of 7 steals for Jacob Gilyard tonight,” Spider men’s basketball tweeted, referring to Gilyard’s performance. “DO NOT. TRY TO DRIBBLE. NEAR GILLY.” 

Before this summer, Gilyard signed an Exhibit-10 contract with the Grizzlies. He then spent a season with the G-League’s Memphis Hustle, where in 31 games he averaged 8.3 points per game and 9.8 assists per game. He also set the Hustle’s single-season assists and steals records. 

Gilyard then signed a two-way contract April 8 with the Hustle’s NBA team, the Grizzlies, where he made his debut in the franchise’s final regular season game. From there, Gilyard spent the playoffs with the team. 

“Words can’t really describe it,” Gilyard said of his first NBA game in an interview when he returned to UR in June. “The joy, the happiness I had and then the experience, it was way different than any of the G-League experience I had, college experience I had.” 

Gilyard will be on the Grizzlies’ roster when the NBA season starts in late October. He is the most recent Spider to play in the NBA since Justin Harper, ‘11, who was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and had his jersey retired by UR. 

For Golden, in his three Summer League games, he scored 22 points, had 10 assists, secured nine rebounds and had two steals. 

“I gotta go out there and whether it’s 20 minutes or five minutes, I gotta make the people around me better,” Golden said in a July 6 press conference before Summer League commenced. “Get guys open shots, play good basketball and I think for me, if I play the right way and are able to do those things, I think that’s a good week for me.”

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After signing an Exhibit-10 contract with the Denver Nuggets on Sept. 26, 2022, Golden spent the season with the Nuggets’ G-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold. There, Golden racked up 17.3 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game and 5.2 assists per game in 32 games

“A lot of people kind of give the G-League a hard time for what it is and everything, but I really enjoyed it,” Golden said in the press conference, speaking of his time with the Grand Rapids Gold. “Like you said, you get a lot of reps, really good for development and I know myself personally, I really thrived in that and I made a lot of improvements in a lot of different areas.”

Golden was not one of the Nuggets’ 3 two-way contract signees, so he will not be on the Nuggets’ active roster. Time will tell whether or not he plays a second season for the Gold or plays professionally elsewhere. 

Gilyard and Golden had quite the storied run while members of UR’s basketball program, playing for the Spiders for 5 and 6 seasons, respectively. 

After the pandemic cut their NCAA Tournament bid short in 2020, the duo led UR to an Atlantic 10 championship in 2022 and even to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, capping off a successful career in the red and blue.

Golden sits second on UR’s all-time scoring list, third on UR’s all-time rebounds list and fourth on UR’s all-time assists list. He is also the only player to tally 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his time at UR. 

Gilyard, on the other hand, sits fifth on UR’s all-time scoring list and is first on UR’s all-time steals, assists and 3-pointers lists. 

Gilyard, Golden and their veteran leadership will be missed throughout the Robins Center for a second straight season as UR’s men’s basketball team will look to compete for an A-10 championship without its star Tyler Burton — a season that will be defined by multiple transfer players and few returners. 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu.

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