Violette Trying To Hook On In NBA

July 8, 2004

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story was written by Nick Jezierny of The Idaho Statesman and reprinted with permission.

By Nick Jezierny
The Idaho Statesman

Bishop Kelly and Gonzaga University graduate Cory Violette didn't get drafted last month, but the former Gonzaga star will get several chances to impress NBA teams this month.

Violette is playing in a pair of NBA summer leagues, hoping to earn an invitation to an NBA team's training camp.

The 6-foot-8 forward is playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves in a six-team league that started Tuesday night and runs through Saturday.

Later this month, he'll be in Salt Lake City as a member of the Atlanta Hawks' team in the Rocky Mountain Revue. That event is July 17-23 at Salt Lake Community College.

The purpose of the summer leagues is to give players a chance to showcase their skills and give NBA scouts a chance to look at players they are considering inviting to fall training camps.

"I'm fighting for a spot," Violette said Tuesday afternoon. "I've got to come out and do what I do. I hope to prove that I can play with these guys and get an offer."

Violette's game is the least of his concerns. What worries him is the amount of playing time he'll get this week in Minneapolis. The T'wolves' 17-man squad is loaded with big men, including former Idaho Stampede player Josh Davis, who had 18 points in 25 minutes Tuesday.

Other big men on the roster include T'wolves rookie Ndudi Ebi (6-9) and Rick Rickert (6-11), who was a second-round draft choice out of the University of Minnesota in 2003.

Seven-footer Bruno Sundov (7-0), undrafted high schooler Jackie Butler (6-10), Jerry Holman (6-10, Minnesota), Michael Bauer (6-8, Minnesota) and Kasib Powell (6-7, Texas Tech) also are on the roster.

"We'll kind of have to see if I get a lot of playing time," said Violette, who had three points in 11 minutes in Tuesday's game. "If I do, it's a great opportunity. We'll see what happens. It's kind of out of my hands."

Violette expects Ebi and Rickert to log a lot of minutes because they are players drafted by Minnesota. Ebi was a first-round pick last year who didn't get much playing time this season.

Violette's chances with the Hawks in Salt Lake City are similar. Butler also is on that roster, as are Kyle Davis (6-9, Auburn), Marquis Estill (6-9, Kentucky) and Dylan Page (6-9, Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

"It all hinges on playing time," Violette said. "You need minutes to do things."

Violette isn't the only player with ties to the Treasure Valley competing in NBA summer leagues. Former Idaho Stampede players Davis, David Bailey, Noel Felix and William "Smush" Parker also are on summer league rosters.

Former University of Idaho star Kaniel Dickens also is playing this summer. He's on the roster of the Charlotte Bobcats' team in the Minneapolis league.



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