By Joe Scalzo
Around midnight, after former Youngstown State guard Kendrick Perry went unpicked in Thursday’s NBA draft, he sent out this Tweet:
“Setbacks are just opportunities that time hasn’t developed yet...”
This one didn’t take long to develop.
Perry will play for his hometown Orlando Magic in the NBA summer league in Orlando from July 5-11. The league features players who have been in the league for three years or fewer, as well as newly drafted rookies and undrafted free agents such as Perry.
Perry, who grew up 15 minutes away in Ocoee, Fla., worked out twice for the Magic before the draft. His agent was texting with the team during the draft and agreed to a deal soon afterward.
“I guess they saw something they liked during my workouts,” Perry said, speaking by phone from Florida on Friday afternoon. “To be in a position to hopefully gain a spot with my hometown team is truly an honor.”
The Orlando league is one of two NBA summer leagues and Perry could still earn a spot in the Las Vegas summer league, which runs from July 11-21. Former Oakland standout Travis Bader, another undrafted free agent from the Horizon League, will play for Philadelphia in Orlando and Golden State in Las Vegas.
Perry spent Thursday night watching the draft with some of his family and friends, but said he wasn’t disappointed to go undrafted.
“We just kind of relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company and didn’t take anything too seriously,” he said. “I was actually happy to see a lot of the guys I worked out with get picked up.
“I’m excited for the position I’m in. To get paid to do something I truly love, whether it’s with Orlando or Minnesota or Milwaukee or whatever, is something special. And to be able to have an opportunity with hometown team makes it that much sweeter.”
Perry (6-0, 170) graduated as YSU’s Division I leader in scoring with 1,991 points. He also holds the Horizon League’s career record for steals (246) and finished with more than 500 assists and 500 rebounds.
On Thursday morning, Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn called Perry a “deep-deep-deep point guard sleeper” and pointed out that Perry’s advanced statistics compare favorably to those of former Detroit standout Ray McCallum, who was picked in the second round by the Sacramento Kings last year.
“He’s an excellent athlete and his college statistical profile suggests he has potential, even if he has to begin his career in the NBDL [NBA developmental league] or Europe,” Winn wrote.
Perry will report to the team on Monday. Orlando’s first game is against the 76ers at 1 p.m. on July 5. The Magic also play the Rockets on July 7, the Grizzlies on July 8 and the Celtics on July 10. The championship game is on July 11.
“I’ve gotten so much support the past couple days and I’m still getting support,” said Perry, who pointed out that he got a congratulatory tweet from U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Howland). “A lot of that has come from Youngstown, so I just want to say thank you.”