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Men’s Basketball

Cooley, Beachem earn shot at NBA rosters

| Friday, August 18, 2017

It has been rough going for former Irish players trying to make the NBA this summer.

Notre Dame graduated only two players from the 2016-2017 roster — former captains V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia — and both have attempted to make their ways onto NBA rosters. Beachem, who averaged 14.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season, played for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA’s 2017 Las Vegas Summer League, receiving minimal playing time. He was not drafted.

Irish senior forward V.J. Beachem hugs head coach Mike Brey in the final minutes of Notre Dame’s 83-71 loss to West Virginia on Saturday at KeyBank Arena.Michael Yu | The Observer

Irish senior forward V.J. Beachem hugs head coach Mike Brey in the final minutes of Notre Dame’s 83-71 loss to West Virginia on Saturday at KeyBank Arena.

Beachem signed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on August 9. According to the South Bend Tribune, Beachem said the contract was partially guaranteed for him to attend the Lakers training camp and could possibly earn a two-way deal based on his play.

Vasturia also went undrafted and has not yet signed a deal with any NBA or Euro-League team.

Former standout guard Demetrius Jackson’s career also took a sideways turn as the Boston Celtics waived Jackson on July 15. Jackson played in five NBA games last year, averaging 3.4 minutes per game and just two points. Jackson was often assigned to the Celtics’ D-League affiliate — the Maine Red Claws. Jackson had been drafted by the Celtics with the 45th pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

One former Notre Dame player did receive some good news, however. Big man Jack Cooley had been bouncing between the NBA summer league and the Euro-League. This summer, he participated in the Las Vegas Summer League on the Sacramento Kings and earned a two-way contract with the Kings on July 29. He is expected to split time between the Kings’ NBA roster and Sacramento’s G-League affiliate the Reno Bighorns.

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