District trio commits to NBA camps
Three undrafted local college players have committed to NBA teams to participate in minicamps and summer league.
Point guards Levance Fields of Pitt and Aaron Jackson of Duquesne and power forward Tyrell Biggs of Pitt will join various NBA teams next week in hopes of earning a roster spot as free agents.
Fields has committed to the Orlando Magic, Jackson was invited to work with the Indiana Pacers and Biggs is headed to the Chicago Bulls.
The 5-foot-10 Fields had vowed to join Orlando before Thursday's draft, provided he wasn't picked. Later that night, Orlando traded point guard Rafer Alston to the New Jersey Nets in the Vince Carter deal, which could open a roster spot for Fields, a third-team all-Big East Conference selection.
"It couldn't have been better for us," Fields' agent, Keith Glass, said Friday. "I'm very pleased right now. In terms of getting him a chance, we couldn't have done better. He will have an opportunity to make it. A lot of that will depend on him. He's got to perform, and Levance has never had any problem performing."
Jackson, who led Duquesne to its first postseason appearance in 15 years, said Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird called his agent, Happy Walters, late Thursday to discuss the 6-4 guard's options.
"Indy liked him a lot," Walters said. "He has a shot to make the team, because he's more of a combo guard than strictly a point guard. That's good for him."
Walters said Sacramento, Chicago and Boston were considering offering Jackson a spot on their summer league teams in Las Vegas.
Jackson, a finalist for Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year, averaged 19.3 points and 5.5 assists to lead Duquesne in both categories. He also had attended pre-draft camps in Atlanta, Cleveland and Oklahoma City.
"I'm not discouraged at all by the draft," he said. "There were a lot of good people available. This just means I can make the NBA in a different way."
Jackson said he expects to be recovered from a sprained right ankle in time to join other Pacers newcomers, including their two draft picks, Tyler Hansbrough and A.J. Price, for the start of summer workouts.
Price, like Jackson, is a point guard who led Connecticut in scoring (14.7 ppg.) and assists (4.7 apg.).
The 6-8 Biggs excelled at a Bulls workout that included North Carolina's Hansbrough, the 13th overall pick in the draft, and second-rounder Robert Dozier of Memphis. Biggs will be reunited with former Pitt center Aaron Gray.