USC Men's Basketball

After going undrafted, former USC great Chris Silva gets NBA opportunity

Chris Silva will get his NBA shot.

The former South Carolina great wasn’t selected during Thursday’s two-round NBA Draft, but will participate with the Miami Heat in the NBA Summer League. IPZ, Silva’s agency, confirmed the news to The State on Friday morning.

Summer League teams annually try out different rosters than their regular season squads, a mix of rookies and second-year players attempting to land an NBA or G League deal.

Silva, a two-time All-SEC selection and the league’s co-defensive player of the year in 2018, totaled over 1,500 points, 870 rebounds and 185 blocks in his college career. Though he wasn’t popping up on respected mock drafts, Silva had “momentum” going into Thursday, according to Frank Martin.

“There’s some genuine interest in Chris right now,” the USC coach said during a Wednesday news conference. “My phone’s been really busy the last 48 hours and it’s mostly about Chris. I’m also getting calls about Brian Bowen. But it’s mostly been about Chris. There’s a lot of realization because he’s had some great workouts and people have been able to engage with him.

“He’s such a beautiful kid.”

Friday’s move got the approval of Martin, a Miami native. Former players to sign with the Heat after being coached by Martin include Udonis Haslem and Rodney McGruder.

“So happy for @SilvaObame (Silva) and his opportunity w(ith) @MiamiHEAT,” Martin tweeted. “Great organization which believes in what Chris is all about. Ask @ThisIsUD (Haslem) and @RodneyMcGruder (McGruder), 2 guys that were in similar situations.”

Silva, who declared early for the draft in 2018 only to return to Carolina for his senior year, worked out this spring for the Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs.

Brian Bowen, a practice teammate of Silva’s for the second half of the 2017-18 season, signed a two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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