Arizona Basketball

Ashley having very productive NBA Summer League with Atlanta


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Brandon Ashley is doing all he can to make a name for himself as an undrafted player in the NBA Summer League (NBA TV screen shot)

Brandon Ashley is doing all he can to make a name for himself as an undrafted player in the NBA Summer League (NBA TV screen shot)

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Former Arizona Wildcats power forward Brandon Ashley is turning heads rather than making people shake them at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League.

He must really love playing in Vegas. He played his best basketball of the season in the Pac-12 tournament there, garnering MVP honors. He also starred at nearby Findlay Prep of Henderson, Nev.

Ashley, undrafted but not undaunted, is one significant reason why Atlanta has reached the semifinals of the Summer League. His statistical breakdown:

— He is the only Hawks player to average at least 10 points and five rebounds a game at 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds.

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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
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— After starting 9 of 22 from the field in his first three games, Ashley has heated up to make 15 of 27 shots in his last three games. He has also made 3 of 4 three-point attempts in the last two games.

— He has made 45.5 percent of this three-point attempts (5 of 11), which is significant because that will be his calling card in the NBA with his ability to stretch defenses at 6’9″ and 230 pounds.

— He also averages 1 steal and 1.2 assists per game, which might not seem like much, but for a player Ashley’s size, it is promising.

The most encouraging stat of them all:

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The NBA is charting each game for 2-pointers contested, 3-pointers contested, deflections, loose balls recovered and charges taken and Ashley is holding his own. Overall, Ashley is at plus-12.17 in six Summer League games.

In the Hawks’ 92-83 quarterfinal win over Denver yesterday, Ashley posted 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. In the last two games, Ashley has produced 34 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Atlanta and Ashley face San Antonio in a semifinal game today at 5 p.m. The winner plays the winner of the other semifinal game between Phoenix and New Orleans on Monday night at 6 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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