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Few if any stories of a local boy made good, practically out of nowhere, has developed like former Santa Rita High School standout D.J. Shumpert — remember him? — making the final roster of the Los Angeles Defenders of the D-League.
Shumpert has the distinction of being the last Arizona signee to be recruited by Lute Olson.
Little was heard of Shumpert, now 25, after he transferred from the Arizona program to Cal State-San Bernardino after Sean Miller’s first season of 2009-10. A wiry 6’7″ and 190-pound small forward, Shumpert played minimal minutes as a reserve in 14 games for the Wildcats as a freshman and sophomore.
Shumpert went on to complete his final two years at Division II San Bernardino, where as a senior in 2011-12, he scored 14 points with seven rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots in an 80-72 loss against UCLA.
Shumpert did not give up on his career after leaving San Bernardino. He has participated in the Drew League, a summer hoops showcase in Los Angeles that includes NBA players such as James Harden, Nick Young and Demar Derozan.
That’s where he became noticed and was given a tryout with the Defenders recently. He made the final cut of 12 players.
As the accompanying video indicates, Shumpert has bulked up from his wiry frame while at Arizona and has become a fierce physically dominating player, especially around basket.
He is listed by the Defenders as 6’7″ and 220 pounds.
Among his Defenders teammates are former Washington center Robert Upshaw and Marquette guard Vander Blue.
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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: