SDSU Grad Malik Pope Joins Lakers For Summer League
Malik Pope has been receiving national attention since he attended Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, California.
Malik Pope has been compared to Kevin Durant but went undrafted. Pope now faces a good opportunity to enter the NBA
21-year-old Malik Pope just graduated from San Diego State University. He was a four-year starter for the Aztecs, where he had signed out of high school as a 5-star power forward.
Pope is a Sacramento native first receiving national attention while attending Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove. He has now joined the summer league roster of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers were among the teams that worked out Pope this past June and added him to their roster for two July events: the four-team, four-day California Classic in Sacramento that started on Monday, July 2nd, and the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas from July 6-17.
A summer league agreement is not an NBA contract. For undrafted players, the agreements typically last one month. There is a real chance of getting invited to training camp in late September.
Aztecs fans know there is greatness in Malik Pope. The star power forward had moments of brilliance in an Aztecs uniform over the past four years. That greatness has hiccups – but it is NBA caliber.
During his sophomore year, Pope garnered NBA attention. His build and play style was commensurate of the league’s top players, and his basketball I.Q. hinted that he was destined for a bigger stage.
After his junior year, Pope entered his name into the 2017 NBA Draft but withdrew and returned to San Diego State for a senior season.
Pope went on to average 12.8 points per game, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, all the while shooting 52 percent.
Pope has had setbacks, chiefly with injuries. Nonetheless, he is a productive player with all of the pieces making up a complete game.
In the past, there were NBA summer leagues in Orlando, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. This year, four-team events are hosted by Utah and Sacramento.
The Las Vegas tournament now includes all 30 teams in multiple venues.
Other rookies on the Lakers roster are draft picks Moritz Wagner (Michigan via Germany) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas via Ukraine), plus undrafted prospects Malik Newman (Kansas), Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga), Joel Berry II (North Carolina), Jeffrey Carroll (Oklahoma State) and Nick King (Middle Tennessee State).
There isn’t an Aztecs fan alive who would be surprised if Pope became a breakout NBA star. He has that very real potential.
SDSU athletes can be overlooked and underestimated. Last year Aztecs linebacker Calvin Munson went undrafted in the 2017 NFL draft. The New York Giants signed him as a free agent, and that fall he became their starting middle linebacker, making ESPN highlights. Munson was the second ever Giant UDFA to start in his first year.
The Aztec nation congratulates Malik Pope for his Lakers Summer League invite, and supports him as he follows his path to the NBA.