Former Kansas University center Jeff Withey’s debut with the New Orleans Pelicans in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League has been delayed.
The 7-footer from San Diego had to sit out Friday’s opener against the New York Knicks because not all the players involved in a recent three-team trade that sent Withey from Portland to New Orleans have taken physicals and been cleared to play.
Withey will not be allowed to practice or play in games until all the players in the deal have been given the OK by medical personnel.
“You can see it in his eyes: He’s ready to go,” Pelicans’ summer league coach Bryan Gates told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “He sits down sometimes, then he stands up, and he walks around. He walks over there. Then he comes over and sits down, gets a drink of water that he doesn’t need, and then he sits down. Then he just kind of keeps walking around. From a coaching standpoint, we’ve got a young big. It’s going to be fun.”
The Pelicans will meet Milwaukee on Sunday night.
“It’s probably going to be pretty rough for me,” Withey told the Advocate. “I’m not in game shape. I haven’t been in practices or anything like that. Watching plays and trying to get them stuck in your head is a lot different than going out and actually having defense on you trying to do it. But if I am able to play, I’ll just go out there and play defense and do what I can do.”
Elijah’s pro debut: Former KU combo guard Elijah Johnson scored five points off 2-of-6 shooting with two turnovers and one assist in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 90-83 victory over Atlanta on Friday in Vegas. Johnson also had two rebounds while playing 16 minutes in his pro debut. ... Former KU guard Josh Selby did not score while playing 14 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 70-62 loss to Cleveland. He had four steals, three assists and two turnovers in 14 minutes.
McLemore plays today: Former KU guard Ben McLemore today makes his pro debut with the Sacramento Kings in Vegas. The Kings meet Dallas at 5 p.m. Central time.
“I went out on the Strip yesterday to get some food. It’s pretty hot,” McLemore told nba.com of the scalding desert temperatures. “It’s nice. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in Vegas. It’s been five years. I’m definitely going to enjoy my time here with my team.”
Of his first NBA practices, McLemore said: “I’m having fun and learning a lot of new stuff. I think we’re ready and prepared for the first game.
“I want to work on my all-around game — the defensive end first,” he said. “Coach (Mike) Malone stressed it the first day we got here. It was the main thing we did at Kansas, the main thing coach (Bill Self) stressed. I think I can bring a lot to the table.”