Charlie Moore, Kam McGusty on Pistons’ NBA Summer time League staff

Former University of Miami point guard Charlie Moore hopes to make an impression with the Detroit Pistons in the 2022 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Former University of Miami point guard Charlie Moore hopes to make an impression with the Detroit Pistons in the 2022 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

NBAE/Getty, courtesy Detroit Pistons

University of Miami basketball fans who tuned into the NBA Summer League games late last week saw something they were not accustomed to: Charlie Moore and Kameron McGusty sitting on the bench.

The former Hurricane guards, who a few months ago played nearly every minute during UM’s run to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, must prove themselves all over again as they try to break into the NBA with the Detroit Pistons.

Moore and McGusty both went undrafted, were picked up by the Pistons and are hoping to showcase their talents in the Summer League in Las Vegas, which runs through July 17. They did not get on the court for Detroit’s 81-78 win over the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday night, but both came off the bench on Saturday in a 105-99 victory against the Wizards.

Moore had an immediate impact with four assists in his first two minutes. He wound up playing 15 minutes, had seven assists, went 0-for-3 with one rebound, one steal, two turnovers and three personal fouls.

McGusty played nine minutes and went 1-of-2 for two points.

Reached by phone in Las Vegas, Moore and McGusty said they are trying not to put too much pressure on themselves as they get acclimated to the NBA. They said having each other on the same team is helping make the transition easier.

“Charlie’s been my point guard for a year now, so I’m all ears when it comes to what he has to say in court,” McGusty said. “And maybe more importantly, off the court, you come to a new team with a bunch of new faces, guys you never really met before, so just having somebody you can chill with, go get food with, talk to, it means a lot.”

Moore agreed.

“It helps a lot having Kam around because he’s a familiar face,” Moore said. “We’ve been playing with each other for a year, so we know each other’s tendencies. We also look out for each other away from the court when either of us needs help with anything. It’s a great feeling knowing he is here, going through the same things I am.”

Both players are 24 years old and wise enough to know that it will be tough to make the Pistons’ guard-heavy roster. But if they perform well, they could get a shot with Detroit or use it as a springboard to join another team.

Detroit drafted 6-4 point guard Jaden Ivey from Purdue with the fifth pick. Guard Cade Cunningham was the first pick by Detroit in the 2021 NBA Draft and finished third in the NBA Rookie of the Year balloting. Former Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim also went undrafted but has already signed a two-way contract with the Pistons, who have Syracuse connections in the front office.

Detroit has seven guards on its roster, so Moore and McGusty will have to make a big impression.

They say they are ready for the challenge.

“The biggest challenge is adjusting to the pro lifestyle,” McGusty said. “This isn’t a college anymore. There’s a different lifestyle, on and off flights, new cities every week, new hotels, new teammates. In college you might spend four years with a group of guys. In the NBA, dudes are in and out, a lot of new faces and plays, concepts you’re learning. You have to learn to adjust to all these new things being thrown at you quickly.”

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Former University of MIami guard Kameron McGusty in action with the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas on July 9, 2022. NBAE/Getty Images, courtesy Detroit Pistons

Moore is undersized at 5-11 and 180 pounds, but showed at UM that his heart, court vision and guts more than compensated for his lack of height. His game-winning baskets, three-point shooting and slick assists were a big reason the Canes went as far as they did.

“I don’t feel pressure, I try not to get too high or too low,” Moore said. “If you focus on the details and do everything they ask, there is no pressure. I am learning the new concepts and getting adjusted to the coaching staff and new players. The key is getting in rhythm, finding your game but also playing with these great players.”

Detroit’s next Summer League game is July 14 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the meantime, McGusty and Moore are taking advantage of every opportunity to shine in practice and make a good impression off the court.

They have been keeping in touch with UM coach Jim Larranaga, whom they both consider a “life coach,” not just a basketball coach.

“This is what you dream about when you’re five years old and you first start playing basketball, being picked up by an NBA team, being able to play in Summer League, getting a chance to showcase your skills and talent doing what you love ,” McGusty said. “I’m living a dream, feel blessed, and doubly blessed that I get to do it with one my good friends. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman has covered 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, US Open, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, NBA Playoffs, Super Bowls and has been the soccer writer and University of Miami basketball beat writer for 25 years. She was born in Frederick, Md., and grew up in Miami.

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