Gabe Brown will get restricted alternative in Summer season League debut

No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren was always going to be the show Tuesday night in Oklahoma City’s NBA Summer League opener against the Utah Jazz. Undrafted rookie Gabe Brown nudged his way in at the bottom of the credits.

While Holmgren delivered – the spindly 7-footer used his array of skills to post 23 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and four assists – Brown’s opportunity was much more limited. Brown, a 6-8 swingman out of Michigan State, played a shade under 5 minutes, going 0-for-2 (both 3-pointers) and snagging one rebound in the win.

Brown and the Thunder have another Wednesday night opportunity against Xavier Tillman’s Memphis Grizzlies. They’ll also play the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday to wrap up the Salt Lake City Summer League session.

While Brown was not projected to be drafted last month, he reportedly had one of his better pre-draft workouts with Oklahoma City, and the franchise struck a deal to bring him in for Summer League. After his senior season with the Spartans, Brown participated in the NABC – Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game and the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, which is effectively a second-tier NBA Combine.

A native of Ypsilanti, Brown finished as MSU’s leading scorer last year as a senior, posting 11.6 points per game while shooting 42.8% from the floor and 38.2% on 3-pointers. He also averaged 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while serving as one of two Spartan captains.

Brown – as well as fellow senior Marcus Bingham Jr., playing Summer League with the Dallas Mavericks – had the option to return to East Lansing for a fifth season due to the eligibility freeze during the 2020-21 season, but he opted to turn professional after receiving his degree.

Brown on March 28 announced his decision with the following message:

“My dad’s dream was for me to go to college at Michigan State and for the last four years, I’ve been able to live out not only his dream, but mine. Getting the chance to play for Coach Izzo and to be part of this program is something I’ll never forget. There were some ups and downs and challenges over the last couple years, but I always remained myself and stuck to what I know best and that is my work. I wouldn’t trade my experience at Michigan State for anything. They gave a kid from Ypsilanti a chance. I never thought I’d say I was a college graduate, but I am, and I’m proud of work that I did in the classroom as well.

“To my teammates, my brothers, I’ll never forget you. We are brothers for life. The memories we made on and off the court will last a lifetime.

“Spartan Nation, thank you for always being there for me with love and support. Those moments in the Breslin Center, I’ll always remember. Y’all really are the best fans in the country!!

“All of my family and friends, basketball coaches and trainers I have met have always pushed me and been supportive of me pursuing my dreams and I thank y’all for that.

“Coach Izz, DJ, OG, Woj, Monty and all of the staff, I thank you for all of the time you’ve worked with me over the last four years. You helped me not only become a better player, but a better person and those are lessons I’ll carry on with me forever. While I have the chance to come back and play another year, I have decided to forgo my last year enter my name in the 2022 NBA Draft and hire an agent.

“I’ll always be a Spartan Dawg!!”

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