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Wildcats in the NBA: Summer League recap

Former ‘Cats did not disappoint in Vegas.

2023 NBA Las Vegas Summer League - Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA Summer League stretched from July 7 to July 17 this year in Las Vegas. While all eyes were on high-profile rookies like first overall pick Victor Wembanyama, three former ‘Cats basketball players showed their worth, battling to find themselves on an NBA roster come October.

Chase Audige, Pete Nance and Elyjah Williams were Northwestern’s three representatives in the league, a respectable number for a program just starting to come into its own. It’s one more than Illinois, but who’s counting? (I am; it’s also two more than Wisconsin and Rutgers in case anyone was wondering).

Today, let’s take a look at how all three players fared in the league.

Chase Audige

Let’s start with the guy who matters most to Northwestern fans, Purdue’s worst nightmare and reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: Chase Audige. Back in May, Audige elected to keep his name in the draft instead of returning to school. Assuming the talented guard had the right people in his ear, he probably knew he was unlikely to hear his name called on draft night, but going the undrafted route isn’t always a mistake. It’s opportunities like the Summer League, though, that become crucial. The Miami Heat granted Audige that opportunity this year.

Audige’s performance didn’t set the world on fire, but it was just fine. In Vegas, he averaged 5.4 points a night, shooting 47.6% from the field with 1.2 steals (his bread and butter in college). This all came in 14 minutes per contest, including one start. That didn’t include his 18-point showing on 6-of-9 shooting at the Golden 1 Center in the California Classic, which took place a few days before the action in Vegas tipped off.

During the five games in Las Vegas, Audige connected on less than one three-ball per game, which somewhat explains his mediocre scoring totals. Long range was important for him in college, especially later in his career as his jump shot improved.

Pete Nance

For all the Northwestern fans who still love Pete Nance, his performance in the Summer League was encouraging. Not only did his team, the Cavaliers, win the entire thing, his individual numbers were also solid.

After a frustrating year at UNC, Nance posted 7.2 points per game on 47.2% shooting with 3.3 rebounds in the Summer League. Like Audige, nothing jumps off the page, but everything seems about in line with what one would have expected. Nance did not disappoint in Vegas.

For all the Northwestern fans who got on Pete Nance for heading to UNC, well, I doubt a Summer League title tastes as sweet as an NCAA Tournament berth.

Elyjah Williams

Williams was a UDFA last year after completing his senior season at NU, and was included on the Orlando Magic’s Summer League roster this year. He did not see game action, however, so there’s not really anything new to evaluate.