By Brendan Stiles
Former Iowa guard Matt Gatens announced via Twitter on Friday that he would be playing for the Phoenix Suns in this year’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev., after not getting picked in the 2012 NBA Draft on June 28.
The Iowa City native finished his Hawkeye career as the school’s sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,635 career points. He had a career average of 12.8 points per game, which includes being the team’s leading scorer last season with an average of 15.2 points per contest. Gatens was also second team all-Big Ten as a senior last season.
Should Gatens make the Suns’ roster following the NBA Summer League, he would become the first Iowa City native to ever play in the NBA. According to basketball-reference.com, 19 native Iowans have played in an NBA game. Former North Carolina guard and Ames native Harrison Barnes will likely become the 20th after he was drafted seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors.
Phoenix will play five games in the NBA Summer League, with the first taking place July 15 against the New York Knicks. The four other Suns games pit them against the Cleveland Cavaliers (July 17), New Orleans Hornets (July 18), an NBA D-League team to be announced (July 20) and the Memphis Grizzlies (July 22).
The last Iowa player to be drafted by an NBA team was Adam Haluska, who was taken 43rd overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2007 NBA Draft. Currently, the only Hawkeye playing in the NBA is former forward Reggie Evans, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.