Advertisement

UMBC star Jairus Lyles ready to compete for Jazz roster spot after signing two-way deal

Utah Jazz's Jairus Lyles passes the ball as Orlando Magic's Jay Wright defends during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Utah Jazz's Jairus Lyles passes the ball as Orlando Magic's Jay Wright defends during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo / John Locher)

After Jairus Lyles, the star of 16th-seeded UMBC’s upset of No. 1 seed Virginia in this past March’s NCAA tournament, learned the Utah Jazz had offered him a two-way contract, he was awed by his dream inching closer to becoming true.

“It’s incredible,” he said Saturday, two days after signing with the Jazz. “It’s only a [two-way] contract, but just to say that I signed an NBA contract, coming where I come from, it’s just an incredible feeling, a blessing, a very humbling feeling.”

Advertisement

Lyles, 23, has played with the Jazz during Summer League play, used in a secondary role off the bench. The 6-foot-2 guard entered Saturday averaging 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists over four total games — two in the Utah Jazz Summer League and two in Las Vegas.

“I played pretty good, not my best, but pretty good,” Lyles said. “I guess [the Jazz] just believed in me. That’s all you can ask for.”

After the conclusion of the 12-day circuit in Vegas, next up for Lyles will be training camp, where he’ll compete for a roster spot. If he does not succeed, he’ll play for the Jazz’s G League team in Salt Lake City this season.

The Jazz are slightly packed with guards, including Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Dante Exum, Raul Neto, Grayson Allen and David Stockton. But Lyles could push for a backup role, or could be an emergency option in the G League in case of injury.

Advertisement
Advertisement