Ex-Tiders Go For NBA

Three former Alabama Crimson Tide basketball players are among those trying to muscle their way into National Basketball Association rosters this month by participating in the NBA's Summer League programs.

Kennedy Winston, who played in Spain this past season after three seasons at Alabama, wraps up play tonight in the Pepsi Pro Summer League in Orlando, Florida. Winston, a Prichard native, is playing for the New Jersey Nets' summer league team. Going into Friday's final game against Chicago, the All-Southeastern Conference forward had played in all four games and started in one. The Orlando League's schedule is July 10-14.

Kenny Walker, a 2003 Alabama graduate and four-year veteran as the Tide's starting center/forward is one of two former Alabama players who returned to California to play in the NBA's Summer Pro League.

Walker, who has been playing in Europe since graduation, is playing for the second straight year for "Play 2 Win." Like his former UA teammate and 2002 SEC Player of the Year Erwin Dudley, Walker played in the Turkish league this past season. His summer league play runs July 8-22 and has included a 25 points and 12 rebounds night July 12. Walker is a starter for his team.

Joining him in pro basketball's oldest summer league at 37 years and running is Emmett Thomas, a Birmingham native and 2004 Alabama graduate who helped lead the Tide to its deepest ever run in the NCAA tournament, the Elite 8. Thomas is playing in the California league for his second straight summer. He's a starting forward for SLAM. On Thursday he scored 11 points in a game against the LA Stars.

The NBA participates in four summer leagues in July, The Vegas Summer League (Las Vegas, Nevada), the Southern California Summer Pro League (Long Beach), the Pepsi Pro Summer League (Orlando) and the Rocky Mountain Revue (Salt Lake City, Utah). More than 1,000 current and former NBA players have used the summer leagues to polish their games. The leagues consist of teams from the NBA as well as professional squads made up of European professional players and former collegians.


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