Former Tennessee basketball player Cameron Tatum (2008-12) was selected in the third round of the NBA Development League Draft Friday night. Tatum, who completed his collegiate eligibility past spring and played for the Memphis Grizzlies’ NBA Summer League team, was the 38th overall selection in Friday’s draft.
The Iowa Energy drafted Tatum and traded his rights to the Bakersfield (Calif.) Jam shortly thereafter.
“It feels great,” Tatum said following the draft. “It’s good to know that God has a plan, one way or the other.
“(Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin’s) style of play is actually what impressed the (Bakersfield) coaches. I talked to them tonight, and they said they liked the way I defend point guards and the screen-and-roll.”
A 6-7, 195-pound small forward from Lithonia, Ga., Tatum finished his Tennessee career ranked second on the school’s all-time games played list (138), 10th on the list for 3-pointers made (155) and 41st on UT’s career scoring list (1,083 points). He is one of only eight Vols ever to log at least 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 200 assists in a career.
As a senior last season, he ranked fifth on the team in scoring (8.1 ppg) and was second in assists (2.6 apg) and minutes played (29.1 mpg). He was the team’s top-rebounding guard with 4.1 rpg, and his 13 charges drawn ranked second on the team.
He graduated in December 2011 with a degree in Africana Studies.
“First and foremost, I’m very proud of Cam,” Martin said. “He’s got his college degree, and he’s worked tremendously hard to earn this opportunity to get paid to play the game of basketball. He’s put himself in position to be successful in life, and that is what we Tennessee basketball to be all about.”
The Bakersfield Jam franchise is the NBA D-League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors.
Interestingly, the Iowa Energy – the team that initially drafted Tatum – is an affiliate of the Washington Wizards. Former Vol All-American Ernie Grunfeld (1974-77) is entering his 10th season as the Wizards’ general manager.
The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official “minor league.” Featuring 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, the NBA D-League is a proven developer of talent. A total of 87 current NBA players boast NBA D-League experience, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees and front-office staff for the NBA and its teams. Former Tennessee All-American Allan Houston (1990-93) serves in dual roles as general manager of the NBA D-League’s Erie BayHawks and assistant general manager of the NBA’s New York Knicks.
TOBIAS HARRIS IN STARTING LINEUP FOR MILWAUKEE BUCKS SEASON-OPENER
The Milwaukee Bucks opened their 2012-13 NBA season Friday with a 99-88 road win over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden in Boston, and former Vol Tobias Harris (2011) was in the Bucks’ starting lineup.
Harris scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting – including 2-of-2 from 3-point range – while leading Milwaukee to its first season-opening victory since 2001. The Dix Hills, N.Y., native also added six rebounds, two steals and one block in the winning effort, during which he played 33 minutes.
Harris earned Freshman All-American acclaim with the Vols as a freshman in 2011, prompting the Charlotte Bobcats to make him the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. A three-team, draft-day trade sent Harris to Milwaukee, where he averaged 5.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 42 games played as a rookie last season.
This past summer, Harris’ development blossomed, as he was named to the NBA Summer League All-Star Team after averaging 20.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.