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July 5, 2022

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UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton, Donovan Williams go undrafted

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Steve Marcus

UNLV Rebels guard Bryce Hamilton (13) reacts after scoring a basket against the Wyoming Cowboys during the Mountain West tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center Thursday, March 10, 2022.

It was a long night for a pair of former UNLV players on Thursday, as Bryce Hamilton and Donovan Williams failed to hear their names called during the NBA Draft.

Both left the UNLV program with eligibility remaining, hoping to impress NBA decision makers during the pre-draft process, but neither was able to build much momentum. Most mock drafts projected Hamilton and Williams to go undrafted, and that’s how it played out on Thursday, with 58 other players going off the board, leaving the UNLV pair without a team.

Hamilton, a crafty left-handed slasher, played four years at UNLV and wrapped his career by scoring 21.8 points per game and being named to the All-Mountain West First Team. Due to the COVID-19 season, he had one more year of eligibility left had he chosen to exercise it, but Hamilton ultimately decided to go pro.

Williams, a 6-foot-6 swingman, burst onto the scene as a junior after transferring from Texas. He averaged 12.7 points, hit 43.6% of his 3-pointers and earned Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year honors. Williams left the door open to return throughout the draft process, but chose to stay in the pool after receiving feedback from NBA personnel.

Now their focus will turn to latching on at the professional level. That could begin with an invitation to the NBA Summer League, which begins July 7 in Las Vegas. With a strong performance there, Hamilton or Williams could earn an opportunity to compete for a roster spot during training camp.

If that doesn’t work out, the G-League and overseas leagues are always an option, and that route has worked for UNLV alums before. Players such as Khem Birch, Christian Wood and Derrick Jones had to toil in lower leagues before sticking in the NBA, and those three currently have guaranteed contracts with NBA teams totaling $80 million combined.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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