T.J. McConnell draws comparisons to Matthew Dellavedova
T.J. McConnell was an unsung star with the Arizona Wildcats, but college was seen as his limit. The point guard went unselected in the 2015 NBA Draft but not unnoticed. The Philadelphia 76ers took a chance on him and with his signature grit and effort, he made the regular season roster.
McConnell came off the bench and recorded six points, seven rebounds and 12 assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. As a reserve point guard, he leads the Sixers in assists with 4.8 and is gaining praises from his teammates and even head coach. Nearnes Noel said he is “getting better and better each day” and Brett Brown says he plays like Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova.
“He reminds me of Dellavedova a lot, who I had a lot to do with,” Brown told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Somebody says, ‘He can’t shoot. No way can he make it.'”
Like Dellavedova, Brown told Pompey that Philadelphia right now is the perfect environment for the Pittsburgh native
“I think it’s a right time and right place for me with him and him with me,” Brown said.”
For those who watch college basketball in the desert, this comes at no surprise to anyone. McConnell was an all-Pac 12 selection at Arizona and while freshmen like Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson got the glory and the high draft stock, he was the glue to the entire team.
“He’s a point guard,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said to me after beating Oregon last season. “He’s the one guy who I always know is never looking up there at the scoreboard to see how much points he has. He doesn’t care. He’s the consummate playmaker, leader, winner, and he’s our team’s heart and soul. You can make the argument that no player we’ve recruited in our seven or eight recruiting classes has had more of an impact on winning games than T.J.”
With Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall still rehabbing from injuries, McConnell has been getting his chances to make an impression early in the league of stars. And he is reveling in every minute of it.
“I’m going to remember this game for the rest of my life,” McConnell said. “Playing in Boston my first NBA game, people said I wouldn’t be here. Sorry to break it to you, but I’m here playing my first game in Boston. So I’m just honored.”
Photo Credits: USA Today, AP and Getty Images
About: Tony Capobianco
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