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bsn BSN: Catching up with former CU Buff Xavier Silas who turned heads as a 28-year-old at...

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    The last time I spoke to Xavier Silas, the former CU Buff was coming off a semi-final finish at the 2015 “The Basketball Tournament,” with The City of Gods, a team coached by Joe Connelly, the brother of Denver Nuggets general manager Tim and eager for another shot at the NBA.

    A year later, he’s still chasing that dream.

    Silas was at the Las Vegas Summer League this July, where he played with a talented Minnesota Timberwolves squad coached by Ryan Saunders and under the influence of new head coach Tim Thibodeau, who Silas says is already making his imprint on the team.

    His experience as a 28-year-old at Summer League who’s been through the Vegas gauntlet once or twice is a bit different than most first or second-round picks, or undrafted players who attend straight out of college. The perspective he’s gained helps Silas to know what’s expected of him, how to handle the almost AAU-like atmosphere that many struggle with, and how to navigate the week from a mental standpoint.

    “Experience is something that can’t be faked, it can’t be replicated or made up,” Silas told BSN Denver. “You just have to go through some things, you have to understand that it takes time to learn some things and I’ve been able to be around, be in camps, been on teams. I understand certain defensive rotations, places you’re supposed to be, the right things to say on defense. All that different stuff that goes into it. Having that advantage I think it helps out.”

    Silas has done the Summer League routine before, most notably with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013 which he parlayed into a training camp deal with the Washington Wizards that ended with the shooting guard getting waived prior to the regular season opener. His experience from those past trips to Las Vegas helped him to fully capitalize and impress this time around.

    “You have a different perspective, you have a different understanding and you know that putting pressure on yourself isn’t going to help the situation,” Silas said of what he’s learned from past years at Summer League. “It’s not going to help you do anything better and that just growing as a person, maturing – that’s why you have veteran people and that’s why you have rookies.”

    Silas averaged 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game and shot 37.0 percent from the field for Minnesota over eight games in Las Vegas. He fit into a valuable role with the Timberwolves alongside Summer League MVP Tyus Jones and veteran in big man Adreian Payne and helped Minnesota go all the way to the Summer League championship where they lost an overtime thriller to the Chicago Bulls.

    That role is the same one Silas is hoping to play in the NBA. A 3-and-D rotational player who can lock up the opposition’s best wing, while also spacing the floor on the offensive end, is something every team is searching for in the pace-and-space age of the NBA. His skill-set is NBA-ready, as was evident by his stints with Philadelphia 2011-12 and Washington two years later. He’s just waiting for the right situation.

    “I’ve already played and been in the NBA. The situation and the timing, it’s about that,” Silas said. “It’s about being in the right spot, being able to help somebody, being available at the right time. The skill-set has always been there and I’ve shown that. It’s not always about skill-set.”

    Silas is spot on. A large percentage of the league’s 12th through 15th men latch onto teams because their timing. Whether it was an injury to a rotation player leading to an immediate call-up from the D-League, or a training camp invite that led to a roster spot on a team with room heading into the preseason, the NBA is all about timing and opportunity.

    The San Antonio, Texas native spent part of last year abroad with Telekom Baskets Bonn in Germany but came back stateside to the D-League and joined up with the Bakersfield Jam for the final half of the regular season. Why? Because of timing and situation.

    “It’s about what’s important to you and what your dream is, and my dream is to be in the NBA and a rotational guy and I’m not going to get there by playing overseas,” Silas said of his move back to the D-League. “I have to be available, I have to be stateside and that’s just what’s important to me. It’s not really about just playing basketball for money it’s about accomplishing something I set out to accomplish a long time ago.”

    Silas turned Bakersfield’s season around once he got back from Europe. He averaged 18.5 points in 34.1 minutes, shot 44.2 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from three over the course of 27 games. Silas then earned an invite to May’s D-Leauge Elite Mini Camp, a showcase for the top-40 prospects who played in front of NBA scouts and personnel. He played well enough to get the call from Minnesota and an invite to Summer League.

    The path from the D-League to the NBA has already been laid out by veterans before. Jonathon Simmons, Hollis Thompson, Chris Johnson and Jarrell Eddie are just some of the recent NBA call-ups that spent time years overseas or in the D-League. Silas is ready for that opportunity. What playing overseas, in the D-League and getting a taste of the NBA twice has taught Silas not waste those chances in front of him.

    “When you’re younger you don’t understand that every experience, every game, everything that’s coming up is the most important thing that’s coming up in your life,” Silas said. “When I came back from Germany to play in the D-League, how I performed was the most important thing in my life. Then going to play in the top-40 event in front of all those scouts, that was the most important thing that I’ve ever had to do. Then I go to Minnesota and play in mini-camp and try to earn a spot before you go to Summer League, that’s the most important thing. All these things are always important but when you’re young you don’t really understand that and you’re always putting pressure on yourself. When you get older its always going to be that certain amount of importance on what you’re doing.”

    Look for Silas playing with the City of Gods in The Basketball Tournament’s semifinals this weekend. The winner of the championship on Aug. 2 takes home a $2 million purse.

    Harrison Wind
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  2. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines beware the habu Club Member

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    I didn't realize 2 former Buffs squared off in that summer league title game.
     

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