UConn men's basketball alumni in the NBA: Where they're playing as preseason begins

You don't have to wait until Nov. 7 to watch UConn men's basketball players back in action on the court. 

There are a few former UConn players in NBA training camps gearing up for their respective preseason games. Some are veterans preparing for the season, others are trying to make rosters. 

Here's a list of former UConn players wearing NBA uniforms, a little something to tide you over until the Huskies’ season begins:

James Bouknight

Bouknight is set to begin his second season with the Charlotte Hornets, who selected him with the 11th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Hornets, led by LaMelo Ball, have multiple players that can handle the ball and score in the fast break. The various options Charlotte had at their disposal left Bouknight averaging 9.8 minutes per game in his rookie season and he did not see much playing time down the stretch under coach James Borrego.

When he was awarded more time in selective games Bouknight proved his worth. Bouknight, who averaged 15.8 points in the preseason last year, had a four-game stretch in December 2021 when he averaged 20.8 minutes and produced 12.5 points per game. That included his best performance of the season on Dec. 10, when he was 9 of 14 from the floor and 6 of 8 from beyond the arc, finishing the game with 24 points in a win over Sacramento.

The Hornets have a new coach in New England native Steve Clifford, who has reportedly shown faith in Bouknight during training camp.

Will this lottery pick be awarded the chance to show off his skills this preseason like he did last year? We’ll see on Sunday at 1 p.m. when Charlotte takes on the Celtics in Boston.

Kemba Walker

Walker, of course, made his mark in Storrs when he led the Huskies on a magical run to the 2011 NCAA title and was the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. He was also the nation’s second leading scorer, averaging 26.7 points that season. 

Walker was drafted by Charlotte in 2011 and spent eight years with the franchise before he was traded to the Celtics. And while Walker was an NBA All-Star from 2017 to 2020, he has recently battled injuries.

The Celtics sent him to Oklahoma City in 2021 and the team bought out his contract. Walker signed with his hometown New York Knicks before last season and his highlight may have been a triple-double in a Christmas Day win over Atlanta at Madison Square Garden.

Walker did not play in January due to knee soreness, then he and the Knicks ‘mutually’ agreed that he would sit-out the remainder of the season. Walker was part of a draft night trade that landed him with the Detroit Pistons, but there were immediate reports that Detroit would buy out his contract.

As training camp began, Walker was still with the Pistons. Detroit’s first preseason game is at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks on Oct.4. 

Rudy Gay

Gay starred for UConn from 2004 to 2006, leading the team in scoring (15.2) as a sophomore. He declared for the NBA Draft in 2006, leaving UConn after two seasons.

In 16 seasons with Memphis, Toronto, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Utah, Gay has pieced together an impressive NBA career. The 2006 first-team NBA All-Rookie team member has averaged over 20 points three times and was a consistent 17 to 20 point scorer for  the first dozen years of his career.

After four seasons with San Antonio, Gay signed a three-year contract with the Jazz before last season. He averaged 8.1 points in 55 games last season.

Now 36, Gay recently said he was motivated to come back better this season. The Jazz gutted their team during the offseason, trading both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. With so many new pieces on the roster, a veteran like Gay may be the glue that holds this Utah squad together.

Or Gay could be sent to a contender. His name has been mentioned in trade rumors.

He'll open the preseason Sunday when Utah plays at Toronto (6 p.m.)

Andre Drummond

The pride of Middletown, Drummond attended Woodrow Wilson Middle School before attending Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford and St. Thomas More.

The 6-foot-10 Drummond spent just one season with UConn, starting 30 of 34 games in which he appeared. Drummond led the team in rebounds (7.6), blocks (2.7) and field goal percentage (.538). He averaged 10 points and earned a spot on the Big East All-Freshman team and he made himself available for the 2012 NBA Draft.

He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons at No. 9 and played in Detroit until 2020. In 2015-16 season, Drummond made his first NBA All-Star team and was the NBA rebounding leader. He led the league in rebounding in two other years, 2018 and 2020. 

Drummond has since jumped from team to team and has been on four rosters in just two seasons (Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets).

In July, Drummond signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Bulls. At 29 and entering his 11th season, Drummond will provide rebounding off the bench for Chicago.

The Bulls play their preseason home opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 4 at 9:30 p.m.

Jeremy Lamb

The 2012 first-round draft pick played for UConn from 2010 to 2012 has spent 10 seasons in the NBA, splitting last season between Indiana and Sacramento.

Lamb, a shooting guard, averaged 7.1 points for the Pacers and 7.9 for the Kings. Overall, he's averaged 10.1 points in 573 NBA games with Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Indiana and Sacamento.

At 30, he is currently a free agent.

Tyrese Martin

Martin played at Rhode Island and transferred to UConn to play for Dan Hurley, who recruited him. In two seasons with the Huskies, Martin turned himself into an NBA prospect. 

He averaged 13.6 points and 7.5 rebounds as a senior. The 6-6 Martin went 51st overall in the NBA Draft, landing with the Atlanta Hawks.

After impressing in the Las Vegas Summer League, Martin signed a two-year contract with the Hawks. The Hawks started camp early and Martin has reportedly impressed as a "catch-and-shoot" 3-point threat who contributes on defense.

The Hawks are traveling to Abu Dhabi and will play preseason games Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 against the Milwaukee Bucks at noon.

Isaiah Whaley

The 6-9 Whaley had an interesting career at UConn, playing sparingly as a sophomore during Hurley's first season to becoming an invaluable player as a senior.

He averaged 8 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 34.8 percent from 3-point range in 2020-21. As a first-year player, he averaged 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and shot 29.1 percent on 3's while providing UConn with energy at both ends.

Overall, he averaged 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 138 games. But he was undrafted.

In September, he signed a non-guaranteed contract with Hornets. He is in camp, mostly likely trying to earn a spot in the G-League.