After watching former teammate D.J. Wilson get selected with the No. 17 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin were hoping to hear their names called. The moment never came and the duo went undrafted.
Yet, it didn’t take long for Walton and Irvin’s phones to start ringing in the late hours. Both quickly found landing spots as unrestricted free agents and signed NBA Summer League deals, with Walton reportedly joining the Orlando Magic and Irvin the Miami Heat.
After taking different paths throughout the draft process -- Irvin participated in the Portsmouth Invitational and Walton in the NBA Combine -- the two will get an opportunity to earn a spot on an NBA roster and achieve their lifelong dream.
Walton, 22, capped his career with a flourish and helped carry the Wolverines to the Big Ten tournament title and a shot within reaching the Elite Eight, but has faced questions about his smaller size (6-foot, 188 pounds). He finished his senior year averaging career highs in points (15.5), assists (4.9), field-goal percentage (43.6), 3-point shooting (42.2 percent), free-throw percentage (87.6) and minutes (34.8).
Irvin, 22, finished his up and down senior campaign on a strong note, stringing together nine straight double-digit performances that included several clutch shots throughout the postseason. He averaged 13 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists this past season, and has drawn interest for his defense and versatility.
In addition to Walton and Irvin, Central Michigan star Marcus Keene, a Texas native who led Division I in scoring in his lone season in Mount Pleasant, also went undrafted but will play in the Summer League with the Washington Wizards.
The Summer League is July 1-6 in Orlando, July 3-6 in Utah and July 7-17 in Las Vegas.