Ex-Cats

After going undrafted, Kyle Wiltjer agrees to deal with Rockets

Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer is congratulated as he leaves the court after Gonzaga defeated Utah 82-59 Saturday, March 19, 2016, in the second round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Denver.
Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer is congratulated as he leaves the court after Gonzaga defeated Utah 82-59 Saturday, March 19, 2016, in the second round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Denver. AP

Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer, who wasn’t selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn, N.Y., agreed to sign with the Rockets shortly afterward, according to Fox 26 in Houston.

Wiltjer confirmed the news on Twitter: “Nothing but joy in the Wiltjer house … so hyped right now! Thank you @HoustonRockets for the opportunity.”

Wiltjer, who spent his first two seasons at the University of Kentucky, averaged a team-high 20.4 points to go with 6.3 rebounds as a senior at Gonzaga. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward shot 43.7 percent from behind the three-point line while helping the Bulldogs reach their sixth Sweet Sixteen in program history.

“That’s something I really take pride in, is shooting,” Wiltjer told Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer after his final pre-draft workout with the 76ers. “I think I’m more than just that. I can pass, I can kind of run through an offense. So, I think I can be a very valuable asset to a team because I really stretch the floor, I create mismatches and that’s what I’ve really done in this process, is just showing them my strengths.”

As a junior, Wiltjer was a key player on a Gonzaga squad that fell to eventual 2015 national champion Duke in the Elite Eight. He was named to the All-West Coast Conference first team both seasons at Gonzaga. The Portland, Ore., native was a freshman on UK’s 2012 national championship team. As a sophomore he was named Southeastern Conference Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 10.2 points ad 4.2 rebounds per game for the Wildcats.

After two years at UK, Wiltjer opted to transfer to Gonzaga, one of the schools he originally considered during his recruitment before pledging to Kentucky.

“I feel like in my basketball career, I’m facing a make-it-or-break-it moment,” Wiltjer said in a tweet addressing his transfer in 2013. “And the primary factor in this decision is transforming my body. I’m choosing to transfer to Gonzaga because I feel they have a proven plan in place to help develop players similar to me, which has seen great results.”

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments