In the NBA Summer League you have certain type of players situations that basically make out what type of minutes they will get. First you have the NBA Draft picks of that season that play heavy minutes, then you have the borderline NBA players that get a real good look, then you have rookies that somehow got hooked up to play and last but not least guys sometimes older and from overseas that also got hooked up and still are looking to somehow slip into the NBA. Daeqwon Plowden (198-G/F-1998, college: BGSU, agency: One Motive Sports) of Bowling Green State who has Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Lebron James and Shaq on his personal own NBA Mount Rushmore is a rookie that got invited thanks to agent Drew Kelso’s good connections and played so well that the New Orleans Pelicans rewarded him with an exhibit 10 contract. Let me rewind a bit to September 2018. I was back home in Boston and wanted to see if I could connect with some of the Boston Celtics exhibit 10 players. With the help of German basketball insider Fabian Beierlein who seems to know everyone, he got me the number of Justin Bibbs a product from Virginia (NCAA) and we connected. We met in a hotel in Cambridge not far from the Red Auerbach training facility and he told me his basketball journey. I remember the happiness in his face about having this once in a lifetime experience and being able to share the court with Kyrie Irving and upcoming superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. I also bumped into other exhibit 10 players like Jeff Roberson who is currently balling in Germany with the MHP Riesen, and Nick King who last season played in the Italian Serie A. It was great seeing the zeal and carefree attitude that they had, because they knew they had absolutely nothing to lose. An exhibit 10 contract is a 1 year minimum salary NBA contract. This gives an organization the flexibility to make it into a 2 way deal, but the club has to make it happen before the start of the regular season. Exhibit 10 contracts are usually non guaranteed which means the team can waive the player. If a player doesn’t mind landing in the G-league after, having an Exhibit 10 contract can be beneficial, but if your wanting to latch on overseas after, it is a risk as most teams are completed for the new season. There are many guys that get these Exhibition 10 contracts and only a few number reach the NBA. It will be interesting to see where the journey will go for American Daeqwon Plowden. He knows that if he is just himself during his time with the New Orleans Pelicans then that will bring him the most success.
Daeqwon Plowden who couldn’t take himself and currently sees him and ex Bowling Green State teammate Trey Diggs tied in a 1-1 series is a 23 year old 198cm swingman from the city of brotherly love Philadelphia and left a mark at Mastery Charter Noth High School leaving as the all-time leading scorer. He was a 2 time Public League Liberty division MVP as well as a 2 time first team and all-state selection. In 2017 he was ranked in the top 100 at his position in the country by ESPN and was the 20th best player in Pennsylvania by ESPN in 2017. He then took the next step and attended Bowling State University where in 5 seasons he played a total of 153 NCAA games. He averaged only 18 minutes per game in his first two seasons, but in his last 3 seasons became a serious impact player averaging 32 minutes per game and was able to improve his scoring average each season. ‘I just felt like I came into the MAC not knowing how that level would be, but after watching some great players on both ends of the basketball and practicing against them helped me shape into an all around player’, added Daeqwon Plowden. He averaged 15,0ppg and 7,0rpg in his last 3 seasons and head coach Michael Huger was a massive aid in him being able to make the transition to the pro level on and off the court. ‘He mostly helped me become a better person before everything basketball wise translated over, but with basketball just what it takes to be a pro’, stressed Daeqwon Plowden. In is last 3 seasons he scored in double figures in 69 games in a total of 88 games. He had the number of the University of Miami at Ohio scorching them for 27 points in one game and hauled down 18 boards in another game. Taking care and dominating Miami at Ohio or many other games wasn’t his favorite moment at Bowling Green State, but moreover games where other guys could shine. I have never heard this kind of a quote from a player before. This just shows the type of first class character that he has. ‘ My favorite game was this past season when Isaac Elsasser and my other teammates that didn’t get a lot of playing time but were 2 feet into our program and devoted to helping us get better got in the games’, stated Daeqwon Plowden. After his stellar 5 year career he can look back at making 2 All-Mac third teams, one second team and once made the MAC all defensive team. He also set the school record for most games played and was the first player in the history of the program that logged at least 1,200 career points, 800 rebounds and 100 blocks. He also was 4th in club history in rebounds 935 and 4th in blocks with 126. He also reached the MAC final in 2019 and hit Michigan and Franz Wagner for 15 points, but what he will remember most from his long tenure is something that will last a lifetime. ‘Just the friendships I’ve built over the course of 5 years! Those relationships are long lasting and I plan on keeping in touch with everyone’, expressed Daeqwon Plowden. After his many achievements in the NCAA, it was only obvious that NBA teams took notice.
After his last NCAA game on March 4th against Toledo where the athletic player that list currently -Justin Turner, Caleb Fields ,Antwon Lillard, Marlon Sierra, and Dylan Frye as his 5 best teammates of all-time was invited to some NBA workouts by the Pelicans, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards. He passed the test with the Pelicans and prompt was rewarded with a 2022 NBA Summer League roster spot. So there he was in Las Vegas one of the most spectacular and glitzy cities in the world, but gambling was far from his mind unless if it had to do with getting into a passing lane or not. In his first game against Portland, he found action playing 3 minutes and making 2 free throws. Most important in this first moment of breathing NBA air wasn’t self, but how he can help his team most. ‘Just being a good teammate really! No matter if I’m in the game or on the bench, but the type of energy I bring allows me to be involved and supportive to our group. I wasn’t nervous because I’ve played this against all levels of competition all my life and that day was another day I get to play again. My preparation for the summer league was great so I didn’t have anything to be nervous about as long as I trusted my game and what I’ve worked on’, remembered Daeqwon Plowden. Instead of getting a DNP in the next game or again little minutes, the club showed extreme trust in his abilities as he played 24 minutes in a big 101-73 victory over Atlanta scoring 16 points on 5/7 shooting and hauled down 6 boards and swatted away 1 shot. ‘It felt good! It just showed that I am versatile on both ends of the floor and willing to do what’s necessary to win. Anybody can get a confidence boost solely from seeing a few shots go in. For me, it just came from knowing how I prepared for my opportunity. Defense is also a fueling thing for me, so when I am disrupting people on the defensive end it gives me a confidence boost as well. I went in expecting nothing but to support my teammates regardless. If I’m getting playing time that’s a plus. I felt like being in the Pelicans Organization a good amount leading up to the Summer League helped that be possible’, expressed Daeqwon Plowden. Once you hit that first shot and the basket looks like the ocean and find yourself in a flow, the perception of your teammates about you changes. You suddenly become a scoring option. I feel like that is a common thing. Once guys get going and have the hot hand its second nature to get the ball in their hands, so for me it was something like that once I showed that I can make and create shots’, added Daeqwon Plowden.
The versatile player that remembers NBA player EJ Liddell being his toughest cover in the NCAA had a rise in self-confidence and again had a potent game in his third try against Washington scoring 18 points on 6/9 shooting, had 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 21 minutes of action in a 106-88 win. He once again held his own against guys that have played overseas like Pierria Henry and Pat Spencer or against other experienced players like Jordan Goodwin, Craig Sword, Devon Dotson and Jordan Schakel to name just a few. ‘It just goes back to preparation and understanding how to get what I want. Just like they have experience, I have experience as well and I think that was the biggest thing when playing against other high level guys, but also getting help from my teammates. They continued to talk me through different situations with defensive and offensive reads, so I am grateful they were there to help me through those situations’, said Daeqwon Plowden. Even if the NBA Summer League is very short, there is still enough off court time where players can form relationships with one another. He was teammates with athletic Elijah Stewart who has carved out a solid career overseas. ‘I feel like I formed a relationship with all my teammates during the summer league. Elijah was one of those players. Great guy who has experienced a part of the world that I have not and is knowledgeable and down to earth type of guy. Great to meet him and play alongside him throughout the Summer League’, remembered Daeqwon Plowden. He missed the last two games, because he wasn’t totally fit to play. After 3games he averaged 12,0ppg and 4,0rpg while shooting 50% from downtown. ‘I would simply say the Summer League was a success. I went in and built some new friendships and I’m proud of that. I feel like I am the same player before and after Summer League, but I feel like my biggest improvement is my experience I gained playing in an NBA system’, warned Daeqwon Plowden. Attributes like his drive, three pointer, athleticism and defense stood out, but the most important thing he left behind for the NBA was something you won’t learn from a coach. ‘I think my competitive nature and how hard I play stuck out. Those are things that cannot be taught, so when someone is showing high levels of that it sticks around’, stressed Daeqwon Plowden. His NBA journey is just beginning now and the next months will be very interesting and exciting. He knows exactly what to do so his success will continue at the NBA level. ‘Continue to be me as a player! I think that’s the best advice my coaches reminded me of because when I’m being myself everything feels good while I’m performing. It’s less to think about when I’m being myself out there, but it was great to hear that from my coaches’, added Daeqwon Plowden. It’s obvious that a player’s agent is their biggest fan and it isn’t any different with Drew Kelso of One Motive Sports. ‘I’m unbelievably proud of Daeqwon for agreeing to terms with an NBA organization like New Orleans. He had been so overlooked during this whole Pre Draft process and we knew all he needed was a chance to shine and obviously he did at Summer League. I truly believe he has a chance to play at the highest levels in the world for a very long time. Terrific player, but a better person. He’s the best kid we’ve ever had. That’s what’s going to carry him”, stressed Drew Kelso. Having the skills is half the rent, but if you also have that special character then you have the whole package. Daeqwon Plowden is definitely a guy worth keeping on the radar. He will go places.