Bucks Summer League roster will feature Henson, Ayón, Ish and Wolters

Summer League is almost here, so get ready for an abundance of John Henson left-handed hooks. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Summer League is almost here, so get ready for an abundance of John Henson left-handed hooks. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Bucks announced their Las Vegas Summer League roster yesterday without too many surprises. Three players currently under contract – Gustavo Ayón, John Henson and Ish Smith – will join second-round pick Nate Wolters and a slew of fringe players on the squad. The notable omission is first-rounder Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will not participate due to a conflicting commitment with the Greek Under-20 national team.

Ayón, 28, and Smith, who will turn 25 tomorrow, are relatively old and experienced for Summer League standards. However, the Bucks have yet to get an extended look at either player, as they played in a combined 28 games with the Bucks after coming over in the J.J. RedickTobias Harris trade. It also appears Ayón’s $1.5 million contract doesn’t become guaranteed until July 25. As a result, Milwaukee has the luxury of treating Summer League as another trial period. Pressure!

Henson is the most relevant and intriguing Bucks player heading to Vegas. He put on a strong showing in his four Summer League appearances last year – averaging 18.3 points (53.4 fg%), 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game – so it will be interesting to see how the sophomore fares against less polished competition this time around.

Wolters will presumably share point guard duties with Smith and slide over to shooting guard at times. Given his decent size – 6’4″, 190 – the Bucks will certainly want to see if he’s capable of playing both guard spots at the next level, à la Luke Ridnour.

Dominique Jones, Demetris Nichols and Xavier Silas are the only other players on the roster with NBA experience. Jones, whom the Bucks invited to a three-day free agent minicamp a couple weeks ago, appeared in 80 games during three seasons with Dallas. Nichols, who is the oldest player on the list, played in a total of 18 games for three teams between 2007 and 2009 before digging out a niche overseas. Silas saw action in four games – including two in the playoffs – with Philadelphia during the 2011-12 campaign.

Summer League Roster
(Via Bucks.com)

College basketball fans in Wisconsin will also recognize two other names: Marquette’s Junior Cadougan and Wisconsin’s Mike Bruesewitz. Both players worked out for the Bucks prior to the NBA Draft, though neither were in a legitimate position to be selected. Cadougan was a steady, if unspectacular, presence at point guard in his four seasons with the Golden Eagles, while Bruesewitz’s most ascertainable skill was, ugh, hustle. They both struggled mightily to score. (Bruesewitz and Cadougan posted true shooting percentages of .517 and .497, respectively, their senior season. Think Jennings and Ellis efficiency on way less usage.)

Although 18 players are listed on the roster, there’s no guarantee they will all actually head to Vegas, per Bucks PR. The team will practice five times at the end of next week before flying to Vegas, and it’s likely only a smaller version of this roster will make the trip.

New head coach Larry Drew, along with assistants Bob Bender and Nick Van Exel, will coach the squad, according to the Bucks’ press release. It’s unclear in what capacity Drew will be involved – Jim Boylan, who was top assistant at the time, handled most Summer League coaching duties last year.

The Bucks will play three games in a span from July 13 to 16 and then enter an inaugural single-elimination tournament along with 22 other teams. A consolation round is also scheduled in to ensure each team gets at least five games.

While Summer League can be entertaining to watch, let’s quickly remember it means very little. Case in point: Larry Sanders looked utterly lost last year. Jarrid Famous outperformed him by a pretty significant margin. Sanders averaged 6.3 points on 36.4 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 fouls (!) in 25.7 minutes per game . That’s not a typo – in the name of development, a player is allowed 10 fouls per game. Summer League is just the best.

All games can be streamed through NBA.com’s “Summer League Live” for $14.99.

Categories: Summer League

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  1. I enjoyed watching Lamb Harris & Henson last year… Idk bout this squad, especially w/out Giannis.. No Vander Blue either.. John Hammond your clock is ticking after that AWFUL JJ Redick trade.. Luc Richard should be on this team to work on his broke Jumper

  2. happyfeethustle

    Lets all think positive…Henson improvement-Wolters showing something worthwhile. Maybe one or two other SURPRISES. Work hard guys!!!


    • been alive 24yrs & only seen one team make it out 1st round.. My patience is wearing thin on this think positive stuff.. But my starting 5 is PG) Ish Smith SG) Wolters SF) Dominique Jones PF) Henson C) Gustavo.. General Rule of thumb, if your regular season team isnt very good you summer league team should be.. Outside of those 5 players does anybody else see a NBA player??

      • demetris nichols is a really nice player.other than that this roster is a bunch of duds

  3. not excited, but would like to see what Shurna has learned in the French Pro League.. he could be our poor man’s Dunleavy.. such a smooth jumper and hopefully that 8 pounds he gained was in muscle

  4. JAKA!! Bucks need to sign JAKA BLAZIC before other teams discover him. He’s a gem. Solid backup behind Juice Mayo.

  5. I’m not holding my breath, but I would love to see Bruesewitz on the Bucks roster next season. While I agree that hustle was about the only thing he had going for him, the attitude and work ethic he brings would only be a benefit to the rest of the team, even as a 12th man. At least with Bruesewitz you know you’re getting a guy who is always going to give 100% even in practice, and attitude is contagious.

    • Bruesewitz has a nice-looking jumper, and I’ve been sadly surprised at how often during the past couple of college seasons his shots didn’t go in. (same with Bergren with the Badgers). I’ve wondered all this times whether these guys are keeping their eyes focused on the rim when they shoot rather than allowing their heads to go up a little, perhaps watching the ball. Gotta stare down that rim and follow through. Just in case your reading this Mike, I’m rooting for you.
      Summer League is fun. It’s like going to a garage sale to see if you can find a treasure or two that other people have overlooked. I am truly sad when I think about how excited I was last summer after John Henson and Tobias showed such exciting promise, and how both of them were neglected last season even as role players off the bench — please excuse me, the grieving process can take time.
      It will be fun to see if Nate can get off his shot at this level, and generally adapt to the speed of the pro game. I don’t think that this is all speed and quickness, but has a lot to do with an innate feel for the flow of the action.
      I agree that we shouldn’t put too much stock in Summer League, but it’s still a good thing. Go potential Bucks!

  6. Looking forward to see Nate Wolters do cool things. Looking even more forward to hearing what NBA commentators have to say about Bruesewitz’s hair

  7. Yay summer league and all….But whats on my mind is if the Warriors can land Howard and the Bucks can attain another 1st rounder by taking on some over-paid warriors scrubs such as Richard Jefferson and Andres Biedrens. I have my fingers crossed that this happens, and wonder what would happen to Bogut at that point.

  8. Natalie wolters is NOT a nba player in his only 2 games vs nba guards (burke & canaan) he was overmatched not fast enough and has a set shot . She’s never performed well under pressure either, enjoy d league