The Milwaukee Bucks have officially signed D.J. Stephens, a 6-foot-5, 188 pound undrafted guard-forward formerly of the Memphis Tigers and most recently of the Ilysiakos B.C. basketball club in Greece, to a 10-day contract. His 46-inch vertical leap was the highest ever recorded at the NBA’s draft combine. Per the Bucks:
Stephens joins the Bucks from Ilysiakos in the Greek League, where he signed after going undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft. The former Memphis Tiger has appeared in 18 games for Ilysiakos and averaged 9.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 2.2 blocks per contest. Stephens has scored in double figures in eight contests, including a season-best 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in a loss to Panathinaikos on Dec. 2.
His college dunks were quite impressive. Including this alley-oop:
What I most enjoy about this was the simplicity. He’s up so high and it all looks almost boring for him. He seems to be at his peak for twice as long as the average person is at the apex of their leaping ability.
Beyond being a dude that jumps very high, Stephens earned the Conference USA defensive player of the year award his senior year at Memphis.
He’s likely to follow the Tony Mitchell, Chris Wright track that Milwaukee’s carved out since parting ways with Caron Butler: Minutes in blowouts, with potentially more minutes in the especially large blowout that seems to happen every other week or so. Mitchell logged 10 minutes over three games in Milwaukee, while Wright piled up 33 minutes in two games. An educated guess pegs these short term signings as summer league auditions, where the team not only gets a glimpse at what these guys are like as players, but as people too.