Caleb McConnell did not hear his name called during the 2023 NBA Draft but did not have to wait long to begin his professional career.
In the early morning hours of Friday, Rutgers announced that its former star signed an Exhibition-10 contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
An Exhibition-10 deal is a one-year deal that can be converted into a two-way deal before the regular season begins. If waived before the season, McConnell can sign a deal with a G-League team. This is a minimum-salary contract.
McConnell now makes it two years in a row where a Scarlet Knight has been signed following the draft. In 2022, Ron Harper Jr. signed a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors. McConnell worked out for many NBA teams leading up to the draft in order to show off his skillset, which Rutgers’ fans know plenty about.
Here is a report on McConnell, according to NBA Scouting Live:
“Caleb McConnell is an athletic, high-motor swingman that is known for his strong defensive play, and he had a solid collegiate career at Rutgers. He is a good defender that can get steals and stops for his team. While he’s not known for his scoring process, he played very well in his team’s March 16th double overtime loss to Notre Dame in the First Four of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, as he scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds in that game.
On the other hand, he’s really struggled with his jump shot this past season, but his defense could be his calling card for the next level. He is a versatile playmaker that had a solid collegiate career, and he could project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA.”
The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year averaged 2.5 steals per game last season. Over the course of his career, he turned into the best defender in the conference and was put in a national spotlight as well. Offensively, McConnell averaged 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 39.5% from the field. He struggled from three-point range, finishing 20.3% as a senior.
McConnell became Rutgers’ all-time steals leader, passing Eddie Jordan after picking up the 221st of his career in his final game.