Former Gopher Payton Willis signs with Golden State for NBA Summer League

MINNEAPOLIS – University of Minnesota alum Payton Willis has signed with the Golden State Warriors and will compete in the NBA Summer League. The Golden Gopher grad begins competition July 2-3 in the California Classic at the Chase Center, and continues action July 7-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

Payton Willis vs Ohio State, January 2022 Photo by Bailey Hillesheim

Willis had his best point-production season of his collegiate career en route to All-Big Ten honorable mention honors in 2021-22. The senior from Fayetteville, Ark., averages 15.9 ppg, which ranked second on the team and 10th within the Big Ten. In fact, Willis ranked top 10 within the league in ppg, assists per game (4.3) and steals per game (1.4). He led the league in best three-point efficiency at 42.8 percent and 10th nationally. His 15.9 ppg bettered his 13.4 he averaged last year at College of Charleston and 8.9 his first time at Minnesota. The starting point guard led the team with 124 assists and averaged 4.27 per game, good enough for eighth in the league. The Academic All-Big Ten selection was also a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week after the Mississippi State and Rutgers wins. 

The California Classic showcases rookies selected in the 2022 NBA Draft competing in their first NBA games, along with sophomores, select free agents and other players competing to make NBA and NBA G League regular season rosters. The California Classic began in 2018 and has been hosted by the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center in each of its previous three years.

All 75 games of the 11-day NBA Summer League competition will air live on television on ESPN networks or NBA TV.  Games will also be available to stream on the ESPN App. The 17th NBA 2K23 Summer League will feature all 30 NBA teams playing five games each.  After every team plays four games July 7-15, the two teams with the best records from the first four games will meet in the Championship Game on Sunday, July 17 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. The 28 teams that do not play in the Championship Game will play a fifth game on July 16 or July 17.

Last year, Minnesota had a variety of alums in Summer League competition. Nate Mason, Austin Hollins, Amir Coffey and Daniel Oturu all competed last summer, while Bobby Jackson’s Sacramento team won the Summer League championship. 


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