NBA Summer League: Carrick Felix grinding for a roster spot

While Carrick Felix is currently a Cleveland Cavalier, it’s clear that he is still very much a Fork at heart.

The last one out of the makeshift locker room at COX Pavilion on UNLV’s campus after Cleveland’s 69-58 victory over Memphis Sunday in the 2013 NBA Summer League, Felix entered the media throng sporting a white long-sleeve Arizona State dri-fit.

“Oh yeah, it’s all I got!” the Sun Devil grad and 2012-13 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Scholar Athlete of the Year quipped upon a reporter’s inquiry of his ASU getup.

[Related: Allen Crabbe out to prove himself on defense at NBA Summer League]

Drafted 33rd overall by Cleveland in the 2013 NBA Draft, Felix has averaged 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game through his first four Summer League contests. Although his shot hasn’t been falling at a clip that he would like (38 percent from the field and 20 percent from downtown), Felix has been active on both ends of the floor, recently sealing a Cavalier victory over San Antonio with a breakaway and-one flush to turn a three-point edge with 10 seconds remaining into a 72-66 triumph.

“I think my opportunity here [in Cleveland] is good. I think I just gotta play within myself, don’t get out of being Carrick Felix,” he said after his seven-point, 11-rebound performance against the Grizzlies. “The biggest thing is defense. With Mike Brown coming over and bringing the defensive mentality, and obviously that’s something I’ve been doing a long time, I think it just allows me to by myself.”

[Related: Summer League is good practice for Shabazz Muhammad]

As it is for anybody entering the NBA Draft, it has been a busy off-season for Felix, from pre-draft workouts to draft night to Summer League and everything in between. For a guy who didn’t appear on many, if any, draft boards at the beginning of the 2012-13 college basketball season, it’s all a little surreal.

“I don’t think it has hit me yet,” he said. “I’m still out here working, still staying humble and knowing that I gotta earn it.”

Having to earn it he will, because Felix’s contract for 2013-14 isn’t guaranteed as a second-round draft pick. Think that’s going to deter someone who wasn’t highly recruited out of high school and had to start his post-prep career in the JUCO ranks?

“I’ve worked so hard to get to this spot, so I just gotta keep working at it to stay here,” he said. “Again, words can’t describe it. I’m blessed; I thank God and my family.”

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