- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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The NBA is all Xavier Silas has sought since he was a child.
Silas, the son of former NBA player James Silas, grew up around the game. He played high school and college basketball, but the NBA is what he knows best.
That’s why Silas, a former Northern Illinois guard, is willing to gamble with his basketball career this summer for a chance to play in the NBA next season. After going undrafted last week, Silas was asked by the Philadelphia 76ers to pass on any overseas offers and wait to attend their veteran training camp whenever the league resolves its collective bargaining agreement.
The players and the owners could strike a deal at any time, but many believe a lockout is looming and it could roll into the season. For Silas, it would mean a long wait to participate in a training camp where there is no guarantee he will be given an NBA contract.
It is a risk he’s willing to take.
“You have to put faith in them,” said Silas, a 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 22.3 points as a senior. “I think you have to put a lot of faith in your game, too. It’s been like a few days [since the draft], but I’m sure I’ll be passing up [overseas] deals, nice lucrative deals. I’ll have to have confidence in my game, but at the same I do.”
Silas’ confidence has never waned throughout the draft process. He is as sure today he can play in the NBA as he’s ever been. Of course, the NBA draft didn’t play out as he hoped. Heading into the draft, Silas was sure he would be among the 60 players selected.
“I was waiting for a few teams to call my name,” Silas said. “The draft was so crazy with all the Europeans being drafted. A lot of people who expected to get drafted didn’t get drafted. It was one of those things that it didn’t go how you thought it would be.
“It’s all about the journey and staying true to your plan and the goal. The goal is to play in the NBA. Not just play in the NBA, but contribute there and have some accolades in the NBA. That’s what the goal is. That’s still what I’m trying to do.”
Silas believes the 76ers will give him that opportunity.
“I didn’t have time to be disappointed or upset [about the draft,]” Silas said. “Sacramento’s 60th pick was still on the screen when Philly called me and wanted me 100 percent to come into camp. They said, ‘We don’t want you to go to Europe. We want you to come in our training camp 100 percent because we need a 2 [guard.]
“I know they like my game. I know I’m going to play my game. I know everything is going to work out. I’m just happy everything is on track.”
Until training camp, Silas will continue to work on his game in Austin, Texas training with former Northern Illinois assistant Sundance Wicks.
When his chances come, he’ll be ready.
“You have to believe in yourself and your game,” Silas said. “Knowing what I can do, you can’t really get too disappointed. When you get into training camp, it’ll all show.
“It’s all about finality. You can get there all different types of ways. It’s not about draft night. If it was about draft night, the league wouldn’t be what it is today.”