Demetri McCamey to play in Turkey
Former Illinois point guard Demetri McCamey signed a one-year deal with Mersin in Turkey, his agent Roger Montgomery confirmed on Thursday.
"We thought this was a good opportunity for the year," Montgomery said. "There's a lot of uncertainty with what's going on with the NBA season. We wanted to get his career started. There were a lot of teams that were interested in him. We had to sift through them and do our due diligence for what was the best fit for Demetri.
"We decided this situation from a financial standpoint, basketball standpoint and location standpoint was the best fit. Turkey is a really, really quality league. It's been in the news as of late. That's why we made the decision."
McCamey, a 6-foot-3 point guard, was projected by ESPN's Chad Ford as a second-round pick in last month's NBA draft, but he was not selected. Montgomery said the few days following the draft were difficult for his client.
"Demetri was extremely disappointed because we had gotten great feedback," Montgomery said. "It probably took him 48 hours to get over. Allan Houston from the [New York] Knicks called and gave him support and encouragement, which is really cool. He really believed in Demetri's game and had a lot of positives to say about Demetri.
"That's over with now. We recognize things happen for a reason. He's going to have a lot of options. This is one of the alternatives we think is a positive for him. At some point, he's going to play in the NBA. The cream rises to the top even when NBA teams have made an oversight, which the NBA did."
McCamey's potential competition in Turkey was one of the reasons he signed with Mersin. He could face former Illinois and current New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, who has signed with Besiktas, if the NBA lockout continues.
"Deron Williams is a draw no matter how you put it," Montgomery said. "He's one of the biggest players in the NBA. He's going to play in Turkey. If that comes to fruition, that's a great opportunity for any player. A lot of people think Demetri and Deron's games are very similar. I think that will be cool. I'm excited about that possibility."
Mersin went 10-20 and finished in 13th place in the Turkish Basketball League last season. Alex Scales, a former Oregon player, and Anthony Grundy, a former North Carolina State standout, were among the team's leaders last season.
McCamey averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists as a senior at Illinois last season.
The Chicago Tribune first reported the signing on Wednesday night.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.