Former McClymonds High basketball great Will Cherry proved to be the apple of everyone’s eye during the recent NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
“Will was an undrafted free agent who really balled this summer,” said Calvin Andrews, Cherry’s sports agent with the bay area based BDA sports agency. “As a result Toronto was impressed and they signed Will to a 2-year deal.”
“I am ecstatic about being signed to play for the Toronto Raptors,” said Cherry. “I had a good summer league and all my hard work definitely paid off.”
After McClymonds, Cherry played for Montana University and was the starting point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers summer league team. He was paired with the NBA’s number 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins and collection of other players, where he ran the team, played tenacious defense and made several outstanding plays on the court.
Cherry was an all OAL standout at McClymonds, who helped the Warriors win a state Championship in 2008. In 2009, he was an all bay area selection and helped lead McClymonds to a Northern California title and runner up in the state championship game. Upon graduation, Cherry followed another former OAL basketball standout, Damian Lillard to the Big Sky Conference. While Lillard was at Weber State, Cherry was at Montana and the two butted heads in league play for two years, before Lillard left to go to the NBA.
He was named the Most Valuable Player in the Big Sky Conference his senior year. He played a few months in the NBA’s Developmental league for the Canton Charge.
“I sat out almost the entire year last year, but I didn’t stop working, as I looked at it as a red shirt year,” said Cherry. “It was a year for me to mature and grow.”
“Will played very well in the summer league and a lot of professional teams from overseas called me about him,” said Andrews. “But we thought he had a good chance of making the Cavaliers.”
While the Cavaliers liked Cherry, some uncertainty in selections was caused by the resigning of LeBron James and proposals of a Wiggins trade for Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love.
“The Toronto Raptors Head Coach Dwayne Casey called me asking about Will,” said Andrews. For the head coach to call an agent, is big time.”
“They said they wanted him. I then started pressing Cleveland to see what they were going to do. They asked us to wait, but we felt the Raptors offer was firmer.”
Cherry, now in Los Angeles Training Camp, said, “I am in LA working out. I will be back in Oakland for a few days before I go to Toronto.” “Now that I have signed a contract the real work starts and I am going to keep on pushing and working hard. When I get my chance I will come in games and do whatever needs to be done to help the Raptors win games.”
Former McClymonds Coach Ben Tapscott, said Cherry’s statements about doing whatever it takes to make the team win ,”is the winning formula to survive in the NBA.”
Other bay area players who sought to land a spot on a team included former University of Missouri and Oakland High standout Jabari Brown, Oakland native Kiwi Gardner, former University of Detroit and Richmond High standout Eli Holman, former Weber State and Hayward High guard Davion Berry, former Skyline High and Cal State Fullerton guard Kwame Vaughn and former Oregon State and San Leandro High and current member of the Sacramento Kings, guard Jared Cunningham.