Montana Grizzlies guard Will Cherry is expected to sign an NBA minimum two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors after a strong Summer League performance with the Cavaliers according to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Cherry had an “an undeniable defensive presence” and was “vital for an offense in college” according to Myron Medcalf of ESPN, however, he sprained his wrist prior to the start of his senior college season and on his return, he broke his foot causing him to miss seven games. His scoring dropped by 3 points per game, his field goal percentage fell from 45 percent to 40.3 percent and his three-point shot vanished going from 38.3 percent as a junior to 26.3 percent as a senior.
After going undrafted in 2013, the 6’1 Cherry joined Canton in the NBA D-League where he averaged 11.9 points on 45.2 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.5 steals. His three-point shooting improved to 30.1 percent.
His efforts earned him a spot on the Cavaliers NBA Summer League team where in 5 games he averaged 12.8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 25.2 minutes. He shot 52.1 percent from the field, 23.5 percent from beyond the arc and had two 21 point scoring games.
In 2013 Cherry was invited to the Pelicans Summer League team, however a foot injury prevented him playing much and he told Jesse Flickinger of the Missoulian that since then he has been able to get back to doing the things he does well after healing from his injuries.
Cherry, “Last year I was hurt, but this year that’s not the case, so I’ve made my case this whole week here in Summer League. Every time I’ve gotten a chance to get in a game I’ve taken the opportunity and ran with it. Being healthy now has been a big part of it too because I’ve been able to get back to being able to start doing the things I was capable of before I got hurt.”
“I just felt like it was my time. I had a whole year to be out to heal and work on my craft and hone my skills at basketball. It feels like this hard work that I’ve put in this year is finally beginning to pay off and it’s showed in these last few games here in Summer League. Sometimes it’d be hard for me to work out because I’d have no clue about what was going to happen so when I got this chance in the Summer League I knew had to turn heads and make sure I let everyone know that Will Cherry is 100 percent and ready to go.”
Cherry will fill the role Dwight Buycks had with the Raptors last season, a high potential young guard with just enough experience after college that he might be able to fill a role if needed during the season. Toronto is deep at the guard spots and it’s hard to see where Head Coach Dwane Casey will be able to find playing time for him, but it’s a long season and injuries, trades and other circumstances can happen. Cherry is an interesting prospect to add as the fifteenth man on a roster.
The Official Athletic Site For the University of Montana provides a more personal look at Cherry:
Favorite Food: Baked Mac and cheese.
Favorite class: Native American Sports and Games.
Favorite book: Road to Ecstasy.
Favorite TV show: Jersey Shore.
Favorite movie: Love & Basketball.
Favorite musical group: Young Money.
If a movie were made of my life, I would like the following actor to play me: Morris Chestnut.
The person in history I would most like to meet is: Michael Jordan.
Favorite sport other than basketball: Football.
Favorite sports figure: LeBron James.
Many people don’t know this, but I: love Nickelodeon cartoons.
My greatest moment in sports was: Hosting the tournament last year and winning it.
If I were not playing college hoops, I would be: in another college.
The best player I ever faced was: Damian Lillard.
The thing I like best about Montana basketball is: The fans.
The thing that impresses me about Coach Tinkle: how he gets the crowd involved.
My advice to youngsters is: work hard at everything and you will do fine in life.
My future goals are: To make it to the NBA