In Jared Sullinger’s freshman year at Ohio State, he was almost without doubt their star player. That season, he led the Buckeyes in points and rebounds per game and started blazing his path to the NBA. However, one of the few seniors and leaders on that team, David Lighty, has had a much different path to the league.
After his senior year with OSU, Lighty wasn’t selected in the 2011 NBA Draft and hasn’t found an NBA roster yet. In the two years since then, he has spent his time playing overseas, having tenures in Italy and France for three separate teams. However, now he could be on track to land in the Association.
According to a report from earlier this month from Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lighty has accepted an invite to training camp with the Atlanta Hawks. He has no contract in place, but will obviously have the chance to play his way onto the Hawks’ roster.
In his final season with the Buckeyes in college, Lighty pieced together a solid year, despite playing alongside Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas. In 37 games he averaged 12.1 points, 3.3 assists, four rebounds and 1.5 steals in 32.1 minutes per game while also shooting a solid 46.8 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from long-distance.
Lighty also appeared at both the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues this year as a member of the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings, respectively. In three games with the Nets, Lighty averaged 7.7 points, 2.3 assists and two rebounds in 27 minutes per game while showing off his long-range shooting, going 4-8 from three. In five games with Sacramento, he averaged 5.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.8 steals in 21.6 minutes per game. He shot 48 percent from the field in Vegas, but his three-point percentage dipped to a meager 20 percent.
In an interview at Summer League with Sam Vecenie of Land-Grant Holy Land, Lighty talked about his long road to the league. In that interview, he talked about how he will do whatever it takes to make an NBA roster. He doesn’t need the spotlight or even to score; if a team needs him to space the floor, rebound or play solid defense, that’s what he plans to do.
As Lighty heads to Hawks camp, he has a legitimate chance to make their roster if he performs well in the preseason. With Lou Williams still not cleared to play and with a relatively shallow wing rotation, Lighty is a player able to play at both wing positions and could slide into a role with Atlanta, at the beginning of the season at least. It’s been a long ride to the league for Lighty, but the Hawks could be his next stop.
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