Anthony Duruji Signs With Atlanta Hawks

According to his agency, ProMondo Sports, Florida Gator alumni Anthony Duruji has signed with the Atlanta Hawks as an undrafted free agent.

 

Right now the terms of the deal are unknown, but it’s likely an unguaranteed deal that will allow him to come to camp and compete in the NBA Summer League and look to stick at the highest level. With only two rounds in the NBA Draft there are plenty of undrafted players to make an impact, and 25% of the players in the NBA playoffs were undrafted free agents. For players like Duruji it’s all about finding the right situation where he can fit in and showcase his abilities and hopefully Atlanta is the perfect spot.

 

Duruji worked out for a number of NBA teams, none of which were actually Atlanta. He had workouts with the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards, and Charlotte Hornets, and while it’s possible one or more of them also offered Duruji, he ultimately went with the Hawks. 

 

It’s clear that Atlanta is looking to get bigger and more athletic on the wings as they drafted Duke’s AJ Griffin (6’7”) and UConn’s Tyrese Martin (6’6”), with Martin being a pretty similar player to Duruji in the sense that both are explosive leapers who have had their fair share of highlight-reel dunks. 

 

With situations like Duruji’s, the Hawks won’t be his only opportunity at playing in the NBA, particularly if he’s able to play for them in Summer League. It’s a regular occurrence for a player to play for one Summer League team before getting cut and getting picked up by another team, and it’s actually fairly common to see a player get cut and picked up by another team during Summer League play where they end up competing for multiple teams. Duruji will just need to show out in whatever opportunity he’s given and other teams will be watching–not just Atlanta. 

 

Duruji is the first Gator to sign a contract post-Florida. Phlandrous Fleming worked out with the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers, but he’s yet to sign a deal with any team. Him not getting signed in the first round of undrafted free agents will likely be disappointing for him, and he’ll now wait to see if he can get an invitation to Summer League even though he may not be under contract with a team. Brandon McKissic has also entered the market looking for a professional opportunity which will likely be in Europe.

During his career at Florida Duruji averaged 7.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game.

When it comes to recruiting in 2022, elite players want to know what NBA talent came from a program that’s trying to pick them up. Even though new head coach Todd Golden didn’t coach Anthony Duruji, it will still be very beneficial to him if Duruji is able to land on an NBA roster and hopefully play some minutes as it will continue to show that Florida can be a path to the league. 

 

If Duruji is to make Atlanta’s regular season roster he’ll be the third Gator in history to play for the Hawks. Al Horford had his best years playing in Atlanta where he made the All-Star team four times, and Chandler Parsons spent his final year in the NBA with the Hawks before retiring, though he was only able to play five games due to injury.

 

We wish Anthony Duruji the best of luck with his first NBA contract, and here’s to many more!



Eric Fawcett
Eric hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His blend of sports and comedy has landed his words on ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @Efawcett7.