The Spurs made two selections in the NBA Draft, picking a pair of Frenchman in Victor Wembanyama and Sidy Cissoko. However, they did not stop adding young talent after the 58th player was selected.
San Antonio agreed to deals with two undrafted players: Sir’Jabari Rice, a guard from the University of Texas, and Charles Bediako, a center from the University of Alabama. Rice inked a two-way contract per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He will fill the first of San Antonio’s three two-way three slots and will only be able to play 50 games with the big league squad. Bediako signed on as a training camp invite according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
Rice was one of the stars of Texas’ 2023 NCAA Tournament run. As a fifth year senior, he averaged 13 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 46% from the field and 37% from three. He’s an effective off-ball weapon who can knock down jumpers and attack closeouts. The most effective move in his arsenal is his pump fake, which routinely got defenders off of their feet and allowed him to attack the paint. He was one of college basketball’s most efficient spot up scorers, 1.16 points per possession in those opportunities, good for 89th percentile in the NCAA. Rice is also a strong defender who had a defensive box plus minus of 3.0, which is 3 points above average.
The 6-foot-4 guard was the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he battled other fringe NBA draft picks and earned an invite to the Draft Combine. Rice scored 19 points in the championship game of the tournament. His PIT and Combine performances made him a riser for NBA teams. He didn’t quite rise into getting selected on draft night, but landing a two-way deal with the Spurs is a good result.
Rice will fit in with San Antonio as an off-ball scorer, a skillset that will be valuable with the ball in the hands of the likes of Wembanyama, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan. The former Longhorn is the type of connective wing that can compliment stars if he can defend and shoot at a respectable level in the NBA.
Alabama’s Bediako is getting a training camp invite after working out for the Spurs early on in the process. It was somewhat of a surprise that the big man decided to stay in the draft, as he was not projected to go in the top-58. In his Sophomore season with the Crimson Tide, the 7-footer averaged 6.4 points, 6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks shooting 68% from the field.
Bediako profiles as a rim running big who can hold it down in the paint. The majority of his offense came as roller, cutter and offensive rebounder. He’s not incredibly gifted with the ball in his hands, and will rely on his strength and instincts inside to add something offensively to an NBA team. His real strength is on the defensive end, where he was one of the SEC’s best rim protectors. Per Synergy, Bediako allowed just .58 points per possession at the rim, putting him in the 97th percentile of all NCAA players. He’s not necessarily a switchable big man, but holding down the paint will be an important skill next to Wembanyama.
Rice and Bediako will likely play with the Summer League squad, where fans will get a chance to see them play alongside Cissoko and Wembanyama. Both players feel like strong fits around the Spurs’ news star but will have their work cut out for them to earn opportunities on a crowded roster. You can catch San Antonio’s first summer league game on ESPN as they take on Brandon Miller and the Charlotte Hornets July 3rd in the California Classic.