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Illinois Basketball’s Matthew Mayer Shines in Summer League Debut



Illinois Basketball's Matthew Mayer Shines in Summer League Debut
Mar 16, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Matthew Mayer (24) walks on the court after losing his right shoe after a play against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball’s Matthew Mayer Shines in Summer League Debut

Illinois Basketball has a couple of players playing in this year’s NBA Summer League. Malcolm Hill is trying to crack a very young Orlando Magic Team. He had an efficient debut in limited minutes. In terms of recent Illini alums,Matthew Mayer was a part of the 2023 draft pool. Mayer is an older forward by professional standards that only received an invite to the G-league Combine. After officially going undrafted, Mayer signed a deal with the Houston Rockets. He had his debut on Tuesday night and showed why he is an intriguing prospect.

After summer league stars, Jabari Smith Jr and Tari Eason, sat out, Mayer was inserted to an increased role and made the most of his opportunity. He finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds on a very efficient stat-line.

A unique skillset.

Mayer was a polarizing figure during his one year in Champaign. In spurts, he showed a unique skillset for his size. Mayer was a true double-double threat with immense shot-making ability when he kept his game simple. His games against Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin are games Illinois won thanks to his shot creation. However, on the flipside, he had some true negative moments.

To start, he publicly voiced criticism about Brad Underwood and his coaching methods. On the court, he often times fell asleep on defense or was simply throwing up some terrible shots. He also ended the season extremely poorly. After a whole bit about “Caffeine Toxicity” and claiming he is the best defensive player in the nation, Mayer finished off his final year 1-20 from 3pt land, with a total 25% fg percentage.

What he must do to stick in the NBA.

Matthew Mayer has to show consistency. He has all of the tools to thrive in today’s NBA game. Matt has the size and length, but has a wonderful shooting-stroke with solid ability to create his own. He thrived off of catch-and-shoot situations and also showed an ability to handle the ball. He has elite defensive capabilities and can guard multiple positions on the perimeter.

For his current situation, the Houston Rockets has some very versatile front court pieces like Alperin Seguin, and Mayer could very well be a part of that. If he can keep his game simple during the summer league, I do think that Matthew Mayer can find his way onto a G-league team and possibly land a two way deal. Overall, Matthew Mayer was a huge part of a winning season in Champaign. If Matthew Mayer is on an NBA roster, Fans will certainly monitor the eccentric personality.



Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.