Center Joseph Uchebo’s time as a Charlotte 49er wasn’t long, but it was memorable.
Seven-footer Uchebo had a single season of college eligibility left after transferring from Pittsburgh. It took him a few games to establish himself at Halton Arena, but he set a single-season school record for rebounds with 380.
Uchebo went unselected in last week’s NBA draft. Now he’s trying to make an impression on the Charlotte Hornets as a member of the summer-league roster that will play games starting Saturday in Orlando, Fla.
Never miss a local story.
It’s not often a player of Uchebo’s size is available for summer league as an undrafted rookie free agent.
“He’s a banger. That’s his main strength,” said associate head coach Patrick Ewing, who coaches the summer-league team.
“He’ll give you energy and rebounds. Offensively, he’s limited, but other things he’s fine with.”
Uchebo, who is Nigerian, finished last season averaging 13.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and one steal per game. His connection to the Hornets: Charlotte coach Mark Price was formerly a Hornets assistant.
Price was a four-time NBA All-Star, playing point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Uchebo said he feels better prepared for this opportunity after the tutoring he received from Price.
“He was a great player, a great shooter. So playing for him definitely improved me,” Uchebo said. “It made me more comfortable out here. We were doing many of the same things at school that we are doing here.”
Uchebo said the Hornets expressed interest in working him out before the draft, but he was unavailable, traveling to Nigeria for his brother’s wedding. Michael Uchebo plays soccer professionally in Portugal.
“I think I will bring more energy,” Uchebo said. “That’s what I’m known to do. Everything is aligned here. People know me.
“My game is rebounding. I need to set good screens, too.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell