Charlotte Hornets

Davidson’s Tyler Kalinoski looking to extend basketball career

Davidson’s Tyler Kalinoski, here trying out for the Charlotte Hornets, is playing in two summer leagues with the Miami Heat.
Davidson’s Tyler Kalinoski, here trying out for the Charlotte Hornets, is playing in two summer leagues with the Miami Heat.

Davidson’s Tyler Kalinoski is a realist; he understands the Miami Heat’s summer is about getting lottery pick Justise Winslow ready, not featuring an undrafted player.

So when he started one game for the Heat at the Orlando Summer League and didn’t play at all in another, it never fazed him.

“I’m trying to stay ready whenever I get the chance to get into a game,” said Kalinoski, a 6-4 guard. “They haven’t really asked me specifically to do any one thing. They talk about defense a lot. We want to pressure the ball.”

If you can’t guard, you won’t play for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, so Kalinoski picks up on what matters. The Heat has invited Kalinoski also to play in next week’s Las Vegas Summer League.

Regardless of whether he plays well enough to be invited to Heat training camp, Kalinoski will benefit from the exposure and experience of playing in two summer leagues for one of the NBA’s best-run franchises.

The stands at summer leagues are full of scouts from pro teams in other countries. Playing well can open a wide variety of opportunity.

NBA scouts say the prerequisite to gaining the league’s notice is having one skill coming out of college that is NBA-quality already. In Kalinoski’s case, that’s jump-shooting. He’s made three of his first seven 3-point attempts. That’s a small sample, but it’s obvious the shift from the shorter college arc to the NBA line is no problem for him.

“Adjusting to the ball and the line took maybe a week or so. It hasn’t been too much of an adjustment for me,” said Kalinoski, who was the player of the year in the Atlantic 10 last season.

Kalinoski’s agent has already fielded some interest from European teams, but Kalinoski wants to defer any decision until this summer gig with the Heat plays out.

“There have been some teams that have shown interest overseas, but right now I’m really just focused on this, trying to make this happen in the United States,” Kalinoski said.

Staying in the United States next fall would likely mean going to the NBA’s Development League. Playing in Europe would likely be more lucrative in the short run, but the D-League offers more NBA exposure.

“It kind of goes both ways depending on your situation. I’m open to either one,” Kalinoski said. “If it’s the right (NBA) team and they really liked me, I could see the D-League as the better situation. In another situation, where they’re just throwing me on a team and I’m not doing so much, it might be a bad situation.”

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell