UConn's Armstrong Trying to Get Back in the League | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Wednesday / July 6.
  • UConn’s Armstrong Trying to Get Back in the League

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    By JOSH NEWMAN 

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Hilton Armstrong may have 277 NBA games under his belt, but none have come recently.

    Once thought to be capable of contributing to an NBA roster as an athletic shot-blocking specialist, the former lottery pick (12th overall, 2006) spent 2011-12 with ASVEL Basket of France’s Pro A division, the country’s top classification. He was solid overseas, averaging 11.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 29 Pro A games for an ASVEL squad that finished in the bottom half of the league standings.

    With a renewed confidence after a strong showing in France, the Peekskill, N.Y. native and 2006 Big East Defensive Player of the Year was at the Nets free agent mini-camp this week, looking to get back to the highest level of basketball the world has to offer.

    “This was a great opportunity and I just tried to take advantage of it,” the former UConn star said Wednesday at the mini-camp’s final day. “Every day is a humbling experience whether I’m overseas or over here. I’m just blessed to be healthy, I’m happy to be in a position where I can take care of my family and France was a great experience. I would never take it back for anything, but now, I think I want to be back home and try and make the best of it.”

    With a senior year in Storrs capped by the Defensive Player of the Year award, Armstrong’s stock was high entering the 2006 NBA Draft and the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets used the 12th pick on him.

    Despite trading for Tyson Chandler from the Chicago Bulls to lead their frontline during the same summer they drafted Armstrong, the Hornets held onto him for nearly his entire rookie contract before trading him to the Sacramento Kings in January of 2010.

    Three trades and four different teams after the Hornets drafted him, Armstrong was out of the league. With his appearance in East Rutherford this week, he has begun what he hopes is the road back.

    “What I like about Hilton is he’s long and he knows how to play,” Nets General Manager Billy King said. “I think the biggest thing for Hilton is doing it consistently. I thought he got better each day. I like his length because it’s hard to find not only size, but athletic size in this league.”

    Represented by Sam Goldfeder and Excel Sports Management, Armstrong doesn’t have a firm of idea of what’s next for him off the Nets mini-camp aside from continuing to work out and evaluating all options that come his way.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.