As tourists and basketball fans stepped into UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center to enjoy the NBA’s Summer League and escape the blistering Las Vegas heat, six former Buffalo’s dreams were coming true. Faculty, coaches, and alumni beamed with joy this July when they saw Gradey Dick ‘22, Grant Sherfield ‘18, Liam Robbins ‘18, and Keanu Pinder ‘14 step on an NBA court for the very first time, while Kennedy Chandler ‘20 and Kendall Brown ‘20 picked up where they left off following their rookie seasons with the Pacers and Grizzlies respectively. Head Coach Kyle Lindsted, who recently returned to Sunrise after a lengthy Division 1 coaching stint, said “It’s an honor to see so many of our alumni competing and being considered for the highest standard of basketball in the world. It's really special.”
Following a productive freshman season at the University of Kansas, Gradey Dick ‘21, was drafted with the 13th pick in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft. He kept his momentum rolling with an impressive Summer League showing, where he averaged a team high 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and led the team in steals through four games. He capped off the summer with a 21 point, 5 rebound performance on 50% from the field and an impressive 60% from beyond the arc in a win against the Golden State Warriors. He inked a multi-year contract worth $21,422,550 that will keep him in Toronto through 2027-2028 NBA season, along with a multi-year contract with Adidas.
Kennedy Chandler ‘20, followed up his rookie year with an excellent Summer League showing with the Brooklyn Nets. His impressive 14 point, 5 rebound, 5.5 assist, 2 steal, 0.8 block averages allowed him to finish the summer top five for the Nets in all five major statistical categories- points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals, and was top five among all point guards in steals and blocks. Kennedy ultimately led the Nets to a 3-2 record and a 6th place finish, and continues to prove that he is a productive, effective leader that is more than deserving of a roster spot at basketball’s biggest stage.
2020 Sunrise graduate Kendall Brown picked up where he left off in his rookie season with the Indiana Pacers. He looked as athletic as ever, making numerous highlight plays and leading the Pacers in blocks. He rounded out summer league averaging 8.6 points, 4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1 steal per game and has begun to evolve his game in other ways. Now listed as a shooting guard, Kendall shot an impressive 43% from beyond the arc through 5 games this summer in Las Vegas. He re-signed with the Pacers on a two-way contract, and will continue to showcase his talent with the Pacers and the Pacers G-League affiliate Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Grant Sherfield ‘18, displayed his impact by positively impacting a lot of games for the Phoenix Suns. He averaged an impressive 11.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, a team high 4 assists, and a pair of steals through five games. He made his case for an NBA contract by setting the Suns 2023-24 Summer League single game scoring record with an impressive 23 point outing that was accompanied by 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 5 threes.
Following an impressive senior year at Vanderbilt where he averaged 15 points, 7 rebounds, and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Liam Robbins ‘18, was invited to join the New Orleans Pelicans Summer League Team. The Pelicans played deep into the Summer League Bracket, but ultimately finished 12th following a late loss to the 76ers.
2014 grad Keanu Pinder earned himself a gig with the Phoenix Suns, pairing up with fellow Sunrise Alum Grant Sherfield. Pinder averaged an impressive 17 points and 9 rebounds per game for the Cairns Taipans of Australia's NBL last year, and will continue his career in Australia with the Perth Wildcats of the NBL.
Thanks to a lot of hard work and God’s grace, Sunrise is fortunate enough to have played a part in six young men reaching their NBA dreams. We look forward to seeing Gradey, Kendall, Kennedy, Grant, Liam, and Keanu continue to chase after their dreams, as well as the new Sunrise faces that will pursue those same dreams in years to come.