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March Madness star Tosan Evbuomwan ’23 to make NBA debut for the Memphis Grizzlies

Man in a black Princeton jersey dribbles basketball at Jadwin Gymnasium.
Alum Tosan Evbuomwan was a leading force for the Tigers from 2019-23
Photo courtesy of @Princeton/X

Former Ivy League player of the year and one of last season’s March Madness heroes Tosan Evbuomwan ’23 signed a 10-day contract with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. 

After going undrafted in the 2023 NBA Draft, the 22-year-old UK native signed with the Detroit Pistons as a forward, but was soon after waived and picked up by the Pistons’ G-League Affiliate, the Motor City Cruise. The G-League is the minor league affiliate of the NBA. The Cruise serve as a player development minor league team for the Pistons.

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In his 13 regular season games for the Cruise this season, Evbuomwan has averaged 15.6 points per game while shooting 56.4 percent from the field. He has started all 13 games and has also averaged an impressive 8.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest.

“Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed,” the Grizzlies wrote in an official NBA press release, but Evbuomwan’s signing was likely due to the Grizzlies’ recent onslaught of injuries.

In the NBA, there are two kinds of 10-day contracts: standard and hardship. Standard 10-day deals involve signing a player for 10 days or three games — whichever comes first — while there is an open spot on the 15-man roster that needs to be filled. Under standard 10-day contracts, the team is more likely to sign the player afterwards, since they have an open roster spot.

Under hardship deals — like Evbuomwan’s contract with the Grizzlies — teams have a full roster, but they have suffered numerous injuries and cannot field a full 15-man squad as a result. The NBA grants these teams the opportunity to sign three 10-day contracts to fill their roster while injured players recover to return to play. The Grizzlies took advantage of this policy in signing Evbuomwan along with center Trey Jemison and forward Matthew Hurt.

With the eventual return of their injured players, it is unlikely that the Grizzlies will offer Evbuomwan a long-term deal post-contract. Despite this, he will have the opportunity to showcase his skills in front of the entire league in three NBA games — a chance G-League players often dream of.

Evbuomwan has had an incredibly strong start to his professional career, and his signing with the Grizzlies is well-deserved recognition. He now joins the ranks of successful Princeton players who have reached basketball’s largest stage, including the likes of Bill Bradley ’65 and Geoff Petrie ’70.

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Evbuomwan’s first game with the Grizzlies will be on Thursday, Feb. 1, in Memphis against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’ll then face the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics to close out his contract. 

Diego Uribe is a head editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

Please send corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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