The thing about Las Vegas Summer League is you never know who you’re going to see coming and going from UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.
In Monday night’s late game, newly signed Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver, owner Glen Taylor and limited partner Meyer Orbach sat courtside across the team bench.
Not far away, NBA superstar Chris Paul did the same, cheering on Wolves rookie Josh Okogie (right in photo) for the first half of a game against Brooklyn.
In high school, Okogie played for a summer on an AAU team sponsored by Paul and last summer participated in Paul’s invitation-only camp for elite college guards.
“That’s my guy, my mentor, my coach when I was in high school,” Okogie said after a 11-point, 5-rebound, 4-assist, 3-steal, 3-turnover performance in a 78-69 victory that made the Wolves 2-1 in Vegas play. “Me and him have a relationship. It’s kind of fun to have your coach-slash-future opponent here. It’s cool, still showing love. That relationship probably is going to last a lifetime.”
Okogie considers Paul as much as a guide in his life as a coach.
“He never really tried to tell me nothing, like you have to do this or do that,” said Okogie, the 20th player selected in last month’s NBA draft. “He’s more just a guy who just calls to check in. If I have anything I want to talk about or get off my mind, I go to him. If I needed someone to ask, `What should I do in this situation?,’ he was free to answer. On draft night, big nights, he’ll calm me down and tell me everything will be all right. He has done a lot for me in different situations in my life.
“It’s bigger than basketball. If I have a basketball issue, I can go to him. But he’s also there for personal stuff. That’s what I like most about the relationship.”