Backcourt problems solved? Bulls sign Summer League standout

Backcourt problems solved? Bulls sign Summer League standout

Try telling Antonio Blakeney that Summer League doesn't matter. 

The guard's strong play in Las Vegas over the last week earned him a Two-Way contract with the Bulls, meaning he can play for both the G League's Windy City Bulls and in the NBA.

Blakeney, 20, has appeared in four Summer League games, averaging 16.8 points, five rebounds and just under one steal per contest. It's pretty safe to say that he's been one of the squad's few bright spots in Sin City. While fellow guard Denzel Valentine has struggled to find his shooting rhythm, connecting on under 30 percent from the field this summer, Blakeney has shot 43.8 percent. 

He didn't come out of nowhere, though. Blakeney had tons of hype out of Oak Ridge High School in Florida and was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game before taking his talents to LSU, where joining forced with 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons. That experiment didn't quite work out for Blakeney, who failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in both seasons and went undrafted in 2017. 

For the Bulls, it's a chance to take a flyer on a young, athletic guard who proved he can shoot in college. 

It also gives fans more chances to catch his absolutely nasty dunks, whether it's in Hoffman Estates or at the United Center. 

That's just ridiculous. 

A Day in the Life of Windy City Bulls players Will Bynum and Alfonzo McKinnie

A Day in the Life of Windy City Bulls players Will Bynum and Alfonzo McKinnie

Ever wonder what the daily routine is for guys grinding to get to the NBA?

CSN Chicago's Scott Changnon, Ryan McGuffey and Pat Gostele followed Windy City Bulls players Will Bynum and Alfonzo McKinnie to find out. 

Although the two play on the same team, Bynum and McKinnie are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Bynum, a former point guard for the Detroit Pistons, is looking for one last taste in the association. McKinnie, on the other hand, is an upstart Chicago native who needed to prove himself through a D-League tryout. 

Both have found success in Hoffman Estates, though. Bynum is leading his younger teammates by teaching them how to achieve success, while putting up a respectable 14 points and 6.5 assists per game. McKinnie, a Wisconsin Green-Bay product, has went from a questionable roster spot to starting, averaging 14.8 points on 51 percent shooting. 

Watch the video above as both Bynum and McKinnie provide great insight into a day in the life of an NBA D-Leaguer.

 

Duje Dukan relishing opportunity to come home with Windy City Bulls

Duje Dukan relishing opportunity to come home with Windy City Bulls

The last time Windy City Bulls forward Duje Dukan played in front of his family he was averaging 23.0 points and 9.5 rebounds for his Deerfield Warriors' high school team.

Since then Dukan earned scholarship to Wisconsin, made the Sacramento Kings roster as an undrafted rookie, played in Croatia and, earlier this year, for the Austin Spurs.

But when the 6-foot-9 Dukan was traded from Austin to the Windy City Bulls late last month it was a homecoming of sorts for the Chicago native.

"It's a great opportunity. I haven't been able to play in front of my family and friends for five or six years, ever since high school," Dukan told CSN's Mark Schanowski. "So I think it's a great opportunity for me just to be able to play and be at home. I missed my family being overseas for a while and just being able to spend more time with them. I'm really happy about that."

The Dukan family name has had ties to the Bulls for quite some time. Duje's father, Ivica, has been the international director of scouting for more than two decades. He's helped scout and bring over the likes of Toni Kukoc, Omer Asik, Nikola Mirotic and Paul Zipser. And during that time Duje, who grew up in Deerfield - just minutes from the Bulls' old practice facility - was a ball boy for the team.

In six games with the Bulls Dukan has averaged 11.2 points on 57 percent shooting (including 56.5 percent shooting from deep) and 2.8 rebounds in 17.3 minutes. And though he played on the United Center floor playing for the Badgers in the Big Ten Tournament, it's his hope that one day he he'll receive that call-up to the NBA and play for the team he's cheered for his entire life.

"It's a whole different story putting a Bulls uniform on," he said. "So if I could get that opportunity it would definitely be a special moment for me."

See more of what Dukan had to say in the video above.