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Sports briefs Oct. 24

NAZ Suns to hand out 1,000 rally towels on opening night on Nov. 9

PRESCOTT VALLEY – The Northern Arizona Suns are back.

Nov. 9, the Suns will host Sparklight Opening Night to kick off their 2019-20 regular season.

Sparklight Opening Night will begin on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 3:30 p.m. at the Findlay Toyota Center with special pregame activities, including live music, a bounce house, face painting, and more. At 5 p.m., the first regular season game of the Suns’ fourth season in the NBA G League will begin, with the Suns playing host to the Agua Caliente Clippers.

The first 1,000 fans at Sparklight Opening Night will receive a NAZ Suns Rally Towel, as the team hopes to enhance an already charged atmosphere for the game.

Tickets start at just $10 for Sparklight Opening Night, and can be purchased at www.nazsuns.com/tickets, the Findlay Toyota Center box office, or www.ticketmaster.com.

Season tickets start as low as $9 per game for the Northern Arizona Suns. Benefits include exclusive team events, discounts on team gear, playoff priority and free Phoenix Suns tickets. For more information about the 24-game package, visit nazsuns.com/memberships or call 928-772-SUNS.

NAZ Suns

NAZ Suns trade for NBA champion, first round pick

PRESCOTT VALLEY – The Northern Arizona Suns announced today they have completed a trade with the Raptors 905, acquiring the rights to an NBA champion and a first round draft pick.

The Suns receive the returning player rights to forward Malcolm Miller and the 905s own first round pick in the 2019 NBA G League Draft, the 21st overall selection, in exchange for the returning player rights to Jawun Evans.

Miller (6-7, 210 pounds) has been with the Raptors organization the last two years, playing for both the Toronto Raptors and the Raptors 905. Miller helped the Toronto Raptors win the NBA championship last season, as he appeared in 10 games in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, including Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. He tallied eight points and five rebounds in 28 minutes in the postseason.

Miller, 26, logged 25 regular season games (four starts) in the NBA with Toronto between 2017-19, averaging 2.9 points (44.4 FG%, 42.9 3PT%, 87.5 FT%) in 7.7 minutes per game. Over the last two seasons, he played 54 combined regular season and playoff games for the 905, helping his team reach the NBA G League Finals in 2017-18, a season in which he averaged 12.6 points and 5.1 rebounds. Altogether in his NBA G League career, Miller has played in 94 regular season games (76 starts), averaging 12.2 points (46.7 FG%, 38.1 3PT%, 78.6 FT%) and 4.4 rebounds in 29.8 minutes per game (2017-19 with Raptors, 2015-16 with Maine Red Claws). The Gaithersburg, Maryland, native played four seasons collegiately at Holy Cross.

By adding the Raptors’ original first round selection, the Suns now have seven total picks in the 2019 NBA G League Draft, including three in the first round, five in the first two rounds (Nos. 1, 15, 21, 29, 33, 57, 85).

Evans was the ninth call-up (eighth player call-up) in Northern Arizona Suns history, earning a Two-Way contract last season with the Phoenix Suns. Overall for the NAZ Suns in his lone season with the team, Evans averaged 15.1 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 32 games (26 starts).

NAZ Suns

NAU men’s hoops picked eighth in Big Sky preseason polls

FLAGSTAFF – The Northern Arizona men’s basketball team was ranked at No. 8 in both the Big Sky Preseason Coaches and Media Polls.

The Lumberjacks garnered 35 points in the coaches’ rankings and 150 from the media.

NAU returns a total of five starters and seven letterwinners from last season’s squad that finished tied for eighth overall in the Big Sky.

The ‘Jacks will be led by first-year head coach Shane Burcar, who takes over the top chair after serving as an assistant on the NAU staff last season.

Overall, NAU will return nearly 73 percent of their scoring from a year ago, including reigning Big Sky Newcomer of the Year Bernie Andre, who led the ‘Jacks in both scoring and rebounding, as well as junior Luke Avdalovic, who ranked fifth nationally in three-point percentage.

Eastern Washington topped the Big Sky Coaches Preseason Rankings with 96 points and eight first-place votes. The Eagles were followed by Montana (87 pts/8), Weber State (86) and Southern Utah (71).

The Grizzlies led the media rankings with 354 points and 13 first-place votes. Weber State checked in at No. 2 with 354 points and 12 first-place mentions. Eastern Washington (330/9) and Northern Colorado (275/2) rounded out the top four spots.

On Wednesday, the league announced the Big Sky All-Preseason Team with Weber State’s Jerrick Harding headlining as the most valuable player. Harding was joined on the all-preseason squad by Sayeed Pridgett (Montana), Harald Frey (Montana State), Holland Woods (Portland State), Mason Peatling (Eastern Washington) and Jacob Davison (Eastern Washington).

Following an exhibition game at the Rolle Activity Center on Oct. 28, the Lumberjacks will open the regular season on the road in Tucson at the University of Arizona on Wednesday, Nov. 6 before tipping off the home portion of the regular-season slate on Friday, Nov. 15 vs. SAGU American Indian College at 6 p.m.

-NAU

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