Duke basketball: Javin DeLaurier makes NBA history, sort of

Duke basketball forward Javin DeLaurier (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Javin DeLaurier (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball alum Javin DeLaurier never gave up on making it to the NBA.

Although Javin DeLaurier has yet to play in an NBA game, he did make history in one respect last week by signing a 10-day deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. According to an article from Sportsnet, the former four-year Duke basketball big man became the first player to have played in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) — in existence since 2017 — to ink an NBA contract.

The recently frontcourt-depleted Bucks, now No. 3 in the Eastern Conference standings with a 22-13 record, added DeLaurier to the roster under the league’s COVID-related hardship allowance.

DeLaurier officially signed with Milwaukee on Thursday but hasn’t appeared in either of its two games since: a 102-95 road win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night and a 117-113 home win on Christmas Day over the Boston Celtics. In other words, the 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward has, in effect, made NBA history despite never seeing action in a regular-season game.

Summarizing the pro career of Duke basketball product Javin DeLaurier

In 2020, Javin DeLaurier went undrafted out of Duke but went on to play seven games in the G League for the Greensboro Swarm, the affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets. Then in March 2021, he joined the Niagara River Lions in the CEBL, averaging 14.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game on his way to earning a nod to the All-CEBL First Team.

This past summer, DeLaurier took part in NBA Summer League action before signing a G League contract in September with the Wisconsin Herd, the affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks; he’s averaged 7.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 17.0 minutes per game for the Herd this season. Also worth noting, the 23-year-old saw preseason action with the Bucks.

Here’s what CEBL commissioner Mike Morreale said following the DeLaurier news last week:

“We are incredibly happy for Javin as he signs his contract today, becoming the first CEBL player to move on to the NBA. As a league, we celebrate Javin’s achievements and thank him for making our league a stop along his basketball journey. We can’t wait to tune in.”

Milwaukee’s next bout is set for 7 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Orlando Magic.

Next. Top 100 Duke basketball players under Coach K. dark

Two more NBA Blue Devils are on the current Milwaukee Bucks roster. One is shooting guard Grayson Allen, a teammate to Javin DeLaurier in Durham for two seasons (2016-17, 2017-18) and now a starter for the Bucks this season. The other Blue Devil Buck is small forward Rodney Hood, who has played in 26 games this season as a reserve.