Patrick McCaw has never been flashy — the UNLV alum is quiet off the court and plays a no-frills style on it — but he didn’t need to be the life of the party in order to draw a crowd on Friday.
The Larry O’Brien trophy did that for him.
McCaw, who is in town with the Golden State Warriors’ summer league team, made a stop at UNLV’s practice facility on Friday afternoon, and he brought his newly won NBA championship hardware with him. Current UNLV players were on hand to meet McCaw, take photos with the trophy and generally bask in the glow of their fellow Rebel’s success.
“It feels amazing,” McCaw said. “Coming back with the trophy, seeing all of the [UNLV] players and family and friends coming out and sharing this moment with me, it’s crazy. It’s crazy how much one year can change somebody’s entire life.”
McCaw declared for the 2016 draft after his sophomore season and was selected in the second round by the Warriors. His outside shooting and defensive prowess earned him playing time as a rookie (71 games, 15.1 minutes, 4.0 points, 1.1 assists), and he came on strong in the playoffs, posting six points and three rebounds in Golden State’s title-clinching win over Cleveland in Game 5 of the Finals.
McCaw credited his time at UNLV with helping prepare him for the NBA game.
“The coaching staff, from Dave Rice on down, really helped me out,” McCaw said. “Just understanding how to play the game the right way. My growth and development over my two years at UNLV prepared me and made me ready for the NBA, because it’s a totally different world.”
McCaw appears to be poised for a big second season. He’s been one of the standout stars in summer league play, pacing the Warriors’ squad with 20 points per game.
Due to his status as a second-round pick, McCaw is also set to become a restricted free agent after the 2017-18 season. Rumors are already circulating that McCaw could be one of the hottest free agents on the market next summer, and if he continues to improve at his current rate, he’ll surely be in position to cash in.
“It’s unreal,” McCaw said. “This is my second year in the NBA and I’m about to be a restricted free agent. It’s hard to fathom. I’m just going in with the same mindset as last year — attack workouts, play extremely hard and just go out there and prove myself.”
McCaw said he figures to be in Las Vegas for a few more weeks before he heads back to Oakland. While he’s in town, he plans to visit with family and friends and attend former UNLV coach Tim Grgurich’s skills camp.
You know, nothing flashy.