Kings Come Up Short in California Classic, But Pair of Rookies Stand Out

SACRAMENTO -- Make your presence felt. That is the goal for an NBA hopeful playing in a summer league contest.

With plenty of scouts watching, one player's play jumped off the court for the Sacramento Kings in Game 2 of the California Classic.

Former BYU center Eric Mika looked like a man hunting for a training camp invite. The 6-foot-10 banger took over for an injured Caleb Swanigan and instantly helped Sacramento create separation from the Heat.

"With the physical play that they were doing with their bigs, Mika met that challenge I though and he delivered some blows back to them, which was nice to see," coach Jesse Mermuys said.

Mika, 24, spent last season playing at Medi Bayreuth of Germany's Basketball Bundesliga after posting 20.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in his final NCAA season.

"I don't know if there is a more physical league in Germany as far as Europe goes," Mika said following the 89-88 loss. "There's a lot of big dudes and you have to hold your own as a four and five."

Against Miami's summer league squad, he bullied his way to 13 points, 14 rebounds and a block. He also picked up eight personal fouls, which is two shy of disqualification during the summer league schedule.

The Kings are deep on the frontline, but the G League team in Stockton could use an enforcer.

That Kyle Guy

The Kings have a pair of second round picks trying to make an impact during the summer schedule. While Justin James had a quiet evening, Kyle Guy put on a show in his second Cal Classic game.

Known as a shooter at Virginia, the 21-year-old guard lit up the Heat for 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including three makes from long range.

"I think a guy that can shoot, you can go anywhere in the world and you put him in a gym and he has an advantage," Mermuys said of Guy. "That skill is at a premium and he's a high level shooter that you have to respect."

He needs to work on staying off his heels on defense and he could do a better job moving the ball, but there is a lot to like. He chipped in four rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes of play.

"When the games get tight, he rises," Mermuys said. "He's got grit and toughness and he rises to the competition."

Late game mistake

Sacramento had a shot to win the game late and couldn't get it done. They got a late stop and had the ball in point guard Semaj Christon's hands. Instead of calling a timeout and setting up a play, Mermuys decided to allow the play to continue.

"It was such a tough call because I was planning on taking a timeout and then I saw Simaj get it, who I want downhill anyways with the defense not set," Mermuys said. "It's a tough call, man. Obviously it didn't work out, I would have taken one. Now I'm beating myself up. That's the pain of being a head coach."

No one is going to fault Mermuys decision in a summer league game. With just three days of practice, there is no promise that the Kings would have gotten a better shot than the 35-foot running three that Christon tossed up. Installing game winning play sets are something you work on during the second or third week of training camp.

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