It’s the day before the 2016 NBA Draft, but former Michigan shooting guard Caris LeVert is still building a case for himself.
LeVert, whose career at Michigan was plagued by injuries, penned a letter to his potential employers on The Players’ Tribune Wednesday afternoon, displaying his high character and revealing his incredible journey to become an NBA prospect.
“Dear NBA GMs,” LeVert writes.
“My name is Caris LeVert. I’m a six-foot-seven point-slash-shooting guard from Pickerington, Ohio, via the University of Michigan, and there are some things that you should know about me.
You probably heard that I hurt my foot a few months ago. It’s all anyone talks about when my name comes up at this point. There was a surgery, and, for a while, a walking boot. I was the guy on crutches at the combine.
And since I had some foot issues earlier in my college career, doubters have come out in droves. Now lots of people are asking whether I can come back and be the player I was before, whether I’m tough enough to pick myself up and be resilient in the face of adversity.
It’s a strange thing for me to hear, honestly, because I know all about adversity and resiliency. I learned about those things at a young age. Had to. Didn’t have a choice.”
Injury concerns are a major red flag for some teams looking at LeVert, who played in just 31 games for the Wolverines over the past two seasons. While on the court, however, the 6-foot-7 shooting guard averaged 15.5 points and 4.2 assists in 33.6 minutes per game during his junior and senior seasons, proving he can make an impact.
After describing an emotional time in which his father passed away as a child, LeVert goes on to explain why that only makes him more resilient as a person and a player.
“A foot injury? A walking boot?,” He asks. “That’s not going to hold me down. After everything I’ve been through, I’m well-equipped to overcome challenges, believe me. Actually, wait, don’t believe me. Give me a few more minutes, and let me convince you.
After my dad died, all I wanted to do was work as hard as I possibly could to accomplish all the things that I knew would have made him proud.
My dad pushed me really hard as a kid because he understood that I could be great. He saw the drive that I possessed, and the talent, and he didn’t want to see it go to waste. So he pushed me.
When he passed away, I had to push myself. And I wasn’t going to be denied.”
LeVert then draws a comparison to Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, who has dealt with foot injuries in the past but did not miss any time this season. He then leaves the NBA GMs with this final message.
“What I can’t wait to show the world when I make my NBA debut is a player who can handle, shoot, go hard to the hoop, and defend. I can play as a one, a two, or even a three. My versatility is my greatest asset, and I bring a unique skill set to the court…
So, there you go — resilient and with a great memory to boot. What more could you ask for?
Ready to work,
After overcoming the various obstacles in his life, LeVert is confident he will provide value to an NBA organization. Now, he’s just hoping there’s a GM who agrees.