WKU grad A.J. Slaughter aims to make Magic roster
This year’s Orlando Magic Summer League Roster is composed almost entirely of either fresh out of college or guys who played for the Magic last season. The one exception to the list is A.J. Slaughter, a 6’3″ guard who has played in Italy, Belgium and France (last season for Cholet) since graduating from Western Kentucky in 2010.
Slaughter increased his scoring and three-point shooting each year he has played overseas, even as his competition has increased. Last season he averaged 13.9 points per game, 3.9 assists and shot 43% from three-point distance. Slaughter played alongside former Magic SG Courtney Lee for his first two seasons at WKU and averaged 17.5 points per game as a senior.
In fact, Slaughter told Magic Basketball Online that him and Lee are still close to this day.
“Courtney Lee is like a big brother to me. We have stayed in connection over the years and are close.”
When the Magic discovered Slaughter, it wasn’t a scouting trip dedicated to seeking him out specifically. Orlando Magic Assistant General Manager Matt Lloyd was actually visiting France to scout Rudy Gobert (the 7’2″ first round pick of the Utah Jazz) when he spotted A.J. and obviously liked what he saw.
While Slaughter has played off the ball most of his career, he envisions himself as a C.J. Watson type point guard in the NBA. And though that transition isn’t easy, his high career assist numbers for a SG certainly show that the capability is there to create for others. And at 6’3″, the size doesn’t hurt.
The rise of DeQuan Jones last summer, who impressed the organization so much in the summer and at training camp that the Magic eventually ate two years of Quentin Richardson’s guaranteed contract just to keep Jones on the roster, is strong motivation for guys who are following his path. Especially for Slaughter.
“I’m familiar with DeQuan Jones and his journey he had last summer. I look at his situation and think to myself I could have a similar story.”
Though A.J. recognizes the opportunity is rare to repeat what Jones did last summer, it isn’t stopping him from setting his goals at the highest level.
“I’m approaching this as an opportunity to make the official roster. By showing the Magic and other teams that I can play the point guard position and run a ball club.”
The Orlando Pro Summer League kicks off on Sunday, July 7th.