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Peter Jok and Monte Morris have the same agent.
Chicago-based Ron Shade of Octagon sports agency, a subsidiary of Interpublic Group, is representing former Iowa guard Jok and former Iowa State guard Morris.
Jok and Morris are good friends. Jok is from Des Moines and used to go up to Ames for pickup games with Morris and some of his Cyclone teammates in the summer.
Shade will get busy immediately after Thursday night’s NBA draft, either negotiating a contract with the team or teams that drafted the players, or finding a home for one or both as an undrafted free agent.
“It was pretty much from previous relationships I’d had with other players,” Shade said.
“With Monte, I was introduced through (Golden State Warriors star) Draymond Green, who I represented his first two years in the NBA.”
Shade was the longtime agent for Luol Deng, the Los Angeles Laker who has played in the NBA for 13 years. Deng is Sudanese-British and Jok is Sudanese. Deng led Jok to Shade.
“It was as a result of favorable relationships I had with both (Green and Deng),” Shade said.
How Thursday’s draft goes for Morris in particular is anyone’s guess. He turns up on a lot of mock drafts as a second-round pick, but the second round often is unpredictable.
Last year, Iowa State’s Georges Niang and Abdel Nader were second-round picks while Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff was not, the opposite of what was pretty much expected.
It worked out for all three to varying degrees. Niang spent the season under contract to the Indiana Pacers. The Boston Celtics stashed Nader with their D-League affiliate in Maine for the entire season, and he will have a chance to make the Celtics’ roster this fall.
Uthoff signed as a free agent with the Toronto Raptors, was waived, played for the Raptors’ D-League team, was traded to Fort Wayne, and got signed late in the season by the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. He’ll go to fall camp with Dallas.
Marcus Paige of Linn-Mar High in Marion and the University of North Carolina was a second-round pick of the Utah Jazz who spent the season with the Jazz’s Salt Lake City D-League club. The Jazz were already well-stocked at point guard.
“In some instances it’s best to be undrafted instead of late in the second round,” Shade said. “A lot of times the team that picks you late may not have roster space and is just picking you because you’re the best player available. If they’re drafting you for a need, it makes it possible to make a roster.”
“We at Octagon have a history of representing some solid guys who were undrafted,” Shade said.
Wesley Matthews, Treveon Graham, Sheldon McClellan and T.J. McConnell are current NBA veteran players Octagon represents who were undrafted.
Octagon also handles some high-end talent, starting with Golden State superstar Stephen Curry.
As for Curry’s teammate Green, he switched to B.J. Armstrong of heavyweight agency Wasserman Media Group.
Armstrong is the former University of Iowa/NBA player. He formerly worked in the Chicago Bulls’ front office, but has been an agent since 2006.
Armstrong also represents NBA star Derrick Rose, and has signed Kansas freshman Josh Jackson, who is projected to be among the top three or four players selected Thursday.