“I’m waitin’. I’m patient. Just waitin’ on mine, for the clock to just turn and say it’s my time.”
—-2Ez, a.k.a Myck Kabongo
Four years ago, in front of a raucous crowd, Myck Kabongo drove the length of the court and hit the game-winning layup against basketball powerhouse, St. Patricks. After the game, Kabongo declared himself the best point guard in New Jersey–a clear jab at in-state rival Kyrie Irving, whom many considered the top lead guard in the state, if not the country.
Kabongo, then a junior at St. Benedicts Prep, was perched in his spot as a consensus top-25 player in the class of 2011 and certainly on the rise. He was quick and crafty with the ball, played with a high motor, and every bit the consummate play-making point guard, who made the game easy for his teammates. His on-court flare was as infectious as his personality off it. Scouts raved about his work ethic and leadership abilities. For those reasons, much was expected of Kabongo upon his arrival at Texas.
But that’s where his basketball story diverges, as he would go on to experience a timeline of disappointments on the court.
In Austin, the Canadian lead guard showed some positive signs, but overall, he had a less-than-stellar freshman year, as he shot 39% from the field, 32% from three, and averaged 3 turnovers per game. Kabongo chose to come back for another year to continue improving, but before his sophomore year could begin, he was suspended 23 games for receiving impermissible benefits and not being forthright with the NCAA.
After playing the final 11 games of his sophomore year, Kabongo declared for the draft. The move was surprising to some because Kabongo still had a lot of room to improve, particularly his jumpshot. Others weren’t so shocked because the NCAA had given him a raw deal when they suspended him after an excessively slow review process. Unfortunately, the former All-American went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft.
A day after the draft, Kabongo chose to join the Miami Heat Summer League roster. He started the first couple game, but eventually lost the starting spot after a string of underwhelming performances in which he never looked comfortable, and was subsequently cut. In August, Kabongo was invited to try out for the Canadian National Team, but he was among the first to be left off the roster. In September, he got a camp invite from the San Antonio Spurs, and played during the pre-season. But as the common theme was at the time, Kabongo was later waived.
The Austin Toros of the NBA D-League took a chance on Kabongo, and he played pretty well, improving his jumpshot and the pace at which he played. While starting 37 of 45 games, Kabongo averaged 9.2 points per game, shooting 46% overall and 38% from the 3-point line. He also had a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio and added 3.9 rebounds per game. Kabongo did not receive a call up, but he did show a steady improvement of his weaknesses.
After the 2014 draft, Kabongo would face more disappointment when he joined the Toronto Raptors summer league roster. Despite drawing praise from his coaches for his defensive intensity in practice, Kabongo saw very little playing time, only appearing in 3 games. He didn’t receive court time to prove much, and was let go. Recently, Kabongo was invited to try out for the Sweden-based Sodertalje Kings, but he was waived not long after.
No matter how you put it, one can hope Kabongo, who remains talented, fulfills his dream of playing the NBA. Many people who saw Kabongo play in high school thought, by now, he would be progressing as a starting NBA point guard, but such is not the case. No one knows what the future holds, but Myck Kabongo has an internal belief that it will all work out: “Can’t wait for my time to come back around. I’m staying patient… I’m on it! I’m on it! I’m on it!” And if it does indeed work out, we can all point to the various disappointments as the launching point to an NBA career.
Featured Image Credit: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman