Former Gophers guard Payton Willis signs with Golden State

Willis will play in the NBA Summer League for the recently crowned champion Golden State Warriors.

Guard Payton Willis signals to a teammate at Williams Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 5.  The Gophers went on to defeat Cleveland State 85-50.

Kamaan Richards

Guard Payton Willis signals to a teammate at Williams Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The Gophers went on to defeat Cleveland State 85-50.

by Theo Franz

Former Gophers guard Payton Willis signed with the Golden State Warriors Summer League team. He is scheduled to have his first experience in NBA-level action July 2-3 in the California Classic.

The California Classic is a basketball showcase featuring the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat and Warriors. Teams play in a four game exhibition series, giving players a chance to compete for a spot on an NBA roster.

“I feel great, obviously,” Willis said during his introductory press conference Wednesday. “Being able to play for a world class staff and organization like the Warriors is a blessing.”

After the Classic, Willis will continue to play for the Warriors from July 7-17 in the NBA2k23 Summer League.

The 24-year-old sharpshooter went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft. But after signing with the Warriors, he is lined up to share the court this summer with NBA champions Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman.

“I’m just going to take all the information I can from them, whether it’s watching them in practice, during games or the advice they have for me,” Willis said at the press conference.

In his final season at Minnesota, Willis posted a career high in points, assists, rebounds and steals. He earned Big 10 Player of the Week twice and was named an All-Big 10 honorable mention.

After playing two of his six collegiate years at Minnesota, Willis holds school records in 3-point field goal percentage in a season (42.8%) and 3-point field goals made in a game (8).

Other notable Gophers that have participated in the NBA Summer League include Daniel Oturu (2021), Amir Coffey (2019) and Austin Hollins (2015).