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Pat Burke is on course to become the first Irish international to play in the NBA after a series of sterling performances in the pre-season put him on course to earn a deal with the Orlando Magic.
6'11" centre Burke, who spent last season in Spain at Tau Vitoria, signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Magic in the summer but has played his way into the team's starting rotation, scoring 12 points in their last outing against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Dubliner, who attended Auburn University and won a Euroleague title with Panathinaikos two years ago, is delighted to finally get his chance to shine in the NBA.
"It's not so bad," he joked. "In Spain, we practiced five hours a day and then ran hurdles. I wondered if we were entered in a dog show."
And his performances won praise from Magic coach Doc Rivers who summed up Burke's game.
“Slippery down on the post," was his analysis. "He has a way of getting the ball down on the post and scoring where he really doesn’t leave his feet and it’s almost like slippery moves.
"He always goes to the other side of the rim too and he just does a nice job, he knows how to play the game. I called one timeout because he didn’t shoot the ball but other than that he played terrific.”
NBA teams must cut their rosters down to a maximum of 15 by next Monday.
Meanwhile Memphis head coach Sidney Lowe believes Scottish hopeful Robert Archibald can use his first year in the National Basketball Association as a platform for a profitable career in the world's top league.
But with the new season less than a fortnight away, the Paisley-born centre has missed all of his new team's pre-season games so far after spraining his ankle during training camp.
Even if he is fit, the ex-Scotland junior international seems likely to begin the season on the Grizzlies' three man reserve list while he adjusts to the intense competition of the NBA.
And Lowe, who himself is under pressure to succeed this season, cautions against expecting too much too soon from the 22 year old.
"First of all, we want to make sure he's healthy and ready to go for us. Arch is a physical player, he's going to get in there and bang and get rebounds. He's a smart player, so he knows how to play the game.
"His first year is going to be a feeling process for him, getting some experience playing against guys and practicing against our guys.
That Archibald plays the same position as Spanish star Pau Gasol and highly-touted fellow rookie Drew Gooden will make the young Scot's challenge to break into the 12 man active roster all the greater.
"As far as time-wise I don't know," Lowe added. "We certainly like Arch, he works hard, and he's going to have a good career. It's just matter of him gaining experience."
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