Not invited to combine, Jose Alvarado faces stay-or-return decision

Jose Alvarado and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are ACC champions following Saturday's 80-75 victory over Florida State.
Caption
Jose Alvarado and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are ACC champions following Saturday's 80-75 victory over Florida State.

Credit: AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Georgia Tech guard Jose Alvarado did not make the NBA draft combine after participating in a 40-player G League camp, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be returning for his second senior season with the Yellow Jackets.

“It’s not that simple,” Tech coach Josh Pastner told the AJC. “It’s more about opportunities.”

Alvarado, who declared for the draft in April but left the door open to return to Tech, was one of 40 draft prospects invited to the G League camp in Chicago that began Saturday. Four players from the camp were selected to advance to the combine, also in Chicago, but he did not make the cut when the selections were announced Tuesday. Alvarado has until July 7 to withdraw from the draft to maintain his college eligibility. The NBA had an initial list of 69 combine invitees, including Tech’s Moses Wright, not including the four additional participants.

While not being included in the NBA combine is an indication that his chances of being drafted are slim, Alvarado still could attempt to pursue a pro career without returning to Tech. If he elects not to return and goes undrafted, he would be signed as an undrafted free agent and would play in the NBA’s Summer League with an opportunity to go to a team’s preseason camp. Teams signing undrafted players to two-way contracts, which allow players to play both in the NBA and G League, is not uncommon.

And if he didn’t make an NBA roster, he could play in the G League, and hope to earn a spot in the NBA that way.

“I don’t think he’s focused on Europe right now,” Pastner said. “I think he’s focused on domestic.”

Not making the combine is a setback, but Alvarado is well-versed in beating the odds. For instance, Tech was his only ACC scholarship offer, yet he developed into the ACC’s defensive player of the year this past season. He has a resolute backer in Florida State assistant coach Charlton Young, a former Tech assistant.

“I tell every NBA team to bring him to camp,” said Young, speaking at a high-school recruiting camp Friday in Bartow County. “He’ll make your team.”