Patrick McCaw emerged from the UNLV locker room exactly like he had for the past two NCAA seasons. He was home.
Just this time, he was wearing the blue and gold of the Golden State Warriors.
The former UNLV Runnin’ Rebel returned to his home court almost four months to the day after the versatile wing scored 28 points during the Mountain West quarterfinals in what would be his final collegiate game. The Thomas and Mack Center crowd roared to welcome McCaw back to the floor, and he had locals behind him the whole game.
Standing in the hallway of the place he earned the 38th overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft, McCaw told SFBay:
“Man it was surreal playing in the Thomas and Mack again. … It was a great feeling. I was a little nervous at first but when they called my name and I heard the crowd roar, it was a welcome home for me.”
The 20-year-old McCaw gave the eager crowd — and Golden State’s coaching staff — lots to cheer for, as he showed off his flexibility with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks in his first Summer League game.
McCaw’s line was nearly identical to his 2015-16 stats for UNLV: 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.4 blocks.
His skinny, 6-foot-6 frame and court vision may invite comparisons to current Warrior Shaun Livingston; but McCaw also sports a 3-point stroke, shooting it at 36.7 percent for his career. Though he’s not ready to be compared to those types of players yet, as just getting drafted was an overwhelming experience.
“It was crazy, I cried for like 30 minutes straight because I couldn’t believe it. … And then when I seen I was coming to Golden State that just made it even better.”
The homecoming was nearly perfect — nearly — as McCaw rimmed out a floater with 2.9 seconds to go in the game that would have given the Warriors a two-point lead. Instead, the Spurs corraled the rebound, called timeout and hit a wild shot to beat the Warriors 63-61 Saturday night.
Warriors Summer League head coach Jarron Collins said:
“He had a really good finish on one of the steals and he had an opportunity at the end there. … It’s all part of it, the growth and learning from it and I’m very happy with his performance.”
Warriors fans should also be happy with how McCaw harassed his counterpart — the more highly-regarded Dejounte Murray, picked No. 29 out of the University of Washington — into 3-for-11 shooting and five turnovers.
Murray was pegged as a lottery to mid-first round pick before falling to the Spurs, whereas McCaw was seen as a fringe first-rounder at best.
But he’s used to that.
Lightly recruited out of high school and labeled as a three-star prospect, McCaw wasn’t even offered a scholarship from his home state Maryland Terrapins, who play about 13 miles from his high school.
So in a serendipitous decision, McCaw went to Vegas, the city where his parents got married, and played at the Thomas and Mack Center, a place they visited on their wedding trip.
“I’m always going to play with that chip on my shoulder. … Nothing’s ever been given to me, so I love to work and I love to get better. I’m just going to go out there and play my game but be a teammate and play the right way.”
But now McCaw has a new home. And though he has no family connections with Oakland or Oracle Arena like he did with Vegas, falling to the Warriors on draft night does seem a little bit like fate.