Future entrepreneurs shine bright

DALLAS – At the Venture-Entrepreneurial Expedition on Friday, Torrey Cohen tried to present a unique way to increase attendance at his school from 93 percent to 97 percent.

Then the 13-year-old from the Young Men’s Leadership Academy received a “gift” that he certainly didn’t see coming. And it came from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

“I’ll make you an offer. If you get the attendance up to 96 percent,” Cuban told Cohen, “I’ll come back to your school and hang out with you guys for two hours and take the whole school (of 950 students) to a Mavs game.”

That brought a loud roar from the crowd assembled at Balch Spring Middle School, since it was a kind gesture that neither Cohen or anyone else expected.

Cuban, Mavs guard Seth Curry, education technology innovator EVERFI, Inc., the Seth Curry Foundation and presenting sponsor 5miles visited students at Young Women’s STEAM Academy for their first Business Pitch Competition in celebration of students participating in the Venture-Entrepreneurial Expedition. The business pitches were performed in a format similar to the popular TV show Shark Tank, where Cuban is one of the co-hosts.

The Venture-Entrepreneurial Expedition program is a new educational initiative designed to teach students how to think entrepreneurially about business and life.

Three awards were handed out on Friday, and Cohen’s group – Fill In The Cracks – won for the Best Overall Business Pitch For Dallas. Cohen, 13, admitted that it wasn’t easy standing on stage and trying to deliver a message that he hopes would be convincing to others.

“First off, you are presenting to a millionaire and a billionaire, and so I was very nervous,” Cohen said. “My mom told me to talk to them as if it was just a conversation with anyone – I just did that.”

“I got to shake hands with Mr. Cuban and Mr. Curry more than once, and talk to them. It was unbelievable. We worked very hard for this and we got a reward for it.”

Josiah Benson also won an award for having the most creative business pitch, and said his target audience “will be philanthropists like you, Mark Cuban.” Benson wants to donate toys and books to the less fortunate, and got a surprise when 5miles general manager Rick Cantu offered to step in and push his business plan twofold.

“Actually we just got to 14 million (downloads) across the United States, and my offer is this,” Cantu told Benson. “What we want to do, if you want to accelerate your donations, my team can work with you to promote your story.”

“We can stuff your home with books and toys so that you can pay it forward like you want to do.”

With a sheepish smile, Benson said: “I would love to take you up on that offer. And you say it’s been a pleasure meeting me — it’s been a pleasure meeting all of you.”

“To me, when I was smaller I never thought I would be able to do something this big, this huge. This is one of the biggest most gigantic milestones in my lifetime, because where I come from not a lot of children like me get to do this, so thank you all.”

The entrepreneurial program was initiated back in August with local Dallas middle schools learning from the digital course. Friday was the tell-tale time to see the fruits of the students’ labor.

“I didn’t get to learn about a lot of these business practices and how to develop an entrepreneurial mind until I got to college,” Curry said. “So for them to be able to learn this at this age is a great thing and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it.”

“It’s a great program, a great thing to be a part of, and it’s great to follow up now and see how much they’ve learned and how far they’ve come.”

Michelle Guerra-Martinez showed how much she’s learned and how far she’s come. The 13-year old from the Young Women’s STEAM Academy won the award for the most impactful business pitch, and was appreciative that it was so well received by the accompanying judges.

“Just to know that there was someone so important sitting there and listening to me and to recognize my ideas, and to win this award, knowing that someone actually acknowledged my idea, it feels great,” Guerra-Martinez said. “This is my first award ever.”

Delivering one of the winning entrepreneurial presentations, however, didn’t come without some trepidation.

“It was very, very nerve-wracking and I was shaking,” Guerra-Martinez said. “But I did my little prayer and I got up there.”

“The crowd was hyping me up – my classmates, my friends – and that just made me feel special. And I just felt 100 percent better.”

Shelley Baxter, the STEAM coordinator at Young Women’s STEAM Academy, said she didn’t know if even today she would have the courage to stand on stage and do a sales pitch in front of Cuban, Curry and Cantu.

“The students’ ideas and thoughts were excellent, and the fact that two of the participants actually got offers to take their idea even farther, I can’t even find the right words to express how excited I am for them,” Baxter said. “I didn’t know that were going to get an offer, and when the first offer came I’m like, ‘Wow.’ ”

“It took the breath out of me, and then when the second offer came. (Cuban is) willing to take all those kids to the Mavericks game. It just gives them that one last push to get the job done.”

Cuban told the students that he sold garbage bags as a kid, and wanted to be the best garbage bag salesman out there. He also doesn’t want them to have a fear of failure.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart since as long as I can remember, so I know all the fears and all the excitement that goes into being a kid starting a business,” Cuban said. “So when I kind of pushed Seth to include me on this, it gives me a chance to encourage them in a way that hopefully will help them go out there and be the future of this country and start the businesses that make a difference.”

“This is the future of our country, and obviously Seth and I are big believers in the American dream. And trying to encourage kids and give them a little bit of experience is always a good thing.”

Curry was excited just to see the passion the students brought to their business presentations.

“As you grow, I encourage all of you to find what you love to do,” Curry said, “and find the difference you want to make in this world and put all your efforts into it and work hard no matter how many times you fail or get cut from your team or if your business plan isn’t right the first time.”

“Just continue to work at it and as long as you have that effort and that passion, that hard work will pay off for you in the long run.”

In all, there were six groups of students who gave business pitches to the judges. Cuban’s advice was for them to just be themselves.

“What I always tell people, if you look around you, somebody came up with the idea for everything that we see, and there’s nothing to prevent you from being the next person that comes up with the next great idea,” Cuban said. “The only person that can stop you is you.”

“I just try to encourage them and I also try to tell people it doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you only need to be right one time and then everybody tells you you’re an overnight success. To get them started and failing early and learning and succeeding and going through the whole process, I think that’s how the future stars, the future Elon Musk and the future Bill Gates, are born.”

Mavs press conference to introduce Cynthia Marshall

What: Press conference to introduce new Mavericks interim CEO

Who: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Cynthia Marshall

When: Monday, February 26 at 4 pm

Harrison Barnes takes local kids to the movies

DALLAS – Harrison Barnes struck another socially conscious chord Monday night when the Dallas Mavericks’ forward paid for 150 kids to watch Hollywood’s hottest chic movie, “Black Panther,” at the Studio Movie Grill in Dallas.

The superhero film is the first of the Marvel Comics series that features a predominantly African-American cast and an African-American director, and has been steadily smashing box office records. Meanwhile, Barnes wanted to make sure he did his part in helping some disadvantage kids be able to watch a movie that has created so much buzz around the world.

“I was excited to see the movie myself,” Barnes said. “But I think the opportunity to have these kids see a movie like this – a movie about a super hero from Africa – to just celebrate all different levels of blackness I think is really unique.

“To have the opportunity to be able to do this, I was going to go see it anyway. So why not invite 100 kids, get a theater and we can all watch it together.”

It’s the second time since the 2017-18 basketball season started that Barnes has invited a group of kids to see a socially conscious movie. Late last year the six-year veteran paid for over 150 kids to see the screening of the movie, Marshall, which depicted the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

Kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas, the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership Academy and the After School All-Stars of North Texas were the recipients of Barnes’ latest gift. And they were definitely extremely happy for his kind gesture.

“I thought it was nice of Mr. Barnes to do that so we could watch the movie,” said Malik Hickman, a 10-year old from the Dunbar Boys and Girls Club. “Some kids probably couldn’t afford it, so I thank him. He’s really cool.”

Rachel Ellis, a 12-year-old from the Oak Cliff Boys and Girls Club, made it a point to personally thank Barnes for her being able to witness a movie that’s the talk around thousands of water coolers.

“I was very grateful when I found out he did it,” Ellis said. “It showed a great sense of community.”

Barnes joins actress Octavia Spencer and tennis superstar Serena Williams among those who paid for over 100 kids to see Black Panther. And like other movie-goers, Barnes even showed up wearing African attire.

“As you can see I’m wearing a shirt that I got from a friend from Ghana,” Barnes said. “A lot of people are dressing up to go to the movies.

“People are buying (tickets for others to see Black Panther) and trying to make sure as many people as they can will see it. I think it’s become more than just a movie. It’s more of a movement. Celebrate diversity, and hopefully if this does well, then you’ll see more movies like this.”

Mavs owner Mark Cuban was beaming with pride when discussing what Barnes was able to accomplish on Monday.

“What you do on the court is one thing, but what you do in the community and off the court says a whole lot more about who you are,” Cuban said. “Harrison always goes out of his way to put together socially conscious movies and involve the Boys and Girls Club to go visit them — always with the emphasis and the priority of education and achievement.

“Really, what you do on the court is one thing, but you find out really who somebody is by what they do off the court and in the community. That’s the true making of a star, and Harrison is a star.”

Barnes’ star sure is shining bright these days.

“People talk about should athletes be role models,” Cuban said. “Sometimes you can’t shut up and dribble. Sometimes you want to go out there and have an impact, and the only time you couldn’t have an impact is if you don’t shut up.

“And when you’re done dribbling, if you go out to the community and lead by example and involve people and create opportunities that allow them to have confidence in their future to have dreams and goals, and Harrison not only sets an example, but he propels kids towards those goals. When the dribbling stops, that’s when your voice really matters, and fortunately Harrison is not somebody who shuts up. Harrison speaks up, and that’s critical in our community.”

Ever since he heard the excitement surrounding Black Panther, Daunte Daniels was anxious about going to see what all the fuss was about.

“The movie was very good,” said Daniels, a 17-year old from the Richardson Boys and Girls Club. “It showed a lot of black culture and how we all should get along.

“The fact that (the main character in the movie) got his butt kicked, then got saved by somebody that wasn’t even supposed to be a part of the tribe anymore, and then to show the respect and save him and come back and whip the other dude, that was great.”

Shakerria West, an 18-year old from the Cedar Springs Boys and Girls Club, was overly impressed with all the African-American females who played strong pivotal roles in the movie.

“You know how in different movies how they have a King, and behind him the people who protect him are really men?,” West asked. “In this movie it was women. There were no men trying to protect him. That was crazy!

“I was like: It’s women? Where are the men? There are no men protecting him? What? That’s what made me feel like women are as strong and equal as men, because we can do the same thing men can do.”

Barnes marveled at the educational messages the writers and directors conveyed in the movie. And he was glad be brought along the kids so they could see and hear those subliminal messages.

“Usually when you see superhero movies it’s just about the male heroes,” Barnes said. “But it was a lot of strong predominantly black women that really carried that movie.

“I think that’s what put it over the top. They each had a story and they each brought something different to it, so it was great for me to see.”

Barnes gave the movie two thumbs up for several other reasons.

“Just to be able to showcase strong black characters – and talking about Africa – and strong black men and women, I think that’s unique,” he said. “It was a great film, I thought the kids loved I, and I loved it.”

Cuban loves how Barnes is always tuned in and thinking about how he can give back to the community — be it in a big or small way. Taking the kids to see Black Panther was just Exhibit A.

“Harrison walks the walk and talks the talk,” Cuban said. “He goes out and he meets with kids, he’s not about let’s bring the PR, let’s bring the press. He goes out and does it and he lives it.

“And when you talk to him, that’s what he wants to talk about. It’s not, ‘OK, what I do in this game, what I do in that game.’ It’s more, ‘What are we doing, how can we be socially conscious, what books are we reading, how can I have an impact?’

“I’ll keep on saying it again: Dribble and speak up is the best thing a player can do. I’m glad that Harrison is somebody who can not only dribble obviously, but does a helluva job speaking up.’’

Those 150 kids who got to see a movie they may not have otherwise seen are also glad Barnes spoke up and decided to invite them to a night at the theater that they’ll forever cherish.

Mario Panuco, a nine-year old from Williams Prep Boys and Girls Club, couldn’t wait to pay tribute to Barnes.

“I wanted to tell him thank you for paying for the movie,” Panuco said. “And he’s a good basketball player.”

Mark Cuban makes the case against tanking on The Ben & Skin Show

Mavs owner Mark Cuban has been making the radio rounds lately, as the season has approached the All-Star break. Yesterday he appeared on The Ben & Skin Show on 105.3 FM The Fan for a full hour to talk about the state of the Mavericks and, more importantly, why the team has no plans to tank at this point in the 2016-17 campaign.

Click to listen to the full audio, including some transcribed highlights below.

On how the team’s youth might affect the team-building strategy moving forward: “If you look at the minute distribution by age, we’re trending south, and that’s exactly the way we want it. It’s going to impact our strategy for the summer. I don’t see us going after the big fish this summer, because I think everything’s changing. It’s just too much money to stay with your incumbent team. Unless something falls in our lap — we’re always opportunistic — I’d much rather be a team that has a ton of cap room into the season to take players off of peoples’ hands. If I’m below the salary floor, then we just pay that money to our existing players, and it means everybody on the roster gets more.”

On why the eighth seed is better than tanking for a high draft pick: “The reward for winning is that all of our young guys get great experience, and they play in games that matter. (The Boston) game mattered to us, because we wanted to try to strive toward something, so you felt the pressure toward the end of the game. If you don’t care if you win, there’s never that pressure. And learning who can play and execute under pressure — like when we were beating Cleveland, when we were beating Portland, when we were winning these close games, when we were beating the Spurs — those were meaningful games to our young guys. If you never think you have a chance to win, you never feel that pressure. It’s easy just to shoot when there’s nothing at stake. It’s easy to play when there’s nothing at stake, where when the other team thinks ‘we can just turn it on at the end.’ You can’t do that with this anymore.

“Whether it’s Doe-Doe, or Yogi, or even Justin or Nico, all these guys are getting minutes at various times when it matters. If you just think ‘we’re trying to lose, we’ll just make it close,’ guys know it, and not only that, but they get upset, and they kind of turn off because if you’re tanking, somebody’s gonna lose their job. You’re tanking because one of you or most of you are not good enough, so one or most of you are not gonna keep your job.”

On the early-season injuries: “As much as the injuries were bad, the fact that we couldn’t get an identity, and we couldn’t get any type of unity on the court hurt us more than anything, because we didn’t know who we were. Dirk wasn’t there, Bogut wasn’t there, D-Will wasn’t there, and J.J. and Devin, so we tried to slow it down and that just didn’t work. Once we opened it up, we started getting better and better and better and better. Going into (Boston), I think over the last 15 games we were third-best offense and sixth-best defense over those 15 games. That’s incredible when you think about it.”

Cuban also added that player development coach God Shammgod will begin traveling with the team so Harrison Barnes and Nico Brussino, among other Mavs, can work with him on the road.

The Ben & Skin Show airs weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mark Cuban on the Mavs’ different approach to a youth movement

No matter how you look at it, the Mavericks have a much younger roster this season than they’ve had in previous years.

Relative to other NBA teams, though, is it young enough?

Two weeks ago in San Antonio, a Mavs lineup of Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Harrison Barnes, and Dwight Powell went on a fourth-quarter run to extend the lead in a game Dallas ultimately won, beating the Spurs on the road for the first time since 2010.

Curry, 26, was the Mavs’ oldest player on the floor. For a team that has consistently relied upon 30-somethings for more than a decade, that’s practically an unheard-of development around these parts.

But none of those players are younger than 23, either.

In NBA terms, “young” is a term that has shifted toward teams like the Phoenix Suns, who have four players on the roster who can’t legally enjoy an alcoholic beverage. The average age of every player who has suited up for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season is 23.7 years old — which means, on average, every player on the roster is younger than Harrison Barnes.

Dallas has the eighth-oldest roster in the NBA this season, according to Basketball-Reference, although Dirk Nowitzki swings that pendulum back closer to 30 due to his being 38 years old. While the Mavs have consistently been in the top-3 in that regard for half a decade, 27.8 years old still can’t quite compare to the young Wolves.

That’s led to many conversations and questions on Twitter among Mavs fans who wonder if this year’s roster is as young as we think: Are 23-year-old players still “young?” At what point is a player who he is? What about a player’s developmental ceiling as it relates to his age?

Barnes’ development this season has supported Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s theory that a 24-year-old is still young and has plenty of room for improvement. Despite playing four years in the league before coming to Dallas, Barnes has taken several leaps as a player this season, now regularly scoring a relatively efficient 20 points a game and doing things he had literally never done during his time with the Warriors. Seth Curry, meanwhile, is receiving his first regular NBA minutes at 26 years old. He might have already reached his prime in terms of age, but his understanding of the game is beginning to catch up to the physical aspect. That’s proven to be a dangerous combination this season, as he’s enjoyed quite the breakout stretch since December.

I asked Cuban about this before Tuesday’s Mavs/Blazers game: What’s the difference between developing a 23-year-old as opposed to a 19-year-old, or is there one?

“You have to teach a lot more basketball to (the 19-year-olds),” Cuban said. “They’re probably more athletically gifted, otherwise they wouldn’t have left (college), they would’ve stayed. But they don’t know how to play basketball, whereas the guys who stayed know how to play basketball.”

That’s an important difference for the Mavericks, who aren’t going the route of a “total rebuild” — in other words, they’re not gutting their roster of all veterans in favor of loading the locker room with high-upside teenagers. With Nowitzki not getting any younger, and Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams, and others still in a position to play at a high level, Dallas doesn’t have the time to wait for super-young studs to learn the ins and outs of the game while simultaneously chasing a playoff spot.

Generally, 19-year-olds coming out of college are perceived (usually accurately) to have higher upsides than 22-year-old graduating college seniors. There’s a reason guys like Karl-Anthony Towns and John Wall only played one year at Kentucky; they didn’t need to stay all four years, and they can help teams right away. But there are plenty of freshmen and sophomores who leave school quickly to cash in on their incredible talent who don’t always necessarily have the basketball chops to help a team compete immediately.

Another reason freshmen have higher value in the draft than seniors is they’re younger, which means they can potentially play longer. Why draft a player who will be 30 in seven years when you can instead draft one who won’t be 30 for 11?

Medical advances, however, have increased the average NBA career’s length. Thirty years ago barely any players made it to 35. Nowadays it’s much more common, so long as a player is lucky enough to avoid catastrophic injury. The Mavericks see opportunity there, happy to gobble up “old” young players already equipped with a basketball IQ and experience.

“Maybe the upside of some of the younger guys, their ceilings are probably higher in some respects,” Cuban said. “But we think in this day and age, we can take a 24-year-old and have him for a good 15 years, as opposed to a 20-year-old and have him for 19. On the margin, that’s not a difference. Unless you think the guy is gonna be a superstar, then it’s far better to have him earlier.”

Players like Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Yogi Ferrell, and Dwight Powell all played four years in college, and only one of them was drafted. It’s easy to look at their games today and postulate that none of them will become anything more than nice role players in the NBA. It’s still premature to say that about any of them, in my opinion, simply because they’re all still relatively young — Powell, for example, went from jump-shooting 4 to elite-finishing 5 in two seasons — but even if they do only become supporting guys, Cuban still sees the value in loading a roster with plenty and keeping them together for years.

“Those are always the guys that you typically alternate through,” he said. “Every year you get a new core of those guys. Whereas if you develop them, keep them together, they can be a lot more effective because they know the game better.”

Take Cleveland and Golden State, for example. Those rosters are top-heavy with multiple max-salary superstars, so their situation is understandably different than the Mavs’. But those teams are going to cycle through rotation players for the next several years, and it’s difficult to develop year-to-year consistency in that respect. The Spurs, meanwhile, kept the same supporting pieces — players like Danny Green, Patty Mills, and so on — for years in support of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker before Kawhi Leonard took the superstar leap in 2014 and the club won the NBA championship.

That appears to be the route the Mavericks hope to go: Round out the roster with young-but-not-teenaged, quality rotation players, extend the primes of the low-30s players, and continue to develop Barnes, who has serious star potential and could reach the next level soon. Meanwhile, Curry, Finney-Smith, Ferrell, and 2015 first-round pick Justin Anderson — the youngest player on the roster — are all on bargain contracts through at least 2017-18, which maximizes financial flexibility for the next couple summers to add even more talent.

So while there are no teenagers in the Mavs’ locker room, Dallas is still a young team, at least at the supporting level — for now. There’s a chance each of the young players can take a leap the same way Barnes did. But if not, there’s still value in having the same supporting cast, year over year, especially as they all prepare to enter their prime within the next couple seasons.

The Mavs aren’t going full rebuild, but the youth movement is still going strong.

Mark Cuban talks Dirk, KG, and more on ‘The Ben & Skin Show’

Mark Cuban jumped on “The Ben & Skin Show” on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday to talk about the upcoming season, Monday night’s presidential debate, and more.

Listen to the full audio before and continue reading for a transcript of some of the best moments.

On how excited he is about Andrew Bogut: I’m as excited as Dirk is. Yesterday Dirk and I were just sitting talking. He’s fired up about everybody we got, but he said ‘Bogut, man, he’s gonna set those screens, he can pass, he can defend, and he’s dirty. He’s physical.’ For Dirk, that’s something we haven’t had since Tyson, and even Andrew is a lot more physical than Tyson. So Dirk’s excited, we’re excited. You’re gonna see the ball move a lot more through Andrew, and you’ll see a lot more motion offensively. And defensively we’re gonna be a whole lot better than we were last year. It’s gonna be night-and-day.

On Kevin Garnett’s retirement, and his battles with Dirk over the years: Their game was different. KG relied a lot on athleticism and physicality. Those are the first things to go. Dirk is a lot more finesse, a lot more basketball IQ, because he never was the most athletic guy. And KG – you don’t play 21 years without being phenomenal, and KG was – you don’t lose that ability to shoot. And, particularly at 7 foot, being able to get that shot off flat-footed, basically, that’s something that he’ll be 50 years old and be able to do.

On Wesley Matthews’ work ethic, and his impact as a leader on the team: He’s mean. All day, every day, he’s texting me, ‘All-Star Cubes, All-Star Cubes, I’m gunnin’ for it, Cubes. All-Star.’ So he’s ready and he’s fired up. He’s taken a leadership role. I was talking to Dirk yesterday, we sat and talked for a while, and I said ‘Dirk, how does it feel to not be the hardest-working guy on the team, and you may be in the bottom half now.’ Literally, Harrison is just a crazy workaholic, Dwight Powell is a crazy workaholic. We’ve got all these guys that are just putting in hour after hour and coming back later and shooting. Just that mindset is completely different.

On the new practice facility: We’ve got 75,000 square feet in there, two big full courts and a bunch of side-to-side courts. Everything and anything that I can possibly think of. The practice part of it is done, but we’ll be adding a whole lot more. I think in total we have 150,000 square feet, I don’t know, but slowly but surely we’ll fill it all up. It’s just meant to be a place where we can get away from the arena like when the circus is there, and during the summer we can have multiple things going on.

On attending the presidential debate: It wasn’t hyped like going to an NBA Finals game or a Super Bowl, but you could just tell everybody was nervous because no one knew what was going to come out of either of their mouths, and everybody was trying to anticipate what could possibly happen. But it was all well-mannered, and nothing crazy in terms of what happened in the audience happened, and it was history. What’d they say, 80-million-plus people watched? So it was interesting just to be part of it.

“The Ben & Skin Show” airs weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Darius Adams shines as Mavs defeat Hornets in Orlando

Highlights: Dallas Mavericks vs. Charlotte Hornets

Darius Adams led all scorers with 25 points and Vander Blue added 16 as the Mavs defeated the Hornets, 84-81!

Darius Adams was the best player on the court for the Mavericks in the club’s 84-81 win in Orlando. That’s going to make at least one man in Dallas very happy.

That man is none other than Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who Wednesday expressed not only his desire, but also his intention, for his team to add as many young players as possible to fill out the 15-man roster heading into the 2016-17 season.

On the brink of the NBA moratorium lifting — teams can officially sign players and perform other transactions beginning at 11:01 p.m. CT tonight — the Mavericks are reportedly likely to have as many as three open spots available for either veteran-minimum or non-guaranteed contracts heading into training camp. Unlike in recent seasons, when the Mavericks have capitalized on players like Al-Farouq Aminu slipping through the cracks by signing them late in the free-agency season, Cuban said this year Dallas wants to go even younger, focusing instead on potentially signing players from the Las Vegas and Orlando Summer League rosters.

“We’ve got a bunch of roster spots,” Cuban said. “We put our money where our mouth is in cap room, so there’s a lot of spots for guys to make. They know if they do what we expect htem to do, then probably three guys, maybe four from this group can make the team. You never know who’s going to get cut, et cetera et cetera, but we want to have a good crew of young guns that we develop.”

Who in particular Cuban is talking about remains to be seen, as the Mavericks still have a couple games in Orlando left and an entire slate of contests in Las Vegas to come beginning this weekend. Anyone and everyone has the chance to stand out, and Dallas has pieced together a Vegas roster, in particular, featuring a ton of talent with plenty of D-I experience.

But let’s circle back to Adams for a moment.

The 27-year-old point guard obviously isn’t as young as many of his competitors in Orlando, and that would hold true in the NBA, as well. However, Adams absolutely lit up the Spanish ACB last season, leading his club Saski Baskonia to a 4th-place finish both in the ACB and the Euroleague. He averaged 15.1 points per game across all competitions, including 16.4 points and 2.9 assists in the highly competitive ACB, considered by many to be the second-best professional basketball league in the world.

His performance Wednesday afternoon against Charlotte will probably raise Cuban’s eyebrows, as the 6-foot-1 guard tallied 25 points, six assists, and three steals in just 24 minutes of playing time as the Mavericks won 84-81. He led all players in all three categories.

There is certainly much more to making an NBA roster than simply having one good game in the Summer League. But Adams has put together a very solid CV thus far, with this performance bumping his Orlando averages to 13.3 points and 5.3 assists per game, the latter of which is good for third among all players.

For a player who’s never come closer to the NBA than he is right now, that’s a nice way to start the summer.

Adams is precisely the type of player Cuban and the Mavs are after. At 27 years old, he’s still young and has plenty of room to grow. He’s hungry to make the NBA and fulfill his lifelong dream. And, most importantly, he’s playing well enough to earn consideration to receive a training camp invite.

Whether that invite ultimately ever comes or not will depend on a ton of other factors, including how well Adams finishes out his time in Orlando, what other Mavs do both there and in Las Vegas, and whether other teams have an interest in the point guard, too. Playing for one Summer League team does not preclude others from offering someone a contract.

Still, Adams is doing his fair share to earn at least some deeper consideration from the Mavericks’ front office — and from Cuban, who is keeping as close an eye as ever on this team.