Jay Scrubb’s extraordinary NBA journey takes huge leap with Celtics

Boston Celtics (Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images) /

Before he even steps foot on the floor, his name itself presents a challenge. While he has bounced around a few organizations during his career, Jay Scrubb was far from a “scrub” in July in a Celtics uniform.

Considering where he came from, Boston’s No. 29 from the 2023 NBA 2K24 Summer League very well could have given up on this dream. The former NABC Junior College Player of the Year Scrubb has had one of the most unique journey’s into the National Basketball Association. The now 22-year-old attended two high schools and a junior college before becoming just the second JUCO player since 2004 to be selected in an NBA draft.

Two franchises have given Scrubb a shot, but on both occasions, it ended with him being waived. Now, the lefty takes his talents to Maine with the aim of continuing to play the game he could not in his first two years of high school.

First reported by The Boston’s Globe Adam Himmelsbach, guard Jay Scrubb has officially agreed  to join the Boston Celtics organization on a two-way deal along with Summer League teammate JD Davison. The deal was confirmed by Boston via a statement a few hours after the final buzzer of its last Summer League contest against the Orlando Magic.

In the first four games of Summer League in green and white, the Louisville native averaged 16.5 points and 3.8 rebounds on over 47% shooting from beyond the arc. Other than Jordan Walsh’s outings and an occasional Davison dime, Scrubb was one of the biggest storylines of the Celts Summer League team. It was not the most intriguing team heading to Vegas, but Scrubb’s electric displays gave fans something to talk about.

With three two-way contracts now available for each team, Boston felt that his outings in Vegas warranted an award of some potential NBA minutes and a chance to shine in Maine. The G-League is far from unfamiliar for the 22-year-old. Last season for the Lakeland Magic, Orlando’s affiliate, Scrubb averaged 22.3 points to go along with 5.6 boards in 28 contests. He finished in the top-eight in scoring in the G-League as one of just two players to collect over 22 points per game in 31 or fewer minutes on the floor. He was also sixth in the league in free throw attempts, converting 75% of them.

He has only contributed in 24 NBA games in his career, but the fact that he even made it given the circumstances is remarkable. The 6’5” guard seems to show out in Portland, Maine on a team that is yet to name a head coach. Former G-League leader Alex Barlow announced he was returning to Butler University to serve as an assistant under Thad Matta. He commanded the side to a 30-win campaign across both the Showcase and regular season.

Jay Scrubb may have been counted out for a lot of his life, but he earned this two-way contract with the Celtics 

In those contests with some of the world’s best, Scrubb 4.0 points in 9.8 minutes per game. It was the third time the Kentucky native played in Nevada during the summer. Sure, it is a short sample size, but his three-point shooting was something to take note of. Last season with the Magic’s G-League outfit, the former No. 55 overall selection shot under 30% from three, consistent from his last two outings in Vegas’ Summer League.

With this new change in the league, Brad Stevens has the chance to see if he can continue this into the G League campaign. Less than four years ago, Scrubb declared for the draft out of junior college, now one of the most storied franchises in American sports is providing him an opportunity. Time will tell if he takes it, but nobody can say this contract was not merited.