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Report: Washington State’s Robert Franks agrees to two-way deal with Charlotte Hornets

UPDATED: Fri., June 21, 2019

Washington State forward Robert Franks (3) shoots as Utah center Jayce Johnson defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Pullman, Wash. (Pete Caster / AP)
Washington State forward Robert Franks (3) shoots as Utah center Jayce Johnson defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Pullman, Wash. (Pete Caster / AP)

Robert Franks’ basketball career will continue in the professional ranks despite the ex-Washington State forward going unselected Thursday night at the 2019 NBA draft.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Charlotte Hornets have offered Franks a two-way contract, which places him on the organization’s G League team, the Greensboro Swarm, but also gives him up to 45 days with the NBA club should the Hornets choose to call him up at any point during the season.

The NBA’s two-way contracts, reserved for players in their fourth pro season or earlier, were introduced in 2017 and compensate players a daily amount corresponding to the amount of time they spend with both teams.

Even though his 21.6 points per game led the Pac-12 Conference in 2019, Franks wasn’t widely expected to be taken in the draft, presumably because he wasn’t considered an elite defender and didn’t get the same exposure as his colleagues playing for a Cougars team that won just 45 games in his four years.

But Franks’ game is projectable to the NBA in many ways and the Vancouver, Washington, native’s combination of length and 3-point shooting made him a coveted target for teams looking to fill out their rosters after the draft. Each NBA team is allotted two two-way contracts, essentially expanding their roster from 15 to 17 slots.

Franks, who was measured at 6-foot-8 during the NBA G League Elite Camp, shot the 3-pointer right at 40% each of his last two seasons with the Cougars – a number that was greatly improved after shooting 31% as a sophomore and 22% as a freshman.

Franks also made huge strides on the boards, pulling down 6.6 rebounds per game as a junior and 7.2 as a senior, which were ninth-most in the Pac-12. He earned the league’s Most Improved Player between his sophomore and junior seasons, then improved again in almost every category between his junior and senior year.

While six players from the Pac-12 were drafted Thursday night, WSU’s drought reached eight years. The Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson was the last Cougar drafted and every other team in the Pac-12 has had someone taken during that same span.

WSU’s next best hope in the draft appears to be CJ Elleby, who tested the waters after his freshman season – one that saw him score 14.7 ppg and grab 7.1 rpg – but ultimately chose to return to school for his sophomore season after going through various NBA workouts.

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