Former Virginia basketball stars Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell were in Charlottesville for the first football game of the new season. But for both Cavalier alums, it was their last weekend in Virginia before heading off to their respective NBA cities.
Harris, who was the 33rd overall selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2014 NBA Draft, will head to Cleveland on Tuesday to begin workouts. In July, he signed a two-year contract with the team.
"The fact that I was given an opportunity, I'm extremely grateful and thankful for that," he said. "I'm just really excited and ready to get started and to get adjusted to my new life."
In addition to signing Harris, the Cavaliers had a busy offseason of signings and trades. In July, the team signed free-agent LeBron James before acquiring Kevin Love in a trade in August and sending Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota.
"It's been quite a whirlwind obviously with the transactions that we made in the offseason," Harris said Saturday. "The front office is doing a great job of just really building up a title-contending team, and it's just exciting that I'm a part of all of it. I just can't wait for the opportunity and for the season to finally get going here soon."
Mitchell went undrafted in June but spent the summer with the Houston Rockets, playing with the team in NBA Summer Leagues in both Orlando and Las Vegas. He will head to Houston on Tuesday to get ready for training camp.
"I know all the coaches and all the guys, so I'm just excited to get down there and work as hard as I can," he said. "It's obviously a deep squad right now. I'll probably start out in the D-League and try to develop and grow. Right now my role is just to get better, keep playing, be a good teammate, those kinds things, and just be ready when my opportunity gets there."