Kings beat Heat at California Classic behind Ellis, Queta; hire Jazz video coordinator

·2 min read
Xavier Mascareñas/xmascarenas@sacbee.com

The Kings continued to make moves on and off the court on the second day of the California Classic at Chase Center in San Francisco.

Rookie guards Keon Ellis and Frankie Ferrari combined with second-year center Neemias Queta to lead the Kings to an 81-64 victory over the Miami Heat. Rookie first-round draft pick Keegan Murray struggled after shining in Saturday’s win over the Golden State Warriors, but the Kings remained unbeaten at the California Classic with one game remaining against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

The Kings also made another addition to coach Mike Brown’s staff. A league source told The Sacramento Bee the Kings are hiring Utah Jazz video coordinator Charles Allen as head video coordinator and special assistant to the head coach.

There has been no official word on the fates of assistant coaches Stacey Augmon, Lindsey Harding, Jonah Herscu, Rico Hines or Mike Longabardi, who were part of last year’s coaching staff. Harding and Herscu are part of the team’s summer league staff, which might be telling given that the new league year began Friday. Augmon, Hines and Longabardi could be gone, but the team has yet to confirm their departures.

New associate head coach Jordi Fernandez is leading this summer squad for the Kings, who will head to Las Vegas after the California Classic to defend their championship at the NBA Summer League.

Ellis, a 6-foot-6 guard who signed a two-way deal with the Kings after going undrafted out of Alabama, scored a game-high 17 points in Sunday’s win over the Heat. He made 6 of 8 from the field after going 0 of 5 in Saturday’s win over the Warriors.

“To me, what’s most impressive about Keon is his defense,” Fernandez said. “He guards really hard, keeps bodies in front of bodies, and he’s long.”

Queta, a 7-foot center from Portugal, finished with 14 points, four rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot. Ferrari finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting with five rebounds and six assists.

Ferrari, a 26-year-old point guard, was a college standout who went undrafted out of University of San Francisco in 2019. He had a summer league stint with the Jazz before going overseas to play professionally in Spain and Germany, but his career was plagued by injuries.

Ferrari announced his retirement due to health reasons in October 2021. He came out of retirement in January to join the G League Santa Cruz Warriors and signed with Basket Zaragoza of the Spanish Liga ACB before agreeing to play for Sacramento’s summer league team.

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