Kenny Kadji can always count on his mother to keep him grounded.
After the Cavaliers power forward responded with 15 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes of Tuesday’s 99-87 preseason victory over Milwaukee, he received a text message from his mother, Annie.
“She said, ‘You’re still not that good,’” he said.
The undrafted free agent, a standout at Miami (Fla.), has undoubtedly caught the eye of the coaching staff.
At 6-foot-10, 246 pounds, he’s not a classic center. He likes to move out to the 3-point line and launch. He played well in Las Vegas for the Cavs’ summer-league team and is in contention for a spot on the final roster. Kadji has the characteristics of a “stretch 4.”
Observers thought center DeSagana Diop might have had an inside track on a roster spot, considering the uncertainty surrounding center Andrew Bynum. However, Diop didn’t get in the game on Tuesday until the last 3:39. The 7-foot, 300-pounder isn’t getting up and down the floor very well.
If the Cavs are looking for a big body, he could be their man. But Kadji has skills and appears to have more to offer.
“I try not to worry about this,” Kadji said. “Everything Coach (Mike) Brown wants me to do, I’ll do. I’m learning from guys like Andy (Varejao) and Andrew Bynum.
“It was a good experience. I just wanted to go out there and do what Coach wanted me to do: Bring energy and play hard. I got open a few times and my teammates found me.”
That he took 11 shots in 12 minutes was more of a fluke.
“I missed a couple shots and got them right back,” he said. “I’m not worried about that. I just wanted to play hard and crash the boards.”
He was born in the African nation of Cameroon. It’s big news back home when one of their native sons does well.
“It’s an NBA preseason game and there are a lot of eyes on you,” Kadji said. “I received almost 50 text messages. I’m just having fun being around All-Stars like Andrew and Andy, who is a 10-year vet.”
He said he’s not sure why he wasn't drafted.
“It’s in the past,” Kadji said. “The draft was disappointing, obviously. Now, I have a chance with the Cavaliers. You can’t get any younger. There’s nothing I can do about it.
“I know my role and what they want me to do. I have to play hard and give extra effort on the court.”