Lakers sign former UC Santa Barbara center Greg Somogyi

When training camp opens next month, Greg Somogyi will hold one distinction not even All-Star big men Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol can match: tallest Laker.

How long the 7-foot-3 center graces the Lakers’ roster is another matter.

The Lakers signed the former UC Santa Barbara player to a non-guaranteed contract Wednesday and extended an invitation to training camp as the team fills out the margins of its roster for practice purposes.

Like former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson, whom the Lakers also signed as expected Wednesday, Somogyi is the longest of longshots to make the team. Somogyi went undrafted after averaging 3.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 12.2 minutes during his four seasons with the Gauchos.

Somogyi played for the Lakers’ summer league team in July, averaging 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.2 minutes.


Nelson was also undrafted after being dismissed from the Bruins last season because of repeated behavioral shortcomings, but he has more impressive credentials as a former first-team All-Pacific 10 Conference selection.

The 6-8 forward, who reminds some of a poor man’s Jon Brockman, had career averages of 12.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 27 minutes with UCLA. Nelson also played with the Lakers’ summer league team, averaging 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 16.3 minutes.


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