Davidson guard Tyler Kalinoski was no different than thousands of other kids growing up.
He’d dribble around his Overland Park driveway and spot up for a long shot, dreaming that he was sinking the game-winner in game seven of the NBA Finals.
“I’m sure I did that a bunch of times,” Kalinoski said. “Growing up, playing basketball, that’s everyone’s dream.”
Unlike most kids, Kalinoski, a 2011 Olathe East graduate, will get a real chance to one day make that dream a reality.
He didn’t hear his name called Thursday during the 2015 NBA Draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but Kalinoski — a tough, 6-foot-4 combo guard who rebounds well, passes well and shoots well from long range — hooked up with the Miami Heat after his impressive four-year run at Davidson.
“They had expressed interest after I did a workout with them maybe two or three weeks ago,” Kalinoski said. “They said they liked me and brought up summer league. … Before the draft, they called my agent and said they wanted me to play for their summer league and wanted a commitment.”
That made draft night more relaxing, because Kalinoski knew if he wasn’t chosen among the 60 picks that he still had someplace to showcase his skills.
“I knew there were some teams that were looking at me after my workouts, but no one called my agent and said, ‘Hey, we might draft him here,’ ” Kalinoski said. “I assumed I wasn’t going to get drafted. It would have been awesome, but it was a win-win either way.”
Kalinoski flies to Miami on Tuesday for a physical and will play for the Heat’s summer league squad July 4-10 in Orlando and then in Las Vegas beginning July 11.
Kalinoski — who led the Davidson Wildcats to a conference championship in their first season in the Atlantic 10 and was chosen as the league’s player of the year after averaging 16.7 points per game as a senior — didn’t believe his NBA dream was possible early in his college career.
A conversation with Davidson coach Bob McKillop changed that during his junior season.
“Honestly, I did not really think about the NBA coming to college,” Kalinoski said. “Then, coach said something to me and the only thing he told me was, ‘I look at Kirk Hinrich in the NBA and I look at you and say, Why not?’ That kind of lit a little a fire in my belly.”
Kalinoski dedicated himself to getting better, with the NBA in mind, last summer.
During an interview last winter, McKillop said NBA scouts started paying attention.
“He has owned that dream and worked toward that dream,” McKillop said.
McKillop compared Kalinoski to former Davidson point guard Jason Richards, who led the nation with 8.1 assists per game as a senior and played in the NBA Developmental League.
Kalinoski, who was the driving force behind the Wildcats’ return to the NCAA Tournament, comes from an athletic bloodline.
▪ His dad, Scott, played football at Purdue.
▪ His maternal grandfather, Ron Ward, played for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL and his paternal grandfather ran track at Ohio State.
▪ His uncle, Dave Ford, pitched for the Orioles.
▪ His aunt, Pamela, played soccer with Mia Hamm and won four national championships at North Carolina.
Entering the summer league, Kalinoski’s first goal is to make an NBA roster, but he’s open to other opportunities if that doesn’t materialize.
If the right situation presented itself in the NBA Developmental League, Kalinoski would be open to it.
His agent also has heard from teams in Belgium and Italy.
“I’ll see how summer league turns out and go from there,” Kalinoski said.