2009 D-League Draft: Notable Names, Top Players Available

2009 D-League Draft: Notable Names, Top Players Available
Nov 04, 2009, 08:53 pm
The 2009 D-League draft pool is set, with the 200 players that will make up Thursday’s (7 PM EST, NBATV) 8-round, 16 team event. We’ll take a look at some of the most notable names appearing on the draft list, as well as evaluate the top prospects who could eventually earn a callup to an NBA roster this season.

Notable Names

The D-League draft marks not only the beginning of a new season of basketball, it also serves the very helpful purpose of reacquainting ourselves with players we lost track of. Among the most interesting include:

Latavious Williams-
The name on this list most likely to garner national interest is that of Latavious Williams. To refresh your memory, Williams was the highly regarded power forward prep school recruit who committed to the University of Memphis, but decided to renege on the decision based on the expert advice of those around him.

“"It was a difficult decision," Williams said in a press release. "But after consulting with a number of people, and taking my family situation into consideration, playing overseas is the best move for me."

"It will not be an easy transition, but I have surrounded myself with a core of very competent people who I trust and who have my best interests at heart, so I am confident that things will work out very well."

Williams’ “mentor/advisor” Trey Godfrey, who he knows thanks to his AAU ties, told Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports back in July that the decision was purely a financial one.

"He made the decision when taking into account his family situation," said Godfrey. "He wants to put himself in a situation where he can help out and he saw this as a good opportunity."

Goodman also quoted Godfrey discussing his belief that Williams will be able to garner a contract in the “six-figure range”, and was mentioned having “a lot of interest from Europe and the Far East.”

Fast-forward three months, and Williams finds himself in the D-League draft pool, holding onto a B-level non-guaranteed contract for $19,000. Surely this isn’t the way he expected things to turn out?

The cold harsh reality is that European basketball teams are not all that interested in players of Williams’ caliber: a raw, unproven athlete without a defined position and plenty of off-court red flags. Being steered through the process with a rookie agent like Godfrey surely didn’t help.

The good news is that this is anything but the end of the road for Williams, even though he has no choice but to become automatically-eligible for the draft this upcoming June. He will be scouted extensively by all 30 NBA teams this season, and should receive plenty of opportunities to play and improve all year long. The level of competition he’ll be facing on a game by game basis going up against seasoned pros is surely higher than what he would have seen at the college level. Playing in the D-League could be a humbling experience for him as well, and could force him to mature rapidly.

This will surely be one of the most interesting story lines to follow in the 2009-2010 D-League season.

Nate Miles:
Miles was at the center of an alleged massive recruiting violation scandal, as reported by Yahoo! Sports in late March. Miles was always deemed to be one of the most talented wing players in his high school class, but has struggled to land on solid ground after attending five high schools in four years and being expelled from UConn before his first college season even started. He opted to enter the draft this spring, and unsurprisingly went undrafted, also being unable to land any attractive offers from Europe this summer. If signing a non-guaranteed contract for $13,000 won’t wake you up and realize that the time is now, then nothing will.

The D-League is probably the perfect place for a player like Miles, and it will be interesting to see how well he’s able to adapt his game to the professional setting. He has just a year of experience at the college of Southern Idaho underneath his belt, so there could surely be a transition period.

Jeremy Wise- A second NBA-draft eligible player found on this list is former Southern Miss guard Jeremy Wise. One of the top scorers in Conference USA in his first three seasons, the 23-year old Wise elected to forfeit his final season of eligibility by hiring an agent last May. Seeing that he had no chance of being drafted, Wise wisely elected to pull his name out of the draft at the early-entry withdrawal deadline, which means he’s still eligible to be drafted in 2010. Wise likely found the European free agent market to be a bit cooler than he expected this summer, and thus will be forced to prove his mettle in the D-League before making the next step in his professional career. Would spending a fourth straight year beating up on Conference USA defenses have better prepared him for the rigors of professional basketball than the challenges that go along with playing in the D-League? We think not.

Dar Tucker- It really didn’t come as any shock to see Dar Tucker leave DePaul after his sophomore season as unceremoniously as he did, not to those that had followed this situation from afar. The fact that no one at DePaul seemed to be shedding any tears may have told us something as well. Tucker is a freakish athlete with all kinds of scoring ability, but his horrid shot-selection and high turnover rate likely scared off any potential NBA suitors. Now the super talented yet highly enigmatic shooting guard will have to ply his trade in a slightly less comfortable setting, after failing to garner any significant looks from NBA teams this past summer.

Yaroslav Korolev- Surely this has been one of the stranger career paths we’ve followed since the inception of this site back in 2004. From top-rated European prospect, to incredibly premature NBA draft entrant, to NBA lottery pick, and then being waived just two years later, you would never guess that Korolev is just 22 years old. He spent last season glued to the bench at Dynamo Moscow, again putting good money is his bank account, but wasting yet another important year in his development. With the goal of reversing that trend and making a run back at the NBA, Korolev has made the surprising decision to sign with the D-League. Based off what we’ve seen in the numerous times we’ve seen him play recently, the NBA dream is not a very realistic one at all, but it’s quite possible that Korolev will prove us wrong.

Amara Sy- Fresh off an impressive season playing for French champions ASVEL-Villeurbanne, it can’t come as anything but a surprise to see a European passport holding, 28-year old in his prime willingly sign a $19,000 contract. Sy is reportedly that confident in his ability to show his stuff to NBA decision makers, though, and likely feels like this is his last opportunity to give it a go before resolving himself to his fate. Sy is a 6-8, long and super athletic combo forward who has made strides with his offensive game over the past few years. It will be interesting to see how his game translates to the D-League setting, and whether or not he’ll be tempted by a European team buyout if that callup doesn’t come as quickly as he hoped.

Top 10 Draft Prospects

Sundiata Gaines- One of the top American rookies in Europe last season playing in the Italian first division. Reportedly receiving strong interest from Erie with the second overall pick.
Alade Aminu- Long, tall, athletic big man with budding skills and plenty of upside
Carlos Powell- Proven scorer at the D-League level, will fill it up every night. Rumored to have already received a promise to be drafted #1 overall by Albuquerque.
Paul Harris- Versatile athlete who will play hard and stuff the stat-sheet in every category
Amara Sy- Experienced European player with terrific physical attributes
Mustafa Shakur- Point guard with size and athleticism who has spent the last few years polishing up his game in Europe
Rashad Anderson- Big time shooter who led the Italian first division in scoring last season
Delonte Holland- Scorer of the highest caliber in top-level Europe, fallen on hard times recently
JamesOn Curry – Combo guard with terrific scoring ability and unlimited range
Deron Washington- Freakish athlete who is the top candidate to succeed James White in the next D-League Dunk contest

Best of the rest:

Chris Lowe
Dar Tucker
Antonio Anderson
Garret Siler
Alonzo Gee
Desmon Farmer
Donell Taylor
Pat Carroll
Orien Greene
John Bryant

Rookie Draft List

Paul Harris
Jason Richards
Dar Tucker
Antonio Anderson
Alade Aminu
Garret Siler
Lewis Clinch
Latavious Williams
Raymond Sykes
Alonzo Gee
Jeremy Wise
John Bryant
Chris Lowe
Lance Hurdle
Deveon Jenkins
Jeremiah Fort
Travis Gabbidon
Augustine Okosun
Allen Williams
Cornell Littlejohn
Paul Johnson
Kevin Goffney
Jeff Skemp
Jeremy Wise
Tony Roberts
Travis Pinick
Jermaine Johnson
Russell Hicks
Kenneth Burkes
Giovonne Woods
Willie Smiley
J'Nathan Bullock
D'Lancy Carter
Richie Williams
Travis Holmes
Rodney Alexander
Chris Hayes
Jeral Davis
Craig Austrie
Mike Battle
David Carson
DeSean White
Chris Davis
Booker Woodfox
David McClure
Joe Darger
Garrison Carr
Brandon Robinson
Ira Brown
Jon Meriweather
Deon Tresvant
AJ Ratliff
Ray Reese
Matt Clement
Derrick Mercer
Marcus Walker
C.J. Anderson
Justin Billingslea
Kenny Dawkins
Vincent Oliver
Nate Miles
Harold Griffin
Chris Lowe
Terry Martin
Chad Toppert
Reggie Peyton
Chad Troyer
Rashad Woods
Stephen McDowell
Zachary Sowers
Nicholas Moore
Josh Jenkins
Ryan Troutman
Mitchell Johnson
Channing Toney
Adam McCoy
Jamarcus Ellis
Anthony Goods

Veteran Draft List

JamesOn Curry
Orien Greene
Yaroslav Korolev
Deron Washington
Desmon Farmer
Carlos Powell
Mustafa Shakur
Reece Gaines
Donell Taylor
Leemire Goldwire
Pat Carroll
Amara Sy
Doug Thomas
Major Wingate
Sundiata Gaines
Martin Zeno
Eddie Ard
Gary Ware
Erek Hansen
Jonathan Wallace
Scooter McFadgon
Rashad Anderson
Curtis Withers
Jeremy Kelley
Keena Young
Joah Tucker
Alan Wiggins
Mike Gansey
Reggie Williams
Darnell Lazare
Russell Carter
Corey Minnifield
TJ Cummings
Rod Wilmont
Leonard Stokes
Quemont Greer
Delonte Holland
Marcus Dove
Melvin Scott
Robert Porter
Tim Bush
Anthony Cox
CJ Vick
Ulises De La Vega
Michael Sturns
Pete Campbell
Lorenzo Davis
Chris Ayer
DaMarcus Ellis
Tony Bobbitt
Scottie Wilson
Anthony Terrell
Brayden Billbe
Gary Ervin
Harry Lum
Joel Green
Tim Parham
Mickell Gladness
Haron Hargrove
John Barber
Alain LaRoche
Christopher Moore
Bryson McKenzie
Jeff Hawkins
Sean Barnette
Carl Mitchell
Louis Graham
Moustafa N'Doye
Dwayne Shackleford
Geno Carlisle
Jordan Brady
Haminn Quaintance
Shagari Alleyne
Tychicus Snow
DeAngelo Alexander
Rashaad Powell
Ronald Allen
Kevin Owens
Jitim Young
Draelon Burns
Jared Newson
Joe Buck
James Cripe
Andres Sandoval
Frank Young
Eric Smith
Jimmie Binnie
Rashid Byrd
Adam Liberty
Alton Smith
Frank Tolbert
Martane Freeman
Antoine Hood
Patrick Fields
Damian Lolar
JC Mathis
Jason Straight
Darren Cooper
Perrin Johnson
Jamelle Cornley
Brock Gillespie
Lodrick Stewart
Jahmar Thorpe
Casey Love
Cheyne Gadson
Raheem Moss
D'Mond Grismore
James Booyer
Ivan Lombard-Jackson
Charlie Parker
Fred Peete
Ramon Dyer
Ryan Diggs
Lawrence McKenzie
Kenan Oliver
Brian Kortovich
Elijah Ingram
LeVonn Jordan
Brian Evans
Kris Collins
Brandon Jones
Cecil Brown
Shawn Hawkins

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