D-League: Colorado All-Stars shine despite schedule

D-League: Colorado All-Stars shine despite schedule
Feb 25, 2007, 05:10 am
This year marked the first ever NBA D-League All-Star Game. As part of the NBA All Star Weekend, the D-League All-Star game was played on Saturday afternoon. No other team had as many players (4) as the Colorado 14ers in the All-Star Game and no other team had a tougher schedule than the 14ers.

Usually an All-Star Game is surrounded by the All-Star break, but this is not the case in the D-League. Six of the Twelve teams played games Friday night. And Colorado played at Anaheim on Sunday. If three games in three days wasn’t bad enough for Colorado, they started their trip on Thursday in Bakersfield. For the Colorado All-Stars, this meant playing 4 games in 4 days.

Despite the heavy travel schedule the All-Stars enjoyed their short time in Las Vegas.

“It was a great experience just to mingle with the other players on the other teams” said Colorado’s Elton Brown, who led the West squad with 16 points.

Point guard Pooh Jeter of Colorado agreed, “Vegas was great. My number one thing was to have my Mom and Dad come and experience that whole thing with me. It was good to feel like an all-star for a day.” Jeter had a team high 5 assists to go with 14 points.

Colorado’s domination in the All-Star Game was noticed on the glass as well. Center Rick Rickert grabbed a game high 8 rebounds and scored 13 points.

For Colorado’s Von Wafer, the day didn’t quite go as planned. “It was a great experience but it got ruined, because I got food poisoning. I didn’t think it would be that much fun, but now I want to participate in more All-Star Games. It was extremely fun.”

“Unfortunately, I didn’t really get to go out and mingle with the people. I just played in the game and signed a few autographs,” Wafer added.

Wafer had a tough day shooting, but any lingering discomfort disappeared when he signed a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers a few days later.

After the game, the players were able to enjoy a little bit of time in Las Vegas before flying out Sunday morning for Anaheim.

West Head Coach Joe Wolf (Colorado) and his staff enjoyed a nice dinner with the owners of the 14ers.

Jeter, like many players, had other plans, “I went to the NBA Player’s Association party. Mary J. Blige performed, T.I. performed and it was great. I was with all my friends and we just had a great time.”

Wafer unfortunately spent the night unlike anyone else. “We stayed at Mandalay Bay and I was in bed the whole night.”

After three straight days of games in different cities, the 14ers’ All-Stars could be excused for being tired and playing sloppy against Anaheim on Sunday. Instead, they fought back from an 8 point half time deficit to win 131-118.

Of the four All-Stars, only Rickert looked tired and he still grabbed 7 rebounds. Brown had 27 points and 9 rebounds. Jeter handed out 9 assists and had 14 points. Wafer was recovering from food poisoning and had 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

For these Colorado All-Stars, the win on Sunday salvaged a long 1-2 trip. Playing four games in four days including the All-Star Game was grueling, but none of the players used it as an excuse. Their spirits reamin high just hoping to be the next player called up.

After seeing these players handle the rigors of this road trip, it would not be surprising to see more 14ers join Wafer in the NBA.

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