Inside the D-League

Inside the D-League
Feb 13, 2007, 04:18 pm
Sioux Falls Acquires Robert Hite

Former University of Miami and Miami Heat guard Robert Hite has been acquired by Sioux Falls from the available player pool. Hite appears in 12 games for the Heat this season, and averaged 4.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game. He went un-drafted in 2006, and made the Heat roster after strong performances in summer league and veterans camp. On January 20th, Hite received a DUI, and he was released on February 2nd so the Heat could have the roster space to add Eddie Jones. Hite will provide the Skyforce with another scorer, but he lacks the skills to be a full time point guard at this point in time.

Reiner Signed by Bucks

Center Jared Reiner, formerly of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, has been added to the Milwaukee Bucks on a 10 day contract. Reiner played for the Chicago Bulls during the 2004-2005 season, and appeared in 19 games, averaging 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per game. With Sioux Falls, he averaged 13.8 points and 8.6 rebounds this season. Most people who saw Reiner play in the D-League came away impressed, and he was thought of as one of the top two centers in the league. As the 10th call-up this season, he will attempt to earn a longer term deal on a Milwaukee team that has struggled with injuries this year.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu Recalled, will be Sent Back Friday

Dallas Mavericks’ rookie Pops Mensah-Bonsu was re-called from the Fort Worth Flyers of the NBA Development League. He will be in uniform for Dallas’ game against Houston on Thursday. From there, Mensah-Bonsu will return to the Flyers for a Friday game against Austin, before flying to Las Vegas Saturday to participate in the first D-League all-star game.

Richardson Receives Second 10 Day

Fort Worth Flyers guard Jeremy Richardson earned a second 10 day contract with the Atlanta Hawks last week. Richardson struggled through an injury early in the D-League season, but came back and scored around 18 points per game. In 4 games with the Hawks this year, he has averaged 2.0 points per game in 5 minutes. Richardson went un-drafted out of division 2 Delta State in 2006, and displayed a lot of upside during his stay in Fort Worth. It will be important for Richardson to show the Hawks what he can do, because they will have to make the choice between signing him for the rest of the season, or allowing him to return to the D-League.

Roger Powell Named D-League Performer of the Week

Forward Rodger Powell of the Arkansas Rimrockers has been named the D-League performer of the week after leading the team to a 2-1 record. Powell averaged 27.0 points, and 8.3 rebounds over the three games. His recent play has helped Arkansas stop a 15 game losing streak. In his 8 D-League games, Powell has averages of 22.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.

Bakersfield Acquires Mateen Cleaves

Point guard Mateen Cleaves has been acquired by the Bakersfield Jam from the available player pool. Cleaves spent time in the D-League last season after being cut from the Seattle Supersonics, but the Sonics decided to re-sign him after he spent a few weeks in the D-League. Cleaves played in Russia earlier this season, and will join another top D-League point guard in Gerry McNamara.

Gilchrist Joins D-Fenders

Former Maryland point guard John Gilchrist has been added to the L.A. D-Fenders via the available player pool. Gilchrist was cut from Euro-League team Pau Orthez early in the season, and then moved to Israeli team Nahariya. With Nahariya in the Israeli first division, Gilchrist displayed flashes of being able to dominate the league, but struggled to fit in, and fell out of favor with the coaching staff. At the age of 22, Gilchrist still possesses a lot of upside, and he certainly has the talent to make it to the NBA. He will need to prove that he can produce consistently on the court, as well as maintaining a good relationship with his teammates and L.A.’s coaching staff.

NBA Assignments Gaining Popularity

When the D-League first became a full minor league system at the beginning of last season, NBA teams seemed reluctant to send down their young players at first due to uncertainties in the system. NBA assignments picked up late last season, and now the D-League has become a very useful tool for NBA teams. 17 players have been assigned to the D-League this season, and there have been 21 total assignments. In 2 seasons, 25 of the 30 teams in the NBA have used the D-League for a total of 36 players.

NBA Assigned Player Updates

Patrick O’Bryant, Bakersfield Jam/Golden State Warriors
11.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.73 bpg, 51.9 %fg, 73.8 %ft

O’Bryant has continued to pick up the intensity lately, and is making better use of the skills he possesses. His scoring increase largely comes as a result of his jump hook. Against D-League competition this shot can’t be blocked, and O’Bryant’s length allows him to use it over anyone. Early on in his D-League assignment, the Warrior’s rookie struggled with foul trouble, but he has only fouled out once so far in the month of February. Over his past 5 games, O’Bryant has scored 20 points or more 3 times, and he’s had double digit rebounds in each of his past 3 games. If the Warriors continue to struggle, it is likely that O’Bryant will receive the chance to prove himself against NBA competition late in the season.

Mohamed Sene, Idaho Stampede/Seattle Supersonics
7.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 41.1 %fg, 59.1 %ft

Sene had his best scoring game during his stint in the D-League on Sunday when he scored 22 points on 9/11 from the field and 4/4 from the line. He also added 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, and he has continued to produce during his time on the floor for the Stampede. Of the NBA assigned players, Sene has the toughest situation to deal with considering he was sent to a team with D-League all-star Peter Ramos starting at center. Due to this, the rookie from Senegal has fought for minutes more than the other NBA players in the D-League. Since Sene played in the Hoop Summit last April, his offensive game has progress very nicely. He has a jump hook that he uses very effectively out of the post, and he has surprisingly nice touch from inside 12 feet. In terms of free throw shooting, he will need to continue to improve. Sene has the work ethic to make it in the NBA, and this is pretty obvious by how much he has improved his body from last year. If the Sonics continue to invest time in his development, Sene will develop into a productive NBA player.

Maurice Ager, Fort Worth Flyers/Dallas Mavericks
14.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 43.1 %fg, 33.3 %3pfg

Ager has started to play better recently, but continues to struggle with his efficiency as a scorer. He relies too much on three point shooting right now. If Ager started to attack the hoop rather than settle for three pointers, it would make him much better as an all-around scorer. He has improve lately as a passer, and even had a 10 assist game recently, but turnovers continue to hinder his play. Many of his turnovers come from lazy ball handling in the half court offense. To make the most of his time in the D-League, Ager will need to focus on expanding his range as a scorer, and cutting down on careless turnovers. He has the talent to be a good scorer in the NBA, but it is a matter of figuring out how and when to score.

Team Updates

Idaho Stampede, 21-10

The Stampede went 3-0 last week, and picked up a key win against a strong Colorado team. Randy Livingston came up big in all three games, compiling double digit assist numbers in 2 of them. Against Colorado, Livingston went off for 28 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds, and hit the game winning shot. Luke Jackson has also played well lately, and his three point field goal percentage has risen to 40.5%. Up front, Mohamed Sene and Peter Ramos have produced, and bring different things to the table. Ramos can score against nearly every other big man in the D-League, and Sene has been a monster when it comes to defense and rebounding.

Idaho will try to remain atop the D-League standings this week with Thursday and Friday games in Arkansas.

Fort Worth Flyers, 18-10

The Flyers lost a pair of games last week in Arkansas, and did so without Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who was re-called by the Dallas Mavericks. Luke Schenscher stepped up his game, however his 23 point, 14 rebound effort wasn’t enough for the win on Friday night. Terrance Thomas nearly had another triple double Friday night with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. Thomas has really emerged as one of the better shooting guards in the D-League, and his strong play recently has helped Fort Worth endure the loss of NBA assigned players. For the Flyers to remain among the elite teams in the league, they will need stronger efforts on a consistent basis from Kevin Burleson and Deji Akindele.

This week Fort Worth plays a game in Austin on Friday night.

Dakota Wizards, 18-10

The Wizards went 2-1 last week, losing their only game to Bakersfield on Sunday. Quemont Greer has continued to be one of the better scorers in the D-League, and has increased his averages to 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. A three man tandem of Greer Renaldo Major, and James Maye is hard for any other team in the D-League to match up with. Each of the three players score 17 points per game or more, and they compliment each other nicely with their games. Up front the Wizards received a 21 rebound effort from big man Rod Benson against Anaheim, and Kevin Lyde has been a low block scoring threat lately. If the Wizards can keep this group together, they will have as good of a shot as anybody at winning the championship this season.

Dakota plays their only game of the week Tuesday night in Bakersfield.

Colorado 14ers, 19-11

Last week Colorado went 0-2 with losses to Austin and Idaho. They have clearly missed Louis Amundson, who was signed to a 10 day contract by the Utah Jazz. Von Wafer only took 10 shots against Austin, but exploded for 35 points in the close loss to Idaho. Pooh Jeter has continued to be entertaining to watch as well as effective and averaged 10 assists per game in two contests last week. Elton Brown played very well last week, and scored 21 and 28 points against two of the better centers in the D-League. Rick Rickert will need to be more consistent for Colorado with Amundson gone, unless they can add another front court player through the available player pool.

This week, Colorado plays Thursday in Bakersfield. Friday and Sunday they play games in Anaheim.

Sioux Falls Skyforce, 16-14

Sioux Falls split a pair of back to back games with Los Angeles last week. Stephen Graham came up big in the win with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Frank Williams scored 30 points in the Thursday night loss, but had 11 assists and 0 points in the win. They will need to adapt to playing without Jared Reiner, who may or may not be back with Sioux Falls this season. The addition of Robert Hite will help with scoring, but it will be interesting to see if they have enough front court depth to keep a winning record.

This week Sioux Falls will host their only game against Austin on Tuesday.

Los Angeles D-Fenders, 15-15

The D-Fenders went 1-2 last week, with losses to Dakota and Sioux Falls. Andre Emmett has emerged as one of the more consistent players on the D-Fenders, a team with many players who will look great one night, but struggle the next. In the loss against Sioux Falls, Sean Banks scored 21 points on just 6/8 from the field. He went 0/4 from the field in 22 minutes against Dakota, however. Brian Chase continues to play well when his shot is falling, but struggles mightily when it isn’t. With the addition of John Gilchrist, the D-Fenders have a stacked back-court, but lack depth up front. For them to emerge as anything better than an average team, they will need to make an adjustment or two to their frontcourt.

This week, Los Angeles hosts Tulsa in a game on Tuesday.

Anaheim Arsenal, 15-17

Anaheim went 1-1 last week, with a win against Bakersfield and a loss against Dakota. Jawad Williams scored an efficient 25 points in the win, but was just 4/15 from the field the next night. Stephen Smith has played well recently as well, and is averaged 16.5 points per game over his last two games. Andre Owens and Corsley Edwards have both played well at times recently, but they will need to step up their games for Anaheim to keep winning games.

This week, Anaheim hosts Tulsa on Tuesday, and Colorado on Friday and Sunday.

Austin Toros, 14-16

Austin went 2-0 last week with wins over Arkansas and Colorado. BJ Elder erupted for 35 points against Arkansas, and his scoring average is now at 19.4 points per game on the season. Cheyne Gadson has become more comfortable with his role with Austin, and had 21 points and 10 assists in his last game. Jamar Smith has improved his play recently as well, after struggling for much of the season. Loren Woods has been struggling with an injury lately, and his health will be very important to Austin for the rest of the season.

This week Austin plays in Sioux Falls on Tuesday before hosting Fort Worth on Friday.

Albuquerque Thunderbirds, 14-18

Albuquerque went 2-0 last week, with wins against Bakersfield and Tulsa. They have been re-energized by Dijon Thompson, who had 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in the win over Tulsa. Thompson’s presence has also eased the pressure on Cedric Bozeman, who can focus on distributing the ball now. Bozeman had 13 assists and only 3 turnovers in his last game. The newly added depth also helps Joe Shipp, who recieves many more open looks now. Andreas Glynaidakas has also given the Thunderbirds a boost up front.

This week Albuquerque plays their only game at home against Arkansas on Tuesday.

Tulsa 66ers, 13-18

Tulsa struggled to an 0-3 record last week, with losses to Idaho and Albuquerque. Denham Brown paced Tulsa last week, by having games of 20 and 28 points, and grabbing at least 7 rebounds in each of these two games. Will Conroy had 12 and 15 assists in his first two games back from the Memphis Grizzlies. Alan Anderson has produced well during his D-League stint, and he is up to 16.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game on the season. For Tulsa to start winning more games, they will need better consistency from Desmon Farmer, who brings a lot of energy to the floor.

This week Tulsa plays Tuesday in Anaheim and Thursday in Los Angeles.

Arkansas Rimrockers, 9-19

The Rimrockers have played much better recently. Last week they won a pair of games against Fort Worth, but lost to Austin. Their resurgence as a team can largely be attributed to the play of Roger Powell, who was named the D-League player of the week last week. Clay Tucker has also been a key factor, and he had a game of 20 points and 12 assists in a win over Fort Worth. Olu Famutimi has also played better recently, thanks to the new style of basketball Arkansas is playing. Brandon Dean has produced well at point guard, and he had 21 points and 10 assists in his last game. The Rimrockers have gone to an up tempo style of basketball which allows them to use their athleticism to their advantage. In doing so, their efficiency as a team has increased greatly.

Arkansas opens their week in Albuquerque on Tuesday. They host Idaho in back to back games Thursday and Friday.

Bakersfield Jam, 8-22

The Jam are only 1-9 over their last 10 games, and went 1-2 last week. The strong play of Patrick O’Bryant has helped them greatly, but they struggle because they lack a true wing player who can score on a consistent basis. Kevinn Pinkney has combined with O’Bryant to give the Jam a steady presence up front. The addition of Mateen Cleaves should help out Bakersfield as well. They have some injured players that they will need to get healthy right now, and they have to hope they can acquire a scoring two guard via trade or free agency.

This week Bakersfield hosts Dakota on Tuesday and Colorado on Thursday.

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop