Renaldo Majors tip in with 0.2 seconds remaining was the game winner for the Dakota Wizards as they defeated the D-Fenders in Los Angeles 103-101. The Wizards squandered a 16-point fourth quarter lead before Major tipped in James Mayes missed jump shot.
Major had a game high 22 points and a team high 6 rebounds. His 18ppg is currently 13th in the D-League. I caught up with Renaldo after the game.Jim Hlavac: Congratulations on a nice game and a nice win for your team.
Renaldo Major: Well, first of all, give credit to the D-Fenders -- they played hard. They tried to come back on us in the fourth quarter and [fortunately] it just turned out our way.Jim Hlavac: Tell me about the last shot.
Renaldo Major: Coach [Joerger] set the play up for me to work in the middle and have James [Maye] come off the screen. But, they played so hard on defense, we broke down. Luckily James got a good shot off. I saw it come off and I was just trying to get up as fast as I can and get my long arm in there and... thank God for that I tell you.Jim Hlavac: When is the last time you hit a game winning shot?
Renaldo Major: I think in grammar school, my seventh grade year. Jim Hlavac: Really?
Renaldo Major: Yeah, its been a while. I mean, its been a long time. I can really say that I guess theres a first time for everything. Jim Hlavac: And you had 50 fans witness your shot.
Renaldo Major: Oh, an amazing crowd today. I guess everybody was waiting to get out there for the Denver Lakers game tonight. (The D-Fenders have a unique arena situation. They are owned by the Lakers and play at STAPLES Center four hours prior to the Lakers tip off. Fans who have Lakers tickets can come and watch the D-Fenders for free, but the 3:30pm Friday afternoon start time is not a big draw.)
At the end though, the fans started coming and I think that little bit of crowd gave the D-Fenders some energy.
If they could get a crowd in here and give them some energy, [maybe] they could sustain that energy for the first three quarters. But they played well in the fourth quarter. We kind of got lured into their game and on offense we just didnt execute. We had turnovers in the fourth quarter - I had two myself - and I just wanted to make up for them as best as I could.Jim Hlavac: Youve shown some big improvement this year. What have you worked on and who has helped you?
Renaldo Major: I have to say my coaches. My coach last year at Gary (CBA) Jaren Jackson
, my USBL (Dodge City) coach Dale Osbourne and coach Joerger (Dakota, D-League). Ive had good coaches in my corner and my confidence level right now is high. I feel like I can play on this level and have had help from my teammates getting me involved. Overall its just that God has really blessed me.Jim Hlavac: With all of the stops youve made, have you been tempted to play overseas?
Renaldo Major: I could have gone overseas but right now its just a dream Im shooting for. Theres nothing like seeing your name on the back of a jersey. Im just going to keep playing hard and financially Im ok, so its not like I need the money. And thats why I say Im blessed. Im just going to keep playing in the D-League and see if I can work my way up.Jim Hlavac: Thank you and good luck the rest of the season
Renaldo seems to be a late bloomer. After two years at junior college he transferred to Fresno State where he averaged 10 ppg and 4 rpg. Since then (2004) he has played for the Gary Steelheads of the CBA, the Dodge City Legend of the USBL and the Sioux City Skyforce of the NBA D-League before settling in with the Dakota Wizards.