Live Blogging the D-League Draft from the Anaheim Arsenal War Room

Live Blogging the D-League Draft from the Anaheim Arsenal War Room
Nov 08, 2008, 12:15 pm
Last year I reported on the NBA D-League draft from the Anaheim Arsenal Draft Party. This year, I wanted to give a better view of the inner workings of the draft, and the Arsenal were kind enough to let me in their War Room for the entire draft.

The War Room this year is actually going to be at a local sports bar where the fans are also gathering. The War Room itself is sectioned off from the main party area, but the draft boards are clearly visible to everybody who stops in.

Even More D-League Draft Coverage:
-2008 D-League Draft Diary
-D-League Draft Eligible List / Top Available Players
-D-League Pre-Draft Power Rankings / Allocation List

5:30pm – (90 minutes before the draft) – Assistant Coach Paul Mokeski is filling up the two big boards with names. The first board lists their player preference regardless of position. The second board has the players broken down by position along with having Anaheim’s roster at the bottom of the board. Everyone is quite calm as they are confident in their preparation. It’s hard for me to imagine how calm they are considering that the final list of players in the draft was not finalized until late last night.

6:00pm – The speaker phone has been plugged in and the logistics of how to call in are being discussed. The entire draft takes place on a conference call. Maybe some day, we’ll all be in Radio City Music Hall, but for now, a conference call will have to do.

6:15pm – Head Coach Sam Vincent arrives and decides to change his top small forward on the board from David Noel to James White.

6:30pm – Coach Mokeski calls into the conference call and waits for “roll call” at 6:40.

6:35pm – Vincent receives a call from another Head Coach with a trade proposal. The coach wants to trade his higher 1st round pick to Anaheim for their 1st round pick plus an additional player. Sounds like a Kevin Pritchard move to me – trading down for more picks. The deal was intriguing and they agreed to discuss it during the first round. Vincent lets the Head Coach know which of his three cell phones to call during the draft.

6:38pm – A rumor surfaces that potential top pick Chris Richard and his agent have been looking at several overseas opportunities.

6:40pm – Roll call time. In order, the team representatives reply like we did in grade school – Albuquerque? Present. Anaheim? Present. Until Tulsa, when GM Brandon Barnett says, “Tell everyone to stop calling me. We’re not trading the number one pick.”

6:46pm – The calm in the room has returned after the roll call. The draft moderator repeatedly mentions to not watch the NBA TV broadcast as it will be delayed. This probably should be called the “Jim Harrick Rule.”

(Harrick famously missed his team’s round pick last year, which they ended up forfeiting, and eventually resigned not long after)

6:50pm – A lawyer from the D-League office comes on the phone and reads a bunch of rules and regulations regarding trades and picks and time to make picks, etc. The only noteworthy thing to come out of this is the fact that no trades will be consummated until Monday. So much for Dan Reed walking up to the podium and saying, “There has been a trade…”

6:53pm – The first few A-List girls show up wearing their uniforms. The A-List girls are the team’s cheerleaders, so now I’m in a War Room with a view. The A-List girls have been much more successful in getting called up to the big leagues than the actual Arsenal players. Four girls from last year’s squad are with the Lakers, Clippers and Chargers.

7:03pm – Let the draft begin! The Tulsa 66ers are on the clock. In the first round, each team gets four minutes to make their pick. On the conference call, the moderator announces a 60-second and 30-second warning.

7:06pm – The Tulsa 66ers select Chris Richard. A good choice, but I wonder if they heard the rumor that he was looking to play overseas already? This isn’t unusual as many players consider playing overseas for more money. It’s a tricky balance of playing for less money with the chance of getting back in the NBA or going for the money in Europe.

7:10pm – James Mays goes to the 14ers with the second overall pick. The Arsenal coaching staff is discussing how thin they think the draft is in point guards. In fact they think their second rated point guard is equal to the eighth best small forward.

7:15pm – Idaho selects Jermareo Davidson third overall.

7:27pm – With their pick only 3 slots away, the Arsenal decide they want point guard Tierre Brown. They also know that Brown would love to play in Southern California.

7:30pm – The Arsenal are one pick away and the Head Coach calls back. Anaheim likes the player that he has and now would like Anaheim to select Erik Daniels with their pick to complete the deal.

7:31pm – The Erie Bayhawks take Daniels with the seventh pick and the trade is off.

7:33pm – While a few minutes ago it seemed that Anaheim wanted Tierre Brown, they’re now discussing whether to take Brown or James White. They remember the lack of depth at point guard and decide on taking Brown.

7:35pm – “With the 8th pick in the first round, the Anaheim Arsenal select Tierre Brown.” On their big board, Brown was #2, behind only Jemareo Davidson.

7:37pm – A rival GM, whose team has already drafted, calls to congratulate Anaheim on their pick and offers to trade anyone on his roster for Anaheim’s second round pick.

7:43pm – The fans gathered at the bar cheer as Anaheim is shown on TV making their pick. Tierre Brown is announced and there is no cheering. A collective “Who is he?” look is on the fans faces.

7:50pm – Former Laker Smush Parker is taken by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Now if the Arsenal had selected him, I wonder what the reaction of the fans would’ve been. The coaches are having trouble distinguishing between “Rio” and “Reno” when they’re talking to each other. It’s time to use “RGV” kids.

7:59pm – Clipper Daryl arrives. I suppose it’s fitting as the Arsenal is the Clippers affiliate. Clipper Daryl is a super fan who was wooed last season by Mark Cuban to become a super fan of the Dallas Mavericks. He declined despite the generous offer. I don’t think Donald Sterling countered, but Clipper Daryl remained loyal.

8:03pm – The Austin Toros have the next two picks as the draft snakes back around. Anaheim has it sights set on James White as their next pick, but expect Austin to take him with one of the next two picks. White played for the Toros and San Antonio Spurs two seasons ago, so it seems logical that they would take him.

8:07pm – The Toros do not take White, instead selecting Rob McKiver and Mohamed Abukar. With Marcus Williams and Malik Hairston, the Toros don’t really need another small forward.

8:09pm – Larry Ayuso is taken by the Iowa Energy. The coaches were interested in Ayuso, but now he’s off the board.

8:14pm – One pick before Anaheim is slated to make it’s second round pick, the rival GM calls back to see if Anaheim is interested in trading their second round pick for anyone on his roster. They’re not.

8:17pm – The Arsenal select James White. The staff is ecstatic that he is still available. Why didn’t Austin take him? Do they know something? Buyer beware.

8:19pm – With White selected, the talk of the next pick begins. And it’s all about getting a center. They’re not sure who to take but feel that a couple of the guys could be available in a later round.

8:21pm – The Arsenal operations staff is on the phone with James White booking a flight for him to come out to Anaheim next Friday to start training camp. No rest for the weary.

8:26pm – The attention on getting a center has now changed to potentially choosing point guard Quinton Day for their next pick.

8:30pm – With Anaheim’s third pick less than a minute away, the debate heats up. Mokeski wants a big with the pick, but Vincent now wants Roy Bright. And Roy Bright it is. The bigs will still be there later in the draft.

8:32pm – The Reno Bighorns select Sung Yung-Bang. Who picked him? Rio. Reno? No, Rio. C’mon guys its RGV.

8:35pm – Current Arsenal player Mike Efevberha shows up to the draft party. Other players are supposed to show up, but Efevberha is the first. How can they pass up free food and A-List girls?

8:39pm – Just eight minutes after he is drafted, Roy Bright is on the phone having his plane flight booked.

8:43pm – The cheering in the main room erupts as a Sam Vincent autographed basketball is raffled off.

8:46pm – The Arsenal finally select their first center, Tony Key.

8:50pm – The Arsenal are still interested in adding another big as they need guys to fill spots at training camp. Kirk Walters’ name pops up and is now the frontrunner for the next pick.

8:53pm – The coaches aren’t really sure that there is much separating the remaining big men, so instead of picking Kirk Walters, they might wait on a big man and pick guard Aleksandr Ugrinoski. Then again, they might pick center Tony Little.

8:59pm – The Arsenal pick 6’11” center Kirk Walters. So much for Tony Little and Aleksandr Ugrinoski.

9:05pm – An A-List girl who just happened into the War Room comments that everything looks so confusing. I took it upon myself to explain to her how things work. I hope my hair looks good.

9:11pm – Reno’s Jay Humphries makes the first mistake of the night, selecting Marcel Jones with his team’s 6th round pick. Jones was already taken by Iowa in the 4th round. Humphries uses his “Get Out Of Jail Free” card and selects Gary Hill-Thomas. It’s easy to sit back and wonder how Humphries could make such a mistake, but the picks are now being made every minute, with some picks as fast as twice a minute.

9:12pm – The Arsenal select their third straight big man Theo Little. Mokeski is happy.

9:13pm – The A-List girls leave. The party is over, but the draft continues!

9:24pm – Aleksandr Ugrinoski, who they considered taking in the 5th round is available in the 7th round and they pick him.

9:33pm – Bryce Sheldon is selected by the Arsenal. The staff saw Sheldon at a local tryout and liked him. See, the tryouts actually work. Furthermore, Sheldon is actually in the bar right now so the announcement is made that the Arsenal drafted him.

9:37pm – Oops. Idaho picked out of order. It is Sioux Falls’ turn. The “Get Out Of Jail Free” card was used again and all was forgiven. The picks are really flying now – two picks a minute is the pace.

9:46pm – Local product Ronald Allen is chosen by the Arsenal. That’s one less flight to book.

9:47pm – Sam Vincent addresses the fans and lets them know how well the draft went for the Arsenal. I think he’s right.

9:58pm – Anaheim’s last pick comes down to…Chet Mason.

10:04pm – Tulsa selects Ambres Sandoval with the 160th and final pick of the draft.

The war room is a mess, but the draft is done. All of the names on the two draft boards are crossed out and now it’s time to start training camp. Does Chet Mason have his flight yet?

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