by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com with D-League Dir. of Basketball Ops. Shawn Respert
|Idaho's Lance Allred will play for the Red Team with two of his Stampede teammates.|
Noah Graham/Getty Images/NBAE
February 5, 2008: The rosters for the 2008 D-League All-Star Game presented by Spalding were released today, with ten D-League players representing the Red Team and the Blue Team. Here, D-League Dir. of Basketball Operations and NBA veteran Shawn Respert shares his views on all twenty of the All-Star participants. 13 of the players selected have NBA experience, and five of them have received GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA this season.
2008 Red Team
Cory Violette, Idaho Stampede:
"Cory was to me is a blue-collar worker. He is a key to Idaho's team with his toughness and his physical play inside. You might say he is a bit undersized, but what is one or two inches for a guy who plays as strong as he does. He has good face-up shot from the outside, and he brings stability. He always does the right thing for the team to win in Idaho."
Lance Allred, Idaho Stampede:
"For me he was always one of my top picks coming into the season. Lance is a prototypical forward, as he continues to be a blue-collar worker. He works hard down low, is a bigger version of Cory, they can both hit that shot if they face up, but they can also mix it up in the low post. He has good low-post moves and I think Lance understands his strengths and weaknesses and plays well within his skill set."
Randy Livingston, Idaho Stampede:
"Randy is a key to making the All-Star Game a fun event. He's a veteran who's been around, and I still enjoy watching him play. He has the ability to keep the game simple, and I think a lot of the fans and the young player can benefit from watching him perform. He also has the ability to always keep his teammates involved and it seems like you never know who is going to get the ball from him, but it's always the open man."
Eddie Gill, Colorado 14ers:
"Eddie's talent speaks for itself. He was the first Call-Up this season from the NBA. He's an underrated defender, I think he does a good job of pressuring the ball. I think with his speed and his strength to get in the lane, he does a good job of drawing attention and finding the open man. With his athletic ability, he also has the ability to take it to the hole and score on himself."
Billy Thomas, Colorado 14ers:
|Colorado's Kaniel Dickens is one of four 14ers on the Red Team.|
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images/NBAE
"Billy is almost a bigger version of what I was towards the end of my career. He understands the game, he picks his spots and plays well within the team game. He is a good shooter, sometimes he gets a little streaky, he is a guy not afraid to take the big shot. He rebounds well for his position, and can pass it and get other people involved."
Kaniel Dickens, Colorado 14ers:
"Kaniel has a prototypical size for a three, and he can shoot the ball. He's been a little more consistent than he was in the beginning of the year, but his ability shoot the ball combined with his physical stature makes you wonder why he doesn't take more advantage. It's kind of the way we looked at Lebron in his first few years, we knew he could take advantage of people physically but he wasn't doing it all the time. He has the ability to shoot the outside ball so well, but he can also use his size to get inside and finish."
Elton Brown, Colorado 14ers:
"Elton I think could be the next Call-Up. He's shown consistently over the past few years from the beginning of the season to the end that he's been a force underneath the basket. He doesn't beat you with a lot of athleticism, but he has a lot of strength and a ton of moves under the basket. He just plays hard every night so I really hope that this is the foresight to him getting to the next level, as well as being able to show NBA teams that he has made a committment to getting in better shape."
Dwayne Mitchell, Iowa Energy:
"Dwayne is a tremendous scorer and a tremendous athlete. He has the perfect combination of speed and strength and athletic ability. He looks more like your NBA 2-guard when you see him. He has had some very good games and has a true inside-outside game. I think when we become more familiar with his game he will become more of a known entity within the D-League."
Kasib Powell, Sioux Falls:
"Kasib has brought a veteran leadership to Sioux Falls with his NBA experience. A solid all-around player who rebounds the ball well and puts a lot of pressure on opposing teams when he gets the ball in the post. Kasib has very good strength and quickness around the basket and plays both ends of the floor. He has made an immediate impact since the Skyforce selected him."
Nick Fazekas, Tulsa 66ers:
"Nick fits the mold of that 6-10, 6-11 four-man that can pick and pop and knock down the outside shot. He is not a typical forward that will go in and bang, but he is a great shooter. He makes it very difficult when you have a great point guard who can get to the basket and distribute, because he can pull that big guy on the other team outside and create room for a guard to slash to the basket."
2008 Blue Team
|Utah's Kyrylo Fesenko is one of four NBA-assigned players on the D-League All-Star teams.|
Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images/NBAE
Carlos Powell, Dakota Wizards:
"Carlos is I think, a bigger version of Dwayne Mitchell. He is a 3 but he has a good inside-outside game, runs the floor well, is very active on the boards. He needs to continue to show people that he can make good decisions with the ball, and that he can be more consistent every night. He's really kicked it up the past few weeks and done a good job of showing people what he can do."
Rod Benson, Dakota Wizards:
"Rod to me is the most improved player in our league. He's done a tremendous job of really using the most out of what he does. He rebounds the ball very well because he stays active, he's not a low-post threat in terms of drawing double-teams, but he can use his length and quickness to gain an advantage over players who just try to use strength. He's a true professional, because he is always doing more of what you ask him to do, in the right way not the wrong way."
Keith Langford, Austin Toros:
"Keith to me is probably the best two-guard that we have had this season. He's done a tremendous job of being a consistent scorer, and he makes it seem like he is barely breaking a sweat scoring 25, 30 points. He shot the ball tremendously well, and we always know that he can get to the basket. He has created a niche for himself defensively in being able to defend and shut down opponents."
Ian Mahinmi, Austin Toros:
"Ian, you can tell that he has been practicing against the best. With Tim Duncan and the thousand post moves that he has, you can tell that he has picked up on how to use his body to create space and using two hands around the basket. His physicality has been turned up a notch, and you know that he has been playing with NBA players. You can tell he's more polished and he should be a great player in the D-League if he stays around."
Kyrylo Fesenko, Utah Flash:
"He is another guy like Ian who is a big, strong body. He is a big boy. He does a good job in the post, wearing opponents down. For a guy as large as he is he runs the floor well, he has good moves around the basket, and he makes a good effort to defend around the basket. A lot of guys these days just concentrate on offense, but he gives an equal effort on both ends of the floor."
Morris Almond, Utah Flash:
"Morris, what can you say after tying and breaking the scoring record in our league. He is never going to have a problem putting the ball in the basket. It's a great asset to have because fans love to see points on the board, but Morris has also put on more of a presence rebounding and playing defense. I think as he continues, like any great scorer who is aggressive with the ball, if he can show people that he can take care of it they will shoot themselves up to the next level."
Jeremy Richardson, Fort Wayne Mad Ants
|Bakersfield's Andre Barrett will team up with the Wizards' Carlos Powell and Rod Benson on the Blue Team.|
Juan Ocampo/Getty Images/NBAE
"Jeremy is the next step in what he are hoping for out of the top scorers in our league. Jeremy changed his game from being a high-volume guy who needs a ton of shots, to guy who knows how to pick his spots and be just as great a presence on the boards and the defensive end. He values every possession. Jeremy to me is probably right in between where Kelenna Azubuike is right now and some of the younger guys who are having success in the league like Morris and Dwayne."
Andre Barrett, Bakersfield Jam:
"Andre is another solid point guard, he can defend, he can pass the ball, and he is also a threat to score. He does all three as well as anyone else. I dont think there is one strength, he does all three well equally. He is a good, safe option for any NBA team that is looking for a point guard."
Jelani McCoy, Los Angeles D-Fenders:
"He is a veteran, kind of like Randy in a sense that they play with patience and at a different pace. They never rush the things that they do and they have a very good understanding of what this game is about. He will out there, and its about entertaining but also making plays and winning the game."
Sean Banks, Los Angeles D-Fenders:
"Sean Banks to me is very underrated. He is having a great year, he's shooting the ball a lot better. He is also mixing it up by showing people that he can put the ball on the floor or run the lanes, but when the ball comes back outside he knock down the shot. Sean has very good size for his position, and I think that NBA teams should be taking a look at him because he's made the effort to improve his game."