Jam Pick Up Eight in Draft

BAKERSFIELD, November 4, 2010 -- The Bakersfield Jam is excited to be bringing a new influx of talent to the franchise, as head coach Will Voigt and his staff added eight players to the training camp roster via Monday night's 2010 NBA D-League Draft.

Already returning several standouts from last season's late-surging Bakersfield roster including the talented backcourt of young point guard Jeremy Wise and Jam veteran Trey Johnson the Jam was thrilled to be able to add considerable depth in the draft.

With a draft class that includes a two-time collegiate conference player of the year and several players with NBA experience, Voigt is confident that his Jam squad is ready to build on last year's second-half success.

"My staff did an amazing job gathering intel for the draft," the Bakersfield coach said. "We feel that we added the pieces that we were looking for."

The biggest piece was 12th overall selection Marqus Blakely, whose sparkling four-year career at Vermont earned him a place on the Jam affiliate LA Clippers' roster throughout summer league and training camp. The Clippers' depth at the forward position led to Blakely being cut in October, allowing Bakersfield to snap him up.

"I have known Marqus for 4 years from my time coaching in Vermont," Voigt said of his top pick. "He is a great kid with enormous potential."

In addition to his much-publicized victory in the 2010 NCAA Slam Dunk Contest, Blakely is a two-time American East Conference (AEC) Player of the Year, a three-time AEC Defensive Player of the Year and the reigning AEC Tournament MVP after leading his Vermont Catamounts to the 2010 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 17.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.9 blocks per game last season, while shooting an impressive 54.2% from the field.

Brandon Wallace, Bakersfield's second pick, is a much more experienced professional with a stint on the Boston Celtics, a season of NBA D-League experience and a couple of years playing overseas on his resume. The forward out of South Carolina returns to the NBA D-League after a season in the Polish League that saw him earn a berth in the All-Star Game and lead his team to the Polish Cup Finals.

"Brandon is a tremendous defender," said Voigt. "We're going to look to him to bring veteran leadership to our team."

In the third round the Jam selected Kenny Taylor, a University of Texas alum with five years of professional basketball under his belt. Voigt described the 6'3", 195-lb guard as "a lights-out shooter" who the coaches expect to help spread the floor for Bakersfield.

Bakersfield's fourth pick of the evening was Cyrus Tate, a captain for his 2008-09 Iowa Hawkeye team before spending the 2009-10 season as a starter for Rera Kamuy Hokkaido of the Japanese Basketball League. Tate's 7.6 points (on 56.6% shooting) and 5.3 rebounds per game were enough to earn him a place in the JBL's All-Star Game.

"He's a beast on the low block," Voigt said of Tate. "Plus my parents are both Iowa alumni, so we had to have a Hawkeye!"

Swingman Lorenzo Wade who Voigt called "a strong, tough defender" was the fifth-round selection for Bakersfield. After helping to lead his San Diego State team to the NIT Final Four in his All-MWC 2008-09 season, Wade scored 25.2 points and grabbed 12.8 rebounds per game in the Phillipines last season.

The Jam grabbed John Bryant with its sixth-rounder, adding an experienced forward whose St. Joseph's teams from 2001-05 combined for a 96-33 record, second-best in school history. Bryant has played all over the world since his college career, including a stint with Coach Voigt's ABA Champion Vermont Frost Heaves and last season's 34-game season for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany.

"John played for me on our championship teams in Vermont, so I know how much he can offer," Voigt explained. "He's an athletic rebounder and defender who is all about winning."

Bakersfield found great value with its final two picks, adding Ollie Bailey who Voigt called "a great outside shooter and tough rebounder" in the seventh round and closing out the draft with eight-round pick Maurice Acker.

Bailey starred for Oklahoma City University in his 2008 senior year, pouring in 18.7 points per game at a 54.2% clip and pulling in 8.3 rebounds to earn NAIA D-I Player of the Year honors. He has since played in Argentina, Uruguay, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Venezuela, making his mark as a scorer and rebounder at each stop.

Acker caught Voigt's eye as a "lightning-quick point guard who is a good shooter" after an impressive career at Marquette. He finished his 2009-10 senior season as the Big East's leader in assist-to-turnover ration (3.1) and three-point percentage (49.5%).

The Jam's eight draftees give the team a full complement of players for training camp, as Bakersfield prepares for its second season under Voigt and in its new facilities.

"We are excited to start camp and see how this team comes together," said the young head coach of his second draft class.

Bakersfield opens regular season play at home against Tulsa 66ers on November 19.

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