NEW YORK, Feb. 23 –
Tremaine Fowlkes, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward for the Columbus (Ga.) Riverdragons of the National Basketball Development League, has signed a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Tremaine is very talented and is recognized as one of the best players in our league,” said Columbus head coach Jeff Malone. “This is one of the main reasons the NBDL is here- to get guys to the next level. Losing Tremanie will obviously impact our team during the stretch run to the playoffs, but this is an opportunity for other players to step up and perform. Our whole season rides on how we respond.”
Fowlkes was a first round selection by the Riverdragons in the NBDL’s Supplemental Draft (fifth overall). He averaged 16.7 ppg on .413 shooting with 5.8 rpg and 1.5 apg over 31.9 mpg in 42 games (38 starts). He ranks third in the NBDL in scoring and pulled-down a league-high ten offensive rebounds against the Roanoke Dazzle on November 26, 2001.
Fowlkes was drafted 54th overall out of Fresno State by the Denver Nuggets in the 1998 NBA Draft. After spending his first two seasons at California, he transferred to Fresno State for his junior year. Fowlkes helped lead the Bulldogs into the semifinals of the NIT and earned all-tournament honors after averaging 21.4 ppg and 11.6 rpg in five games. He was also named to the Western Athletic Conference All-Newcomer team after leading Fresno State in rebounding and finishing third in scoring. While playing for Cal in 1994-95, Fowlkes was selected as the Pacific 10 Freshman of the Year, and he was a member of USA Basketball’s junior world championship team during the summer of 1995 and finished second on the team in both scoring (11.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg).
Fowlkes is the fifth player “called up” to the NBA from the NBDL since the league launched on November 16, 2001. Chris Andersen, a 6-foot-10, power forward for the Fayetteville (N.C.) Patriots and the NBDL’s number one overall draft selection, was the league’s first player “called-up” to the NBA when he signed a contract with the Denver Nuggets on November 21, 2001. Jason Hart, a 6-foot-3 point guard for the Asheville (N.C.) Altitude was the league’s second player “called-up” to the NBA when he signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs on December 19, 2001. Anthony Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard for the Mobile (Ala.) Revelers signed a 10-day contract with the New Jersey Nets on January 7, 2002, then signed a second 10-day contract on January 17, 2002, and was signed for the remainder of the season on January 28, 2002. Rusty LaRue, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard for the Asheville Altitude signed a 10-day contract with the Utah Jazz on January 28, 2002, then signed a second 10-day contract on February 12, 2002 and was signed for the remainder of the season on February 21, 2002.
The National Basketball Development League tipped off its inaugural season on November 16, 2001. The Fayetteville Patriots (N.C.), North Charleston Lowgators (S.C.), Huntsville Flight (Ala.), Mobile Revelers (Ala.), Roanoke Dazzle (Va.), Columbus Riverdragons (Ga.), Greenville Groove (S.C.), and Asheville Altitude (N.C.) will compete in a 56-game regular season schedule that runs from mid-November through March, followed by playoffs. A total of 24 games will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN, and 19 games will be broadcast regionally on FOX Sports Net South.
Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the NBDL offers players the opportunity to develop their talent in a highly competitive atmosphere under the NBA’s umbrella. In addition to being a source of on-court talent for the NBA’s 29 teams, the NBDL will also serve as a diverse human resources pool for the NBA and its teams by training employees in management, operations, public relations, sales and marketing positions in each NBDL city.
NBDL players must be 20 years of age or older to play in the league. NBDL teams do not have a direct affiliation with specific NBA teams. Development league players are eligible to play for any NBA team.