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2011 D-League Draft Breakdown: A Guided Tour Through Eight Whirlwind Rounds
As soon as Jamaal Tinsley declared that he’d be D-League Draft eligible, the consensus had him going at No. 1 overall to the L.A. D-Fenders in Thursday night’s NBA Development League Draft powered by Cisco WebEx.
Best guesses had Alando Tucker following him at No. 2. Then everything got a little blurry.
In just two hours on Thursday night, 127 players were selected to the 16 teams in the D-League, at a pace of more than one player a minute. The 90-second clock between picks was tested about four times throughout the night, as teams stacked up behind one another to, essentially, decide their future.
In case you had to make a bathroom run and missed, say, six rounds, we thought we’d condense the best picks and biggest surprises from Thursday night into one tidy cheat sheet.
Chris Wright (No. 3 overall to Maine)If we’re not going with Tinsley or Alando Tucker (the former D-Leaguer and NBA player went No. 2 overall to Texas), let’s go with the Wright, out of Dayton. With a streaky jumper, he’s not quite NBA-ready yet, but the man who averaged 13.2 points and 8.4 rebounds in 2010-11 is pretty close at this point.
Tyren Johnson, Rio Grande Valley (No. 14 overall to Rio Grande Valley)In his senior season at Louisiana-Lafayette, the honorable mention All-American led the team in scoring (17.9 ppg), rebounds (8.0 rpg), assists (3.3 apg) and blocks (1.5 bpg) and scored in double-figures in 26 of 30 games. At 6-8, 205, he can scale between guard and forward, and he’s shown a quickness that should work perfectly in RGV..
Surprise of the Round
That Durrell Summers wasn’t pickedThe Michigan State guard played a crucial part in the Spartans’ late runs into the Tournament, and scored 11.6 points with 4.2 rebounds a game during his senior year. He’s built for the big-time, but a senior season in 2010/11 marked by inconsistent play – one that also saw his shooting percentage drop to 38.8 percent from 45.5 percent in 2009-10 – looks to have chased away teams concerned about his ability to perform against professional talent on a night-in, night-out basis.
Story of the Round
Bakersfield’s TrifectaFor the first time in the history of the D-League, a team had three picks in the first round. And the Jam didn’t waste the opportunity. While none of the picks came in the top five, Bakersfield had three selections between the No. 6 and No. 13 overall spots. The first pick brought in Edwin Ubiles, an explosive 6-6 swingman out of Siena; the Jam’s second pick (and No. 8 overall) took Nayal ‘Mac’ Koshwal, the rebounding giant out of DePaul; and the third (No. 13 overall) brought in Mustapha Farrakhan from Virginia. Bakersfield then dealt Ubiles and third-round pick Travis Walton to Dakota for Pan-Am Games forward Renaldo Major and first-round pick Osiris Eldridge, out of Illinois State.
Fun FactMac Koshwal, who was born in Sudan and grew up in Canada before moving to Chicago, went to Boys To Men Academy in Chi-town. He was also the first DePaul player in team history to serve as a team captain as a freshman.
Summers (8th pick in the 2nd round, to Maine; 24th overall)After falling out of the first round, the Red Claws took a chance on Summers, hoping they’ll get the guy who opened 2010-11 with double-figures in 14 of 15 games, instead of the one who closed his senior year by doing so in just two of his last 12 regular season games.
Jason Ellis (5th in the 2nd round, to Idaho; 21st overall)In our live chat last night, our social guru Sam Farber described Ellis as a ‘buzzsaw.’ As high-energy as any player in the D-League, Ellis now heads back to the last team he played for in the NBADL. Since then, Boise State’s all-time leader in rebounds went to Switzerland, where he played for BC Boncourt and averaged 15.4 points and 11.0 rebounds in 31 games. He can – and will – do everything he can to get wins for the Stampede.
Surprise of the Round
The Final 3Mike Tisdale (13th in the 2nd round to Maine; 29th overall) The 7-1 shrimp from Illinois might not have a great scoring touch – despite finishing his career in Champagne tied for the most games played in Illini history (139) he’s only 25th on the scoring list – but he did finish second all-time in Illinois history in blocks and is, in fact, over seven feet tall. Tristan Thompson (14th, to Austin; 30th overall): Always capable of burning out the scoreboard, the North Texas guard racked up 18 points a game in his senior season, and once scored 28 points in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament against Kansas St. Finally, Anthony Gurley closed up the round by going at No. 31 (L.A. D-Fenders). The 2011 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament invitee scored 18.7 points per game in his senior year at UMass. While he’s not yet a proven playmaker, he has some of the best ballhandling skills in this Draft class.
Story of the Round
Jonathan Thomas (1st in the 2nd round to Springfield; 17th overall)Eighteen players who attended the Boost Mobile NBA D-League National Tryouts were selected on Thursday night, but none higher than Thomas, who became the highest-ever draft pick for a tryout player in league history.
Fun FactCedric Bozeman (4th in the 2nd round to Reno; 20th overall) who played 23 games for the Atlanta Hawks in 2006-07 and finished '07 with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (now the Canton Charge), attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana alongside fellow Drafee Jamal Sampson and USC Heisman Trophy winner, Matt Leinart.
Jarrid Famous (6th in the 3rd round to Iowa; 37th overall)Famous is the perfect kind of player for the D-League. He’s tall (6-11), but needs to put on some weight (240 pounds). He can shoot (including a 50-percent clip from the field his senior year at South Florida), but needs to develop a post game. But right away, he’ll give the Energy a potent force on the boards and a high-intensity defensive presence, thanks to a quickness rarely found in men his size.
Mychel Thompson (7th in the 3rd round to Erie, 38th overall)In his senior year at Pepperdine, Thompson scored almost 15 points a game, pulling down 5.9 rebounds while he was at it. He’s also from great pedigree: Thompson’s dad, Mychal, was selected first overall in the 1978 NBA Draft and went on to have a 12-year career in the NBA. He’s now a radio color commentator with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Greg Washington (14th in the 3rd round to RGV; 45th overall)Washington had already set the Hofstra career blocks record, then finished his career on Long Island with 275 rejections and became only the second post player in team history to start 30 or more games in consecutive seasons. Going off his numbers from college, it’s a wonder he fell this far. But looking at his specs – he’s listed at 6-foot-11, 205 pounds – makes it a wonder that he didn’t just blow away, never to be heard from again before the draft. Good thing South Texas has good burritos.
Fun FactTravis Walton (10th in the 3rd round to Bakersfield, 41st overall), who was traded from the Jam alongside Ubiles in exchange for Dakota’s Renaldo Major and 12th overall pick Osiris Eldridge, shares a name with America’s most famous alien abductee, a logger who claims he was picked up by aliens while on duty in Arizona back in 1975, and a person that Wikipedia will be more than happy to tell you more about.
Chris Taft (1st in the 4th round to Springfield; 48th overall)It’s been six years since Taft, a sensation in his short time at Pitt, went 42nd overall to the Golden State Warriors, and just under six years since back spasms ended his rookie season after just 17 games. It’s also been three years since a foot injury ended his time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. But the big man keeps on getting back up, and with a unique combination of size and athleticism, he could be a steal for the Armor.
Donald Sims (4th in the 4th round to Reno; 51st overall)The most decorated player in Appalachian State history (with all-time records for points, three-pointers, free-throw percentage and free throws, among others) Sims scored 30 or more points three times and 40 or more two times during in his senior year in 2010-11.
Eric Devendorf (8th pick in the 4th round, to Idaho; 55th overall)Devendorf – the one-time Syracuse standout – can shoot. That’s easy to see. But off-court issues have brought about a number of stutter-steps in the former Reno Bighorns guard’s career, obscuring moments like his 49-point debut with the Waikato Pistons in the New Zealand National Basketball League in 2010. He’s bounced around in the past two years, so it’ll be interesting to see if Devendorf can stick with the Stampede.
Fun FactLarriques ‘Rico’ Cunningham wanted to make your last couple hours in the office on Friday a little more bearable, so he cut this Dunk mixtape in 2011. You can thank him in person in Tulsa, where he went as the fifth pick in the round (and 53rd overall) on Thursday.
Solomon Bozeman (2nd in the 5th round to Austin; 65th overall)The ‘other’ Bozeman (after Cedric went 20th overall, to Reno) might make a name for himself pretty quickly in this league. He scored 16.6 points and 2.8 assists per game last year for Arkansas-Little Rock, while also shooting .458 from 3-point range. If the Toros can get him and newly acquired Justin Dentmon on the court at the same time, it’ll be tough to keep up with this backcourt duo.
Adrian Bowie (10th pick in the 6th round to Erie; 89th overall)Bowie did whatever Maryland needed from him in his senior season in 2010-11, scoring 8.8 points a game to go along with 3.5 assists and three rebounds a game. He also shot .466 from the floor – the highest average of his career. He’s shown that he can shine, but he’ll now have to do it on a consistent basis.
Jason Westrol (6th in the 7th round to Iowa; 101st overall)The former Division II Player of the Year out of Bentley College can get to the hoop (21.1 ppg in his senior year) and held his own in Romania last year (10.9 ppg in 31 games). He’ll need to improve his three-point shooting (less than 30 percent last year) and foul shooting (71 percent in 2010-11) to truly become a high-impact scorer, but this late in the Draft, he’s well worth a shot.
Dauntae Williams (7th in the 8th round to Fort Wayne; 118th overall)Williams was an absolute dynamo at Central Oklahoma, earning two-time First Team All-American honors and taking home the D-II Player of the Year award in 2010-11 after leading the Bronchos with 20.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Playing against D-League talent is a lot different than taking on Christian Brothers University (on the Bronchs’ schedule for Dec. 18 of this year, if you’re interested), but the 6-4 Texas native might be up for the challenge.