NEW YORK, April 14, 2011 – Rio Grande Valley Vipers forward Jeff Adrien, currently of the Golden State Warriors, was named the NBA Development League’s Impact Player of the Year, as voted on by the NBA D-League’s 16 head coaches. Given to a player who joins an NBA D-League team after Dec. 1, the Impact Player of the Year award honors an athlete who made the greatest contribution following his in-season acquisition.
“It’s a very fitting award and accomplishment,” said Rio Grande Valley Vipers coach Chris Finch, “because he not only made an impact on the court, but also on changing the culture of our team when we needed leadership and maturity.”
In 22 games with the Vipers, Adrien averaged 19.9 points and 12.2 rebounds, shooting 55 percent from the field. He led Rio Grande Valley to an 18-4 record before earning a GATORADE Call-Up, signing with the Warriors for the rest of the NBA season.
Adrien, a 6-7, 245-pound forward out of Connecticut, played 15 games with Golden State to start the season, and played his first five NBA D-League games with the Erie BayHawks in December. Adrien joined the Vipers on Dec. 30 in a trade with Erie that sent Garrett Temple, now with the Charlotte Bobcats, to the BayHawks.
After arriving in Rio Grande Valley, Adrien promptly led the Vipers on a 10-game winning streak. He averaged 25.0 points and 14.0 rebounds in the Vipers’ two wins at the NBA D-League Showcase in January, and was named to the All-Showcase First Team. Overall, Adrien averaged 20.7 points and 12.9 rebounds in January, earning NBA D-League Player of the Month honors. In February, Adrien played in the NBA D-League All-Star Game in Los Angeles, and had the Vipers a half-game behind Tulsa for the Western Conference lead before Golden State called him up.
“Jeff had an immediate and significant impact in Rio Grande Valley after he joined the Vipers,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “Jeff played tremendously with Rio Grande Valley, a direct result of his hard work and dedication to making both himself and his team better, and it was only a matter of time before an NBA team came calling.”
Adrien joins Brian Butch (Bakersfield, 2010), Eddie Gill (Colorado, 2009) and Morris Almond (Utah, 2008) as players who have received the NBA D-League’s Impact Player of the Year award.