Brian Kotloff, NBADLeague.com
Once each week, NBADLeague.com will update the Prospect Watch presented by BBVA Compass, our list of the top 30 Prospects in the NBA D-League. Our rankings are a combination of upside and experience, potential and production. Only Call-Up eligible players will be ranked. The rankings are compiled by the editors at NBADLeague.com.
THE FINAL PUSH: SEASON WINDING DOWN
It's the time of year when every Top Prospect can smell the NBA, with 12 NBA D-League players earning GATORADE Call-Ups over the last two weeks. From new No. 4 Vander Blue to No. 23 Kevin Jones, Prospects up and down the rankings have flipped the switch in hopes of attracting the right team at the right time. With one month and one day left in the regular season, the race is on.
No. 14 WILLIE REED -- F -- SPRINGFIELD ARMOR
It was around this time last year when the #CallWillieUp movement took full effect and the 6-10 power forward turned it up en route to a mid-April Call-Up. This time around he's playing like he wants the call to come even sooner. Reed, still just 23 years old, is averaging 19.7 points and 13.2 rebounds over his last seven games, looking very much the part of an NBA-caliber, athletic force down low.
ARMOR COACH DOUG OVERTON ON WILLIE REED
"I think he's just finding himself. Early in the season he thought he needed the ball more. Now he sees that Varnado and Dedmon got called up, and they just played basketball -- run the floor, rebound and finish. He's not putting that pressure on himself, which he did too much coming back from his Call-Up last year. He wanted it from the beginning and it didnít work out. Now he's playing the way he played to get called up."
No. 4 VANDER BLUE -- MARCH 3 VS. BAKERSFIELD
The rookie from Marquette showed off his full offensive arsenal as he carried the Sevens in an eventual loss to the Jam. When his outside shot is falling -- which it was one Sunday -- Blue can be flat-out unguardable, He hit six threes, but did even more damage from the charity stripe, where he sunk 21-of-24 free throws. Even better, it came on the heels of a 35-point, 11-rebound outing vs. Sioux Falls.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
There are so many top-flight athletes in the NBA D-League (see: 2014 Dunk Contest) that sometimes it's hard to keep track of them all. We've got you covered with our Dunks of the Month Mix for February, featuring appearances by NBA hopefuls Chris Wright, Willie Reed, C.J. Leslie, Tony Mitchell, Joe Alexander and Thanasis Antetokoumpo.
KNOCKING ON THE DOOR
LEWIS JACKSON -- G -- ERIE
The best pure point guard in the NBA D-League over the past month hasn't been Seth Curry or Dee Bost or Tyshawn Taylor; it's been 5-10, 165-pound Lewis Jackson, who led the league in assists per game (11.8), assist percentage (40.3) and assist ratio (43.7) in February. He's opened March with a franchise-record 17-assist game and a 27-point, 11-dime gem, extending his streak to nine straight games with a double-digit assist total.