The former Cavalier sees first game action since suffering burn on foot
Former Cleveland Cavalier Manny Harris was the Cavs' final cut this year after a freak burn on his foot -- suffered when he was receiving treatment in a cooling chamber, according to -- kept him out of training camp. But he just checked into the game, making this his first game action since last spring.
The Charge roster features the single best shooter in the entire NBA Development League

Our fourth game of the night will feature Antoine Agudio of the Canton Charge. Agudio is one of the best knockdown jump-shooters in the NBA D-League and ranks first in true shooting percentage (TS%) which is a shooting efficiency calculation that accounts for free throws, three pointers and two point field goals.

His TS% of 67.4% is well above the league average of 53.5%. Examining the percentage of his made field goals that are assisted (FGM AST%) reveals that Agudio feels more comfortable catching and shooting rather than creating his own shot as he is assisted 78.2% of the time which places him ninth in the league.

Read more about the world of advanced stats in our AP Hoops series!
Tulsa 66ers forward (and rebounding monster) Marcus Lewis catches up with at Showcase

As stat guru Sam Farber laid out earlier, over the course of every game, Tulsa 66ers forward Marcus Lewis grabs somewhere around 40 percent of all available rebounds.

40. Percent.

It’s a stat made all the more gaudy by the fact that Lewis is only 6-foot-8, which puts him, on average, about two to four inches shorter than the guys he’s playing against – or, in the case of his matchup with Greg Ostertag on Tuesday, six inches.

We caught up with Lewis after he picked up 11 boards in the 66ers’ loss to the Legends on Tuesday.

Kevin Scheitrum, How do you feel like you and the team played today?

Photo: NBAE via Getty Images

Marcus Lewis, Tulsa 66ers: I feel like we played OK in some stretches, but we had a couple lapses. Overall, we could’ve done a little better if we had more defensive effort, but in this league, you play a game in two days, so we’ll be watching film tomorrow and practicing and get back to it on Thursday. The name of your game is rebounding. When did you realize that that's where your value was?

Marcus Lewis: I feel like rebounding helps my team a lot – I try to get extra possessions, try to help on the defensive end, try to start the break with the rebounds. It’s just something I enjoy doing. Sometimes I have it going, like today I didn’t have it on today on the block – I had a lot of double-teams – so I just try to get easy touches and easy rebounds to help my teammates. At Bucks camp, what’d they tell you that you had to work on to make yourself a better NBA prospect?

Marcus Lewis: Honestly, they just told me keep doing what I’m doing. Keep playing hard. Keep rebounding. Keep setting screens for teammates. Keep being a team player. And that’s what I’m all about. Is there a part of your game you want to improve on?

Marcus Lewis: I’d say shooting – everybody wants to improve on their shooting. That’s probably it. That’s the main thing you can say about me. With the double-teams that came today, you had a couple turnovers you didn’t want to have. Is that something you’ve been facing a lot this year?

Marcus Lewis: Yeah, I’ve been facing that since we played Idaho with the first game this season. You gotta get used to it. They switched it up a little bit. They had Sean Williams on me, they brought a double-team, then they brought a third guy. You just gotta wait it out, swing the ball, get off of it a little bit, and that’s where you can get offensive rebounds and easy touches. So for you, rebounding is obviously something you want to do, but is it a point of pride to be able to bang bodies against guys who are 7-1, 7-2?

I can be a million-dollar man, too, by doing my job.

Marcus Lewis: It’s fun. It’s kind of crazy – a lot of taller guys look at me like ‘you’re not gonna get that many rebounds.’ But my goal every game is to get 10.

I enjoy it, though. I like using my speed. I like using my angles to get rebounds. Do you think that’s your ticket to the big show?

Marcus Lewis: I think so. I think rebounding, being a good teammate, playing defense, taking charges – doing the little things to help out your team. NBA teams have scorers. They have the million-dollar man. I just like to come in there and help those guys on the defensive end, set screens on the offensive end and set rebounds. So if they’ve got million-dollar men, what does that make you?

Marcus Lewis: [Laughs] I can be a million-dollar man, too, doing my job.

The Legends' well-monickered sharpshooter shows up at Showcase
Stepping Up

Booker Woodfox – The Legends’ point guard (and one of the NBA D-League's best outside shooter) scored 22 points, which wouldn’t be as big of a deal if he didn’t do it while shooting 10-for-14 from the field…which included a 10-for-11 start. A constant source of energy for the Legends, Woodfox made a name for himself on Tuesday. That name being, of course, the coolest name in the entire NBA Development League. (Finalists include Mike Efevberha, Michael Tveidt and Shy Ely)

A Step Back

Jerome Dyson -- Dyson was a little snakebitten on his jump shot today, going 4-for-12 from the field despite some good looks and some clean fundamentals on a smooth jump shot. However, on a day when the 66ers’ point guard was struggling to score, he only notched one assist – compared to six turnovers. Like Dentmon, he’ll need to consent to playing the role of provider if he wants to make the jump.

Marcus Lewis -- Lewis stayed active all night long, as the NBA D-League’s best rebounder picked up another 11 boards. Playing against Texas’ set of bigs – a crew that includes Mavs assignee Sean Williams, Anthony Vereen and 7-foot-2 grain silo Greg Ostertag – he still managed to come out of the pile with the ball over and over. However, he showed a great deal of indecisiveness on the offensive end, turning the ball over a game-high seven times.
One of the league's best scorers adopts a team-first approach

Justin Dentmon scored 26 points in his Austin Toros' 111-88 win over the Erie BayHawks in Tuesday's second game. He spun. He shimmied. He soared. He finished at the rim and stuck jumpers from all around the zone. But the best part of his day, as far as scouts are concerned, were the nine assists he gave out. Dentmon's long been a marquee scorer wherever he's played, but the rap on him is that he won't be able to get to the hoop nearly as easily in the NBA. So, if one of the NBA D-League's best combo guards wants to make it to the NBA (after nearly making the Hornets out of training camp), he'll have tend more toward 1 than 2.

Luckily for the Toros, he knows that, too.

The best, most prospect-rich team in the NBA D-League looked the part against the BayHawks

Stepping Up

Justin Dentmon – Dentmon made his case for the elite status at the point guard position, scoring 26 points with nine assists. His ball skills remain among the upper echelon in the NBA D-League and his passing ability – the glaring hole in his game coming out of Washington – has improved considerably.

Chris Daniels – Erie’s 7-foot, 265-pound center looked a lot more comfortable playing on the inside Tuesday, which is good news, because he’s Erie’s 7-foot, 265-pound center. Daniels went for 17 points and 12 rebounds, a day after picking up only six boards and setting up base camp on the perimeter. But on Tuesday, he banged down low. He moved his feet. He stayed out of foul trouble. And for stretches of the game, he could not be stopped around the hoop.

A Step Back

Mike James – A day after exploding onto the scene with a 23-point, five-assist effort against Idaho, the former NBA fixture fell back to Earth on Tuesday. In 20 minutes, he managed just four points and an assist, with a glaring five turnovers. The NBA season has shown the challenges of playing back-to-back (and back-to-back-to-back) days for players over 30, as recovery time slows with age, and if James looked 25 on Monday, he looked 40 today.
ESPN's Grantland Blog ditches LA and heads to Reno
All week long, DraftExpress founder Jonathan Givony will be stringing for,'s sports and pop culture blog and the brain child of ESPN's star writer/podcaster/man-about-town/30-for-30 originator/ashamed Red Sox fan Bill Simmons.

In his Day One recap, Givony gives the rundown on the kind of players who end up in the NBA D-League -- and just how important the Showcase can be for their NBA hopes.

Lance Thomas got cut last week by the New Orleans Hornets. He doesn't intend for that to happen again.
We caught up with Austin Toros forward (and Duke product) Lance Thomas after he scored 12 points with seven rebounds in the Toros' 111-88 win over the Erie BayHawks on Tuesday. Having made the New Orleans Hornets roster out of training camp, Thomas didn't stick with NOLA, coming back down to the Toros in early January. And if his play today -- not to mention his demeanor after the game -- is any indication, it might be a short stay. Said Thomas:

I got a taste.

Now I'm the hungriest guy in the D-League.

Check him out again when the Toros take on the Dakota Wizards on Thursday at 1 p.m., live on NBA TV.
Tulsa's Marcus Lewis has been the league's best rebounder this year -- and our advanced stats back it up

In today’s third game, we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the NBA D-League’s best rebounder. Not only does Tulsa’s Marcus Lewis lead the league in rebounds per game with 14.2, but his numbers stand the test of APBRmetrics. When Lewis is on the floor, he collects a staggering 20.8% of available rebounds, which puts him first in the league. To put that number in perspective, of NBA D-League players who have played in at least 8 games this season, the average rebounding percentage is 10.2%, less than half of Lewis’s average.

Read more about the world of advanced stats in our AP Hoops series!
The lefty guard bids goodbye to his Stampede team at Showcase

A day after he scored 15 points with seven rebounds in the Idaho Stampede's 103-101 loss to the Erie BayHawks, the Portland Trail Blazers have recalled swingman Luke Babbitt from their NBA D-League affiliate. Babbitt's assignment was one of 20 made by NBA teams so far this season.

Read More at!
Charles Garcia and a pair of Maine guards stand out in Tuesday's opener
Stepping Up

Charles Garcia – Garcia showed something on Tuesday. His play this year has him near the top of the NBA D-League in points, rebounds and blocks, and on Tuesday, he showed why. By far the most athletic post player in the five games thus far in the Showcase, Garcia showed off an array of post moves, inside and outside defensive ability and agility more common to 2-guards. He finished with 20 points and 13 boards.

Xavier Silas – Maine’s shooting guard took over the first half of the game, seemingly scoring at will against Sioux Falls. He slowed down a little bit in the second half, but after the game, the man who nearly made the Sixers’ squad out of training camp had a few conversations with some well-connected spectators.

Jerome Randle – The case against Randle is that he’s small. But that’s never stopped him. The 2010 Pac 10 Player of the Year and Portsmouth Invitational looked sharp on Tuesday, governing Maine’s pace of play from the point and always managing to keep his defender off-guard.

A Step Back

Ricky Davis – The former NBA star didn’t have an awful stat line, picking up 13 points, three steals and four rebounds, but he lacked that first step and explosiveness that made him nearly impossible to cover in the NBA during his heyday.
The Bucks' Chicago-area scout makes the trek out to Reno

Bo Ellis spent three years playing for the Denver Nuggets from 1977-1980 after winning a national championship with Marquette in 1977. Now, he devotes his life to helping troubled youth in Chicago and does some scouting on the side for the Milwaukee Bucks. He's one of more than 50 scouts and talent evaluators sitting courtside at the NBA D-League Showcase in Reno.

Kevin Scheitrum, people have said the talent level this year might be the best ever. Have you been impressed so far?

Bo Ellis: Absolutely. Last year was actually my first year doing the D-League, so I had the chance to go down to South Padre Island. I was telling my general manager out here in Milwaukee, so far the first seven to eight games I’ve seen this year, the talent was 100 times better than it was versus what I saw last year.

The teams are playing much better. It’s just a lot of good young players mixed in with a few veterans, and I think it’s light years ahead of what I saw last year so far.

In the first seven to eight games I’ve seen this year, the talent was 100 times better than it was versus what I saw last year.

Now, being here I’m seeing a few of these teams fo the first time because I’m based out of Chicago, so I’m in the Midwest area most of the time. But the league, it looks a lot better. This is well-run, this is a nice venue here in Reno, but I Think the talent level is a lot better than it ever has been rom a lot of people I’ve been talking to who’ve been doing it a lot more years than I ahave.

I’ve been impressed. I’ve been very impressed. When you come to an event like this, a general scouting event, what are you looking for? Is it true you’re not looking for scorers, but role players?

Bo Ellis: Not necessarily. You’re looking for good ballplayers. Athletes. Good quality players, good character. People that can defend, shoot the ball. You’re looking for kids who can score, but you look for players that have the whole package and stuff. You also look for good people, good characters, and physically if they’re strong enough to play in the NBA.

Basically, you look at everything that a player has to offer. Then, depending on what your team needs and what happens in case somebody in the NBA has an injury, then you start looking for something specific in players. You start looking for good ballplayers, talent, athleticism, quickness, players that can defend, players that can rebound and bang. You’re really looking for everything a player can bring to the table. This is obviously a guard-heavy league. You look at every team and they’ve got a pretty good 1 and 2 guard. Looking at the big men ,have you been impressed at what you’ve seen?

The pickings for NBA teams are getting better, and I think the D-League is doing an excellent job of showcasing these young players.

Bo Ellis: Actually, I’ve seen a few big players I haven’t had a chance to see yet, and I’m impressed. Physically, skill-wise and in athleticism, the bigs I’ve seen so far are 100 times better than what I was able to watch last year. The talent level is much better. The pickings for NBA teams are getting better, and I think the D-League is doing an excellent job of showcasing these young players so they can get a chance to get to the young level. What’s the biggest leap a big man has to make between this level and the NBA?

Bo Ellis: I think the wear and tear, the physicality of the game, your mental preparation and your skill level. But I think the biggest thing is your skill level and how physical you are, and if you can match the strength of the veterans in the NBA. That’s where it really comes in, being strong enough as well as skilled enough. But strength is big as a part of big guys having a chance to go to the next level.

Day one's in the books -- who upped their stock in the Prospect Watch?

After a wild first day that included 29 points from Brandon Costner, a massive double-double from Walker Russell, Jr., a huge game from two hometown heroes and the return of a familiar face, the Showcase Prospect Watch looks a little different heading into Tuesday.

A near-tragedy inspires Bakersfield Jam guard Jeremy Hazell on his quest to fulfill his dream

It was late in the day on Christmas when someone shot Jeremy Hazell.

A friend’s mother had made dinner that night and Hazell, one of the greatest basketball players to ever come through Seton Hall, came over to share some. He spent hours there, catching up in his old East Harlem complex. But it got late, and he said goodbye. Thanks. Merry Christmas. And on the short walk back to his apartment on 104th Street in East Harlem, four men accosted him and shot him across the side of the chest.

The bullet glanced off his rib and exited just below his right armpit. Hazell took off and ran. Looking back, he was lucky, he said. An ambulance was close by. And had he not been an athlete, the doctors told him, the bullet might have crushed the rib and went straight through the heart.

Jeremy Hazell came to the Bakersfield Jam after earning an invite to Phoenix Suns training camp.
P.A. Molumby/NBAE via Getty Images

But in a sense, the bullet never really left him.

“It comes back to my mind no matter what,” Hazell said. “I can just be walking and bang, it pops up in my mind. But I try to keep me mind off of it, because it was just a tragic situation that was, for me, very tough to deal with.”

When Hazell talks about that night, Dec. 25 of 2010, he uses the word “blessed” a lot. “Blessed” that the ambulance was there. “Blessed” that his rib held firm. “Blessed” to just still be here.

Which is why, on Christmas this year – two days before he joined the NBA D-League’s Bakersfield Jam in an attempt to reach his dream of playing in the NBA – Jeremy Hazell marked the one-year anniversary of his life.

“Some people that get into these accidents don’t make it out,” Hazell said. “They either pass away or end up physically damaged or disabled. Now I’m perfectly fine, like nothing ever happened.”

That’s not entirely true. He still gets jumpy when he goes home. It’s doesn’t happen often, but the mess of flesh and bone where the bullet entered still hurt him from time to time, he said.

But not enough to keep him from doing what he does best, which is shooting the basketball. The pain comes and goes, but he can still raise his arm all the way. Can still leave it hanging in the air like he did so many times at Seton Hall, where his 2,148 points rank third in school history. Hanging in the air like a question. Like a chance.

And in a way, that night helped to bring him here, to the doorstep of the NBA.

Going into Christmas break in 2010, his senior season at Seton Hall, Hazell had been nursing a wrist injury that needed surgery. The scaphoid bone had fractured, and recovery time varied wildly. Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard had begun telling his team that they could be without their star for the rest of the season.

Then Hazell was attacked. He spent the night in the hospital and was released the next day, but the expectation was that he’d sit out the season and try to play next year.

Eighteen days later, he was back on the court. And in his first game back since the attack, he scored 23 points against DePaul.

“Once I knew I could come back, it just made me want to play basketball a lot,” he said. “I could’ve red-shirted, but once I knew I was healed I went in and it didn’t stop me at all.”

He finished the year just 350 points shy of the school’s all-time scoring record, a number he could have tested had he not missed the 13 games due to his wrist injury. And when his name wasn’t called on Draft Night, he signed a deal to play in Spain while the NBA was mired in labor negotiations.

But the minute the league came back, he knew he had to come back, too, he said. To take a shot at his dream. To make good on his second chance.

“Life can go by like this, no matter what, and I really appreciate life right now just because of that incident,” he said. “I used to take life for granted.”

He’s still got a ways to go to crack into the NBA. His defense needs work, for one. A lot of it.

But boy, can he shoot. In 15 minutes of action on Monday, he went 3-for-4 from behind the arc, giving Bakersfield nine points off the bench.

It’s an adjustment to come off the bench, Hazell said. To have to play in bursts, instead of finding a rhythm over 30, 35, 40 minutes, especially after having the offense flow through him in four years at Seton Hall. But he’ll make it work, he said. This, for now, is where he’s meant to be.

“It was an incident that happened,” Hazell said. “It happens to people, and it happened to me. I wish it didn’t happen to me, but I wouldn’t wish that on nobody. Now, I’m just happy to be here playing basketball.”

The first four games of the 2012 Showcase are in the books -- here are the bullet points
Blake Ahearn and Andre Emmett erupt, as the Bighorns shine in front of their home fans
Stepping Up

Blake Ahearn -- Ahearn really can't have much more to prove. One of the most consistent performers in the history of the NBA D-League has been good for more than 25 points, somewhere around seven assists and a couple boards a night, in addition to the calming influence of a veteran that never seems to get flustered. Well, with the scouts in town, he took it up another notch, going for 26 and 11 assists (and only two turnovers).

Andre Emmett -- Ahearn's teammate led all scorers on the day with 36 points, scoring from everywhere on the court and displaying some quickness to go along with a well-built 6-5 frame.

A Step Back

Damian Saunders -- Saunders had a promising start with RGV, averaging three blocks per game in his first three contests, but the only player in NCAA history to post 250 assists, steals and blocks in his career was largely a non-factor on Monday night. He wrapped with four points and four boards in 24 minutes.
Previous Entries
A day-by-day breakdown of our coverage from the NBA D-League's premier event

2012 Showcase Schedule

Monday, Jan. 9, 2012
Erie 103, Idaho 101 - Game Info | Highlights
L.A. 97, Springfield 82 - Game Info | Highlights
Ft. Wayne 100, Bakersfield 96 - Game Info | Highlights
Reno 116, Rio Grade Valley 99 - Game Info | Highlights
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012
Maine 98, Sioux Falls 92 - Game Info | Highlights
Austin 111, Erie 88 - Game Info | Highlights
Texas 94, Tulsa 86 -- Game Info | Highlights
Canton 99, Dakota 94 -- Game Info | Highlights
Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012
Los Angeles 106, Dakota 94 -- Game Info | Highlights
Bakersfield 113, Idaho 98 -- Game Info | Highlights
Texas 98, Sioux Falls 95 -- Game Info | Highlights
Reno 107, Iowa 72 -- Game Info | Highlights
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012
Austin @ Dakota10 a.m.NBA TV
Tulsa @ Ft. Wayne12:45 p.m.NBA TV
RGV @ Springfield3:30 p.m. Futurecast
Canton @ Iowa7 p.m. Futurecast
FULL SCHEDULE *All times local (Pacific)

Names to Know

No other event on Earth brings together as many scouts, general managers and bona fide NBA Prospects as the NBA D-League Showcase. Before action tips Monday, get acquainted with these names.