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Making Sense of the Selection: Facts, Figures and Fun from the 2012 NBA D-League Draft Class


(NBA) Names You'll Know
2011 NBA Draft first-round pick JaJuan Johnson is looking like the No. 1 pick in the Draft after getting waived by the Rockets, according to lots of people (but mostly Adrian Wojnarowski), which would drop the former Purdue phenom less than three hours away, in Fort Wayne. Former Butler star/Cinderellamaker Shelvin Mack played 64 games with the Wizards last year before falling out of camp this fall. Christian Eyenga, whose sheer size keeps him in the running for an NBA gig or audition for 300 sequel, should go in the first or early second. Andrew Goudelock bounced around the Lakers bench the past few years without really finding a way into the lineup consistently. Look for him to get another shot at the NBA quick, along with former Clipper Travis Leslie. Note: Most of the former NBA players show up as Affiliate or Returning Players.
The Oldest
If 32-year-old Nate Brown, who spent part of the 2008-09 season with the Austin Toros (and even that was six years out of St. Peter's College), gets Drafted -- and it's looking like he will -- he won't be the oldest player in the NBA D-League. But he'll be close: Springfield returning player Jamar Brown has him beat by five months.
The Youngest
Eugene Thomas, the 20-year-old out of Mississippi College, has the whole field beat by more than a year. He was born on Mar. 28, 1992, which means he grew up in a world that never knew life without Batman Returns.
The Tallest
Liam McMorrow, the rookie out of Tennessee Tech, takes the honor for altitudinal inclination. Standing at 7-foot-2, the Canadian-born McMorrow used to play lacrosse until it looked like the stick was carrying him. He started at Marquette, but injury issues kept him off the court in both of his seasons there. He finished at T-Tech, where he specialized in rebounding and helping people get things off shelves.
The Springiest
Kirpatrick McCauley, a 6-foot-8 rookie out of Santa Monica College (class of 2010), went internet-famous when he became the first player in recorded (read: internet) history to ring a bell 13 feet (and small change) in the air, making him the record-holder as the first player to be able to touch the top of the backboard. Like Sarandon says in Bull Durham, you can look it up.
(NCAA) Names You'll Know
We've got a whole page for that.
Dialing International
From a Prospect perspective, the name to know here is Jorge Gutierrez, the Cal point guard and 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year. He finished second on the Bears in scoring, rebounding and assists in 2011-12, and ddefensively, the three-time Pac-12 All-Defensive Teamer shuts things down faster than sirens. Including, as Seth Davis writes, Damian Lillard. The Mexican-born Gutierrez' story goes deeper -- and we'll cover it to those depths this year -- but, yeah, he's a good departing point. From there, look at Japeth Aguilar, the Filipino-born and little-used Western Kentucky big man who basically became one of the most famous basketball player in the Philippines based on the fact that he played NCAA ball. Aguilar's a 6-foot-9 bottle of potential. Expect teams to vie for who gets the chance to uncork it. Elsewhere, there's Dipanjot Singh, a native of India -- and the first Sikh to play in the NCAA -- who played ball at UIC and finished at UMass-Lowell (where he hit nearly 44 percent of his 3-pointers his senior year). And Eyenga's from the DR of Congo.
Best Name
The late 90's must've been tough for Seattle University's Austen Powers. But the late 2000's were OK, with Powers transferring from Cal-St. Northridge to finish up at Seattle and drop 13 points to lead the team in scoring and blocks and finish second in rebounding. The 6-foot-8 powers also shot better than 30 percent from distance. No word on his judo chops.
Best Name Runner-Up
Purdue's Adetayo Adesanya earns the title not just because of a pretty gloriously melodious moniker, but because was actually a runner. Well, jumper. A basketball player growing up, the Chicago-born Adesanya realized track was his best bet toward getting into Purdue, so he pursued that, ended up winning the Big Ten Championships in 2008 and placed fifth at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships. His jump of 7 feet, 2.6 inches would have even cleared Liam McMorrow. But after school, Adesanya dove into hoops, and did it so well that he ended up representing the U.S. at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships this summer.
Family Matters
Doc Rivers' oldest son (and Austin's brother), Jeremiah Rivers, leads the pack of eligible offspring. The eldest Rivers, who played ball at Indiana after transferring from Georgetown, is looking to parlay a Summer League invite with the Knicks into an NBA gig. Harouna Mutombo, the nephew of Dikembe, is a 6-foot-5 guard out of Western Carolina. LaPhonso Ellis, son of the decade-long NBA veteran and father of the same name, is 6-2 guard, two years out of Greenville College. Glen Rice, Jr., fresh out of Georgia Tech, is eligible, too.
The Sleepers
Last year, Courtney Fortson was drafted in the fifth round of the NBA D-League Draft. He was in the NBA in less than two months, after an injury to Chris Paul sent the Clippers searching. Outside of our Top 25 Draft-Eligible Prospects, who could be the guys this year that (1) you almost certainly haven't heard of and (2) you will soon? Let's give it a go. LaMarcus Lowe, a swatter out of Detroit Mercy, only played 10 prep games before college. So he's a little rough. But the 6-10 forward/center blocked 2.3 shots a game in 23 minutes a night last year, and earned himself a phone call from the Bulls and a pre-NBA Draft workout with the Pistons. Point Guard La'Shard Anderson ran the Boise State offense about as well as it's ever been run and made All-WAC First Team his senior year. He's since played in Belgium, but in a league rife with shooting guards teaching themselves the point position, Anderson's got a head start. Phil Martin made himself an offense-on-command player at UC Riverside, and while his defense needs some work, he got himself workouts with the 76ers, Clippers and Pacers after wrapping up his college career this spring. Rebounding, the saying goes, translates the best out of all skills from level-to-level, which bodes well for P.J. Alawoya, the former McNeese State big man who finished 16th in the NCAA in rebounding in 2010-11, then went abroad and grabbed more than 9 a game in Germany's top league last year. Georgio Milligan played at D-III F&M, but he basically ran over all of his competition every night. He owns the record books in Lancaster, Penn., but he'll have to prove his defensive game's strong enough and playmaking abilities quick enough to compete at this level. Keep an eye on him, though.
The Smallest
Four players check in at 5-foot-9, but as far as Top Prospect status is concerned, TCU star Henry (Hank) Thorns stands above the other three diminutive distributors (Diante Watkins, out of NAIA's Robert Morris; Keoni Watson, the Idaho grad and Euro player, not the surfer; and Jamaal Smith, the marksman four years out of a stellar career in New Mexico).