by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com
Boise, April 23, 2008: Idaho's Cory Violette's first season in the D-League can be judged as an excellent one by any standards. The 6-8 forward averaged 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Stampde, and earned a D-League All-Star berth while playing for the D-League's best team. The 2007-08 campaign has been especially sweet as Violette has had the opportunity to play pro basketball in his hometown of Boise, Idaho.
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"It's been awesome. Every has been asking me that, I always say the same thing", says Violette about his experience. "Playing in front of your family and friends is great, you can get your mind off of basketall a little bit when your family is around you. It's been a really, really good year, and it's been a winning year. Our success as a team has just been the icing on the cake."
Violette is excited to have the chance to win the D-League Championship to cap off what has already been a great return to his hometown. The last time Violette has a similiar chance was during his high school career at Boise's Bishop Kelly High School, where has earned All-State honors.
"It would be really nice to win a championship in Boise, said Violette. "My only other opportunity to do that was with the state championship my sophomore year in high school. It would be really great to be able to do it again with the Stampede."
Violette is happy about his D-League experience this season, and credits the presence of All-D-League point guard Randy Livingston with helping him to learn a lot about basketball.
"It's been a good year all around," said Violette. "Making the All-Star team was a big honor for me, and just having the chance to play with a point guard like Randy Livingston and learning so much about the game. It's been a very positive seasons for me. Here in the D-League, every night when you have a good game, you might get some interest from the NBA. That's the main focus of this league, so it's been wonderful to be able to play in it.
The Stampede's confidence comes and success this season comes from their familiarity with each other. While many D-League teams see a large amount of roster turnover during the season, the Stampede have been able to maintain a core that inlcudes Violette, Livingston, guards Roberto Bergersen and Mike Taylor, and forwards Brent Petway and Jason Ellis.
"That's been very key for us," said Violette about the Stampede. "Basketball teams get chemistry and rhythm and that's how you win. There's a lot of teams that have a tremendous amount of talent but they can't win just because they can't put it all together. Our team has been able to win because of the amount of time that most of us have spent together."
The Stampede return to Boise needing to win both games at Qwest Arena after a 95-89 loss to the Toros in Game One on Monday. Violette was Idaho's best player in the loss, scoring 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. On Monday at practice he was very certain about what Idaho needed to do in order to get back into the series.
"They are a tough team defensively," said Violette about the Toros. "They turned us over and they feed on a lot of turnovers, which worked well for them. We need to take care of the ball a lot better, and we have to make them play our style of basketball."
Violette and the Stampede will get the opportunity to do that on Thursday night when the face the Toros in Game Two at 9:30 p.m. ET.