Vipers Named the NBA Development League Development Champions
MCALLEN, Texas – The Rio Grande Valley Vipers have been named the 2013 NBA Development League Development Champions, becoming the second team to earn the annual award, which was established prior to the 2011-12 season. The award recognizes the team that best embodies the NBA D-League’s goals of developing NBA-caliber basketball talent via call-ups and assignments.
The Vipers also became the first team to win the NBA D-League Championship and to receive the NBA Development League Development Champions award in the same season.
During the course of the season, the Vipers, who are the single-affiliate of the Houston Rockets, saw eight players from Houston on assignment during the 2012-13 season: Patrick Beverly, Tyler Honeycutt, Terrence Jones, Scott Machado, Donatas Motiejunas, Tim Ohlbrecht, Greg Smith and Royce White. Furthermore, the Vipers aided in the development of 13 2012-13 NBA players by way of assignments and GATORADE Call-Ups last season.
Additionally, rookie Glen Rice, Jr. spent the season developing his talents in preparation for June’s 2013 NBA Draft for which he is eligible to be selected by an NBA team.
“Being the first team in the NBA D-League to win a championship on the court and then to be named NBA Development League Development Champions in the same season is a significant achievement for both the RGV Vipers and the Houston Rockets,” said RGV Vipers General Manager/Houston Rockets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. “Our entire staff can take pride in this special award - from the ownership, to our personnel staff, who put this team together, to the coaching staff, who developed these players day in and day out, to the team staff, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, this season has been a very fulfilling experience.”
Ohlbrecht, who earned a GATORADE Call-Up from Rio Grande Valley to the Rockets, was one of six Vipers to earn a total of seven GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA last season. He joined Jeff Adrien, James Anderson, Andrew Goudelock, Chris Johnson, and Maalik Wyans as Vipers to make the jump to the NBA. Of those six players, four were featured on NBA playoff rosters with the Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Prior to his GATORADE Call-Up to the Lakers, Goudelock started 37 games for the Vipers, leading the team in scoring 16 times. He was named the 2013 NBA D-League’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts during the season, when he was named a 2013 NBA D-League All-Star and was named as both an NBA D-League Performer of the Week on April 1 and as Co-Player of the Month in March.
“The Rio Grande Valley Vipers are coming off an exemplary NBA D-League season,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “The Vipers coaching staff, led by Nick Nurse, did an impressive job developing 13 NBA players by way of call-ups or assignments while maintaining the integrity of his team and winning an NBA D-League Championship. I congratulate the Vipers organization on a memorable season.”
The annual champion is determined based on a scoring system established by the NBA D-League’s Basketball Rules Committee (BRC), which awards points for assignments from an NBA parent club to an NBA D-League team as well as call-ups earned by players and coaching, training, and basketball operations staff from an NBA D-League team to the NBA. Points are accruable between May 1 of the previous year and April 30 of the current season and additional points are awarded for the duration of a player’s GATORADE Call-Up.
Following the season, Goudelock was one of six Vipers who were named to All-NBA D-League teams, as he headlined the First Team All-NBA D-League selections. Teammates Tim Ohlbrecht and D.J. Kennedy were named Second and Third Team All-NBA D-League, while Rice, Jr. was named to the All-NBA D-League Rookie Second Team. Toure Murry was featured on the All-NBA D-League Rookie Third Team and the All-NBA D-League Defensive Second Team.
The Los Angeles D-Fenders won the inaugural award following the 2011-12 NBA D-League season.
The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 17 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, the league offers professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Thirty percent of players in the NBA at the end of the 2012-13 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.