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Houston Rockets Assign Ishmael Smith To Vipers

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2011 – Houston Rockets guard Ishmael Smith was assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ NBA Development League affiliate, it was announced today. The assignment marks the 32nd time in the 2010-11 season an NBA player has been assigned to an NBA D-League affiliate, and it is the first assignment for Smith, a rookie out of Wake Forest.

Smith (6-0, 175) has appeared in 24 games this season for the Rockets, averaging 3.1 points, 2.4 assists and 1.5 rebounds. Houston signed Smith, an undrafted free agent, in August. On the Rockets’ 2010 NBA Summer League team, Smith averaged 7.8 points and a team-high 4.8 assists in five starts at point guard.

In four years at Wake Forest, Smith averaged 9.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 121 games. Smith, whose 612 career assists ranks second in Wake Forest history, is the only Demon Deacon ever to record at least 1,000 points (1,114) and 600 assists in a career.

Smith is expected to join the Vipers for the team’s home game against the Maine Red Claws on Tuesday. Rockets fans can keep track of Smith and the Vipers by logging onto nba.com/dleague to watch every game live, online, for free.

The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league whose teams have direct affiliations to NBA franchises. For the 2010-11 season, the league will feature 16 teams – including the debut of the Texas Legends. A proven developer of talent, 20 percent of players in the NBA at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season boasted NBA D-League experience, while the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front-office staff for the NBA and its teams. 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. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the league’s 10th season, fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA Futurecast, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at nba.com/futurecast.