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Grizzlies’ NBA Development League affiliate Dakota Wizards to play Saturday night on Versus

MEMPHIS, February 11, 2011 – Several of the NBA’s top prospects can be seen on national television on Saturday night when the Dakota Wizards, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies, travel to play the Iowa Energy at 8 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on VERSUS at 10 p.m. CT.

Also the D-League affiliate for the Washington Wizards, Dakota features Chris Johnson, a former LSU product who was called up to the Portland Trail Blazers in January, as well as former Grizzlies guard and Georgia Tech standout Javaris Crittenton, who played 113 career NBA games with the Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards from 2007-09.

James Johnson, the Chicago Bulls’ first-round selection (16th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft, will lead the Eastern Conference-leading Energy while on assignment from Chicago. In six games this season with Iowa, Johnson has averaged 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 29.8 minutes.

The Energy also feature former NBA players Courtney Sims, 2009 Grizzlies training camp invite Mike Taylor and Othyus Jeffers, who currently leads the D-League in scoring (21.1 points). Iowa point guard Curtis Stinson leads the league in assists (9.3), while Energy Head Coach Nick Nurse will coach the East in the NBA D-League All-Star Game on Feb. 19.

The Grizzlies have assigned four players to the NBA D-League over the past three seasons, including forward DeMarre Carroll (2010-11), center Hasheem Thabeet (2009-10), guard Lester Hudson (2009-10) and center Hamed Haddadi (2008-09).

Currently, about 20 percent of NBA players have NBA D-League experience. This season, a record 23 NBA teams have assigned players to their NBA D-League affiliates, while 23 of the 60 2010 NBA Draft selections have played in the NBA D-League in 2010-11.