66ers Guard Dowdell Called Up to Phoenix Suns

The Tulsa 66ers had the distinction of the first NBA call-up this season, as combo guard Zabian Dowdell signed a 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Dowdell played for the Suns for the last two Summer Leagues and was in training camp this past fall. The 6-3, 190-pound Virginia Tech product averaged 14.5 points, 2.1 rebounds. 2.4 steals and 4.6 assists in 18 games with the 66ers, his second season with the team. He will not be with the 66ers when they face the Dakota Wizards on Wednesday (4:15 p.m., NBA TV).

A veteran point guard who understands the pace of the game, Dowdell is known for his midrange game and defense.

“I feel like I can do everything,” Dowdell told the Arizona Republic prior to training camp. “I can run the team, score, get guys involved, play defense. When I get in the gym, I try to work on everything. Whatever they need me to do, I feel like I can do it. I feel like I can help the team and I'll do anything I can to show that.”

Dowdell’s call-up is a testament to the player development program the Thunder has instilled in Tulsa. While he has never played for the Thunder, Dowdell was in an environment that mirrored that of an NBA organization, from practices and game preparation to strength and conditioning. It also helps that Dowdell competes against high-level competition on daily basis, from Thunder players Byron Mullens and Cole Aldrich to Thunder training camp invitees Elijah Millsap, Jerome Dyson and Tweety Carter to former NBA second-round draft picks in Latavious Williams, Robert Vaden and Ryan Reid. Those Thunder affiliated players have played in a combined 175 games as of Sunday.

Other NBA teams also have taken notice of the player development going on in Tulsa.

Dowdell became the fourth 66er to be called up to an NBA team since the Thunder took over ownership of the club at the start of the 2008-09 season. Shaun Livingston was the first call-up, as the veteran guard joined the Thunder at the end of the 2008-09 season and earned a contract at the start of the following season. Mustafa Shakur, who also was called up to the Thunder, and forward Chris Richard, who was picked up by the Chicago Bulls, followed during the 2009-10 season.

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