Inside the D-League

Inside the D-League
Mar 28, 2007, 11:43 pm
Schenscher Receives Second 10 Day

The Portland Trailblazers have opted to retain center Luke Schenscher for another 10 days. The second year center has only appeared in 1 game with the Blazers since signing on March 15th, but with injuries at the center position, Portland needs another big body inside. Schenscher started the season with the Fort Worth Flyers, where he averaged 9.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 34 games. After his current 10 day contract expires, Portland must decide whether to sign him for the rest of the season or allow him to return to the D-League.

Hall, Amundson Signed for Rest of NBA Season

Small Forward Mike Hall and Power Forward Louis Amundson have been signed to contracts for the rest of the NBA season. Hall was signed for the rest of the season by the Washington Wizards upon the completion of two 10 day contracts, and Amundson played out two 10 day deals with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Hall appeared in 29 games with the Tulsa 66ers this season, and averaged 15.6 points, and 8.0 rebounds per contest. The 22 year old forward has yet to appear in a game with Washington, but he did play well enough in practice to earn a contract for the remainder of the year.

Amundson’s only NBA minutes have come in garbage time, but he’s proven to be a favorite in practice for the 76ers. The 24 year old rookie out of UNLV played 30 games for the Colorado 14ers this season, with averages of 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. He was signed for 20 days by the Utah jazz earlier this year, but they opted to allow him a return to the D-League

Beasley Rejoins Wizards

Power Forward Jerome Beasley, who started the season with the Dakota Wizards, has re-joined the team after returning from overseas. Beasley left the Wizards for the Sidney Kings of the NBDL in early January, and recently returned home after completing his season in Australia. He appeared in 9 games for Dakota at the beginning of the season, with averages of 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The Wizards have one of the best records in the D-League, and now the most balanced roster from top to bottom. The acquisition of Beasley will likely make them a favorite to win a D-League championship this season, assuming they keep their lineup intact.

Bucks Recall Damir Markota

The Milwaukee Bucks have struggled with injuries this season, and recently recalled rookie power forward Damir Markota to fill the latest hole in their lineup. While in the D-League, Markota appeared in 10 games with the Tulsa 66ers, and averaged 10.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He will likely receive spot minutes in the NBA for the rest of the year. More time in the D-League would have been a great benefit for Markota, who is anything but a finished product.

McFadgon Drops 48, Wins Player of the Week

Guard Scooter McFadgon of the Bakersfield Jam won D-League Player of the Week for last week after scoring 48 points in a win over Colorado. On the week, McFadgon averaged 29.7 points while leading his team to victories in all three of their games. The 6-6 guard has helped the Jam greatly since being acquired from the available player pool in February, and has established himself as a solid all-around scorer during his time in the D-League.

Pistons Reassign Blalock to Sioux Falls

Rookie point guard Will Blalock has been re-assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He appeared in 4 games with Sioux Falls earlier this season, but was recalled back to the Pistons when teammate Lindsey Hunter received a 10 day suspension. The rookie from Iowa State will join back up with his teammate Amir Johnson, who has led the Skyforce to one of the better records in the D-League. During his first stint in the D-League, Blalock averaged 7 points and 8 assists per game.

NBA Player Updates

Mile Ilic, Colorado 14ers/New Jersey Nets
5.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.88 bpg

Mile has been bothered by a hip flexor injury lately, but has chosen to play through it. Ilic struggled with foul trouble in his first game last week, but bounced back with a 5 point and 6 rebound performance. He has become more comfortable with the style of play, but the injury still limits what he can do at this point. On the offensive end of the floor, Ilic will need to become more comfortable with his back to the basket. In terms of rebounding, the rookie center has displayed good fundamentals, and this has been one of his strengths since joining the 14ers.

Amir Johnson, Sioux Falls Skyforce/Detroit Pistons
18.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.6apg

Johnson has continued to dominate during his time in the D-League. He led the Skyforce to two victories last week, and had 20 points and 19 rebounds in the latter of the two games. At this point, Johnson relies on superior leaping ability rather than blocking his man out to rebound the ball. At the NBA level, he will need to learn to be more physical in this area to match his D-League production. Offensively, Amir Johnson continues to show his value near the basket, but has become more comfortable with stepping out and hitting a jumper. Though he is a couple years away from being a consistent part of the Pistons rotation, Johnson has displayed many tools that should keep him in the NBA for years to come.

Patrick O’Bryant, Bakersfield Jam/Golden State Warriors
11.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.4 apg

O’Bryant has produced well during his most recent stint in the D-League, but still lacks the all-around effort on the court that you’d like to see from him. Offensively, his hook shot has become a consistent weapon from 12 feet on in. This shot has a high release, and is near impossible for opposing defenses to block. O’Bryant relies too much on his ability to step out and hit the mid-range jumpshot, a skill that is far from consistent. Offensively, the biggest thing he can develop to prolong his NBA career is more polish with his back to the basket. O’Bryant has great length, and uses it as an advantage near the basket, both offensively and defensively. He scores a great deal of points on offensive rebound put-backs, and disrupts a number of shots on the defensive end. O’Bryant has a lot of skills to work with, but improving his effort would go a long way on the court.

Marcus Vinicius, Tulsa 66ers/New Orleans Hornets
12.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.2 apg

Vinicius had 25 points and 7 rebounds in his first game last week, but struggled to get into the flow of things the next night, and finished with only 5 points. He continues to display flashes of having a future in the NBA, but lets his inexperience show through sometimes. Athleticism will be an area that will probably hold Vinicius back in the NBA, but he may have the skills to overcome his shortcomings in this area. He can slash to the hoop in the D-League at a surprising rate of success, and also has the ability to shoot the NBA three. Defense is another area where the rookie must improve, but he will be an interesting guy to watch for the future.

D-League Team Updates

Idaho Stampede, 29-14

Idaho split a pair of games in Albuquerque last week, but still maintains the best record in the D-League. Center Lance Allred has improved his play over the past few weeks, and came through with 24 points and 16 rebounds in a double overtime victory against the Thunderbirds on Saturday. Ricky Sanchez has also played well lately, and scored 20 points in the win. He still relies on the three point shot too often, but mixes it up a lot more with drives to the basket. Eddie Robinson and Ronell Taylor have also been key pieces for the Stampede this season.

Idaho plays their only game this week on Friday, when they travel to Los Angeles.

Dakota Wizards, 26-15

Dakota lost to Austin last week, but bounced back with a pair of wins over Arkansas. Renaldo Major has continued with his consistent, team oriented production. While shooting 52% from the field, he currently averages 17.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Chris McCray struggled early with his role in Dakota, but he has recently adjusted, and his production has increased noticeably as of late. Quemont Greer had been in a bit of a slump, but he regained his rhythm with a 29 point and 10 rebound effort against Arkansas. Dakota seems to have the most talent top to bottom on their roster, and it is well balanced as well.

Dakota hosts Albuquerque Tuesday, before traveling to Sioux Falls for a game on Friday. They wrap their week up with a Sunday game in Tulsa.

Sioux Falls Skyforce, 27-16

Sioux Falls continued their hot streak with a pair of wins over Tulsa last week. Damone Brown has produced well for the Skyforce, and has averages of 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on the season. Stephen Graham’s strong play on both ends of the floor has also been a key factor for the success of Sioux Falls. Frank Williams has continue to play more efficiently lately, and his hot shooting stroke from behind the three point line adds a much needed dimension to his team.

Sioux Falls plays 2 of the better teams in the D-League at home this week. On Friday they host the Dakota Wizards, and they play a home game Saturday against Colorado.

Colorado 14ers, 27-17

Colorado lost a pair of games last week to Bakersfield, despite some strong individual efforts. Elton Brown had a monster game in the second loss, finishing with 38 points and 15 rebounds. Pooh Jeter came through big last week as well, starting the week with a 26 point, 7 assist effort. Mike Harris also played well in both games. To close out the season strong, the 14ers will need more consistent play from Von Wafer, who has been up and down since returning from the Clippers.

Colorado plays their only game this week on Saturday when they travel to Sioux Falls.

Fort Worth Flyers, 25-17

Fort Worth opened a long week by splitting games in Anaheim, before losing 2 of 3 games to Austin in a 3 night series. Jeremy Richardson has continued to show great flashes, but he struggled with his shot during certain stretches last week. Deji Akindele has played well since the departure of Luke Schenscher, and has given Fort Worth a needed lift at the center position. To start another winning streak, more consistent play will be needed from Kevin Burleson and Terrance Thomas.

Fort Worth plays in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and finishes the week with Friday and Saturday games in Tulsa.

Albuquerque Thunderbirds, 21-22

The Thunderbirds split two games last week with the first place Idaho Stampede. Julius Hodge has cooled down from his hot start in New Mexico, but has still produced well. He will need to focus on improving his shot while cutting down on turnovers. Over the weekend, Dwayne Jones provided a strong presence on the glass for the Thunderbirds, and the team would benefit greatly should the Cavs decide to send him back between now and the end of the season.

Albuquerque hosts Dakota on Tuesday, before traveling to Tulsa for a Wednesday game. They conclude their week with a Friday night game in Austin.

Los Angeles D-Fenders, 19-23

Los Angeles dropped their only game last week at home against Bakersfield. Brian Chase was only 5/15 from the field, and struggled to find his shooting stroke throughout the game. Sean Banks had a 20 point effort, but was only 6/20 from the field. Chet Mason provided some strong defense and a few good passes during a comeback attempt at the end of the game. Up front, Wesley Wilson had one of his better D-League games with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

This week the D-Fenders host Fort Worth on Tuesday. They conclude their week with home games against Idaho on Friday and Anaheim on Sunday.

Austin Toros, 19-23

Austin lost to Arkansas last week, before bouncing back with a win over Dakota. They proceeded to take 2 out of 3 games against Fort Worth in 3 consecutive nights. Cheyne Gadson has played very well for the Toros as of late, and seems to be much more comfortable now than he was in Tulsa. Troy Bell also stepped up big in most of the wins last week. He still struggles with shot selection, and tends to be ball dominant, but he has great all-around talent as a scorer. Up front, Jamar Smith has been steady on the glass and a versatile scorer.

This week, the Toros host Albuquerque on Friday and Arkansas on Saturday.

Anaheim Arsenal, 20-25

Anaheim split a pair of games with Fort Worth last week. Steven Smith, cut by the Sixers earlier this season, has been the best player for the Arsenal as of late. He currently averages 18.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game on the season. Jawad Williams has struggled recently, and is sometimes forced to play center which limits what he can do in the offense. Tyler Smith has been solid as a role player, and Majic Dorsey distributed the ball well in his games last week.

This week, Anaheim hosts Fort Worth on Tuesday, before traveling to Los Angeles for a Sunday game.

Tulsa 66ers, 17-25

Tulsa lost their only 2 games last week against Sioux Falls. Denham Brown has proved to be one of the better scorers in the D-League this year, but seems to do a lot of his scoring on a high number of shot attempts. Desmon Farmer’s play has been much more consistent lately, and Will Conroy continues to distribute the ball with ease. The 66ers will have to work around the loss of Damir Markota, who was recalled by the Bucks. They will need consistent play from Marcus Vinicius to finish the season with a winning streak.

Tulsa hosts Albuquerque on Tuesday night, before finishing the week with Friday and Saturday home games against Fort Worth.

Bakersfield Jam, 16-29

Bakersfield has improved greatly since Patrick O’Bryant rejoined the team, and they won all three of their games last week. Scooter McFadgon had a 48 point game last week, and has been a steady scoring presence for the Jam at the small forward. O’Bryant has scored many of his points near the basket, and disrupts the opposing team with his length on the defensive end. Mateen Cleaves has established himself as the top point guard on the team, and Gerry McNamara has struggled with his reduced role. Tamar Slay looks great at times, but will need to play with better consistency.

Bakersfield plays in Anaheim Tuesday, before closing out the week with a Sunday home game against Idaho.

Arkansas Rimrockers, 13-33

Arkansas managed to beat Austin last week, but followed it up with two losses to Dakota. Clay Tucker has struggled a bit from the floor recently, but his rebounding and assist numbers have been high for a shooting guard. JR Pinnock’s all-around play has turned heads, and he’s been especially impressive with his ability to set up teammates. Matt Haryasz struggled with numerous injuries this season, but has multiple double-doubles since returning from his latest stint on injury release. Roger Powell struggled offensively in the series against Dakota, but continued to rebound the ball well.

Arkansas plays their only game this week on Saturday in Austin.

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