One (ALMOST) shining moment, had it not been for Darius Rice. Sorry, 14er fans.
I've been meaning to write something like this since I watched the 14ers play the Dakota Wizards Monday night. Last night, when the Denver Post (R.I.P. Rocky Mountain News) reported that Sonny Weems will be joining Colorado today, likely until March 27th, gave me all the more reason. The Colorado 14ers, while struggling dollar-wise, certainly aren't struggling with talent this season, nor have they in seasons past. Here's a look at the franchise. Save Our 14ers!
Weems will join a roster that includes NBA veterans Josh Davis, Eddie Gill, and John Lucas, along with possible future NBA draft pick Trey Gilder and a recent near triple-double machine in Dominique Coleman. Colorado's got even more than that, however. They also have minor league veteran Joe Dabbert and sharp-shooting big man Julian Sensley.
The 14ers are led by Bob MacKinnon, who I wasn't all that familiar with before the season, but watching Monday night, learned that his goal is to get more shots up than the other team. Lucky for him, this team does this very well. They've currently shot 167 more shots than their opponents, perfect for a team shooting a lower percentage from the field and 3-point line than their opponents. It's an exciting brand of basketball to watch, with an exciting team of players playing that brand as well.
Between their three players with NBA experience, they've got 299 NBA games. Davis is simply perfect for the D-League. He's got range, he's faster than other bigs, stronger than other 3's, and he's a workhorse. Gill's got the veteran savvy to lead a team, and John Lucas has to be the hardest point to guard in the D-League. If NBA GM's think that the 6'9", 140 pound Trey Gilder can put on some weight, you can bet that he'll hear his name in the called this Summer in the NBA Draft, joining his teammates in that elite fraternity of men that have been in the NBA.
Dominique Coleman, well, he deserves a (LONG) paragraph all to himself. Watching him play, he's a sneaky player. He's the kind of guy that isn't always noticed in the game, but when the box score comes around at half, BOOM! 15 points, seven assists, five rebounds. Coming out of nowhere (he played three games in the basketball mecca known as Finland last season), he's exploded since the beginning of February. On the season, he's averaging an impressive enough 15.6 points, 8.5 boards, and five assists. However, since February, his averages are 18 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. This from a 6'3" guard, the 15th pick in the fourth round of the D-League draft. The fourth round produced Blake Ahearn last season, so maybe we should have assumed a breakout for a fourth-rounder this season as well.
The 14ers have been pretty well-loaded in the past as well.
This is the third season for the 14ers, who joined the league as an expansion team, along with the former teams of the CBA -- Idaho, Dakota, and Sioux Falls. Since their inception, they've had quite a bit of talent come through, from current Milwaukee assistant coach Joe Wolf to former NBA TV D-League playoff announcer (and current Director of Media/Public Relations) Chad Andrus to current assistant coach Casey Owens, who won two CBA championships while with the Dakota Wizards.
They've also had a bevy of other talent come through the Broomfield Events Center: current Sun Lou Amundson and Rocket Von Wafer, RU favorite's Elton Brown and Pooh Jeter, along with Kaniel Dickens and the lovable Rick Rickert. They've also been assigned such luminaries as Cheik Samb, Taurean Green, Sean Williams, PJ Tucker and Mile Ilic.
The downside, however, is that for some reason, they struggle at the gates. How, I have no clue. They've had an immense amount of talented players come through the building and they've got an experienced front office/coaching staff. Regardless, they still average the lowest attendance, with an average of just 1,128 per game. Yikes. The owners are looking to sell as well, which can't help.
How can a team with a 79-53 overall record be in the position of possibly folding? I have no clue. So don't let it. Do what you can to support it, for the sake of the D-League.