With the D-League Showcase starting this morning at 11 a.m. Mountain Time (First two games live, in HD, on NBA TV!), I did as much research as humanly possible to educate you and hype every D-League player/coach that you might remember or heard about that one night while you were hungover and accidentally watched a re-run of Rick Kamla hyping the D-League on NBA TV.
Mostly only for my benefit, but why not publish my lack of a discernible life?
Without further adieu, from A-to-Z.
Austin Ainge - Son of Danny, he's currently the head coach of the Maine Red Claws. He's 28 years old, which is not old at all for a D-League coach.
Antonio Anderson - Played in 150 games, starting 133, for the Memphis Tigers during both the Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans era. He was also the 2009 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. Anderson plays for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and is currently averaging 18.3 points and 6.8 assists.
Alexis Ajinca - He's the tallest French basketball player currently in the D-League. He's also on assignment from the Charlotte Bobcats to the Maine Red Claws and is averaging 11.5 points, 7.4 boards and 3.2 blocks per game.
Rashad Anderson - Anderson played for a lot of good UCONN teams from 2002-2006, including the 2004 NCAA championship team. If I were going to give him a nickname during college, it probably would have been "Big Shot 'Shad." Currently, Anderson is playing for the Iowa Energy, averaging 9.7 points off the bench.
Morris Almond - Almond was the first round pick of the Utah Jazz in 2007 after scoring, handily, as a Rice Owl. After dominating in the D-League with the Utah Flash last season, he's with the Springfield Armor this season, averaging 28.9 points, most in the D-League.
Connor Atchley - Atchley was a stud during his junior season at Texas. This may have been because there was some dude named Kevin Durant on his team. Still, Atchley was a draft hopeful after his junior season. Atchley is currently playing for the Dakota Wizards, averaging 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds, though I have to assume his per 36 averages are much better. He has the talent to be a starter on that team.
Alade Aminu - The casual basketball fan is more likely to know Alade Aminu's younger brother, Wake Forest star Al-Farouq Aminu, but Alade can play as well and actually got some looks after finishing his career at Georgia Tech following the Portsmouth Invitational. Aminu has recently earned a starting spot for the struggling Erie Bayhawks, but is averaging just 10.4 points and 4.8 boards in 24.5 minutes over the course of the season.
Maurice Baker - The now 30-year-old Baker actually (re)made a name for himself during the D-League Showcase two seasons ago as a member of the Dakota Wizards. I say (re)made because he's actually played two separate stints in the NBA, though it was back in the 04-05 season with both the Clippers and the Trail Blazers. Back with the Wizards this season, Baker is averaging 12.7 points, 4.3 boards and 4.3 assists this season.
Will Blalock - Blalock was the last pick of the 2006 NBA Draft for the Detroit Pistons after leaving Iowa State after his junior season. Blalock played 14 games that season for the Pistons, then played in the D-League and hasn't really been on the NBA radar since. This season, playing for the Maine Red Claws, Blalock is averaging 5.3 points and 4.8 assists, meaning he probably won't he be on the NBA radar again anytime soon.
Earl Barron - With a good showing at the Showcase, Barron could actually be on his way back to the NBA. Due to his nice mid-range game, Barron actually earned three years of roster time with the Miami Heat. This season, with the Iowa Energy, Barron is averaging 15.1 points and 10.3 rebounds. His shooting 43% from the field isn't good for a 6'11" player, however.
Eddie Basden - Basden mostly isn't a good player, but got a training camp invite to the Chicago Bulls during his rookie season and actually made the team out UNC-Charlotte. He played 19 games for the Bulls that year, then went overseas, presumably never to be heard from again. A couple of weeks ago, Basden returned to the D-League for the Austin Toros. Currently coming off the bench, Basden is averaging 8.0 points and 4.3 boards per game.
Romel Beck - Beck is, as far as I know, best known for crossing over Kobe Bryant in a 25 point loss during the FIBA tournament. He's been a star for the Mexican National Team (that is, until he was cut as the leading scorer last Summer) and was in the Rockets vet camp this Fall. Playing for the Dakota Wizards, Beck is averaging 16.4 points per game, but shooting a dismal 27% from beyond the arc.
Keith Brumbaugh - Coming out of high school in 2005, Brumbaugh was ranked ahead of current NBAer's CJ Miles, Shawne Williams, Amir Johnson, Danny Green, Jon Brockman, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Terrence Williams, Sam Young, Wilson Chandler, Wes Matthews, Darren Collison Marcus Landry and Jeff Pendergraph. Unfortunately, a bevy of off-court problems sidelined his pro career - severely. After earning a training camp invite with the Nuggets this season, Brumbaugh returned for his second season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he is averaging 13.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Rod Benson - I'm fairly certain I don't have to explain who Rod Benson is, so I'm not going to. I will say that he gets buckets, boards and blocks, son. Benson is playing for the Reno Bighorns this season, averaging 14.5 points, 8.4 boards, 2.4 steals and 1.7 blocks per game.
John Bryant - Bryant was the WCC Player of the Year last season, which earned a shot with the Sacramento Kings this Summer. He didn't make it. This year, he's playing for a terrible Erie Bayhawks team and has already been benched, as a starter, for one game this season due to some work ethic issues. Still, he's averaging 14.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, shooting 54% from the field.
Roberto Bergersen - I thought about not including him since he hasn't been NBA relevant for so long, but you might remember him, so here he is. The reason you might remember him? He was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round in 1999, then traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. He never played an NBA game and since he'll be 34 on Wednesday, he probably won't make that dream. Playing for the Idaho Stampede for the 19th season, he's averaging 8.9 points as a 3-point bomber.
Brian Butch - Butch is probably best known for dislocating his elbow in college, rather horrifically. He was actually a very capable player at the University of Wisconsin and earned a lot of looks after his senior year. This year, he joined the Bakersfield Jam a bit late, averaging 16 points and 7.8 boards, shooting 37% from beyond the arc. For a 6'11" big man, that's actually kind of impressive.
Will Conroy - I'm not sure why you would know Will Conroy, but maybe it was because he was Nate Robinson's point guard at the University of Washington. Maybe it's because he had a couple of 10-day's with the Clippers in 2007. Maybe because he averaged a ridiculous 26.5 points and 8 assists per game last year in the D-League. Maybe you were impressed when he was running the point for the Rockets this Summer in Vegas. Or maybe it's because he is the reigning D-League Sportsman of the Year and all-time leading scorer for the D-League. However you know him, I guess, doesn't really matter. He's currently playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, but hasn't gotten into a groove yet, appearing in just two games since returning to the D-League from a failed stint in China.
Joe Crawford - Crawford was actually the second round pick of the Lakers last year after putting together a nice little four year career at Kentucky. He also flirted with a Knicks roster spot this Summer and in the preseason after getting a call-up from them last season, but it wasn't meant to be. He's back in the D-League for the Los Angeles D-Fender's this year, averaging 20 points and shooting an iffy 41% from the field. I think the FG% is due to a recent wrist injury. Or he's become a worse shooter.
JamesOn Curry - Curry is best remembered for this in D-League circles. In NBA circles, it's that as well, probably. In college, it was an affinity for off-the-court issues, ultimately making him transfer from North Carolina to Oklahoma State. You may also remember him for thinking he's some sort of shoot-first, pass-second point guard. He's currently averaging 16.8 points and 6.5 assists for the dreadful Springfield Armor. If his team were better, I'd be hyping him. Unfortunately, I can't support a point guard that has his D-League team at 2-11ish.
Joey Dorsey - You remember him from being a beast. And playing for Memphis alongside current D-League teammate Antonio Anderson. And for being a current NBAer on assignment from the Houston Rockets. In the D-League, he's averaging 14.5 points and 13.2 boards for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Marcus Dove - Dove was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year two seasons ago at Oklahoma State. Now he plays for the Dakota Wizards , averaging 7.1 points and 5.4 boards. He's also playing as a forward/center instead of forward/guard, which seems to be his more natural position.
Eric Devendorf - He's the douche-y guy that played for Syracuse last season alongside Jonny Flynn. You know, the guy who jumped up on tables and such after hitting big buckets? He recently joined the Reno Bighorns, and in three games off the bench, he's averaging 4.7 points. Still getting into the flow of the pro game, I'll say.
Zabian Dowdell - Well, he has a fun name, I suppose. Henry Abbott loved him, gushing about him as a possibility to be drafted 28th by the Spurs in 2007, though he eventually went undrafted. Anyway, about Z-Do (I'm just guessing this is his nickname), he's pretty solid. He's not a great athlete, or awesome defender, or good at soccer, but he's pretty good at everything as far as I can tell. Except being a pure point. Apparently he lacks in that area, or at least did coming out of college, as that seemed to be the main reason he wasn't drafted. Also, according to DraftExpress, his ceiling is Luther Head, which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement. He just recently joined the Tulsa 66ers and is averaging 14.2 points and shooting 59% from the field. Whoa there, big fella.
Michael Fey - Well, I only know him because he helped Rod Benson Resuscitate the Party. He also made the Lakers preseason roster, but then was cut. Good thing for him is that he's currently playing for their D-League D-Fender's, averaging 11.8 points and 5.3 boards while getting his minutes severely jerked around.
Noel Felix - You probably would remember Felix the same way you remember Bergersen - you wouldn't. Still, he did play 12 games for the Seattle Supersonics in the 2005-06 season, and aside from that, has been a fixture in the CBA and D-League. This season, he's playing for the Maine Red Claws, averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 boards on 48% shooting.
Reece Gaines - Gaines was the 15th overall pick for the Orlando Magic way back in 2003. He bounced around a bit in the NBA, but hasn't been NBA relevant for awhile now, unfortunately (for him, not you). This year, he was the 29th pick in the D-League (15th in the NBA, 29th in the D-League? Yikez) for the Bakersfield Jam and is currently averaging 13.4 points in 33 minutes of action. Not great for a former near-lottery pick.
Mike Gansey - Gansey became a bit famous on that West Virginia Elite 8 team in 2005 alongside Kevin Pittsnogle. Since then, he hasn't really done anything except get traded from the Idaho Stampede last week for Donnell Taylor. He now plays for the Erie Bayhawks, but apparently hasn't arrived yet. Hopefully the Stampede didn't leave him in Idaho until the Bayhawks got here to pick him up.
Alonzo Gee - He's one of the few rookies that you might know about in the D-League. However, after a good career at Alabama, he caught on with the Spurs Summer League team, then ended up with the Minnesota Timberwolves this preseason. Thusly, people are going to eventually know him, because NBA teams know him. He's currently playing for the Spurs-owned Austin Toros, averaging 21.1 points on 52% and 6.3 boards.
Orien Greene - Greene is someone you probably remember, and probably aren't happy for remembering him. A former 2nd round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2005 NBA Draft, he went on to play for the Pacers and the Kings. He then seemed to fizzle out his NBA career with the Charlotte Bobcats summer league team in 2008. But, surprise, he's back and on the grind. He plays for the Utah Flash and is averaging 14.7 points and shooting a surprising 50% from the field. To be honestly, he's not as bad as you remember.
Taylor Griffin - He's balding. He has a brother. Griffin is currently on his second tour of duty with the Iowa Energy, and through six games, is averaging 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Eh, right?
DeVon Hardin - He was the last draft pick of the Seattle Supersonics, which is probably going to be a trivia question at the next NBA ddict's Anonymous meeting. He's also randomly the only guy that I know that plays in the D-League right away in NBA 2k10. He's currently playing in real life for the Tulsa 66ers, but strugging to the tune of 6.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Steven Hill - Matt Moore over at Hardwood Paroxysm sums Hill up pretty well. Currently, I have no idea what's wrong with him. He's been waived due to injury like 87 times by his Tulsa 66ers, but is currently on the active roster. Still, he's not played in about a week and is not averaging anything over 3+, except minutes (9.6).
Dontell Jefferson - I write about him everyday. He plays for the Flash and is probably getting called-up tomorrow.
Dwayne Jones - Jones was part of that great St. Joseph's team with Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, but he didn't quite get the buzz they had. He's been traded for Michael Olowokandi and Luke Jackson, which is something. He also didn't suck for Cleveland in 2007-08, even playing in five playoff games. He's currently with the Austin Toros, averaging 17.9 points and 14.6 boards. That's a lot.
Yaroslav Korolev - He's Russian, but according to Eurobasket, he speaks Spanish. Also, he was the 12th pick in the 2005 draft, courtesy of the Clippers. You probably remember that pick, but you probably don't remember his NBA career. Don't worry, nobody does. Korolev was drafted by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds with the 64th overall pick in the D-League draft this year and is currently averaging 12.2 points and 6.5 boards per game.
Rob Kurz - Surprisingly, he played all of last season with the Golden State Warriors after not being amazing at Notre Dame. He also did a tour of duty this Summer, playing with two different Summer League teams (Timberwolves/ (Nets/Sixers)) and then decided to go to camp with the Cav's. He didn't make it, and is currently in the D-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 17.6 points and 10.4 rebounds, shooting 55% from the field and 46% from deep. Not bad, Rob Kurz.
Randy Livingston - Livingston is one of the Maine Red Claws assistant coaches. He is most famous for getting a call-up in like 17,452 straight seasons. We named our call-up rankings after him because of this.
Renaldo Major - Major isn't really a guy NBA fans know about, but he did get a call-up to the Golden State Warriors when they traded Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy to the Pacers for Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington (others were involved, but those are the guys I remember). He actually played 27 minutes that game for the Warriors, but hasn't played a minute in the NBA since. Major also had a serious heart surgery that caused him to miss the following season. Major is the sixth man for the Dakota Wizards, averaging 9.6 points and 4.2 boards in 26 minutes of action.
Cartier Martin - Martin earned a bit of an unexpected call-up to the Charlotte Bobcats last season, but before that, I don't think he was on many radars. After going overseas early this season, Martin is back, averaging 13.8 points for the Iowa Energy.
Keith McLeod - Jazz fans will remember Keith as the point guard to take over for Carlos Arroyo for the majority of 2004-2006. He wasn't terrible in most aspects, but shot worse than 36% both seasons, so, actually, maybe he was terrible. McLeod has spent the past two seasons in the D-League and this season is actually playing point guard again. He's currently averaging 19.3 points and 6.4 assists, which are call-up worthy, according to what I'm hearing.
Kyle McAlarney - McAlarney was featured on Outside The Lines recently, when Bob Ley tried to say that just because he can shoot, he's unathletic and short, he's not getting a call-up, even though he deserved one... because he's white. Well, I'd agree with everything, except for the part where they blame it on him being white. McAlarney is averaging 11.8 points and has hit 21 of his 42 long distance attempts for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season.
Joey Meyer - Meyer coached at DePaul from 1984-1997. He also has the most championships as a coach in D-League history. Meyer is currently the head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Paul Mokeski - Mokeski was perhaps the sexiest NBA player ever. Currently, he's an assistant for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Luke Nevill - Nevill is 7'2", Australian and has a variation of the name Luc. He's probably my 3rd favorite Luke/Luc from Australia, following Luke Schenscher (a) and Luc Longley (b). If you didn't know him from that, he was a stud in college for Utah and played for the Hornets in Summer League. Now with the Utah Flash, he's averaging 11.8 points and 6.1 boards, which isn't as good as Luke Schenscher would have done.
Kevin Pittsnogle - You definitely remember Pittsnogle as the 6'11 married guy that didn't play inside and had a whole bunch of tattoos on that West Virginia team a few years back. He actually played in the preseason for the Celtics that year, sucked, played in the D-League, taught second grade for a bit, and now came back bigger
and better than ever to the D-League. He's with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, averaging 12.5 points and 5.2 boards, shooting an atrocious .398 from the field. Sad thing is, he's shooting 35% from beyond the arc, so it's his two-point game that's struggling.
Carlos Powell - You know him if you follow basketball, specifically scorers. By my count, he's been in the top five in scoring in Portugal, New Zealand, D-League, Korea and now the D-League again. Plus, he's had a lot of preseason and Summer League looks. I think this is the year, and this might be the week, even. For the Thunderbirds, Powell is averaging 23 points, 5.6 boards and 4.0 assists per game, shooting 53% from the field. That's an all-around game right there.
Gabe Pruitt - Pruitt was an early second round pick by the Celtics in 2007, but just never really found a role in Boston, though he did play. After his rookie deal was up, he was sent packing, and he packed all the way back home to Los Angeles, where he's currently averaging 11.6 points and shooting 39% from the field.
Jared Reiner - Reiner went to Iowa and, since then, he's played sparingly every year in the NBA, whether it be the pre or regular season, most recently with the Timberwolves this preseason. Currently, he's with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 15.8 points and 10 boards per game, shooting 57% from the field. He also recently got 15 stitches due to an elbow or something from Earl Barron.
Jason Richards - He was the guy that passed Stephen Curry the ball at Davidson when you first found out about Stephen Curry. He was damn good at it too. Currently, he's playing for the Utah Flash, but not really playing. Disappointing.
Russell Robinson - Robinson was the point guard on a lot of good, not great, Kansas teams. He's had a couple of Summer League looks as well, most recently with the Orlando Magic. Then, he went to vet camp with the Cav's this year, but was a final cut. Currently, he's playing his second season for the Reno Bighorns, averaging 17.3 points and 4.9 assists per game, though he's shooting just 43%.
Mustafa Shakur - You remember him as the stud at Arizona with a sweet name. After going overseas, it seemed we'd never hear of Mufasa again, but here he is! Playing for the Tulsa 66ers, Shakur is averaging 18.9 points and 6.6 assists, shooting an excellent 52% from the field.
Cedric Simmons - Simmons left North Carolina State after showing some ridiculous upside in just two seasons. I'm not sure whether it was a good idea or a bad idea. Good idea because he was the 15th pick by the Hornets in the 2006 draft, bad idea because he's currently out of the NBA. He recently joined the Idaho Stampede, where he's averaging 15.6 points and 7.7 boards. His most impressive stat is probably his 3.2 blocks, however.
Quin Snyder - Snyder had some issues at Mizzou, but is a great coach, as far as I can tell. He's been the head coach for the Austin Toros ever since replacing the late Dennis Johnson.
Donnell Taylor - He had a brother named Ronell, who also played for his current team, the Idaho Stampede. If you didn't know him for that, he played two seasons for the Washington Wizards not long ago. Most recently, he was sent to the Stampede for Mike Gansey, which was odd. He's averaging 18.7 points and 6.2 boards, shooting 45% from the field.
Jeff Trepagnier - Trepagnier was the 36th overall pick in the 2001 draft when the Cavs snagged him out of USC. He used to be good at dunking, now he's occasionally good at carrying the scoring load for the Iowa Energy. His season averages are 12.5 points and 41% from the field. Zoinkz.
Billy Thomas - Thomas once held the record for most 3-pointers in Kansas Jayhawk history, but North Dakotan Jeff Boschee broke it later. Since then, he's been a minor league mainstay it seems, but has earned call-ups in three different seasons, totalling 53 total games between the Cavs, Wizards and Nets. Thomas is currently the captain of the Maine Red Claws, averaging 11 points and shooting 44% from the field. He's in a particularly awful slump as of late.
Cezary Trybanski - Randomly, he signed a two-year deal for big money in 2002 with the Memphis Grizzlies. He then played in 22 games over the course of those two seasons and has, over the past two seasons, decided to try his luck in the D-League. I'm not sure why. With the Reno Bighorns, he's averaging 6.1 points, 4.3 boards and 2.8 blocks.
Anthony Tolliver - I write about him enough as well. He recently rejoined the Idaho Stampede and is averaging 21.2 points and 10.8 boards on the season. Decidedly, he doesn't suck.
Mario West - West won the 2007 College Slam Dunk Contest over former D-Leaguer Brent Petway, better known as "Air Georgia". Then he was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters, but never played for them. He actually played in 114 games with the Atlanta Hawks over the past two years, but wasn't offered a contract for this season. Now he's playing for the Maine Red Claws, where he's averaging 11.9 points per game in a pretty balanced offensive attack.