Great times on the road with my boys from Fort Wayne.
Best Ejection: Austin's Quin Snyder. January 19, 2010, Erie at Austin. I wish someone had footage of this classic. It was that good. If you don't believe me just ask Fort Wayne's Joey Meyer who was in attendence for this game.
Best Fan: My man Donnell Jordan (aka Bubba) from the Erie Bayhawks and Idaho's favorite, Big Bad John Bryant's girlfriend's father. Bubba is at every Bayhawks home game, sits next to the visitor's bench and wears the shirt "GET U SUM!" Big Bad John's girlfriends father's story is well-documented and anytime you get thrown out midway through the 1st quarter it deserves special mention.
Best Player/Official: Erie's Blake Ahearn. I know he is my Rockers tag-team partner but he LOVES talking to the referees. I think he gets paid by the D-League as the fourth official during our games. He knows every official by name and never stops talking to them all game - for good and bad. (well mostly bad)
Best Road Hotel: Austin Toros. Hilton Austin right near downtown 6th street. Enough said.
Best Road Place to Eat: Idaho's PF Chang's. Okay, IHOP, Denny's and any place within walking distance is usually where us D-Leaguers eat. However, in Boise I always enjoy eating at PF Chang's right next to the Qwest Arena and the Mini Desserts are my favorite.
Best Road Place to Play: Maine Red Claws. It's not even close. Every single game is packed and has got that old school Boston Celtics feel. It almost feels like I am back in high school playing for a District Championship. Give owner Bill Ryan (who I had the pleasure to meet) and President Jon Jennings - a lot of credit - it is a special place to play.
Best Upcoming Young Coaches in D-League: Idaho's Joel Abelson, Fort Wayne's Steve Gansey, and Utah's Kevin Young. Abelson is the Verizon Guy and how can you not want him on your coaching staff. Gansey has helped Fort Wayne to one of the best finishes of the season winning 8 of their last 9 games as well as the strong finish of Oliver Lafayette and the Mad Ants guards. Under the great basketball mind of Brad Jones, Young has helped the Flash in the playoffs this year as well as the improvement of the Flash perimeter players throughout this year.
Biggest Hose Job: Fort Wayne's Rob Kurz. This award is given to the player who surprisingy wasn't called-up this season. Kurz was on the Golden State Warriors roster last year and improved every aspect of his game throughout this year. What does this guy have to do to get a call-up? Seriously? Others considered: Iowa's Curtis Stinson, Erie's Blake Ahearn, and Maine's Morris Almond.
Erie's Cedric Jackson vs Fort Wayne Mad Ant. Let me begin by saying the Mad Ant started this and I know he regrets it everyday. Walking out of the tunnel at halftime I had a perfect view when this shove/push occured and let me just say that Cedric Jackson got more than the best of the Mad Ant. Steve Gansey confirmed that at the Mad Ants end of year staff meeting it was brought up when talking highs and lows of the season.
Games of the Year: Fort Wayne at Iowa (December 29) and RGV at Idaho (March 31).
RGV 153 at Idaho 165 OT. All I know is Idaho's head coach Bob MacKinnon was loving life in this game. It was 84-79 at HALF!
Give me Some Love: One of the forgotten guys in the D-League lately has been Coby Karl. I am a huge fan of his game and he plays the game the way it should be played. Coby has a great basketball IQ but what people don't realize is he is much more athletic than people give him credit. He can play both guard spots and can shot the 3-ball with regularity. Also, how many can say they played with Lebron, Kobe, and Shaq? There no is reason why he shouldn't be in the NBA right now.
Hoax of the Year: Utah Flash's owner Brandt Anderson and the Michael Jordan lookalike.
Hottest Dance Team: Maine Red Claws. The Lady Red Claws take home this honor. No wonder why Maine sells out every game. Great basketball atmosphere and super hot girls.
Hottest Dance Team Coach: Idaho Stampede's Jennifer Hordemann. I had the pleasure playing in Idaho for the beginning of the season and always enjoyed coming to the games early.
March 13, 2010: Erie Bayhawks at Idaho Stampede. The D-League record was set on this date for the most white guys to start in a game. Seven players started in this game as Erie started four (Ahearn, Bryant, Gansey, Goldcamp) and Idaho started three (Dabbert, Allred, Karl).
One-on-One Match-up I want to see: Utah Flash's Mark Madsen vs. Fort Wayne's Vitaly Potapenko. Both of these assistant coaches have done a tremendous job for their respective teams this year. Look at how much better Jared Reiner, Rob Kurz and Sean Sondiliter have gotten under the guidance of Potapenko. Madsen has helped the Flash get into the playoffs this year and has been instumental in the development of his players all year. Who wouldn't want two former NBA veterens to learn from everyday. Don't be surprised to see both of them coaching on NBA sidelines very soon. Now, if we could get them both to play each other up to ten I will be happy.
Warm-up Winner: Utah Flash's Mark Madsen. If you have ever seen Madsen work out his Flash players before the games you know exactly what I mean. He is going 110% at all times and it is quite the sight to see. Gotta love my man "Mad Dog!"
WWF Tag Team Match I want to see: Erie's Natural Disasters Mike Sweetney and John Bryant vs. Springfield's Mark Henry / Kamala combination of Marcus Campbell and Kentrell Gransberry. This would be a dandy but my money is on the Natural Disasters.
I have to announce I have found another girlfriend alongside Kaley Cuoco. Kaley has been my girl for years but I have since found a new love in Alice Eve, from the movie She's Out of My League. How ironic they were on the cover of Maxim the last two months.
Talk to you soon...