The Charlotteare conducting a multi-day mini-camp with free agents from all around the world (and the D-League) beginning this morning according to a press release forwarded to Ridiculous Upside (me) Monday.
The players will be split into two groups in the morning session for drills and workouts and will scrimmage during the afternoon sessions. The players will participate in two sessions each on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a morning session only on Thursday. The morning sessions will not be open to the media.
More than likely, it'll be a sort of Summer League team tryout - which is still exciting as it's another opportunity to play in front of NBA decision makers.
The players will include two former NBA lottery selections, six players that played in the D-League last season, the son of Reggie Williams at VMI, two players whose last mentions in NBA circles were due to drug possession and one player that already claims to have an invite to the Summer League team and more!,a former D-League call-up under Quin Snyder, a teammate of
Since I'm a good dude, I went ahead and wrote up some brief scouting reports on everyone after the jump.
Ryan Ayers - Ayers was never anything special at Notre Dame (11.1 points on 46% 3-point shooting his senior year) and didn't really impress in his rookie season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants after averaging 9.7 points in 50 games (34 starts). He's a shooter - 92-of-202 from beyond the arc this season - that doesn't look enough for his shot (what up, ?). Still, he went to China with Mike Gansey and then was invited this past weekend to the D-League Elite Mini-Camp, so the D-League thinks the talent is there - or he's just a good guy that will agree to do things like this to help out the Development League. I'm guessing he'll end up on the D-League's Summer League team before Charlotte invites him, but if he's aggressive enough (and his shot is falling), he could be in contention.
Justin Dentmon - Dentmon was the leading scorer in Israel this year after finishing up his career at Washington as a 5-foot-11 shooting guard. According to this article from his senior season, he's much more comfortable as a shooting guard. According to reality, however, the NBA isn't really fond of sub-6-foot-anythings - especially if they're not running the point. Other things I've learned about Dentmon - he majored in art, he has dyslexia and he's apparently represented by the great Bill Neff. Oh, and he recently told Jon Brockman that he's playing for the "bob cats" in Orlando - so get to know him, Bob cats fans!
Devin Green - Green is a former D-League player, so I'm pretty familiar with him even though he played a regular season stateside since early 2008. He also played for the Summer League team last year, alongside (!) and former RU contributor Aisander D said the following about him: He's been in the NBA with the and , he's been in the D-League with the D-Fenders and he's been in Germany playing for something called the RheinEnergie Köln, which I'm pretty sure is run by a guy who looks like this. Green is a solid, yet unspecatcular SG/SF who has some experience and could probably make an NBA roster this year if he stuck with the D-League. While not the most explosive of athletes, Green is a solid defender and a fundemantally sound player. Fringe NBA guy who has the potential to stick somewhere as a role player. After being cut from the Wolves in training camp, Green played in Greece for awhile before heading down Puerto Rico before being suffering a leg injury and being replaced by . Also, if you're into random NBA memorabilia, you can try and outbid me for a Devin Green game-used Timberwolves jersey authenticated by their equipment manager.
Jibril Hodges - What can I say that hasn't already been said about Jibril (that his dad is former Bulls sharpshooter/issue-causer Craig) Hodges. How about this - after a decent career at Long Beach State, Hodges was drafted in the eighth round by the now-defunct Fort Worth Flyers of the D-League. He didn't make the cut, however, and ended up playing for a month in Jordan before calling it a season. The next season, however, he played in the now-defunct CBA for the Butte Daredevils (Montana represent) and averaged 14.7 points over 34 games. For the past two seasons, Hodges has played for USC Heidelberg (no relation to Pete Carroll's program) in Germany. He's been a top five scorer both seasons (19.4 points per game this past season), but I'd say the 6-foot-2 shooting guard has a tough road ahead of him.
Chavis Holmes - As mentioned earlier, Holmes was a teammate of former D-League call-up Reggie Williams at the Virginia Military Institute - which means you can expect gaudy college numbers (averaged at least 18.3 points over the last three seasons of his college career). According to Eurobasket, the 6-foot-4 off-guard had a pre-draft workout with the Bobcats last year (they apparently kind of liked him, I guess). For his rookie pro season, unlike his twin Travis who (kind of) went the D-League route, Chavis played in a low division in Spain. While there, he averaged 13.2 points and was credited with just three turnovers in 38 games - he's not a point guard, but that's still impressive.
Othello Hunter - Bobcats' Summer League fans should be rather familiar with Hunter since he played with the team as a rookie out of Ohio State, but I'll forgive you if you're not. The Bobcats staff probably isn't even that familiar with him after he left the team to join the Hawks after not getting much play in their first few games. The rest, you could say, is history. Since being waived by the so that they could eventually call-up from the D-League (yes, you read that right), Hunter's played with Ilysiakos in Greece where he averaged 10.6 points and 8.0 rebounds in eight games. He more than likely has a Summer League invite already as well. If not, he'll end up one before the process is over.
Trey Johnson - Johnson is another of the D-Leaguers the Bobcats are bringing in. Since the regular readers of Ridiculous Upside (RRRU) already know everything about him - or they should - I'll direct you non-regulars to this post (with highlights) from his first game back in the D-League as well as the in-depth profile Jon L did last offseason on Johnson. Think an offensive version of (and if you don't know who Dontell Jefferson is, I'm not sure how you read this far into this post, so I applaud you).
Bobby Jones - Jones holds the record for most NBA teams in the same season, I believe. Or most transactions in a short NBA career. Regardless, he once saw former Washington teammate Brandon Roy and bragged about holding a record. Jones is known as a great perimeter defender (though has a reputation as being a little dirty) and is certainly intriguing in the NBA circles - he last played stateside as a member of the in Summer League last season (averaging a fairly high 25 minutes per game). This past season, Jones took his game to Italy where he averaged 12 points per game on a shaky 37% field goal percentage during the Eurocup portion of the schedule.
Yaroslav Korolev - The first of the former lottery picks that I had mentioned earlier (thanks, !). Korolev averaged a disappointing 8 points per game split between the Albququerque Thunderbirds and Reno Bighorns while shooting 43% from the field. Korolev still has potential (he's younger than a lot of the seniors in the draft even though he was the 12th overall pick way back in 2005), but I really expected to see more out of him in the D-League this past season. Korolev was also invited to the D-League Elite Mini-Camp - maybe that camp meant more than I thought?
Kurt Looby - I'm so glad Looby is getting looks this offseason. That's not to say he didn't get looks last year (though he didn't dominate on the D-League Select Team), but after the Rio Grande Valley Vipers buried him on their bench to begin the season I really thought Looby's coming out party had come to an end. Looby split time with three teams this season - don't read too far into that because none of it was Looby-related - before ending the season with the most blocked shots (166) in the history of the NBA Development League. He still has a lot to learn on offense, but he's very talented on the defensive end. For a profile Jon L did on Looby way back when (last offseason), check here.
Lamont Mack - The Bobcats are bringing back UNC-Charlotte's Lamont Mack after previously seeing him during a pre-draft workout last season. The 6-foot-7 swingman did enough to deserve that as as local 49er (15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds), but while playing in Greece this season he averaged a rather disappointing 8.6 points on 40% shooting from the field. I'd suspect he's a long shot to stick this season when compared to who he's competing against.
Darius Miles - Darius Miles is back. Miles, you'll remember, has already attempted one comeback following what was supposed to be a career-ending knee injury. I can't necessarily say that comeback was succesful, but he did end up playing 34 NBA games so it didn't fail miserably either. Following that season, though, he was arrested for marijuana possession and the Grizzlies worried about him wrongly influencing O.J. Mayo. I don't know what he did this past season, but I sincerely hope his life is back on track and he's able to return to form (both on the court and in the movies).
Ismail Muhammad - Muhammad is perhaps most famous for playing for Georgia Tech during the Luke Schenscher Era. Or for having a name that probably scared a lot of people in late 2001. The high-flying guard has had two failed attempts at making a D-League roster (2006 with Albuquerque, 2007 with Utah), but apparently has gotten his game back on track while playing in Saudi Arabia, Australia and Colombia since. I'd love to tell you more, but those leagues aren't followed eurobasket so the statistics aren't available. Wait, after going to the St. Laurence Geelong Supercats website (love that team name), I learned that Muhammad has averaged 20 points per game over the past two seasons with the Supercats while shooting 47.4% from the free-throw line and 51% from beyond the arc. So there's that. Gooo Supercats!
DeMarcus Nelson - Nelson played four solid seasons at Duke, didn't get drafted, went to Summer League, got a camp invite with the , became the Warriors opening day starter at point guard, ended up with the Austin Toros and eventually was called back up to the NBA with the . That's quite the rookie season, no doubt - and that was all off the top of my head. Since then, Nelson had a rather impressive (stat wise) Vegas Summer League with the Bulls by averaging 13.8 points, 3.8 boards and 3.0 assists in 26 minutes of action (including 48% from the field which is typically his downfall). Regardless, the athlete averaged 8.9 points on 53% field goal shooting last season while playing in Italy. An NBA team could use him.
Larry Owens - I love him (not like that). He is, without a doubt in my mind, the most slept on player in the D-League in terms of NBA relevance. After being the linchpin in the Tulsa 66ers lineup all season, the 6-foot-7 forward stepped up his game during their run to the finals by averaging 18.5 points on 50% field goal shooting (and 46% three-point shooting), 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks. Swooning yet? You should be. The one thing that surprises me is that Owens has played for the ' Summer League team the past two seasons and was a standout for the D-League team this year - he seems to have more ties to either of those teams.
Jason Rich - Rich is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard out of Florida State who worked out with the Bobcats as a 2008 NBA Draft prospect. He also worked out for the , which is where he spent Summer League that season (which probably doesn't mean anything to you, but hey - the more you know). Since then, Rich has played two good-but-not-great seasons in Italy and Israel. This past season, for Maccabi Haifa (Jeremy Tyler's team), Rich averaged 14.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 53% from the field. His range hasn't improved, however, as he made just 30 of his 90 Euro-shortened three-point attempts.
Pape Sow - I feel bad saying this, but I completely forgot about Sow after not hearing anything about him following his Summer League neck injury in 2006. He actually recovered from that injury, but has spent the last three seasons with a variety of teams in Europe. Most recently, the big man averaged 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in Spain with Meridiano Alicante. He also dominated the NBDL waaay back in the day, before it was renamed the NBA Development League.
Chris Taft - Taft was once a highly-touted big man out of Pittsburgh, though he ended up as the Golden State Warriors second round pick. With the Warriors, Taft battled back injuries and never really was able to get his professional career off the ground. He then ended up trying out the D-League, but Taft hasn't played basketball since dislocating his right foot as a Rio Grande Valley Viper in 2008. Since then, he's been going to school, working out, watching Dora the Explorer all while dreaming of getting back in the NBA (and learning how to cook). I'm interested to hear how he looks after being away from the game for so long - hopefully he's healthy.
P.J. Tucker - Tucker was a stud as an undersized power forward at Texas when he averaged 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds before declaring for the NBA Draft as a junior, but the 6-foot-6 'big man' didn't translate very well as a 2006 second round pick of the Toronto Raptors. After his one-year contract ran out, Tucker went to Europe to play for multiple teams in Israel and Ukraine. Most recently, Tucker averaged 17.3 points and nine rebounds while shooting 51% from the field with Bnei Eshet Tours Hasharon in Israel.
Shawne Williams - If you're like me, your first thought is trying to figure out which this is. So, for reference, it's the former Memphis forward who was picked 17th overall by the in the 2006 NBA Draft. After two and a half season with the Pacers, Williams was traded to the . This past season the Mavericks traded Williams and to for Eddie Najera, but Williams was released before playing with the Nets. Why was he released, you ask? A crap load of felony drug charges related to Codeine. That's actually not the case according to the Nets. "We brought him in to take a look at him, and (he was) way out of shape ... (we) didn't like what we saw,'' Nets interim coach said on Friday. "He said he had to go home for some type of medical emergency, for one of his grandfathers or something like that. We sort of made the decision at that time that this wasn't going to work, so we waived him, and all this other stuff came down. We hope he is OK. We wish him well, but luckily (it's) not our issue.''