Rookies Make Good First Impressions In D-League Debuts

NEWARK NJ - DECEMBER 22: Chris Wright #33 of the Dayton Flyers drives for a shot attempt against Jeff Robinson #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates at Prudential Center on December 22 2010 in Newark New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

As we all know by now, the NBA Lockout (which is reportedly coming to a close soon -- Huzzah!) has driven many players overseas that would have otherwise played in the NBA Development League. The possibility of an NBA call-up is the D-League's major draw, and without that players have bolted for higher-paying jobs across the pond. But that does not mean the D-League is short on talent.

The D-League season officially got under way this weekend, with games on Friday and Saturday. The departure of so many players has opened up plenty of roster spots for newcomers this year, and several of those rookies have made big impressions already. Make the jump to see who stood out with their Ridiculous Upside.

Chris Wright - Maine Red Claws

The Maine Red Claws suited up three rookies on Friday night, and all three made an impression. However, it was Chris Wright, the 6-foot-8 forward from Dayton, who stood out. Wright posted a double-double in his D-League debut, scoring 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting while hauling in 10 rebounds. The former Flyer also contributed on the defensive end with two blocked shots. His performance was not enough to get a win, however, as the Red Claws fell to the Springfield Armor 94-87.

Jarrid Famous - Iowa Energy

Jarrid Famous of the Iowa Energy had a terrific opening weekend, averaging 20.5 points and 11.5 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 64% from the field. Famous was solid in a win against the Canton Charge, posting 12 points and 11 rebounds -- and spectacular in a loss against the Sioux Falls Skyforce as he scored 29 points and hauled in 12 rebounds.

Travis Franklin - Canton Charge

Travis Franklin was also impressive in his team's loss to Famous' Energy as he recorded a very efficient 25 points on just 11 field goal attempts (going 11-of-12 from the free-throw line). Franklin stuffed the stat sheet, too, pulling in eight rebounds to go with five steals and blocked 2 shots.

Cameron Jones - Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Cameron Jones showcased what he does best, which is putting the ball in the hoop. The rookie from Northern Arizona University scored 21 points, making 8 of his 12 field goal attempts and nailing all five of his free-throw attempts.

Mychel Thompson - Erie Bayhawks

Mychel Thompson, son of the former NBAer by the same name, played some quality basketball in his team's two losses this past weekend. Thompson averaged 19.5 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game. He did so while making 15 of his 30 field goal attempts, including an impressive 7-of-13 from deep.

Vance Cooksey - Texas Legends

Texas Legends' GM Donnie Nelson showed some serious confidence in Vance Cooksey, the rookie point guard out of Pikeville College, when he traded away talented guard Justin Dentmon to acquire another first round draft pick (which was used on Alando Tucker who has since signed with a team overseas).

On Saturday, Cooksey showed the world why Nelson was able to make that trade. The rookie started the game at the point and ran the team well to the tune of a 16-10 double-double with 6 rebounds. The Legends did however lose to their in-state rival, the Austin Toros.

Mustapha Farrakhan - Bakersfield Jam

Mustapha Farrakhan was the only rookie on this list to lead his team to a 2-0 record over the weekend. Farrakhan is the leader of an offense that scored 118 and 122 points in their two wins, and his individual numbers aren't too shabby either with averages of 18 points, eight rebounds and three rebounds per game.

It's still ridiculously early to be making any kind of definitive evaluations, but if even half these guys can continue to play like like they did this weekend it could be a surprisingly good year in the D-League.

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