There has been plenty of talk at Ridiculous Upside about free agent workouts over the past few weeks, but a less star-studded free agent workout happened over the weekend when the D-League held its National Tryout in Louisville, Ky.
263 Players paid $650 to tryout for the possibility to be put into the annual D-League Draft, which doesn't come with a guarantee to be selected in said draft, but there were plenty of dreamers there as the Courier-Journal's Rick Bozich pointed out in his column.
Since most of the top D-League players are put in on name recognition alone, it was surprising to see former Texas Longhorns guard A.J. Abrams on the list of attendees. Considering the other names I recognized were Jarred Axon and Adam Liberty, Abrams should have stood out like a man among boys and is a near-lock to at least earn his way into November's draft.
The group of coaches had a bit more ridiculous upside, however, as current Milwaukee Bucks player Larry Sanders assisted one of the teams while Texas Legends head coach Nancy Lieberman and R.J. Adelman, son of Rick Adelman, were also expected to be at the helm of teams of their own this weekend. Adelman had previously been rumored as a possible Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coaching candidate, but with his father leaving the Houston Rockets, that's probably no longer an option.
Former NBA players Jeff McInnis and Eric Minor also coached teams at the event while earning valuable coaching experience themselves. McInnis assisted Darvin Ham with the New Mexico Thunderbirds last season while Minor was with the Bakersfield Jam.
Other names recognizable to the D-League aficianado among us included current D-League assistants Nate Bjorkgren, Joel Abelson, Steve Gansey, Taylor Jenkins, Gene Cross and Hernando Planells as well as Bob MacKinnon, former head coach of the Idaho Stampede and Colorado 14ers.
Bjorkgren, Abelson and Gansey should all generate some head coaching looks in the D-League this offseason as the new NBA head coaches poach the D-League's finest for their own staff. The Los Angeles Lakers D-League team, the L.A. D-Fenders, would also be wise to consider one of the three.