Why NBA D-League Elite Mini-Camp Is Like Advanced National Tryout For Established Players

Chris Hyde

With the D-League National Tryout approaching, the NBADL Elite Mini-Camp provides the league's already established players and coaches a chance to stand out in front of worthwhile executives beforehand.

On June 15th, the NBA D-League will host its annual national tryout in the heart of New York City. Such a gathering provides athletes with the opportunity to strut their stuff in hopes of intriguing D-League executives. Also on display are a slew of prospective future referees, as well as former NBA players hoping to garner consideration for a coaching gig.

Last year, former Austin Toros' first round draft pick Kyle Hunt, Sioux Falls Skyforce forward Orion Outerbridge, and RGV Vipers guard Akeem Ellis also obtained their first looks via the tryout. What's more, the likes of James Posey (Canton), Zendon Hamilton (Idaho), and Sean Rooks (Sioux Falls) were among those former players who successfully turned coaching in such a tryout into full-time gigs with teams for the upcoming season.

Needless to say, this outing provides ample opportunity for those with all sorts of hopes, dreams, and goals to get noticed. As fate would have it, such a grind in the world of the NBADL never ends.

In similar fashion, fresh off steady campaigns in the minor league, thirty-seven of the most intriguing prospects are back at it, performing at the NBADL's Elite Mini-Camp in Chicago this week, putting their talents on display for a varied group of NBA and D-League executives alike.

Similarly to the national tryout, such prospects are broken up into teams and guided through full games of five-on-five competition. They go through various skill drills, as well as strength and conditioning ones, allowing such executives to see them in a different light.

At the head of it all is Los Angeles D-Fenders' coach Bob MacKinnon, who is a longtime director of both the camp itself, as well as the league's national tryout.

Of course, much like the national tryout, the camp has a lot to do with those others involved, in addition to the players. NBADLeague.com confirmed the names of six head coaches taking part, and our buddy Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com reports that Mad Ants' assistant Steve Gansey is in attendance (likely with some sort of role, as there are a handful of assistants helping out) as well. What's more, we can also confirm (via a source) that Santa Cruz Warriors' head coach Casey Hill is guiding a team that features Tulsa 66ers' guard Isaiah Wilkerson.

It's worth noting that perhaps this camp is as much of a showcase for D-League personnel as it is for the players. It's quite the platform to perform, and as such, this gathering should be considered an advanced national tryout of sorts for the already established members of the minor league, still looking for a way up the ladder. There's always someone watching.

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