IOWA 106 @ Dakota 103 – The Wizards opened up their second straight season with a loss at home to the Iowa Energy. I will let you read the article via Lou Babiarz at the Bismarck Tribune if you’d like more game details, but I’ll give you the hard-hitting things I noticed while at the game in neat bullet-point form:
First for the victors, the Energy via Iowa:
Larry Ayuso does this thing where he puts up his hands to make an X behind his head whenever he makes a 3-pointer (and possibly every basket, though I don’t remember if he did this or not after his lone non-3-point bucket). It's kind of an anti-Darius Miles thing. He played pretty well, connecting on 4-of-5 of his shots from beyond the arc, finishing with 14 points.
Courtney Sims looks like he is in pain no matter what he is doing. I’m not sure if he’s actually injured, but I would give him a lot of whistles just because he always looks like he was just hit by a freight train (or Dakota’s Brad Stricker, who we will get to later). He’s also a beast, as he’s currently averaging 22.5 points, 14.5 boards, and 8 blocks through two games. Though it’s just two games, that’s what I like to call not bad. Even though the Wizards don’t have a solid big getting minutes (yet), he was matched up against Sioux Falls Chris Alexander the night before, so you can’t discount these numbers too much.
- “Fine Wine” Cartier Martin is good. Between him and LA’s Jasper Johnson, I couldn’t decide who I thought would be the worst player picked in the first round. However, Cartier played well, scoring 17 points and grabbing 8 boards. He is represented by Weiner International.
Curtis Stinson is an interesting player. He was a beast at Iowa State for a loooong time, and has recently been a good player on about 5 different D-League teams over the past few years, including Dakota. Watching him play, I’ve always thought he’s been a good player, though when looking at the box score, I must miss something. This apparently happens a lot, as he’s played on nine teams over three seasons. Tonight is a good example of this, as I never would have guessed he shot just 4-of-15 from the field. He did have 12 rebounds and five assists though, so that’s a plus.
- Brian Evans deserves to be on an NBA bench. He played well, scoring 11 points in 18 minutes. I don’t remember any of that however. I was much more intrigued by what he was doing in his half hour on the bench. He was the most active guy I’ve seen in a long time, popping his jersey at every opportunity, being the first one off the bench whenever a timeout was called to give some love (even when teammates weren’t really feeling him), and letting the official know whenever he missed a call. Fun player to watch if he’s on your team, would be very annoying to watch if he’s on the other team.
And now for the non-victors, the Dakota Wizards:
Renaldo Major made a triumphant return to basketball, scoring 19 points and adding five rebounds and four assists. He is, hands down, the player most likely to get called-up returning from open heart surgery since Ronny Turiaf did so with the Yakama Sun Kings in 2005.
Mo Baker did what is expected of him: everything. As long as he’s been toiling in the minor leagues, he knows what he needs to do and he gets it done. Though he doesn’t always stand out, he’s a leader on the court and his box score always looks good. This night wasn’t any different, as he scored 16 points and added eight boards and assists. I think he’s going to be one of the guys that will hang out in the D-League, put up big numbers, and head overseas If he doesn’t get a call-up by the showcase (As he did last year).
Quemont Greer has anti-Curtis-Stinson disease, as he finished with a double-double (11 points, 10 boards), but looked atrocious in doing so. I’m not sure if the Bosnian air is a lot heavier than Bismarck’s, but something was seriously wrong with any jump shot Q took. He had two particularly horrible shots, when he shot 22-feet into the air and four feet further than the rim. I wouldn’t have kept him in crunch time.
Hamed Haddadi is a fun guy to watch. He played well of f the bench, scoring 14 points and six boards in 21 minutes. However… Adidas, Wizards GM Tom Wagganer, Coach Ticknor, trainer Ray Hall, Memphis Grizzlies, Dan Reed, WHOEVER CAN HELP WITH THIS, please order Haddadi a new jersey. His current jersey is obviously disturbing his chest hair. At every possible point, he would be adjusting his jersey, never to any avail. While I can’t be sure he didn’t see an AND1 video and decided it was really to pop your jersey at every opportunity, I’m leaning toward it being more an issue of chest-hair-bothering. Even when he was shooting free throws, he’d start gnawing on it, presumably hoping to chew enough of it off to let his hamburger meat breathe.
- Brad Stricker is a beast. I’m not even sure if I mean that in a good way. He is just a big nasty bleach blonde headed dude that won the first annual Guy That Anybody Assigned To Dakota Should Not Make Mad Unless He’d Like To Get Andriuskeviciused. Stricker picked up three fouls in 1:26, all of which were because he’s a step or two slow with his feet. Sims beat him twice, then he tried bulling Sims over on the way to the hoop. He is however, pretty agile, as he had a nifty reverse lay-up, though it wasn’t at all needed.
Couple other notes:
- The Wizards announced a crowd of 3,467. Nice.
- If you would like to do something like this for a team near you, let us know!