Scott Schroeder is our newest D-League contributor here at Ridiculous Upside, and will be covering the Dakota Wizards. If you're interested in covering your local D-League team, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scott took the time to write up the following piece on the players in the expansion draft, and thought it would be a good intro for him. Enjoy.
Damone Brown – After leaving Sioux Falls early last season to go overseas, it's doubtful he will come back to the D-League again this year, as he has played in parts of 5 D-League seasons. He is a good athlete, but at nearly 30 years old, he will probably look to get another good paycheck overseas. If not, look for him to do something similar to what he did last season and play a few games in the D-League just in case before heading overseas.
Brian Chase – Chase signed with LeMans in the French ProA League this season, thus all but ending any chance of him returning to the D-League. He is a tiny veteran guard who played well the past two seasons with the LA D-Fenders until he headed overseas in March.
Mike Gansey – Most people know Mike Gansey from college, when he and Kevin Pittsnoggle led West Virginia to the Elite Eight. After going undrafted, he was singed by the Miami Heat, but got Staph Infection in camp and never made it on the Heats regular season roster. Since this, he played overseas last season in Italy before joining the Anaheim Arsenal, where he averaged a dismal 2.8 points in 10 minutes of action a game. He has signed with Bremerhaven in Germany, and unless he is released, won't be able come back to the D-League to finish the season.
Dahntay Jones – One of the best players in the D-League last year, Jones played with the Denver Nuggets Vegas Summer League team this summer. He got a contract with the Nuggets after averaging over 18 points this summer. Jones was released by Sacramento last season to make room for the incoming players from the Mike Bibby trade and ended up playing 10 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, so don't count out seeing him make a brief appearance in the D-League this year.
Kris Lang – A 6'11” post who played collegiately at North Carolina before embarking on a great overseas career, it is doubtful Lang will make an appearance in the D-League this year. I believe he had a shot at playing with the San Antonio Spurs last year, as he was with them in training camp and then was acquired by the Austin Toros, their D-League affiliate, before ending the season in Turkey. Since Lang is also nearing 30 years old, he will probably finish out his career playing overseas, much like he has done in the last six years.
Jackie Manuel – Another North Carolina guy, Manuel played in the D-League last year with the Iowa Energy before being released due to injury. He has signed with Libertad Sunchales in Argentina for the 2008-09 season.
Elton Nesbitt – A two-year player with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, it looks as though Nesbitt will not be playing a third there, as he has signed with Dexia Mons-Hainaut in Belgium this season. Comprising ½ of the shortest backcourt in the D-League the past two seasons with David Bailey, he averaged 15 points a game, despite being listed at just 5'9”.
Steven Smith – Smith played for the Anaheim Arsenal averaging just under 19 points per game in 46 games over the past two seasons. He left the Arsenal in February to sign with Solsonica Reiti of the Italian League. This season, he is signed with Kolossos Rodou BC of the Greek League, so there is a little chance he will have a third stint with the Arsenal, though his NBA dream is still very much alive.
Chris Taft – Though he was chosen in the 2005 draft by the Golden State Warriors, Taft's professional basketball career has not really gotten going after leaving after his sophomore season at Pittsburgh. He has played in just 17 professional games, all in the NBA with Golden State, averaging 2.8 points in the NBA. His career has been hampered by injuries, most recently the dislocated ankle that led to his release from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers after averaging just 4 points in 8 games.
Yuta Tabuse – The first Japanese player in the NBA has headed back to Japan this season to play with Link Tochigi Brex. The point guard played 3 years in the D-League, the last two with the Arsenal, but never really got the playing time he wanted, so he has decided to go back overseas, though he made sure his contract allows him to leave at any time to once again chase an NBA future.
Larry Turner – Currently signed with Reales de la Vega in the Dominican Republic. Their season ends in late September, which probably means Turner will try his luck in the D-League again this year. He was with the Lakers Summer League team last year and got an invite to training camp before ending up in the D-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.