Now that the Showcase is over, players should come back to Earth, right? Well, they actually, from what I see tonight, played even better tonight than they did at the Showcase. Hopefully some of these guys gained enough interest from the scouts the first four days of the week to have them check out what they did Friday night, with almost a full slate of D-League action.
The first game of the night, Utah @ Los Angeles, was a rematch from the night before, and doesn't look like Brad Jones and Co. did there homework, as Joe Crawford simply went off, albeit in a losing effort. Crawford scored 44 of the D-Fender's 100 points, shooting 15-of-25 from the field. On the otherside of the ball, the Flash's Dontell Jefferson did what he is starting to make a common occurrence, scoring 25 points, grabbing seven boards, and dishing four assists, turning the ball over just twice. Not sure if Jefferson and Crawford were guarding each other, but I'd assume they were. NBA players in action: Kyrylo Fesenko had a great game, seemingly doing all he can to stay away from the soon-to-be Dakota road trip, scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 boards, though Fes did turn the ball over five times in his 24 minutes of action.
Next on the plate was Fort Wayne @ Erie. This game two big scorers for each team, without much help around them. For the winning team, Erie, Erik Daniels and Ivan Harris combined for 55 points and 25 boards, both putting up healthy double-doubles, even though neither play there natural position. For the Mad Ants, Chris Hunter had 27 points and 10 boards before fouling out, building on a decent showing at the Showcase. Recently acquired Taj McCullough 26 points, but not much else, in his 30 minutes of action. Most confusing to me was seeing a technical by David Bailey. He isn't getting much playing time in Coach Jaren Jackson's system, and I don't think scoring zero points and getting T'd up in ten minutes is going to help them. He might be showing why Sioux Falls didn't want him back this season, as his attitude seems to leave a lot to be desired.
The game I kept an eye on was Dakota @ Sioux Falls. Dakota won 113-107, but had a tough first half. This changed when Blake Ahearn decided to turn it on, lighting up the Sioux Falls backcourt for 30 of his 40 points in the second half. Ahearn made 9-of-12 from 3-point land and had six assists with just two turnovers. Call this kid up. Also for Dakota, Richard Hendrix had 19 points and 13 rebounds. I think Hendrix really wants to stay in Bismarck, as he is averaging 15 points and 13.6 rebounds in games not at the D-League Showcase. For Sioux Falls, Keith Brumbaugh broke out, scoring 23 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes of action. Carl Elliott also had a good game, scoring 18 points and dishing eight assists. Sioux Falls best shooter, former Chicago Bull Frank Williams, got tossed from the game with 5:40 left in the 4th and the Skyforce down nine, proving to me that referee #63 Ben Taylor doesn't just hate the Wizards.
In a tilt featuring the two longest team locales to type, Albuquerque upended Rio Grande Valley on a Will Conroy buzzer beater. Conroy finished with 23 points, seven assists, five boards, five steals and five turnovers. For the Vipers, Alpha Bangura stayed hot, scoring 29 points and grabbing eight boards, but turned the ball over six times on his way to what I presume his goal to be getting a big contract overseas.
In the final game of the night, the Idaho Stampede narrowly edged the Anaheim Arsenal, as is took overtime to win 132-130. I'm not sure if Anaheim got banged up at the Showcase, but Cedric Bozeman, Marcus Campbell and Noel Felix all didn't play, and James "Flight" White came off the bench. That's at least three regular starters that didn't start tonight, and four of their top six best players. Interesting. Anyway, for Idaho, Coby Karl kept hot, scoring 32 points, grabbing seven boards, and dishing six assists, though he also committed six turnovers. Backcourt mate Luke Jackson also played well, scoring 23 points, but had seven turnovers. For the Arsenal, Tierre Brown had 35 points and 15 assists, shooting almost 1/3 of Anaheim's total shots. Malick Badiane, who just joined the team tonight, had 11 points and 12 boards. Badiane may be a player to watch this season, as he's got a lot of upside, looked great at Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies, and is a former 2nd round draft pick of the Houston Rockets.