Since the D-League decided to start announcing awards yesterday (and ignored my email about what awards were being announced when), we're going to announce all of our awards this morning! Happy Tuesday!
Idaho's Bryan Gates has won the appropriately named Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award the past two seasons - this might become a trend, as I think this may be the third year the Stampede coach wins the award.
Gates began his career with the Stampede as a coaching intern under head coach Bobby Dye during the first season of the organization in 1997. He has since coached with the IBA's Rapid City Thrillers, CBL's Hickory Nutz (CBL? Hickory Nutz? Is this a fantasy team Gates coached!?), USBL's Oklahoma Storm, and the Beirut Blue Stars in Lebanon, along with assisting under Dennis Johnson during the 2005-06 season with the Austin Toros.
The reason we gave this award to Gates is because he's done the most with the least this season. Not that Idaho is bad, but it certainly doesn't have the star power of the other teams that are at the top of the league. The only NBA player he's been assigned is Nate Jawai, and he's arguably hurt the team more than helped them.
Gates is leading a team led by Nate Burleson's brother, a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon kid, Air Georgia, a Boise State hall of famer, and two backup point guards that Twitter - Not exactly the former NBAer's that litter the other top teams. Still, Idaho's 29-18 after losing two of the best players in the D-League (Coby Karl, Jermareo Davidson) early in the season.
I'd also like to give a shout to his able assistants, Randy Livingston and Joel Abelson, even if they won't answer my texts!