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D-League Player Profiles: Kurt Looby

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Kurt Looby
Kurt Looby

Due to some technical difficulties, Jon L couldn't make it into the RU office's today.  He was able to send me this profile, though, so I figured I better get it up.

I'm running out of things to say in these intros. This being Ridiculous Upside, that can only mean one thing: Wrestling videos!

Oh right, basketball. Today we're profiling Rio Grande Valley center Kurt Looby, listed at 6'10", 230 pounds. Looby just finished his rookie year, and while he doesn't have an extensive track record of success, he had a good first year and has the potential to make some Summer League noise.

How he got here

Kurt Looby grew up in St. John's Antigua, and didn't play basketball at all in high school, at least according to this.  Looby spent his first two years at Tyler (TX) Junior College, where he was a year ahead of fellow D-Leaguer Trey Gilder, averaging around 5 points and 5 rebounds per game. Looby then went to Iowa, where he didn't play a whole lot, around 18 and a half minutes per game.

He showed improvement, though, and in his junior year he ranked fourth in the Big Ten in blocks per game. As a senior, Looby's playing time stayed about the same, as did his points and rebounds. He shot 67 percent from the field, though his free throw percentage dropped to an abysmal 41.7 percent. Still, Looby showed improvement as a defender and a shot blocker, as he picked up 52 fewer fouls that year (in the same number of minutes, remember).

Looby was selected by the Rio Grande Vipers in the third round of the 2008 D-League draft. We'll take a look at his season after the jump.


D-League play

Looby started off solidly, playing 21 minutes in his first game and registering four blocks and six rebounds. After that, though, his inexperience kept him on the bench for most of his first few months, and he didn't play more than 24 minutes in a game in December. He raw talent still showed, though, grabbing 10 rebounds in 13 minutes against Albuquerque and four blocks against Iowa.

January saw Looby's minutes increase a little bit, though not consistently. Two games stand out from that month: January 20, when he scored 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds against Anaheim, and January 30 when he had 8 points, 8 rebounds, and an incredible 7 blocks against Colorado. Looby developed into a double-double machine in February and March. The other remarkable thing about that stretch is that he didn't turn the ball over more than twice in a game in either of those months.

Rio Grande Valley didn't make the playoffs, so they only played a handful of games in April, but Looby had his best performance of the year against Iowa on April 5. 14 points, 22 rebounds and 11 blocks. I need to write that again. 14 points, 22 rebounds and 11 blocks. Only two fouls as well. Even in the last game of the season, when he was held scoreless, Looby still managed to grab 7 rebounds and register 6 blocks.

Overall outlook

Looby is still pretty raw, particularly on the offensive end where he averaged 6 and a half points a game and shot 57.4 percent from the free throw line. He's becoming a defensive force pretty quickly, though, as he's a terrific shot blocker and he's cut down on his fouling since he was in college. People who followed him at Iowa State are, shall we say, surprised at his blossoming .

It's real, though. This is what, his fifth? sixth? year of playing organized basketball, and if an NBA team is smart, they'll take a long, hard look at Looby during Summer League.  Houston, who besides having RGV as their affiliate just lost Dikembe Mutombo to retirement and has their eye out for young, cheap talent, would be a decent bet. Looby may need another year or so of seasoning, but if he keeps developing at this rate the NBA should be in his future.