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D-League Elite Camp

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<a href="">Walker Russell will be among those participating in the D-League's pre-NBA Draft mini-camp</a>
Walker Russell will be among those participating in the D-League's pre-NBA Draft mini-camp

Is that enough hyphens for you?  The D-League has apparently put together a group of players to workout and scrimmage in front of NBA teams this weekend.  These are players who weren't called up and/or currently don't have NBA contracts for next season.  As I understand it, the D-Leaguers will be running through some drills as well as playing some games, though I'm not sure whether they'll be 5-on-5 or 3-on-3.  Here's who was invited to the D-League "mini camp":

Point Guards

Walker Russell

Maureece Rice

Curtis Stinson

Russell Robinson

Brandon Heath

Shooting Guards

Lanny Smith

Ron Howard

Denham Brown

Mark Tyndale

Small Forwards

Brent Petway

Bobby Jones

Ivan Harris

Taj McCullough

Keith Brumbaugh

Trent Strickland

Power Forwards

Chris Ellis

Will Frisby

Mohammed Abukar

Marcus Hubbard

Antonio Meeking

CJ Giles


Rod Benson

Dwayne Jones

Coleman Collins

Joe Dabbert

Eric Dawson

Longar Longar

On the whole, I think this is a really smart idea on the D-League's part, giving some exposure to some of their top players.  Some individual teams have already looked at groups of players, but hopefully doing it this way will get the players and the league some wider exposure and help get these guys invited to training camp.  There are some players I'd expected to see but don't, though I assume that's because they've maybe already gotten Summer League/training camp invites and I haven't heard about it (it really feels like I was out of town for closer to a month than a week).  I'm also assuming that any of these players who don't get subsequent NBA invites have a good shot at being on the D-League's Summer League team.  I hope they games are 5-on-5, as that's what NBA teams seem to prefer, and it might give these players a leg up on some more marginal college draft prospects who are only playing 3-on-3.  Some position-by-position thoughts are after the jump.

Point Guard

Russell and Rice have been talked about a fair amount on this site, with Rice providing some scoring punch and Russell being more of a distributor, with occasionally too many turnovers.  Stinson is a solid all-around point guard, being a decent rebounder for his position and collecting double-digit assists in six of his last seven games this past season (and got 9 in the other game).  Neither Robinson nor Heath will give you assists on a consistent basis, but both averaged over 33 percent on three-pointers this past season and Robinson is a solid defender.  Teams will definitely see some different looks at this position.

Shooting Guard

Lanny Smith has been recovering from injuries the last few years, but he's definitely talented.  Howard's a good defensive player, though he's kind of in between a guard and a forward.  Denham Brown had an up-and-down season, though he showed flashes of being a solid contributor.  Not much of a three-point shooter, though.  Of all the players on this list, I probably know the least about Mark Tyndale.  He was apparently a decent bench contributor for Dakota last year.

Small Forward

Petway's apparently signed on with Toronto, at least for the Summer League, so I'm not sure if he'll still be participating here.  Ivan Harris can definitely shoot the three.  I'm not really enthralled with McCullough, though you have to admire the fact that he's not giving up.  Jones and Strickland are both solid players, though for different reasons.  Bobby Jones is a good defender who was almost called up by the 76ers last year, while Strickland's more of a scorer, though not a very efficient one.  And I'm not really sure why he's listed as a forward but Howard is a shooting guard, when Strickland shoots more threes.  And okay, I lied.  Of all the players on this list, I probably know the least about Keith Brumbaugh.  He apparently averaged 35 points in (community) college, though.

Power Forward

Abukar can fill it up, though he missed some time last season due to injury.  Ellis is a good rebounder and a decent all-around forward.  Frisby is definitely talented enough to make the NBA, though he might be slightly undersized for some teams' liking and occasionally gets into foul trouble.  I feel the same way about Meeking as I do about McCullough.  Giles and Hubbard are both probably best described as projects.  Hubbard in particular needs to work on his post defense.


Boom Tho Rod Benson will get a chance to show off his increased commitment to weight training in addition to his usual rebounding and shot-blocking.  Dwayne Jones is another good rebounder and shot-blocker, though his post offense needs a lot of work.  You can think of him as the D-League Dwight Howard, if that helps you.  I'm kind of surprised to see Dabbert listed, though when he's not getting into foul trouble he's a decent rebounder and has some post moves.  Collins I had figured as more of a power forward, but whatever helps him make the NBA, I guess.  His playing time was inconsistent last season, though he's an efficient scorer who put up decent numbers when he got minutes.  I'm not a huge fan of Eric Dawson, though he spent a fair amount of time playing out of position and had some nice moments last season.  Longar Longar has been making the rounds of recent team tryouts, though he's kind of slow with bad hands, and is already 26 despite being only a year out of college.