I decided to take in the Utah Flash at Dakota Wizards game (highlights above, obviously) last night and figured you guys might be interested in hearing what I thought about the NBA prospects that were in attendance.
- Dakota played pretty hard for being down to just one big man -- and eight players total -- following a season-ending injury to Mickell Gladness and recent Portland Trail Blazers call-up of Chris Johnson. The size advantage -- and fact that they were down to five players (four healthy) by the end of the game -- eventully took its toll, however, with the Flash winning 124-115.
- Brandon Costner, a burly 6-foot-9 power forward out of North Carolina State, totaled 33 points, 18 rebounds and six assists in the game after averaging just 14.6 points and 5.8 assists heading into the game. I don't think he'll ever be an NBA player -- his dominance in this game was mostly size-related -- but his ability to stretch the floor at his size is at least intriguing.
- Tony Gaffney, the former Boston Celtics call-up, was credited with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks on the night. However, without looking at a box score in-game, I was quite confident that he was flirting with a triple-double because he was altering nearly every shot at the rim. Not the most offensively-talented player in the D-League, but he works his butt of on defense and seems to enjoy doing the things that typically go unnoticed.
- On the other end of the spectrum, Javaris Crittenton came off of Dakota's bench to shoot 4-of-16 from the field before being ejected midway through the fourth quarter after picking up a second technical foul. I would give you my own personal scouting report, but the general manager of his team in China summed it up pretty well when the media asked why the former NBA player was released early in the season: "Yes, we're changing Crittenton," Ye said. "His individual offense is fine, but he's not doing a good job organizing the team offense. Also, his defense is bad and his shooting is off."
- The match-up between Utah's Ronald Dupree and Dakota's Renaldo Major didn't bring about incredible box score statistics, but it did confirm that those two players are both NBA-caliber defenders who would be good additions at the end of a bench. Dupree was held to 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting to go with five rebounds while Major had 19 points and six rebounds. Major played 36 minutes in a 12-points loss and still managed a +15. That's not bad.
- Mike Anderson, playing the role of a 6-foot-7 power forward for the Wizards this season, is probably making a few NBA executives scratch their heads while they wonder where he came from. Since originally making Dakota's team via a tryout in Washington, D.C., the former VCU Ram has gone on to average 17.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in the 18 games that he's started for Dakota this season. In this game, he had 26 points, eight rebounds and a couple of rim-rattling alley-oops that showed his athleticism.
- Last, but not least, the officiating wasn't stellar. I tweeted "That was a solid five minute THESE REFS SUCK chant followed by a GO HOME REFS chant. That was fun." Looking back at the film, it wasn't quite five minutes but the standing ovation from the crowd when Wizards head coach Rory White was ejected after picking up his second technical foul kind of tells you all you need to know on that front.
For more on the game (and the referee issues), check out Steve Thomas's gamer.