The D-League Draft is set to take place today and teams will look to fill out their rosters heading into training camp.
Teams have released the list(s) of players that they have selected to participate in training camp, and many include returning players for each respective organization. For many of these teams, the players selected for training camp prior to the draft are done so in an attempt to establish a foundation. Thus, many of the selections are players who have played for the team either last season or the season prior. Below is a look at some of the players making a return trip to their D-League teams.
The returning champions return some notable players from last season. Justin Dentmon, Luther Head, Jamarr Sanders, Tre Kelley, Kyle Weaver and Aubrey Coleman all will be entering training camp as members of the Toros. Dentmon, the 2012 Most Valuable Player, started in all 40 games he played in, and averaged 22.8 points, 5.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals. Dentmon is a difference maker when he is out on the court, and the Toros have to be thrilled that he is coming back this season. If ever there was a foundational piece to build from, Dentmon would surely be it.
The Stampede have dished out training camp invites to returning players Seth Tarver, Reggie Larry, Paul Carter and Jason Ellis. Tarver averaged 11.3 points, and 4.7 rebounds in 45 games for the Stampede last season. Tarver, Larry and Carter all were more or less fixtures on the Stampede roster last season, and will bring a familiarity playing amongst themselves for new head coach Michael Peck.
Maine Red Claws
Three players will be returning to the Red Claws who have played with the club either a season ago, or two seasons ago. Chris Wright, Xavier Silas, and Champ Oguchi all have played in front of 'Crustacean Nation' before. Wright and Silas were members of the team last season whereas Oguchi rejoins the club after a season overseas. Both Silas and Wright earned Call-Ups last season with Wright only playing in 4 games for the Red Claws before receiving a Call-Up from the Golden State Warriors.
D.J. Kennedy, Mychel Thompson, Marvin Phillips Jr., Tirrell Baines, and Garrett Temple round out the returning BayHawk players set to take part in their training camp. Chris Daniels was apart of this list, but was involved in a trade to the Santa Cruz Warriors for the 37th overall pick yesterday. Both Kennedy and Thompson spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, the duo should provide a solid foundation for the BayHawks to build upon entering the season.
Sioux Falls Skyforce
The returning players for the Skyforce include Keith Benson, Nick Covington, Will Foster, Brian Hamilton, and Gabe Pruitt. Pruitt played in 39 games (20 starts) and averaged 10.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Interestingly enough, the Skyforce will also start training camp with a former player who has spent significant time in the NBA. Troy Hudson will enter training camp for the Skyforce his first time playing for the club since the 1998-1999 season. The 36-year old, 11-year NBA veteran enters camp amongst high praise from first year head coach Joel Abelson. "We went and talked to him and worked him out and he seems committed to it. Veteran point guards can be very good in this league – they can really help a team win and help teach the young guys how to be a pro."
The Armor will welcome returning players Chas McFarland, Jamar Brown, and Jonathan Thomas to training camp to start the season. Thomas was the second round selection for the Armor a season ago and played in 9 games (6 starts) and averaged 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds before suffering a season-ending foot injury. Brown spent time with the Armor last season as well, in 39 games (17 starts) Brown averaged 5.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. McFarland is a 7-footer who appeared in 26 games during the 2010-2011 season with the Armor and averaged 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.
This list provides a snapshot at what D-League teams are looking to do as they assemble their teams heading into the draft, and also into training camp. Having familiar talent is not just beneficial for fan recognition, it also assists in building a sturdy foundation for teams to work from.