Becoming enamored with specific players in the NBA's D-League is a double-edged sword. As soon as fans start to enjoy their style and production, they get a more enticing opportunity and a fresh new face rolls in to take their spot. Such is life in a league designed to provide exposure to players who deserve to be seen. In this feature we elect to keep up with some of the players who have moved on to play at the next level overseas.
Cameron Jones - Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia)
Cameron Jones really blossomed last season while playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the D-League. His first two seasons in the league weren't bad but last year he went to another level and put up 19.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists while being efficient at 46 percent from the field as well. Jones used that All-Star campaign to springboard into the Russian VTB this season were his squad has started off 2-1 early in the season.
Jones is averaging 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in his first three contests while also shooting 44.4 percent from the floor. He has struggled a bit from the outside as he's only made two of his first 10 attempts, but again it's early in the year and 3-pointers have never been Cam's strong suit as it were (his career average in three NBADL season is 40.2 however that's on only two attempts per game).
Perhaps the most important tidbit to point out here is that Jones is performing this well off the bench and that is theoretically his role if he were to make the jump to the NBA at some point. He leads the team is shots per game at 12 and he's being aggressive and earning four free throws per game in the early going as well.
Jones is clearly already enjoying the perks of being well-known in Russia...
Khalif Wyatt - Hapoel Eilat (Israel)
After four seasons at Temple University Wyatt went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft. So, he traveled over to China where he played until he left, came back to the States, and was claimed by the Reno Bighorns off waivers -- three days later he was traded to the Springfield Armor where he finished out the season. Wyatt played 20 games and averaged 16.2 points and 3.6 assists in 28.5 minutes of time. He parlayed that success into a deal in Israel where he now plays.
Wyatt is flourishing with his new team overseas averaging 14.7 points and five assists over his first three games. His efficiency isn't quite there with shooting splits of .357/.435/.800 but he's proven that he can score, no matter what league he's in. The team has been using him mainly as a deep threat as 23 of his first 37 field goal attempts have been from distance (he's made 10 of those). Strangely enough Wyatt has never been one to be called a "marksman" by any means, so this is perhaps a new wrinkle in his game for NBA scouts to get a look at.
Wyatt shares the court with another D-League alum in Dominic McGuire, previously on the Tulsa 66ers -- now the Oklahoma City Blue. Wyatt made some noise with his Israeli debut as well...
Temple alumnus Khalif Wyatt (@KhalifW05) recorded a game-high 24 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the perimeter in Israel debut.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) October 13, 2014
Dario Hunt - UPEA CAPO D'Orlando (Italy)
Hunt is one of six (seven if you count injured Maalik Wayns) former Rio Grande Valley Vipers to have moved on to bigger and better things in the 2014-15 season. The Vipers are now acclaimed for their "layup or 3-pointer" philosophy, but Hunt really benefited more from the uptempo pace than anything else. At only 6'8 Hunt is a bit undersized for the NBA, but in the D-League he played well averaging eight points and seven rebounds in only 21 minutes per night.
Now that Hunt has earned a starting position with his new team, he is running with it averaging 11 points and 12 rebounds through his first two games. Hunt is shooting 50 percent from the field over that span, however he has been awful from the free throw line, shooting only 28.6 percent (2-7). That area wasn't a strong point for Hunt last season either notching only a 54.5 clip from the charity stripe but even that number would be a warm welcome at this point.
Hunt is teammates with another D-League alum Austin Freeman (previously from the Iowa Energy) and his point guard is none other than former NBA lottery pick Jonny Flynn. Though their team has some cache as far as names go they have started a disappointing 0-2 thus far.