I sit around in the wee hours of the night and think to myself, "man, I wonder where Omar Cook is playing basketball these days...". Is that weird? Well if you are like me and you want to know where some of our past heroes are hooping at these days, then you will probably enjoy this.
This week we travel Far East to the CBA in China and find a Sun Devil alumni along with a Wolfpack stud.
Ike Diogu - Dongguan Leopards
Diogu was a lottery pick of the Golden State Warriors in 2005 and unfortunately his below-the-rim game just never translated to The Association. He played for six different NBA teams with the last being the San Antonio Spurs in 2011-12 (he only played in two games that season). It was a bit of a surprise to see him playing in the D-League during the 2013-14 season as he could certainly make more money overseas, but he was clearly making one last push to join an NBA team and it just didn't pan out.
Ike played in 42 games for the Bakersfield Jam (33 starts) averaging 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds on 55.3 percent shooting. He took home the D-League award for "Impact Player of the Year" but never received his coveted call-up.
So, this season you can find Diogu tearing it up for the Dongguan Leopards. He has another big time American teammate in electrifying guard Bobby Brown and they have taken the Leopards to 8-5 over their first 13 games. While defense is basically optional in the CBA, Diogu has cleaned up averaging a robust 21.2 points and 10.8 rebounds with splits of .600/.526/.786 -- in case you're wondering he's 20-38 from deep as well!
Ex-Mavericks center Bernard James getting paid in China: "I'm loving this 10k bonus for every win. 3-1 since I arrived."
— David Pick (@IAmDPick) November 30, 2014
If this tweet from David Pick is legitimate then Diogu has racked up $80K just for the wins Dongguan has -- that's above his salary (which I could not find anywhere), so it makes complete sense that he's playing there over the D-League in 2014-15.
Brandon Costner - Jiangsu Tong Xi
Costner went undrafted in 2009 out of North Carolina State and has been all around the world ever since. I specifically remember disliking Costner when he was at NC State, but that's only because I love the Tar Heels and he killed us every time they played!
Last season Costner played 43 games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders averaging 14.5 points and 6.1 rebounds. The D-Fenders lost in the first round of the playoffs last year but Costner was amazing putting up 28.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Even given his great production Costner never got a call-up to the NBA which is somewhat surprising because at 6'9" he has the ability to step outside and knock down 3-pointers, and he's aggressive in getting to the free throw line as well.
Jiangsu isn't off to the best start at 2-11 but in his five games played Costner has been stellar. Again, these numbers are a bit inflated due to the "no defense" policy that is strictly enforced by the CBA, but nonetheless he's averaging 24.4 points and 10.2 rebounds. He hasn't been super efficient with splits of .394/.417/.903 but he's getting to the line 6.2 times a game and making four 3-pointers per game as well. Costner is only 27-years-old so it's possible he could make another run at the D-League and NBA but at this point he looks content to kill it in the CBA.
All stats from Eurobasket.com