This past weekend, approximately 200 young guns and basketball hopefuls hit the hardwood at Basketball City in New York City, aiming to impress the slew of big league individuals in town for the 2014 NBA D-League national tryout.
Such a gathering provided all these prospects an opportunity to be seen and get noticed, but ironically enough, the day provides a showcase of sorts for more individuals than simply just the players.
In addition to being a tryout for potential league referees as well, the tryout also gives a number of coaches the chance to shine, too. Helping guide the prospects throughout the day was a group comprised of former NBA and D-League players, NBADL assistants, and other related coaching hopefuls.
Last year, the selection of mentors for the tryout included the likes of two-time NBA champion James Posey, Zendon Hamilton, and Sean Rooks. All three former players went on to earn assistant coaching gigs in the minor league, for this past season, in the months that followed the tryout.
This time around, the selection was filled with different participants, though the sentiment (of giving such deserving individuals an opportunity) remained the same. Whereas last year, D-League coaching hopefuls filled the gym, this year's group was highlighted by a handful of already established assistants, who are, perhaps, hoping to garner consideration for potential head coaching openings with many to fill for the upcoming season.
Coaches like James Andrisevic of the Santa Cruz Warriors, Jeff Javorek of the Erie BayHawks, Tunde Adekola of the Maine Red Claws, and George Galanopoulos of the Bakersfield Jam were among those taking part. Our friend, SB Nation blogger turned NBADL championship winning video coordinator, Dylan Murphy, also led his own team through practice and game competition.
With a year coaching with the Idaho Stampede now under his belt, Hamilton also participated for the second year in a row. Former Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara turned up to lead his own group as well.
Still, there was no question that the loudest ovation for a coach at the event came from the 200 hopefuls when former player Jaren Jackson was introduced. Having won an NBA championship with the Spurs in 1999, all of the participants were in awe as Jackson boasted his bling-filled ring throughout the day. A former D-League coach as well, Jackson is exploring minor league options after spending last season in the NBL of Canada.
As much as the tryout is an opportunity for all of the players, it's good to see lots of current and/or potential coaches get into the act as well. The D-League is about development, on all sorts of different fronts, and does the best job it can to ensure all of its participants shine and have their respective talents noticed along the way.