To close out the month of January, two D-League prospects found themselves in an all too common position when it comes to the minor league. With the likes of Chris Johnson, Larry Drew II (and subsequently Tyler Johnson, as well) all NBA bound, both Glen Rice Jr. and Scotty Hopson were expected to step up and fill the evident voids for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Sioux Falls Skyforce, respectively.
Luckily for their teams, each young gun was able to do just that during the week of January 25th - January 31st. One should expect no less from either one of the talented swingmen, as each one already happens to boast experience in The Association.
Someone who played a key role in RGV's title run (and win) during the 2012-13 campaign, Rice Jr. has never been one to shy away from big moments, and undoubtedly enjoys being fed the ball so he can go to work with ease. Leading the Vipers to a 2-1 record this past week, the youngster who spent the first part of the season with the Washington Wizards averaged an impressive 30.3 points (while shooting 47% from the floor and 33% from deep), 8.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Needless to say, he embraced the role of being recognized as a scoring machine, assertively pulled down boards on both ends, and looked to get his teammates involved as well.
While the numbers he put up might not be as imposing initially, Hopson was even more efficient, all the while leading Sioux Falls to a perfect 3-0 record on the week. He logged 23 points per contest (on an eye-popping 53% from the floor and 40% from deep), 6.3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Rice Jr. is seemingly someone who can take over a (minor league) game to the best of his abilities, but Hopson is a guy who can slowly but surely lead his team to victory more so in the flow of the offense.
For their most recent respective efforts, the duo of Rice Jr. and Hopson earn RidiculousUpside.com's "Top Prospect(s) of the Week" honors for the final week of the month. It goes without saying that their respective teams only hope they can continue to look each youngster's way in the absence(s) of other key contributors.