On Tuesday, the NBA D-League concluded its annual Elite Mini-Camp in Chicago with the second day of competition. The ground work was laid on Monday, as players were given the opportunity to take advantage of the platform in front of so many NBA staffers.
Of course, there were a handful of stand-outs on day one. That said, did the same players continue to put their respective prowess on display in Tuesday? How was the intensity? Which players used their second go at it as a chance for redemption? Who impressed? What else went on?
RidiculousUpside.com once again spoke with two coaches in attendance --- Camp Leader Bob MacKinnon and head/assistant coaching veteran Gene Cross --- for further reaction right from the hardwood. And though plenty of players made strong efforts, there was once again a theme with respective stand-outs.
"One guy that played really well [in day two] was Chris Singleton. Aaron Craft played well. Jonathan Simmons had a really good day," Coach MacKinnon said. "Overall, I think the play was up this year from years' past. Every year, the league gets better and better. We changed the format a bit. More play and more practice time with the coaches, so I think there was better play because of it. "
"We worked with the guards during the drill work. I had Aaron Craft, Jarell Eddie, Manny Atkins, Alex Kirk, and Ralph Sampson on my team. I had some really good guys," Coach Cross added. "Craft played well, and I think Simmons really solidified himself as one of the best players in the league. Drew Crawford played well; he was a guy who I hadn't gotten a chance to see all year, but I'd heard about him. Stephen Holt and Dar Tucker were up there. A lot of people were asking me about Keith Appling. Adonis Thomas did well, too."
Providing a window into their world as he described the atmosphere over the last two days, Coach Cross said, "It was energetic. It was friendly. It was everything you'd expect from guys who are trying to make their way into the league. It was a lot of fun. Coach Mac does a great job. He makes sure the players know that we're there to help them and get them where they need to be."
"They played hard! One thing I heard from a lot of the NBA people was, 'these guys play hard!' They laid it out there. I think it was a good two days. I think the players who came improved their stock," Coach MacKinnon pointed out. "Some guys that weren't necessarily on NBA radars previously, certainly are now. Simmons improved his stock. Brandon Fields improved his stock. Fields was more of a two-guard in college, but now people may have seen the potential for him to be a lead guard after watching him handle the ball in an event like that."
Earlier in the day, MacKinnon spoke to the players about what is at stake during an event like this and implored them to impress. "This is the last impression that these guys have to be seen by NBA people before decisions are made, other than maybe going to a free agent mini-camp camp," he explained. "Who knows who will get invited to one of those? This opportunity may help them get into one, though. This is the last chance in front of the collective NBA audience."
The camp, which was attended by over ninety NBA scouts and/or related personnel representing 27 out of the 30 teams in the league, provides everyone involved with a chance to be seen, coaches included. It's also a chance to collaborate with one another, which is an opportunity in itself that leaders like Coach Cross especially enjoy.
"It's a lot of fun to see the coaches you know, and get acquainted with those with you don't. It's a chance to learn from them. To be in front of NBA personnel, it gives them a chance to see your energy level and how you work," he said. It's not about us; it's about the players. But if we happen to benefit as well, then it's a win-win for everybody."