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Bob MacKinnon Discusses Importance For Players At 2015 NBA D-League National Tryout

Camp Director and longtime NBA D-League coach Bob MacKinnon discussed the importance of the minor league's annual national tryout and what's at stake for aspiring players.

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The 2015 NBA D-League national tryout is less than a month away. The event will take place at the Basketball City facility in the heart of the Big Apple, something that is becoming somewhat of a tradition for the league, on Sunday, June 14th.

Before open tryouts begin for individuals teams in the fall, the national tryout gives aspiring professionals the opportunity to be seen (and perhaps, subsequently shine) on one of the biggest and brightest stages the minor league provides for incoming players. Personnel from all eighteen D-League teams, and even some of those higher up on the food chain with NBA teams as well, will be in attendance throughout the day to see who stands out.

Such athletes are all competing for draft eligibility. Should they impress, the players will subsequently sign contracts with the D-League itself and then be placed in the player pool for the league's annual player draft in November.

But of course, such a journey begins on the aforementioned day. It's an opportunity many crave and that some go on to take advantage of. Nevertheless, they all need to be prepared for a rigorous day. They'll be tested.

"It's very tough. It's quick. These guys have to come in and be in shape. They play a few games. Everyone plays at the same time, and guys get after it," longtime D-League coach Bob MacKinnon told He'll return as camp director for the sixth straight time this year.

Further explaining the process, MacKinnon added, "We have twenty teams and twenty coaches, and we ask them all to submit a list that outlines the top 10-20 players they've seen throughout the day. The league starts to assess those lists and then from there, figures out who they're going to offer contracts to for the upcoming draft."

With approximately 200 hopefuls strutting their stuff on the hardwood each and every year, one may think it's truly difficult to stand out and make their mark in such a crowded gym. But alas, MacKinnon insists that such an effort isn't in vain. These players are recognized. The coaches take notice if they perform.

"You can look at a kid like Tyrrel Tate. He's a kid that works with me down in North Carolia. He went through the national tryout, had a really good showing, and then ended up getting selecting by the Stampede in the seventh round," the coach added. "Following the tryout, he worked hard, lost weight, and made himself into a wing player. Then he went on to make the team in Idaho after training camp and spent the first three months of the season with them."

Perhaps the Stampede just happened to like Tate as a player. Nevertheless, the national tryout gave him the opportunity to first be put in front of them all together. Whatever the case may be, MacKinnon asserts that the ground work was laid for (and presumedly, by, Tate) that day in New York City.

"He was pretty much on every coach's list. That's a sign that he caught everyone's eye," MacKinnin pointed out. "Obviously people saw him and thought enough of him that day to put him in the draft."

Hundreds of others hope to follow in a player like Tate's footsteps in just a few short weeks. One strong showing could change everything, and that's what is truly at stake at the national tryout.