On Sunday, D-League personnel were out on the prowl, hoping to discover some potential diamonds in the rough at the league's annual national tryout in New York City.
But as fate would have it, it was a more familiar face who stood out above most others following a stellar day of performances.
That would be none other than Tyrrel Tate, who returned to the national tryout for the second straight year. Last year, he parlayed that, along with some offseason work with Bob MacKinnon, into a seventh round selection in last fall's D-League Draft. The wing appeared in 25 contests, averaging 4.1 points and 2.1 rebounds. He even started a handful of games as well. The Stampede have since waived him.
With most participants from Sunday just there hoping to live out a little dream or fantasy, Tate's experience on the professional level helped him shine. He was head and shoulders above the rest.
"Who's the best player here? Tyrrel Tate," one D-League coach asserted.
Some might wonder why Tate turned up yet again, having already made himself somewhat known in the league. Nevertheless, showing off his versatility was key. Whereas most coaches, scouts, and executives alike may know him as a two/three, Tate was a masterful floor general throughout the tryout. He ran the floor well in games, often trying to find his teammates in transition and/ or taking it to the hole with aggression himself.
Coach MacKinnon, who also serves as tryout director, insisted such a decision to play has already paid off for Tate.
"He's not under contract anymore. He was able to get back in front of these people and can put that on his basketball resume again. He can show people that he's improved," the coach said. "Last year, Tyrrel was maybe one of the top fifteen players in the camp, whereas this year, he was probably in the top three."
Tate's ability to take control, run the floor, and be a leader could subsequently create mismatches. He's very strong and can post up smaller defenders. Running the offense through him clearly dictated the tempo during game competition on Sunday. Opposing teams had difficulty keeping up and/or reacting because Tate was ready to do any number of things with the ball.
"He's added things to his game. Last year, Idaho drafted Tyrrel in the seventh round," MacKinnon added. "Coming out of this, I think he's a guy you look at to potentially draft in the first three rounds now."