Players of the Sioux Falls Skyforce headlined award season in the D-League this past month, with Jarnell Stokes (Most Valuable Player) and DeAndre Liggins (Defensive Player of the Year) taking home top honors.
But when it came time to resume their continued request for an NBADL championship on Sunday night against the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Rodney McGruder stepped up to the plate and didn't disappoint.
The Skyforce's 104-99 game one victory over Los Angeles was undoubtedly more of a group effort, but McGruder led the way with team-highs of 30 points and 11 rebounds. The Finals are a great stage to shine on, as the guard's elevated play further proves his worth --- not only as an NBA prospect, but a winner. Only the most formidable youngsters soar under the most pressure.
Speaking of formidable, the D-Fenders did put up quite a fight, despite facing a Sioux Falls team that set the NBADL wins record during the regular season. Despite moving the series to the home of the Skyforce, one shouldn't expect Los Angeles to lay down easy following this first defeat. They've proven to be resilient all season long. It wouldn't be surprising to see this series go three games. That said, it remains to be seen if the D-Fenders would have enough momentum to win two in a row on the road. Sioux Falls should come out the ultimate victor following two more games.
For highlights of McGruder's stellar performance and more from the supporting cast of the opposing D-Fenders, check out the clips below.