During this past D-League season, one of the prospects that surprised folks around the NBADL with their great performance was Long Island Nets forward Trahson Burrell. In the buildup to the 2016-17 season, Burrell was basically looked at as an afterthought due to him standing as a second round pick in the NBADL Draft and also being a role player in college.
However, Burrell exceeded expectations by turning into one of the better two-way players in the entire league. That status is exemplified by him averaging 13 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals on 49% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc on 2.5 perimeter attempts per game. Burrell was so solid during his initial season that we actually named him as a finalist for NBADL Rookie of the Year.
Just two months removed from the end of the D-League’s regular season, Ridiculous Upside had a great opportunity to talk to Burrell about his experiences in the D-League thoughts about the impending transition to the NBA Gatorade League, and why it might not stand as an alternative to college basketball.
Ridiculous Upside: What were you thoughts on the D-League before you joined? After playing, how drastically did those opinions change?
Trahson Burrell: I was more anxious to see what things were going to be like. I've talked to guys who've played before they all had different point of views on it. I didn't think it would be as competitive as it was. There were a lot of good players on every team. Never a game where you could slack off.
The trainers took good care of you and the coaches treated me well. For it to be my first year it was a great experience.
RU: Aside from the pay, was there anything about the league that should be improved?
TB: I mean it's the development league so I don't expect it to be like the NBA. I think it's good they have a lot of resources for you. They take good care of. Give you place to live. I think it's all apart of the grind until you get to the big stage.
The referees might need a little more practice but no I think the league is great and will only get better as the years go on.
RU: How do you feel about the league turning into the NBA Gatorade League? Do you feel like this sponsorship could be a benefit to players and bring some more attention to the league? If so, how?
TB: I think it's a good transition, like you stated better sponsorships. Think this will help players get a little more exposure. I think it's going to make the G-League just that much closer to the NBA.
RU: Think that additional exposure push the G-League to become a realistic alternative to college basketball? Or is the appeal of playing at a big university still too much to pass up on?
TB: For me there’s nothing like that college experience. I think that guys should go to college. There’s really nothing like it whether it’s March Madness and just the college atmosphere is something you're going to remember for the rest of your life.
RU: Even if that player is probably going to be a one-and-done?
TB: Yeah I definitely that year of college still helps you out because it shows that you’re just willing to work hard.
RU: What advice would you give to a young player that's considering going to the D(G)-League?
TB: Go in there with the mentality that you still not there yet. Work hard and be dedicated and everything will play itself out
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