All season long, a variety of aspiring NBA athletes and some of most promising prospects the basketball world has to offer have been found strutting their stuff in the NBA D-League.
As some of the better talents continue to do their part in hopes that NBA executives take notice soon enough for them to eventually garner those coveted call-ups, a select few of the NBADL's best received confirmation that they've so far been doing something right this season. On Monday afternoon, the D-League unveiled the members of both its squads for the upcoming 2013 NBADL All-Star Game in Houston later this month.
Both teams are filled with a bevy of special players. With each squad complete with talents ranging from those who are on assignment from NBA teams, to those who have become undoubtedly crucial to their respective teams' success, and finallt to those who have just been putting up dominant efforts all season long, there's undeniably an immense amount of talent on both teams.
RidiculousUpside.com will have readers covered with further breakdowns of the big game and its participants as the weekend grows nearer. To kick things off, be sure to check back later on for our take on some of the contest's most notable snubs.
For now, though, without further adieu, here is more information (complete with both rosters) on the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game, directly from league officials:
Twenty of the NBA Development League's top prospects, including 14 who have NBA experience, have been selected to play in the seventh annual NBA D-League All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Sprint Arena at NBA All-Star Jam Session at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center. The game will air live on NBA TV at 3 p.m. ET.
Chosen to the NBA D-League All-Star Futures Team are Arinze Onuaku of the Canton Charge; Ron Howard of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants; Courtney Fortson of the Los Angeles D-Fenders; Micah Downs, Shelvin Mack (currently a member of the Philadelphia 76ers), DaJuan Summers and Chris Wright of the Maine Red Claws; Jerome Jordan and Marcus Landry of the Reno Bighorns; and Tulsa 66er Jeremy Lamb on assignment from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team will be led by Red Claws head coach Mike Taylor and his staff, who earned the trip to Houston by virtue of a 17-10 record and winning a head-to-head tiebreaker with Alex Jensen and the staff of the Charge, who had the same record through games of Jan. 27, for the League's second-best winning percentage
Selected to the NBA D-League All-Star Prospects Team, which is hosting the game, are Cory Joseph, on assignment from the San Antonio Spurs to the Austin Toros; Damion James and Jerel McNeal of the Bakersfield Jam; D.J. Kennedy and Henry Sims of the Erie BayHawks; James Mays of the Springfield Armor; Demetris Nichols of the Sioux Falls Skyforce; and Andrew Goudelock, Terrence Jones, on assignment from the Houston Rockets, and Tim Ohlbrecht of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Bakersfield head coach Will Voigt and his staff will helm the team based on having had the highest winning percentage with a 17-8 record in games played through Jan. 27.
"It's exciting to host 20 of the NBA's top young prospects as NBA D-League All-Stars in Houston," said Dan Reed, NBA D-League President. "The NBA D-League All-Star Game not only allows fans to watch future NBA players playing in a family friendly, fun atmosphere at NBA All-Star Jam Session, but it is an opportunity for these talented players to showcase their skills on basketball's biggest stage during NBA All-Star festivities."
The field of 20 players was selected by a vote of the NBA D-League's 16 head coaches and was broken into two teams by League officials. Players were eligible to be selected based on having played in half of their team's games through Jan. 27. Each player must be on an active NBA D-League roster at the time of the NBA D-League All-Star Game in order to compete.
Which NBA D-League Players Were Perhaps Snubbed As 2013 NBADL All-Stars?
Chris Wright - Iowa Energy Wright fell just two assists shy of a triple-double in the Energy's last contest against the Springfield Armor as the guard displayed his all-around versatility. On the season, Wright is averaging 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. He has eclipsed ten assists on three occasions this season, and leads the NBADL with 171 total assists. Wright is near the top of the D-League in terms of getting his teammates involved while also contributing in other areas out on the floor. The D-League boasts a large number of talented guards and Wright certainly deserves to be considered as a top-performing floor general in the D-League and worthy of an All-Star selection.
Tony Mitchell - Fort Wayne Mad Ants Mitchell is ranked 8th overall in points/rebounds/assists average at 25.3, and is coming fresh off his first 30-point game this season. Mitchell has averaged 16.4 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Mad Ants this season, and has been solid all year for Fort Wayne. He has similar numbers to All-Star Demetris Nichols, and now the same amount of 30-point games as Nichols. You could of gone either way with Nichols or Mitchell, as Nichols averages a better field goal percentage and points per game, yet Mitchell averaged more rebounds and less turnovers than Nichols. Regardless, Mitchell much like Nichols is having a great season and may of just missed out of an All-Star selection by a slim margin.
Brian Butch - Bakersfield Jam Butch is one of the most unique players in the NBA D-League and continues to provide the Jam with a skill set often hard to come by from a player of his size. Butch has 11 doubles-doubles on the year, and is averaging a very balanced 11.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per contest. Arinze Onuaku who was selected as an All-Star averages just .1 more rebounds than Butch, but trails him with 10 double-doubles. The difference between the two are the contributions in which Butch can provide elsewhere on the court. There is no doubt that Onuaku has been a beast on the glass and an impressive low-post talent, but Butch's ability to stretch the floor as a big man, along with his solid averages could of landed him with an All-Star bid.
Justin Dentmon - Austin Toros/Texas Legends The reigning league M-V-P surely could of added a 2013 All-Star selection to his D-League career highlights. Dentmon is averaging 18.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 37% from behind the 3-point line. Dentmon is still one of the most dangerous scoring guards in the NBA D-League and can also help out his team on the glass despite his size. Dentmon has only failed to score above double-digits in two contests this season, and his likely growing confidence within the Texas Legends lineup will continue to help the former University of Washington product increase his statistical totals. In any event, Dentmon's numbers and impact on the floor position him for possible All-Star consideration.
Ben Uzoh - Springfield Armor Uzoh's all-around game leads to him to a worthy mention on this list of All-Star snubs. Uzoh is ranked in the top-10 for total steals (42), but also contributes on the offensive end as well for the Armor. On the season, Uzoh is averaging 14.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. Uzoh is once again considered one of the best defensive guards in the NBADL, but has also demonstrated an offensive game to match his defensive abilities. Uzoh has had three different games in which he has tallied over 10 rebounds and two games where he dished out over 10 assists. Uzoh has had a triple-double in the Association, and his threat to do so on a nightly basis in the D-League earns him the right for an All-Star consideration.