Monday, November 5, 2012

Breaking Down D-League Rosters Pt. 1 : Austin Toros

This past Friday marked the 2012 D-League draft while each team also released their training camp rosters a few days earlier.  Teams can currently carry 17 players on their training camp rosters.  That number will be whittled down to 10 by November 21st at 5pm eastern time.  There were a bevy of trades on Monday which lead to today's current rosters.  In part one of this series I'll be taking a look at this year's Austin Toros.

The Toros are one of a record eleven teams that are directly controlled by a sole NBA team, in this case the San Antonio Spurs.  They will be lead by the return of last season's MVP Justin Dentmon, a 27 year old point guard out of the University of Washington.  After averaging 22.8 pts, 5.5 ast & 3.7 reb per contest he was called up in late March by San Antonio and then in early April by the Raptors.  He returned in time to help Austin secure their first ever D-League title before ending the year with a cup of coffee with Italian powerhouse EA7 Milano.  He spent the summer league with Dallas but somehow wasn't invited to a NBA training camp.

2011-12 D-League MVP Justin Dentmon

Joining Dentmon in the backcourt is a player who was been on the fringe of getting back to the NBA for a few years now, Kyle Weaver.  The 38th pick in the 2008 NBA draft split time between Iowa & Austin during the 2010-11 season and received a call up by the Utah Jazz where he saw 5 games of action including a 19 point performance against Sacramento in early April.  He then headed to Europe to end the year playing 11 games with Belgian champions Spirou.  He spent the entirety of the 2011-12 season in Germany with ALBA Berlin where he also saw action in the Eurocup.  He played in the summer league with both Miami & Utah before joining Memphis for training camp.

Kyle Weaver last year with ALBA Berlin

Another familiar name is 6-year NBA veteran Luther Head.  Head was last seen during the 2010-11 season when he played 36 games for the Sacramento Kings before being waived late in the season.  He signed in China with Jiangsu during last year's lockout but injured his ankle and never made it onto the court.  The former first round pick now looks to revitalize his career with the Toros at age 29.  JaMychal Green, a rookie forward out of Alabama, went undrafted in this year's NBA draft.  During his junior season he was named 1st team All-SEC while making 2nd team honors in his senior year.  He was very consistent during his last 3 college season averaging between 14.0-15.5 points and 7.2-7.5 rebounds per contest.  He was with the Spurs during summer league and was picked up late in training camp by San Antonio to ensure his allocation to Austin.
JaMychal Green begins his career
Aubrey Coleman went undrafted in 2010 after a great college career at Houston.  He started his rookie season in Turkey with Aliaga Petkim while averaging 16.6 points per in 9 games before leaving to join Austin where he put up 13.4 points in 34 games.  Last season he headed to Italy to play for Angelico Biella.  There he led the team with 18.2 points per game and was joined by ex-Kansas State star Jacob Pullen as well as two former draft picks whose draft rights are still held by NBA teams, Tadija Dragicevic & Albert Miralles.  He played for the Mavericks during summer league before joining Czech team CEZ Nymburk for 3 contests.  Former UAB guard Jamarr Sanders returns for his second season with Austin after playing 43 games last year. He started in 17 of those games while providing efficient scoring including 42% from downtown.

Tyler Wilkerson
Two players who were on the Spurs training camp roster this year are Tyler Wilkerson and Wesley Witherspoon.  Wilkerson joins Austin after starring with Maccabi Haifa in Israel last season to the tune of 16.2 points & 6.7 rebounds per game.  Witherspoon went undrafted out of Memphis and his numbers dipped after his sophomore season when he was named 3rd team All-CUSA.

Last year's Toros with their championship trophy

Austin traded this season's 1st round pick Toure Murry to Rio Grande Valley for Patrick Sullivan.  Sullivan also played last season in Israel but with Hapoel Holon.  Tre Kelley played 11 games for Austin last season before journeying to the IBL, the Italian 2nd division & Venezuela.

Patrick Sullivan w/ Hapoel Holon
The picks Austin did keep including 3rd rounder Andrew Lovedale, a forward who averaged 10.8 points & 6.3 boards per game for 2nd division French team Quimper last year.  Maurice McNeil, a 6'9" forward out of Houston, was picked in the 4th round.  He spent the early part of last season in the Spanish LEB Gold with Huesca.  Undrafted rookie forward Alexis Wangmene comes from Texas after being selected in round 5 and seeing time with the Spurs during summer league.  Sixth round pick Jazwyn Cowan is a 6'8 forward from Hampton University who has spent the majority of his last few years playing in Argentina & Mexico.  P.J. Alawoya was taken in round 7 and hails from McNeese State.  He spent last season in Germany's 2nd division putting up solid numbers with the Saar-Pfalz Braves.  Justin R. Johnson, from Iowa, spent last season in Canada and had previous stints in China, Japan & Romania in recent years.
Rookie Alexis Wangmene

The final roster member came via tryout.  Center Anthony Thompson just graduated from Bradley where he played in a reserve role.  While he's definitely a project, he stands at 6 feet 11 inches so that certainly won't hurt his chances.

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