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Monday, November 12, 2012

Breaking Down D-League Rosters Pt. 11 : Rio Grande Valley Vipers

November 2nd 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 post-draft trades which lead to today's current rosters.  In part eleven of this series I'll be taking a look at this year's Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

The Houston Rockets affiliate RGV Vipers are packed with talent this season.  They finished 5th in the West last year but things are certainly looking up.  They began the season with a pre-draft trade that sent Jerel McNeal to Austin for shooting guard James Anderson.  Anderson was the 20th pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the Spurs after being named the 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year and a Consensus 2nd Team All-American.  He played 77 games off the bench in the last two years including two assignments with the Toros over that stretch.  He was released after playing for the Spurs' summer league team and eventually was cut from Atlanta's training camp roster.

Former 1st rd pick James Anderson
After a few trades, Damian Saunders is the only player to return from last year's team.  The 2010 & 2011 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year began his career in Germany & Hungary last year before settling in with the Vipers.  He went on to average 10.6 pts, 6.6 reb, 2.3 blk & 2.0 stl in 29 games.  Jeff Adrien also returns to RGV after a year away.  After leading UConn to a final four in his 2009 senior season, Adrien began his career in Spain.  He averaged 18.3 pts & 11.4 reb in 2010-11 between Erie & RGV while earning a call-up to the Warriors where he saw 23 games of action.  During the lockout he played with Benetton Treviso in Italy and returned to the NBA to join the Rockets.  He played 8 games before being released and finished the year in Russia with Khimki.  He was a member of the Bobcats for training camp this year but was released prior to the start of the regular season.

Jeff Adrien with Golden State
RGV's aforementioned trades gave them 3 of the top 15 picks in this year's draft.  The Vipers own selection came at number 7 and they selected Chris Johnson, a rookie forward from Dayton.  Johnson averaged 12.4 pts & 6.4 rebounds as a senior and was MVP of the N.I.T. back in 2010.  He spent summer league with Philly & attended training camps with the Clippers & the Magic.  Ben Uzoh was sent to Springfield for German center Tim Ohlbrecht.  Ohlbrecht is a raw, athletic big man with good vision and excellent shot-blocking skills.  He spent last season with the Fraport Skyliners after a couple seasons with Telekom Bonn.  Patrick Sullivan was traded to Austin for Wichita State forward Toure Murry.  Murry averaged 12.2 pts, 4.7 & 3.3 ast last year and was named to the MVC All-Defensive Team for the 2nd time in 3 years.  He spent the summer league with the Lakers.

Rookie Chris Johnson
The Rockets allocated the maximum three training camp cuts to the Vipers this year starting with point guard Demetri McCamey.  McCamey put up 14.7 pts & 6.1 ast in his senior season at Illinois two years ago.  He began his rookie campaign in Turkey with Mersin before moving to Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem where he averaged 7.6 pts in 13 games.  University of Arizona rookie Kyle Fogg joins as well.  He averaged 13.5 pts as a senior and was named to the 1st Team All-Pac 12 as well as to the Pac 12 All-Defensive Team.  Ex-UCLA power forward Reeves Nelson is the final member to be allocated.  Nelson averaged 13.9 pts & 9.0 rebounds as a sophomore before being dismissed from the team 6 games into his junior year.  He lasted 5 weeks in Lithuania with Zalgiris before being released as well.  He was invited to the Lakers summer league team and training camp before being released and scooped up by the Rockets.

Demetri McCamey w/ Hapoel Jerusalem
DeVon Hardin, the 50th pick by Seattle in 2008, was selected by the Vipers in round 2.  Hardin spent his rookie season in Greece, Turkey & in the D-League with Tulsa.  He then spent the next two years in Israel, Belarus & Venezuela.  He played 15 games in China for Hong Kong to the tune of 24.0 points & 16.3 rebounds before OKC renounced his rights in late October making him eligible for the D-League draft.  2011 Texas Tech grad Mike Singletary went in round 3.  He began his rookie season in Belgium before heading to Uruguay & Montenegro.  He finished the year with Mornar Bar and averaged 8.2 pts & 4.6 reb. The Vipers second pick in the 3rd round went to rookie guard Matt Dickey.  He averaged 16.1 points last year for UNC-Asheville on his way to being named Big South Player of the Year.

DeVon Hardin in his Cal days
Glen Rice Jr. was selected in round four.  He averaged 13.1 pts & 6.7 reb as a junior at Georgia Tech last year and gave up his final year of eligibility to begin his pro career.  He will be auto-eligible for the 2013 NBA draft.  Forward Dominique Ferguson was taken in the 5th round.  He averaged 8.7 pts & 6.2 rebounds as a sophomore at Florida International and went undrafted as an early entry candidate.  Former Oregon guard Tajuan Porter was selected in the 6th round.  He spent his rookie campaign in both Canada & France before spending last year with Neuchatel in Switzerland.  In round 7 the Vipers took guard Lamb Autrey from division two St. Mary's in Texas.  He averaged 12.3 points per game in his senior season.  8th round pick Evan Matteson is a 6'10" center from division two Texas A&M-International.  He put up 12.4 pts & 6.9 reb in his senior season before playing 4 games in the IBL prior to the draft.

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