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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Breaking Down D-League Rosters Pt. 15 : Texas Legends

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 fifteen of this series I'll be taking a look at this year's Texas Legends.

Texas finished last season at 24-26, a record identical to their inaugural season but this time it wasn't good enough to secure a playoff spot.  The Mavericks affiliate open up training camp with a couple of allocated players with NBA experience.  Melvin Ely was the WAC Player of the Year as both a junior & senior at Fresno State before being drafted 12th overall in the 2002 NBA draft by the Clippers.  He has 8 years and 373 games under his belt heading into this season.  His last stint in the NBA came with Denver during the 2010-11 season when he played 30 games.  Last season he played just 5 games in Puerto Rico for Guayama.  He'll be joined by a 2008 Consensus All-American out of Memphis.  Small forward Chris Douglas-Roberts was the 40th pick in the 2008 NBA draft by New Jersey.  He played 111 games during his first two seasons with the Nets before heading to Milwaukee for 44 games in the 2010-11 season.  He spent last year in Italy with Bologna and averaged 12.4 pts & 3.0 reb per contest.

CDR with Bologna
The Legends also spent their first two draft picks on ex-NBAers.  They used their 8th overall pick on Congolese small forward Christian Eyenga.  Eyenga was drafted 30th in 2009 by Cleveland and spent the next season in Spain playing for Joventut.  He joined the Cavaliers in 2010-11 and played in 44 games while also being assigned to Erie for 15 games.  He began last season back with Joventut before returning to split time between the Cavs & Lakers, amassing just 7 games of NBA experience.  He received four separate D-League assignments to Canton & L.A. where he combined to average 10.7 pts & 4.6 reb in 18 games.  He went to training camp with the Orlando Magic before being waived and entering the D-League draft.  The second round pick went to point guard Sean Singletary.  He was named All-ACC 1st Team in his last 3 years at Virginia before being drafted by Sacramento with the 42nd pick in 2008.  He played 38 NBA games in his first two professional seasons with Phoenix & Charlotte while also receiving a 3 game assignment with Sioux Falls.  He took off to Spain to play for Caja Laboral after that before ending up with Mons-Hainaut in Belgium last year.

1st rd pick Christian Eyenga
Two players return from last year's squad including guard Chris Roberts.  After graduating from Bradley in 2010, Roberts began his career in the D-League with Idaho.  Texas claimed him off waivers and he's been with the team ever since.  He appeared in 35 games last year and averaged 12.0 pts & 4.2 reb.  He then spent the summer in Mexico with Fuerza Regia where he put up 15.5 pts & 4.5 reb in 28 more games.  Ex-Cincinnati center Ibrahima Thomas spent his rookie year with the Legends last year to the tune of 6.8 pts & 4.2 reb in 16 games.

High Point rook Shay Shine
Texas grabbed guard Shay Shine in round three.  The rookie from High Point averaged 15.6 pts & 5.4 reb last year before trying out with Monthey in Switzerland.  The Legends acquired another 3rd round pick, Faisal Aden, in a post-draft trade with Santa Cruz in which they gave up Dominique Johnson.  Aden is a shooting guard from Washington State that averaged 14.5 pts last season before spending some pre-season time with Leuven in Belgium.  4th round pick Darryl Bryant was All-Big East 3rd Team last year for West Virginia.  The shooting guard averaged 16.9 points per game during the season.  Jefferson Mason was the Northern Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 for division two Minnesota State when he averaged 15.9 pts & 8.2 reb.  The guard/forward spent last season in Germany's 2nd division with Finke Baskets and averaged 17.1 pts & 6.7 reb.

Faisal Aden at Washington State
Anthony Vereen was also shipped out after the draft in exchange for Tulsa's 6th round choice Solomon Bozeman.  The guard averaged 16.5 pts as a senior at Arkansas-Little Rock en route to earning the 2011 Sun Belt Player of the Year.  He played 12 games for the Toros last year before his world tour took him to Macedonia & Estonia before finally landing in Israel.  He played 11 games for 2nd division team Hapoel Yokneam/Megido and averaged 18.7 points per game.  The Legends sent their own 6th round pick to Canton for a pair of 2012 draft picks, Assane Sene (rd 6) & Vernon Lewis (rd 8).  Sene is a project seven-footer from Senegal who just graduated from Virginia.  Lewis just graduated from NAIA school Paul Quinn where he averaged 9.5 pts, 12.4 reb, 2.5 stl & 2.4 blk last season.  Texas selected power forward Billy McShepard in the 7th round.  McShepard averaged 9.8 pts & 8.6 reb in 2011, his senior year with division two Valdosta State.  He spent his rookie campaign with Sioux Falls and put up 9.0 pts & 6.6 reb in 16 games.

Dunk Champion Kenny Dobbs nabbed in 8th round
Texas spent their eighth round pick on Kenny Dobbs.  Dobbs is best known for winning the Sprite Slam Dunk contest during the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend.  The man who has never played organized basketball has off-the-charts athleticism, most notably his 48 inch vertical.  The 6'3" guard is part of the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans who grew up in the Phoenix area.  His inspiring story is too long for me to recap here but is best discussed in this article.  The final member of the Legends comes via tryout in the form of forward Darius Rice.  Rice graduated from Miami in 2004 and spent his rookie year in the D-League with the Florida Flame.  After a year away, he returned to help lead the 2006-07 Dakota Wizards to the D-League title where he earned Finals MVP honors.  He has bounced around the world since then and spent last season in Bahrain with Al Manama.

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