D-League / Apr 9, 2009 / 9:31 am

Hot Hand List: The Top 10 D-League Players

DeMarcus Nelson

Around the Dime HQ, the weeks after March Madness are all about appreciating the passion of college ball, cheerleaders, Gus Johnson, and NBA projections. Around this time last year, opinions about Dukie DeMarcus Nelson‘s NBA future were mixed. But Nelson is proving doubters wrong now, as he’s tearing up the Development League and looks poised to get back to the big show.

DeMarcus is just one of our Top 10 Hottest Hands in the Development League…

10. Kurt Looby – Besides having one of the best names in the D-League, Looby is also perhaps the best shot blocker around. He’s currently leading the league with 2.4 blocks per night. The former U of Iowa standout has a monstrous wingspan, and is a pretty quick jumper, which enables him to get his hand on a ton of shots. If he’s able to boost his average from 5.7 points per game into double-figures, he could get a roster spot in the NBA.

9. Trey Gilder – An interesting prospect. Gilder isn’t putting up huge numbers, but he’s a key cog in the league-leading Colorado 14ers. He can do a number of things well – score (20 games of 15 points or more), get to the line (nine games with eight or more free throw attempts), and rebound (five double-digit rebound games in March alone). He’ll be eligible for the NBA draft in ’09. Though he still needs to improve his outside shot and add muscle, could he be the next Mike Taylor?

8. Richard Hendrix – At this time last year, Hendrix was outmuscling everyone in college ball, pretty much owning the paint every time he stepped on the floor. This year is no different in the Development League – he’s leading the league with 11.6 boards per night. At 6-9, 255 lbs., Hendrix is a bigger version of Big Baby, and perhaps a better rebounder. If he shows that he can consistently knock down 15 footers, he could end up finding a niche in the NBA similar to Udonis Haslem.

7. Chris Hunter – This 6-11 D-League all-star has recorded 19 double-doubles so far this year. A couple of weeks ago, Hunter gave a glimpse of his potential, thoroughly dominating the Austin Toros for 29 points and 12 boards (9 offensive). He’s done something on that level pretty much once a month all year.

6. Gary Forbes – Forbes is in elite company in UMass history. He and Julius Erving are the only two players to record 1,000 points in two season or less. Now the 6-7 forward is the picture of consistency. He’s good for 18 points and 8 boards pretty much every time he’s on the court. Forbes is the kind of player who gets his no matter what’s going on around him – on the road this year, he’s shooting 50.4% from the floor and a sky-high 47.6% from three.

5. Cedric Bozeman – We mentioned C-Boze in our last Hot Hand List, but he’s actually gotten even hotter since then. Aside from one 17-point game, Bozeman hasn’t finished with less than 22 points in a single outing this month. The rim must look like a hula hoop to him right now – he’s averaging 24.5 ppg in March, and he’s shooting it well from deep right now (50% 3FG in last four games).

4. Derrick Byars – Though he’s cooled off slightly in the last couple of weeks, Byars was so white-hot from three-point range during February it’s surprising that he didn’t get a call-up. During that month, he shot 50% from deep, making 26 treys in nine games (2.8 three’s per game). Even if his three’s haven’t been falling quite as consistently as of late, he’s still finding a way to score and be effective.

3. DeMarcus Nelson – The Golden State Warriors tried to have DeMarcus Nelson run the point at the beginning of the season. But he’s never played the one. He’s a slightly undersized two, who makes up for his height (6-4) with supreme strength and athleticism. Maybe Don Nelson would have been better off letting him play his natural position – just look what he did his last time out: 39 points (5 three’s), 6 boards, 4 assists.

2. Marcus Williams – It’s crazy to say this, but Marcus Williams puts up LeBron-numbers in the D-League. On March 4th, he went for 31 points, 11 boards and 7 assists. On March 10th, he put up 34 points, 10 assists and 8 boards. He was just called up to the Spurs – and he’ll stay there as long as he’s able to protect the rock. It felt like every time he went out in the Development League, he committed at least 4 TO’s. That’s too high.

1. Othyus Jeffers – Simply stupid athletic. Jeffers stands 6-5, 200 lbs., but check out some of his rebounding totals this month: he’s tallied games of 10, 16, 11, 13, 10, and 12 boards. And during that stretch, he’s been super efficient despite taking upwards of 15 shots per night. He’s converting at 50.2% from the floor during the month of March, and scoring 23 points per. So why haven’t you seen him in an NBA jersey just yet? He’s still a bit shaky from three-point range. But if he can work those kinks out, this kid is an NBA-caliber scorer.

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  • d

    Dope article. I’m always psyched to see Dime stay up on the up-and-coming dudes that are out there.

  • Thundersucks

    I know you guys are always giving him some shine, but its worth mentioning Will Conroy scored 53 points the other night, tying a D League record….

  • http://www.WeAllScheme.com Jeff

    dime, do you think G Forbes will get a call up from any team?

  • Patrick Cassidy

    @ Thundersucks:

    we know. we were thinking of giving him an honorable mention today, but we’ve had will conroy overload lately.

    - PC

  • Kobeef

    @Dime
    Did any of the guys on your last D-League list get called up to the NBA? What happened to Courtney Sims?

  • http://dime sure

    @kobeef

    The miserable Knicks. Him and Joe Crawford. We have to fire the scouting guys over there. Anthony Roberson, Mardy Collins, Gallinari. LOL. What are they thinking. If we pick this year who’s it going to be. Scottie Reynolds to play point LOL. We’re horrible and going nowhere fast. You know what would make the D-League popular. Players who make it w/o the political driven system. You should have a league with the best of the best outside the N.B.A. It would make for a much more entertaining stlye of play. Also you need some players who have a following. Would bring tons of real fans. Avg fans can’t afford a N.B.A. that’s your market right there. When the D-League had better players it didn’t have the exposure it has now. It’s time for younger execs, scouts, coaches. The game is changing. After a while everyone loses the passion. Shout Out to Erik Spoelstra doing a wonderful job with that horrible team. New Coach of the Year. If they had a PG they would’ve have a much better record. Still nobody want’s them in the playoffs. I support the D-league but some of the players that are highlighted are bad. Some players that belong cant get in because they dont have connections. Let’s fix that broken system as it is watering down the game. You know who and what I’m talking about. If your not good your just bad. I don’t care if your father or uncle owns the team. Everyone can tell. The Dreams of people who really deserve a chance are taken or put on a hold sometimes way to long. Sometimes they’re never given a chance.

  • Paul

    No Will Conroy? Come on Dime…dude went for 53 pts 6 reb 6 stl and 5 ast last night. Not to mention his averages of 26.5 ppg 4.8 rpg and 7.9 apg. It really blows me away this guy hasn’t made it to something more than a 10 day contract.

  • http://www.toptentopten.com/ Vince

    This is a really great top ten list. I think Cedric Bozeman has the best chance to make the jump to the NBA because he can flat out shot the ball. Actually I’m surprised no one has picked him up yet. Anyone can post their own list to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.