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DakotaWizardsFan 01-25-2007 05:44 PM

Team Thread- Dakota Wizards
Alright Eric, there's an Albuquerque Thunderbirds team thread so we need ours now.

I don't know what all to talk about right now so I'll just give my input on every player and give a miniature version of my stats sheet by ordering the players by efficiency per 48 minutes.

1. Rod Benson (33.42857143)
I really enjoy watching Rod play. He's currently the most exciting player on the team in my opinion with Renaldo gone. He needs to improve some things, but his field goal percentage is amazing (74.19354839% on 31 shot attempts).

2. Dontell Jefferson (26.66666667)
At the beginning of the season I thought he'd be the one to go if a better player was available for signing, but now I think Dontell is one of our better players. Stat-wise he is way better than Maurice Baker at point. He needs to improve with turnovers and rookie mistakes, but if he keeps playing like he has, I expect him to make an NBA roster in the next couple of years.

3. Quemont Greer (26.19607843)
What can I even say about Quemont? He is simply amazing. With Justin gone, we needed someone to step up and he did. Then, with Renaldo leaving, he stepped up even more. I can't see why the NBA doesn't want him. The arc on his shot is so high that he could hit the moon, figuratively speaking of course, but it works so that's all that matters.

4. Kevin Lyde (24.42105263)
Statistically Kevin is a good player, but sometimes I cannot stand watching him. It seems his only post move is backing down his defender and using his weight to his advantage. Plus, he has a major foul problem, which has been bad when we've been shorthanded. Some things are impressive though. He shoots well up close, he's a good rebounder, and an outstanding blocker, not as good as Justin, though, in that aspect.

5. Curtis Stinson (22.85714286)
At the beginning of his first and only game so far, Curtis did not impress me. However, as the game progressed, I was very impressed with him. I'm concerned with the number of rookies we have currently (3, 4 if Justin comes back and all 3 other rookies stay), but I believe that we have some very talented rookies who could make it to the NBA in the next couple of years. I cannot say much about him yet since he's only played one game so I'll leave it at this.

6. James Maye (21.48837209)
James's stats don't show him as playing well, but I think that he is. He is for sure playing better than he did last year. Obviously the thing with him that I love is his free throws. When the game is on the line, he hardly ever misses. That one game recently (versus Fort Worth maybe?) he missed towards the end of the game, but one exception isn't changing my mind. I think what is holding his efficiency back is that he doesn't have spectacular numbers in blocks, steals, rebounds, or assists. The numbers certainly aren't horrible, but they aren't going to put him near our top efficiency players.

7. Alfred Neale (17.4814815)
It's really hard for me to judge Alfred's performance this season since his minutes are limited, but I'll try. He doesn't really stand out when he's playing, but he does the things that are needed to be done by him. He has good per 48-minute numbers in steals, turnovers, and rebounds, which are very important numbers obviously, especially with Justin and Renaldo gone.

8. Maurice Baker (15.50259067)
I really feel bad for Maurice. His stats just aren't showing his skills and the problem is that his skills are NBA-level. If he would have rested his ankle longer instead of returning to the Wizards at the start of the season, he could be 100% now, but since he's been playing around 29 minutes a game on a hurt ankle, he's not at 100%. However, I feel that it's been very important for our team to have him play even though his stats are not good. He is definitely a great playmaker and leader. The problem right now is that he cannot use his incredible speed, which is what made him such a threat last year.

9. Geoff Husted (14.86725664)
Now I understand that Geoff is coming back from an injury also, but his play has been unacceptable in my mind. His field goal percentage is appalling (36.58536585%) and just watching him play makes me wish he was recovering from his injury instead of playing. He is not getting up and down the court fast enough either. I was actully glad when he got ejected in our home loss versus Fort Worth because I could not stand watching him play any longer while players like Rod were on the bench.

10. Tremaine Fowlkes (-11.0769231)
No, that negative efficiency is not a joke. Tremaine had a horrible first game and a horrible first impression. I know he can be a good player because he's been playing for a long time and he's got plenty of NBA experience. If he's still around with Renaldo and maybe Justin coming back, I'm expecting him to play better, which will not be hard.

That's my two cents on our team right now. Actully, that's more like a dollar than two cents, but you know what I mean.

And make sure to vote for All-Stars. I'd keep voting for Renaldo and Justin since Renaldo is coming back and Justin might come back. I've been voting for only two players in the West (Jeff Graves and Shawn Daniels) and four players in the East (Renaldo, Justin, James, and Quemont with an occasional throw-in of Maurice, Dontell, and Kevin so they get some votes).

So how do you think we'll do on Saturday in Fort Worth. I think we can win if we stop Pops Mensah-Bonsu from controlling the boards and if we stop Jose Barea from driving to the lane, which either ends in him scoring or him kicking it out to a teammate along the perimeter who makes a shot.

USBasket_EricE 01-27-2007 06:56 PM

Looks like there might be a chance for the Wizards in Fort Worth tonight. Jeremy Richardson, a major part of the Flyers team, got the call to the Atlanta Hawks and a "Major" part of the Wizards team is back (but Husted is gone). I still don't understand why Pops and Jose are not back in the NBA yet, but then again, it's tough to be from a team (Mavs) that's a championship contender with the players they've already got. The Wizards have had a week to rest so hopefully they saved all their energy for this weekend series. I'm glad the games are on the road this weekend because I've been under the weather for the past few days and I know I wouldn't feel like going to the games if they were here. Nothing serious, just a nagging cold.

Quemont Greer and Renaldo Major definitely deserve a spot on the East All-Star Team. As for the West, I've been voting for mostly Idaho players. Justin Williams and Andre Brown are in the NBA for good, so they really should be removed from the ballot, along with Jerome Beasley. Actually, there are quite a few players that should be removed now that I look at it better. Some players have been gone for awhile. Well, best of luck to the Wizards.

Where has Idaho come from? They've been nearly unstoppable since their horrible start. Luckily the Wizards have really been the only team that's been able to stop them (2-0). The Flyers broke the big streak, but then they lost the next night. I would really like to see a rematch of the 2004 CBA Championship this year with the Wizards competing against the Stampede for the D-League title. Wouldn't that be something?

In case someone didn't know, the play-offs are formatted like this: The first place teams in each division at the end of the season would automatically play for the division championship. The second and third place teams play a loser-out game to see who would advance to the division finals. The division finals are also loser-out games. The winners from each division would then play a winner-take-all D-League Championship game. I kinda like the idea that the play-offs aren't very long. In the CBA they always had best-of-5 or best-of-3 series' and that always took money out of the pockets. Then again, if the "better team" had a really off-night, they could always make it up in the next games. There's no second chance here.

I wish each team in the league had their own forum linked from their official websites. There were so many members when the Wizards had their own. Too bad the D-League is picky when it comes to team sites.

Well, go Wizards and good luck in Fort Worth!

DakotaWizardsFan 01-27-2007 07:20 PM

Yeah, we do have a good chance tonight. We just need to stop Barea and Mensah-Bonsu now that Richardson is gone. Ane hopefully the trio of Major, Greer, and Maye (along with some of the other players contributing of course) can dominate.

I guess it's time for my all-star voting to look like this:
Renaldo Major
James Maye
Quemont Greer
Kevin Lyde (not going to happen but he's our only forward besides Greer on the ballot)

I've been wondering the same: where did Idaho come from? They are really scaring me right now. However, CJ Miles and Mouhamed Sene have been recalled so that should hurt them quite a bit. I still expect them to stay around the top of their division though. I think a big part of their success has been Jeff Graves. At least according to his stats, he's their best player probably. I just wish he would have made that kind of contribution when he was a Wizard.

I'm not a huge fan of the playoff system. I never liked the CBA winner-take-all championship game even though it worked out for us. Well, besides that the game was in Rockford because of curling. I don't like single-elimination ever. I can see where it could be a good thing, but if your team is the best in the league, it's very unfair. You could go undefeated the entire season (and I know, that's not going to happen in the D-League) and then make it to the championship game and then lose. Now you would obviously be the best team in the league, but you aren't the champions.

¡Vamos Wizards!

DakotaWizardsFan 01-28-2007 12:48 PM

Does anyone know what happened to Quemont Greer? He only played 13:16 according to the D-League box score. My mom was listening on the radio and she heard something about a player being carried off the court and that Quemont was a part of it, but she doesn't know if it was Quemont that was hurt or if he was one of the players carrying the player of the court.

USBasket_EricE 01-28-2007 04:12 PM

I listened to the game last night, but evidently not close enough. I have no idea what happened. Quemont hasn't played yet in today's game either, so something must have happened. Not good!

DakotaWizardsFan 01-28-2007 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by USBasket_EricE (Post 32922)
I listened to the game last night, but evidently not close enough. I have no idea what happened. Quemont hasn't played yet in today's game either, so something must have happened. Not good!

Definitely not good. We're having a hard time finding a way to score without him. 60 points in the 3rd quarter is not good at all. I hope it's just a minor thing and he'll be able to play on the 31st or whenever our next game is.

It looks like we'll be giving up first place. :( Hopefully we can get back into the lead before all-star coaches are announced because Joerger deserves the spot.

USBasket_EricE 01-28-2007 05:41 PM

Sounds like Greer took an elbow yesterday and needed like 6 stitches. I didn't hear where he was hurt, but they said he was injured and on the bench. Did Mo Baker get ejected at the end of the game? I couldn't tell what was going on. They were saying something about Joerger and then they said Greer was escorting Baker off the court so I got confused.

I'm starting to hate the Flyers more than the Skyforce now. Sucks losing to a team three times in a row. C'mon Mavericks! Hurry up and recall Pops and JJ!!!!!

DakotaWizardsFan 01-28-2007 07:53 PM


Originally Posted by USBasket_EricE (Post 32930)
Sounds like Greer took an elbow yesterday and needed like 6 stitches. I didn't hear where he was hurt, but they said he was injured and on the bench. Did Mo Baker get ejected at the end of the game? I couldn't tell what was going on. They were saying something about Joerger and then they said Greer was escorting Baker off the court so I got confused.

I'm starting to hate the Flyers more than the Skyforce now. Sucks losing to a team three times in a row. C'mon Mavericks! Hurry up and recall Pops and JJ!!!!!

Yea, I think Mo got ejected. I was on the computer and my mom was listening to the game on the radio in the kitchen so I could faintly hear the game. I heard something about Greer escorting him off also so that must have been what happened.

I can't stand the Flyers either. They're making us look like a horrible team, which we are not. And yes, the Mavericks need to recall Pops and JJ. I bet you they do now that we are done playing the Flyers. That would be just our luck.

This kind of situation would normally put me in panic mode, but since Greer was out for 1 1/2 of these Flyers games and everyone made somewhat of a contribution, I'm not that worried.

The difference came down to three pointers. We were 4-11 and the Flyers were 11-21. Every other statistical category was about equal for both teams. And then I guess you could say that Barea killed us again.

I should probably point out some positives and negatives individually for us.

20 points- definitely a positive
4 turnovers- not the worst number ever, but this number should be lower
7-18 shooting- could be a bit higher, but I'm not worried

11 points- for him that's a good sign; hopefully his points keep going up now
5 fouls & an ejection- not good at all

22 points- very good
6-6 from the line- he just doesn't miss them
5 fouls- for him this is actully an okay thing since it's showing that he is playing more aggressively

15 points- a bit lower than his average, but the good contribution nonetheless
7 rebounds- not overly amazing, but good anyways

5 fouls- in 15:41 minutes; ouch!

14 points & 10 rebounds- double-double; I'm really liking his play as of late
6 fouls- not such a big deal because of the above stat

10 points- finally he's contributing a bit
6 rebounds- not bad for 23:49 minutes played

17:05 minutes- I'm assuming he didn't play as much since Mo had an okay game
10 points- good for the limited playing time

7 points & rebounds- in 15:10 minutes so nothing to worry about here either

DNP- hopefully he'll be ready to go on Wednesday; if not, someone will need to step up like Quemont had been doing

7 of 9 guys playing had double-doubles = nothing to worry about

We just need to find that chemistry we had and we'll be alright hopefully.

Dang, that was kind of long. :)

DakotaWizardsFan 01-29-2007 09:25 PM

[QUOTE=USBasket_EricE;32930]Did Mo Baker get ejected at the end of the game? I couldn't tell what was going on. They were saying something about Joerger and then they said Greer was escorting Baker off the court so I got confused.[QUOTE]

Here's your answer from the Fort Worth newspaper:

"The teams went back and forth late in the fourth quarter, but Pops Mensah-Bonsu put back a Chris Copeland miss to put Fort Worth up for good with 31 seconds left. It was one of Mensah-Bonsu's game-high 16 rebounds.

Dakota's Curtis Stinson then ran into Barea on his way to the basket and was called for charging.

Corey Santee followed with a short jumper as he was fouled to give Fort Worth a 117-113 lead. Rod Benson fouled out on the play, and the Wizards' Maurice Baker was given a technical foul for complaining to the officials.

Baker earned a second technical seconds later and was ejected. Barea hit both technical-foul free throws, and Santee also made his to make it 120-113."

DakotaWizardsFan 01-29-2007 09:28 PM

I found this article abour Rocky Walls from last year's team and I just thought I post it:

"CBA -- Walls prepared for life after basketball

Perhaps the hardest thing for a professional athlete to do is look past their playing days.

To start making preparations for the time when sports will no longer pay the bills.

Rocky Walls falls into that group -- but not because he lacks foresight. ANDY SAWYER/Yakima Herald-Republic

Rocky Walls drives to the basket against Butte on Jan. 8 in the SunDome.

You see, Walls isn't thinking about his future plans; he's already done something about them.

Walls, along with his mother and sister, have started a business, Home Health Care, where they send out nurses and physical therapists to homes, in the Dallas area, and plan to expand to Miami in the near future.

"I thought it was something we could do on our own," said the 30-year-old Walls, noting that his mother Erica White, and sister Angela Masters have both worked in that field for the past "10 to 15 years."

That's a prime reason why Walls returned to the Yakama Sun Kings for the first time since his rookie season in 1998-99 after a vagabond career outside the U.S. in recent years.

"I didn't want to go overseas. I have a lot of things going on," said Walls, adding that he also got married a year and a half ago and has two daughters.

"It's kind of tough," he said of helping with the business. "I stay on the phone a lot and we communicate through e-mail and fax.

"That's why I knew it would good for me to be in the states (this season). If something comes up, it's easy for me to come home."

Of course the other reason Walls chose the Sun Kings (he played for the Dakota Wizards last season), was the opportunity to reunite with Paul Woolpert, his first pro coach.

"I wanted to play," he said, "but just not for any coach."

Needless to say, Woolpert didn't hesitate to welcome him back.

"Aside from getting a little older, as we all do ... he's still a great defender and rebounder," Woolpert said of the rangy 6-foot-8 forward from Oral Roberts University who has led the Sun Kings in both rebounds and blocked shots seven times in the 15 games he's played this season.

In some ways, Walls might be even a little better today than his first Sun Kings tour because of the experience he's gained in between Yakima stops, Woolpert said.

"He understands what's expected of him and goes out there and does it," Woolpert said. "He's one of those guys I never have to worry about. I know he'll come to the gym and go about his business."

"As a rookie, I was just playing. Now, I still go out and play, but I understand situations better," said Walls, who has provided valuable leadership to Yakama's younger players.

"Over the years, you learn a lot and I try to teach the young guys," he said. "I tell them, but I also let them go through things on their own ... but you make sure they don't fall too hard. That's how the veterans treated me.

"I don't say, 'do this, do that'. I never liked that, and now I try to let them learn on their own."

Hoping to combine all those assets into a package that will catch the eye of an NBA team is another reason Walls stayed home this season, because while still an extremely effective player, his business and family interests are reminders that the NBA window is closing.

"I always want to explore all my options," said Walls, who has played overseas in at least five different countries since his first tour with the Sun Kings.

Even though Walls doesn't post big offensive numbers, his specialized talents make him the prototypical role player that NBA teams are seeking from the minor leagues.

"In the CBA, he, as much as anyone, has an NBA game because of that," Woolpert said of Walls' rebounding and defensive skills. "He'll do exactly what he's asked, and not try to do anything more. He's the type of player who cleans up a lot of messes. He sees situations on the floor defensively and is always in great help position."

"It helps," Walls said of his ability to bring specific skills to a team. "You look on every NBA team and they have eight guys who can score 20-plus points, but they only need two per night, so the other six have to learn roles. Players from here are usually going to fill a void. They don't need a scorer."

Even though time has become Walls' biggest foe, his recent endeavors off the court have provided a rejuvenating effect, particularly at home where he and wife Melody are enjoying their 1 1/2-year-old daughter Sni, and 10-year-old Dominique.

"It's fun. I get a chance to act like a kid again. It keeps me young," said Walls, who doesn't have a specific timetable for leaving the game. "As long as everything is good and my body is fine, I'll play as long as I feel a love for the game. When I don't have that love, then it's time to move on."

Rest assured, Walls will be ready when that day arrives."

I am subscribed to Yahoo! Alerts about the Wizards so I get articles all of the time like this.

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