Morris Almond Earns Inaugural D-League Impact Player of the Year Award
April 12, 2008 - NBA G League (G League) News Release
NEW YORK, April 12, 2008 - Utah Jazz rookie guard Morris Almond has been named as the first NBA Development League Impact Player of the Year for his contributions to the Utah Flash during three assignments in the D-League this season as voted on by the D-League's 14 head coaches. Almond will be presented with his award by Shawn Respert, the D-League's Director of Basketball Operations, at the Flash's last home game tonight in Orem, Utah. "It's always tough to come into a new situation with guys you weren't in camp with, and it's even tougher to come back and forth three times," said Utah Flash head coach Brad Jones. "Even though we do things very similar to what the Jazz do, continually having to make that adjustment and still be an impact player takes a special talent. Morris has not only handled that with aplomb, but as evidenced by his stats, has truly had a huge impact on not only our team, but the league as well. We are all aware of his scoring records, but his consistency in that area is often overlooked. It's not easy scoring 30 points in more than 10 games no matter what league you're playing in, but especially in one as tough as the D-League."
Given to a player who joins a D-League team following the start of the season, the Impact Player of the Year award honors an athlete who made the greatest contribution following his in-season acquisition. Almond, who has played 33 games (31 starts) with the Flash this season, is averaging a league-leading 25.1 points on 44 percent shooting from the field, to go with 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 37.0 minutes. Almond has scored in double-figures in 30 games. In nine games with the Jazz this season, Almond averaged 1.4 points and 4.3 minutes.
Almond secured his place in the D-League record books when he broke the league single-game scoring record with a 53-point performance on Jan. 30 at Bakersfield. Earlier in the season, Almond tied Clay Tucker's previous D-League best 51 points with his own 51-point outing against Austin. To date, Almond is the only player who has scored 50 or more points in a game this season and the only player to twice record two games with 50 or more points in the same campaign.
"Morris has earned this honor and we are happy for him," said Kevin O'Connor, Utah Jazz general manager. "When we had him at the beginning of the year, he wasn't getting to play as much as we had wanted him to or he had wanted to. He got a chance to go to the D-League and he took it as being able to use that to improve his game. He didn't look at it as a demotion. He looked at it as an opportunity. Obviously he's responded to that and he's been successful in doing it."
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