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 Sioux Falls Skyforce

Skyforce Update: Road Trips and Call-Ups

March 16, 2024 - NBA G League (G League)
Sioux Falls Skyforce News Release

Sioux Falls last played at home on February 10th before finally returning home March 10th. A full month on the road that included highs and lows, call-ups, hardships, and game-winners.

On February 22nd, the first day back from the All-Star break, Force forward Justin Champagnie signed a 10-day deal with the Washington Wizards. In his first action with the Wizards, Justin showed why he earned the spot scoring seven points on 100% shooting from the field.

The Force played in El Segundo, CA against the South Bay Lakers on February 22nd, where the team was looking to rely on new talent and players in expanded roles with Champagnie's departure and Jamaree Bouyea and Brandon McCoy nursing injuries. Just seven minutes into the game guard Josh Christopher tweaked his ankle causing him to miss the rest of the game as well.

Despite losing the hard-fought battle 108-113, many players showed promise in their expanded roles. 19-year-old Bryson Warren played all 48 minutes scoring 21 points, newly acquired guard Olin Carter III added 20 points and nine rebounds in 43 minutes and Caleb Daniels continued a string of good performances scoring 22 points, adding eight rebounds and seven assists, as well as Malik Williams putting together a big 15-point, 18-rebound game.

"Caleb Daniels has been someone who has been a bench player, he's been a starter, he's had games where he hasn't played or hasn't played a lot of minutes so just having him stay the course and be ready for us, I think he stepped up to be one of those guys. Malik Williams is another guy who is top of the league in rebounding, so he's stepped up his game as well." - Kasib Powell

The Skyforce returned to get their revenge against the Lakers just five days later. With the likes of Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and Jamaree Bouyea available for the Force, they found themselves in a tie game with just two seconds left. With all eyes on Cain, Swider and Bouyea, who had combined for 83 points in the game, Coach Powell drew up a sideline out of bounds play for Caleb Daniels to catch a backside alley-oop. It worked to perfection with Bouyea putting the pass on the money to Daniels for the win.

"It felt amazing, especially since we lost to them the first time around, it felt amazing." - Caleb Daniels

Coming off a four-game streak of 22+ points, Daniels had been having an off-game scoring 13 points in the contest.

"Just having a next play mentality. We all know how hard it is to struggle in a game and keep a consistent mindset, but I just focus on my teammates, and they keep me going. I did that and it resulted in that game winning lob."

After a masterful 36-point, 15-assist game against the Lakers, Jamaree Bouyea repeated that performance with a 26-point, 15 assist game in a 119-111 win against the Ontario Clippers February 29th. Cole Swider shot the lights out scoring 31 points on 79% shooting from the field.

In this three-game stretch on the road Bouyea averaged 29.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 12 assists catching the attention of the San Antonio Spurs who signed Bouyea to a two-way contract on March 4th.

Bouyea wasn't the only Skyforce player to receive a call-up that week as just a day prior Justin Champagnie, who was on a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards, signed a two-way contract with the Wizards March 3rd.

"I'm not surprised" said HEAT two-way Jamal Cain. "I knew it was going to come eventually. Those guys work hard and them getting a call-up is a testament to who they are and the hard work they put into the game."

After a tight loss to the Oklahoma City Blue in which Jamal Cain had 39 points and 13 rebounds on 68% shooting, the Force returned home to play a game for the first time in a month.

At home, the Force were greeted by two-time NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas who had just joined the Salt Lake City Stars a game prior.

The Force was ready for the challenge and saw four players score 20+ points including Caleb Daniels (23), Josh Christopher (23), Alondes Williams (25) and Jamal Cain who scored 22 points in his first career triple double, adding 10 rebounds and 10 assists with five steals and three blocks.

"I just want to take whatever the defense gives me. If they're switching early and they want to put a guard on me then I'm going to try to use my size and force in the paint. If it's a taller, slower guy then I'm going to try to score more outside, so it just depends on how the defense is guarding me." - Jamal Cain

Despite this effort from the Skyforce, the Stars earned a 133-127 victory behind 27 points from Micah Potter and 30 points on six made threes from NBA veteran Isaiah Thomas.

Caleb Daniels had 23 points and eight rebounds in the contest against the Stars and continued to show he's capable of filling the roles left behind by recent call ups, averaging 20.8 points per game in his previous eight games.

"Both those guys (Champagnie and Bouyea) are very dynamic scorers; they were pretty much the leaders of our team. They ran our offense. I've just been able to step up and continue to be in those roles of playmaking, scoring and finishing. My teammates just trust me to do that, and I trust them to make the right play." - Caleb Daniels

Skyforce big man Malik Williams has done an excellent job producing as of late as well, averaging 12.9 points and 13.2 rebounds per game in his last 11 games.

"Ever since I started hitting those high marks it's just something I want to continue to do because not only is it good for myself, but it also contributes to the team, not allowing the opponent to get offensive boards and attacking the offensive boards myself to get extra possessions. I'd say a lot of it is my teammates and coaching staff having the belief and confidence in me that I can go out and do those things so that's the number one thing and then just going out there playing hard and respecting the game." - Malik Williams

Looking to add more guard depth to the roster, Skyforce signed 22-year-old, 6'4, guard Theo Maledon. Theo spent the last three seasons in the NBA playing in OKC during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons with the Thunder before spending the 2022-23 season with the Charlotte Hornets.

"He's an interesting player" said Coach Powell of Maledon. "He's so young but he's also such an experienced player with his NBA experience. He brings a level of knowledge and wisdom and basketball IQ, but overall, he just wants to win, he wants to make winning plays, I think that's why he'll fit in perfect with us."

In the second game of a two-game series against Mexico City Capitanes, Theo had a team high 24 points off the bench in just his second game with the team.

Sioux Falls currently sits at 18-10 which is good for second place in the Western Conference, a game behind the Stockton Kings who the Force play in the final two games of the regular season at the Sanford Pentagon March 29th and 30th.

Skyforce take on the Skyhawks at home March 17th at 3 PM central. They then hit the road once more to play Memphis on the 19th before returning home for their final four games of the regular season.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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