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He may still be Green, but he's no longer ripe

by Sam Amico
February 4, 2006 - NBA Development League (D-League) Fayetteville Patriots

First-round draft pick Gerald Green is back with the Boston Celtics, and admittedly learned a thing or two during his stint in the NBA Development League.

Green is a 6-foot-8 guard who entered the draft straight out of high school. The Celtics drafted him with the No. 18 overall pick, then sent him to the D-League's Fayetteville Patriots last month so he could face some much-needed competition. (The Celtics' NBDL affiliate is actually Florida, but the Flame roster had already consisted of four NBA-assigned players).

Anyway, Green looked good in averaging 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in eight games for the Patriots.

"I think I've matured a lot since I've been there," Green, 19, told the Fort Myers News-Press.

Green averaged 33 points per game in high school, and had signed a letter of intent to play for Oklahoma State. But he decided to enter the draft following an impressive showing in the McDonald's All-America game.

"I didn't think I was going to the NBA," Green said. "I didn't think I had a chance until two weeks after the McDonald's game."

His performance in the D-League wasn't lost on the folks in Boston. Celtics general manager Chris Wallace attended some of Green's Patriot games and offered the following scouting report in the News-Press:

"He's got tremendous athletic ability and scoring instincts. He can get into the lane and jump over people to make a play. He can take two or three dribbles and get himself a 15-foot jump shot pretty much anytime he wants."

In other words, Green appears to be a complete, ultra-athletic package on offense.

But his defense is another matter, according to Patriots coach Mike Brown.

"He has to learn the defensive scheme of the pro game," Brown told the News-Press. "In high school, you can play next to your man and then run away and block somebody else's shot. You won't be able to do that in the NBA."

A Boy Named Sun

A potential NBA draft pick can now be found in ABA arenas near you. That would be none other than Sun Yue, a 6-9 point guard for the Beijing Aoshen Olympian, a team comprised solely of Chinese players.

And you read that right -- Sun is a 6-9 point guard. He also spent time playing next to Yao Ming on the Chinese national team.

Some minor league scouts have called Sun "a Chinese Magic Johnson," although one NBA-type said he's probably more like Hedo Turkoglu. Not that that's a bad thing.

"He can handle the ball, pass over defenders, and shoot," the NBA scout said of Sun. "The secret is just now starting to get out."

Very true, considering Sun and Olympian coach Shawn McDaniel will be featured in an upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine.

The Olympian play their home games in Maywood, Calif. You can also catch them in Inglewood (Feb. 7), Fresno (Feb. 14), and Las Vegas (Feb. 24) later this month.

Trouble in Albany?

Former NBA great Michael Ray Richardson is struggling in his first season as coach of the CBA's Albany Patroons. Richardson's club won just 11 of its first 32 games, and there have been whispers of team discord.

Apparently many of the Patroon players are upset with the shot selection of rookie guard T.J. Thompson, the league's No. 1 overall draft pick this past fall. What makes the players even more angry is that Richardson reportedly just ignores the issue and allows Thompson to continue to fire away.

Around the Minors

• Ex-lottery pick Marcus Fizer is making a strong case to return to the NBA. Fizer is playing for the D-League's Austin Toros and recently increased his scoring average to 20.0 points per game -- third best in the league. He's ninth in rebounding at 7.2 rpg. Fizer, 6-8, was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2000 draft. But he slowly got out of shape and seemed to bottom out last season in Milwaukee. He very well could be called back up by the end of February.

• Chris Acker, older brother of Detroit Pistons rookie Alex Acker, recently signed with the ABA's Pittsburgh Xplosion. Chris Acker played his college ball at Chaminade in Hawaii, and spent some time with the ABA's Detroit Wheels earlier this season. He made quite an impression in his Pittsburgh debut, exploding (or is it "xploding") for 27 points, eight assists, and six rebounds.

• The International Basketball League tips off its second season at the end of next month with more than 20 franchises. Low costs and crafty management have made the IBL one of the most stable minor leagues anywhere. The league has also implemented some new rules to speed up play . It should be interesting, considering teams averaged a whopping 127 points per game last season.

• The CBA's newest franchise is located in Broomfield, Colo., and will begin play next season. The team will be called the Colorado 14ers.

Sam Amico is the editor of ProBasketballNews.com. Contact him at amico@probasketballnews.com.

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NBA Development League Stories from February 4, 2006


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.