Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Aldrich assigned to 66ers

Oklahoma City Thunder has assigned center Cole Aldrich to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Aldrich has appeared in five games this season for the Thunder, averaging 1.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per game.

Aldrich represents the 16th assignment by a Thunder player to the Tulsa 66ers. Over the past two seasons Thunder roster players have appeared in more than 100 D-League contests with the 66ers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

66ers open season tonight at Bakersfield ... what to watch

The Tulsa 66ers begin their quest for the NBA D-League championship tonight in Bakersfield where they'll meet the Jam in the first of back-to-back games this weekend. Tulsa will be looking for better luck than it had last season in Bakersfield when it dropped both games.

Just four of Tulsa's 10 players were with the 66ers last season, meaning life on the road in the D-League could be a new experience for the majority of the players.

"We've been talking about how we're going to approach things on the road," Tulsa head coach Nate Tibbetts said. "These are guys who have played on big-time college programs in front of big road crowds. We're going to emphasize bringing energy and effort every night."

One of the players who will set the example for the newcomers is 6-foot-7 forward Larry Owens, the former Oral Roberts University star who started all 50 games for the 66ers last season. Owens averaged 15.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season, then played for the D-League Select team in the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League.

Tulsa's other returnees include former ORU center Marcus Lewis, point guard Zabian Dowdell, and forward Latavious Williams, who finished 13th in the D-League in rebounding last season as a rookie, averaging 7.7 boards per outing.

"It's valuable to have those four guys on our team because there's a comfort level there from last season," Tibbetts said. "They know our philosophy and know what to expect from these road games."

Here are three things to watch in this weekend's series...

1. Does Tulsa have a lack of height? When the 66ers cut 7-footer Josh Lomers in the last round of cuts, that left rookie Perry Stevenson as the tallest Tulsa player on the roster at 6-9. Will that be a problem for the 66ers facing Bakersfield's 6-11 Luke Zeller and 6-10 Drew Naymick? We'll see.

2. Tulsa is the hunted, not the hunter. Last year the 66ers weren't expected to do much and surprised everyone with a strong season. This year, Owens, Williams, and the 66ers are well known throughout the league. Will that additional expectation play a role?

3. How will the rookies play? Tulsa traded for Robert Vaden and he's expected to be a scoring force this season. "Tweety" Carter is expected to help Dowdell at the point and Stevenson may be depended upon for some big minutes (and rebounds) inside. How will they play, and what kind of chemistry will evolve on this team?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

66ers make a trade after the draft

I didn't blog last night because I felt something was in the works. At the 66ers draft party last night, you could just get the feeling when Rio Grande Valley took Robert Vaden with their first-round pick that he would eventually come into Tulsa's hands. After all, Vaden was familiar with the Thunder system after spending some time in it this summer.

Today, Vaden came back to the Thunder family .. and the 66ers. The 66ers acquired Vaden, a guard and the seventh overall pick in 2010 D-League Draft, from the Vipers in exchange for guard Mustafa Shakur..

Additionally, the 66ers obtained a 2011 first round draft pick from the Springfield Armor in exchange for guard Scottie Reynolds. Tulsa selected Reynolds with its 13th pick in the first round of the 2010 D-League Draft. This was big news as Reynolds, the All-American from Villanova, was arguably the biggest "name" available in the draft.

After being selected by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 54th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Vaden’s draft rights were acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He spent the 2009-10 season playing overseas in Italy for Aget Imola. Vaden appeared in 29 games and averaged 16.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 35.7 minutes per game.

Vaden, 6-5/215, enjoyed a successful collegiate career at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he became the fastest player in UAB history to score 1,000 points (50 games).

Information on some of Tulsa's other draft picks...

Looking to add some size, Tulsa picked former Kentucky forward Perry Stevenson with its second-round pick. The 6-9 forward played in 34 games for the Wildcats last season.

In the third round, the 66ers went even bigger when they tabbed Josh Lomers, a 7-footer out of Baylor. Lomers averaged 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds for the Bears last season.

Tulsa spent its fourth-round pick on Devin Sweetney, a 6-6 wing who played for St. Francis (Pa.). In his four seasons for the Red Flash, he was a member of the Northeastern Conference All-Freshmen Team and was named All-NEC last season after posting 16.9 points and 7.4 boards per game.

In the fifth round, Tulsa selected Mamadi Diane, a 6-6 guard/forward from Virginia. He Played professionally in Spain for the 2009-10 season, averaging 11.3 points and 22.5 minutes in 26 games for CB Penas Huesca of the LEB, the second Spanish basketball league.

Tulsa's final three draft picks were Brandon Brooks (sixth round, Alabama State), Marlon Jones (seventh round, Oklahoma City), and Michael Sturns (Holy Family).

Monday, November 1, 2010

D-League Draft happens tonight

I'll be at the Tulsa Convention Center tonight to cover the 66ers' draft. The team drafts 13th in the 16-team draft, which will go in serpentine-style.

I'll be blogging tonight, giving you updates on Tulsa's newest players as the draft goes from 6-8 p.m. CT.