What do you need to do to take your game to the next level?
Answers to that all-important question from a sampling of D-Leaguers we caught up with at All-Star in Dallas below…
Morris Almond, Maine (then with Springfield): “Just take it day by day. We’re starting to play a lot of the same teams, so you see more double teams, more junk defenses and over-playing. Just take it day by day, and try to get better in each situation.”
Romel Beck, Dakota: “Just keep working hard, keep listening to coach Rory White, continuing to believe in myself. I know what I have to do to get it done, and it’s a work in progress.”
Brian Butch, Bakersfield: “I think it’s just consistency at every level. I feel I can do some things really well some nights, but you’ve got to be able to do it every night. That’s what separates guys who are in the D-League from guys who are at the pro level.”
Desmon Farmer, Reno: “Right now, just trying to make my team win more than where we are right now. Then hopefully, I get that call-up. I feel like I deserve it. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m the second-leading scorer in the history of the D-League, and I think I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to do. I just need that opportunity.”
Dwayne Jones, Austin: “Just show what I can do offensively, and just continue to hustle and show what I can do. They’re not going to bring me in to score 20 points; they’re going to bring me in to hustle, rebound and defend, so I just got to keep showing that.”
Rob Kurz, Fort Wayne: “I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. Everybody knows I can shoot the ball, and I’m trying to show that I can play in the post, score inside and be an effective all-around scorer in the NBA. I’m working on my post game a lot, just trying to score in a variety of ways so people don’t think all I do is catch and shoot.”
Carlos Powell, Albuquerque: “Personally, I think I’m ready, but there’s a couple of things they tell me: catch-and-shoot, stuff like that, when it’s my shot, take the shot. They say I’m a little too unselfish, but that’s just how I play basketball.”
Dar Tucker, Los Angeles: “Just playing ball, just playing ball, period. Having my team together, doing what I do best, playing my role on my team. That’s all I really want to do. I’m sure one of these days I will get a call-up. I hope so. I’m not stressing on it.”
Reggie Williams, Sioux Falls: “You get feedback from different teams and different people, and the things they tell you, you just try to incorporate every game. They tell you to grab more rebounds, I try to go out and grab more rebounds, more assists, things like that. Whatever they tell me, I just try to do it, and right now I’m just trying to fight to get wins and get called up, hopefully. Defensively, I want to be more of a lock-down defender, and offensively, I want to be more of a distributor, get my teammates involved, things like that.”
More in-depth accounts of several of these conversations, analysis of the points brought forth in the comments above and tales from a whirlwind weekend in Dallas (plus some unrelated chatter about the surprise trade that sent Almond to Maine this week) en route in posts to come.