Jeff Adrien's Big Game Highlights First Day of D-League Showcase
Adrien, a 6-foot-7 power forward that began the season with the Golden State Warriors, scored 30 points to go along with 12 rebounds and two blocks to lead his Rio Grande Valley Vipers past the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the nightcap of the first of four days of D-League action on South Padre Island.
"I've opened some doors, but I just have to keep doing it each night," Adrien said. "This team has really embraced me, and it feels good to be in a place where you feel wanted."
Adrien's definitely "opened some doors" as the gathered scouts and agents were buzzing about the former UConn Husky and his NBA-caliber abilities despite less than ideal NBA size.
"He plays a lot bigger than he actually is," one scout in attendance told FanHouse. "Even though he's not the same height most NBA fours (power forwards) are, he comes out and plays hard. He's a man among boys in the D-League."
In five games with the Vipers after a midseason trade from the Erie BayHawks for former D-League call-up Garrett Temple, Adrien is averaging 20.0 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game while making 68 percent of his field goal attempts.
Other observations from Day 1 of the D-League Showcase:
• In the first game of the day, Oklahoma City Thunder second-round pick Latavious Williams had an impressive 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Tulsa 66ers, but seldom-used guard Brandon Brooks stole the show by scoring 16 points and adding six assists to go with his two steals in a 103-83 victory over the Skyforce. Dexter Pittman, on assignment from the Miami Heat, scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots in less than 30 minutes of playing time in a losing effort for the Skyforce.
• Iowa defeated the Utah Flash in overtime on a Curtis Stinson buzzer-beating jump shot to give the Energy a 95-93 victory in the second game of the day. Stinson scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished six assists but turned the ball over a disappointing nine times. Picking the Energy up, though, were center Courtney Sims and former Utah Jazz call-up Othyus Jeffers. Sims controversially forced overtime with a fadeaway jump shot with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock to contribute to his overall state line of 25 points and 12 rebounds. Jeffers, meanwhile, scored 27 points and grabbed 17 rebounds while collecting two steals and a block for good measure. The Flash were led by Ronald Dupree off the bench as he scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds after being released by the Toronto Raptors last week.
• The Texas Legends -- the most efficient offense in basketball -- began their game against the New Mexico Thunderbirds by taking a 20-4 lead but slowly let that fast start slip away on the way to a 95-94 defeat. The Thunderbirds were led by Dar Tucker, the reigning champion of the D-League dunk contest, as he scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while backup guard Stephen McDowell added 25 points and six assists. For the Legends, former lottery pick Joe Alexander had an impressive performance with 21 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.