BayHawks Land 2nd Overall Pick in D-League Draft

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Luck was on the side of John Treloar and the he Erie BayHawks today. Despite being a playoff team last year, the BayHawks will have the second overall selection in next month's 2009 NBA D-League Draft. The lottery determining the draft order took place earlier today in Dallas, Texas, at the D-League’s annual coaches meetings.

The first pick went to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds secured the first selection, and the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Bakersfield Jam and Utah Flash round out the top five.

The NBA D-League Draft utilizes a “serpentine” format, meaning the draft order will alternate in each of the 10 rounds, which means that Erie's second round pick will be the 31st overall selection.

The order of the first round will be as follows:

  1. Albuquerque Thunderbirds
  2. Erie BayHawks
  3. Los Angeles D-Fenders
  4. Bakersfield Jam
  5. Utah Flash
  6. Austin Toros
  7. Reno Bighorns
  8. Maine Red Claws
  9. Iowa Energy
  10. Fort Wayne Mad Ants
  11. Dakota Wizards
  12. Rio Grande Valley Vipers
  13. Sioux Falls Skyforce
  14. Springfield Armor
  15. Idaho Stampede
  16. Tulsa 66ers
Erie had the seventh overall selection in the 2008 NBA D-League Draft. They used that pick on Erik Daniels, who became a 1st-team All-D-League selection. With Daniels opting to play overseas this season, the pressure is on Erie's front office to make the most of that high draft choice. Erie will hope to land another player of Daniels' caliber, someone who can catapault them back to the playoffs for a second straight season.

I've yet to come up with a catchy name for my links posts. Until I do, it's just: Links

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I never know exactly what to write as an introduction to a links post. It's not JUST an easy way out when I don't have anything interesting/enough time to post, although it is those things. It's also my way of saying, "Hey, I read this. It was worth the time it took to read it. And more than that, it was worth the additional few minutes it took to put this post together. So please, read it. I think you'll find it interesting, entertaining, relevant, and worthwhile, too.

Without further ado, a few links for you:

Cavs Announce Training Camp Roster

Monday, September 28, 2009

I received this press release over the weekend. Who knows, maybe we'll see some of these training camp invites in an Erie BayHawks uniform this season. On the current roster, rookie Danny Green, second-year players J.J. Hickson, Darnell Jackson, and Jawad Williams are all D-League eligible.

Williams played in 19 D-League games last season, averaging better than 25 points whereas Jackson was sent to Erie twice on assignment last year to develop his game.

The two most notable names from the training camp invites are probably Coby Karl and Russell Robinson. Karl, son of Nuggets coach George Karl, played sparingly for the Lakers in 2007-08. Last year he started all 22 of his games with the Idaho Stampede.

Known as a tenacious defender in college, the 6'1" Robinson was a member of the Kansas Jayhawks that won the 2008 NCAA championship. He played in all 50 games last season for the Reno Bighorns, starting 35 of them.

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009-10 Roster (as of September 24, 2009)

1 Daniel Gibson G 6-2 200 2/27/86 Texas ’06 3
14 Danny Green G/F 6-6 210 6/22/87 North Carolina ’09 R
21 J.J. Hickson F 6-9 242 9/4/88 North Carolina State ’08 1
11 Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 7-3 260 6/5/75 Kaunas, Lithuania ’96 11
00 Darnell Jackson F 6-9 253 11/7/85 Kansas ’08 1
23 LeBron James F 6-8 250 12/30/84 St. Vincent-St. Mary HS ’03 6
15 Jamario Moon F 6-8 200 6/13/80 Meridian Community College ’01 2
33 Shaquille O’Neal C 7-1 325 5/6/72 Louisiana State ’92 17
18 Anthony Parker G/F 6-6 210 6/19/75 Bradley ’97 6
44 Leon Powe F 6-8 240 1/22/84 California ’06 3
17 Anderson Varejao F/C 6-11 260 9/28/82 Santa Teresa, Brazil ’04 5
13 Delonte West G 6-3 180 7/26/83 St. Joseph’s ’04 5
31 Jawad Williams F 6-9 220 2/19/83 North Carolina ’05 1
2 Mo Williams G 6-1 190 12/19/82 Alabama ’03 6

Training Camp Invites
12 Andre Barrett G 5-10 172 2/21/82 Seton Hall ’04 4
5 Coby Karl G 6-5 215 3/6/83 Boise State ’07 1
3 Rob Kurz F 6-9 232 3/5/85 Notre Dame ’08 1
50 Luke Nevill C 7-2 265 2/19/86 Utah ’09 R
24 Russell Robinson G 6-1 190 1/24/86 Kansas ’08 R
20 Darryl Watkins C 6-11 258 11/8/84 Syracuse ’07 1

Head Coach: Mike Brown (San Diego)

Assistant Coaches: Hank Egan (Naval Academy)
Melvin Hunt (Baylor)
Chris Jent (Ohio State)
Michael Malone (Loyola, MD)

Athletic Trainer: Max Benton (Colorado)
Assistant Coach/Strength & Conditioning Coordinator: Stan Kellers (Cleveland State)

Wanted: Radio Show/Podcast Co-Host

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do you like talking about the NBA Development League, the Erie BayHawks, and basketball in general?

Do you have any experience hosting a radio show or podcast?

Do you have an hour or two of free time per week?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, especially the first two, I'd like to suggest you contact me about applying to be my co-host for an online radio show/podcast I'm putting together. Right now I'm just in the planning stages, but ideally I'd like to start it sometime in mid-late November near the start of the 2009-10 NBA Development League season.

If you, or someone you know might be interested in this opportunity, please contact me at

Replacing Erik Daniels

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

News broke over the weekend that former Erie BayHawks forward/center Erik Daniels had signed a contract to play next season with Azovmash Mariupo in the Ukraine Superleague.

As a first-team All D-League selection last year, Daniels was a key part in the BayHawks' inaugural season. His presence gave the team stability and helped the young team qualify for the playoffs as an expansion franchise.

Still, it should come as little surprise that Daniels won't be back in Erie for a second season. Despite the numbers he put up last season, Daniels received little attention from the NBA and saw almost no playing time as part of the Memphis Grizzlies Summer League team. The rationale is that he played much of the season out of position at center for the BayHawks when he's more likely a 3 or 4 at the NBA level.

Also, at age 27, Daniels understands that he's old by NBA Development League standards, so it's hard to blame him for taking what I'm sure is a hefty raise to play overseas. It's hard to track down a lot of information about the signing, but if I can trust Twitter, Daniels is already over there. His update (@danielserik) from September 15 said, "2 more days in the mountains then off to the ukraine." Blog Talk BayHawk wishes the ex-BayHawk nothing but the best.

As for the BayHawks, I think they new this was going to happen sooner or later, but coach Treloar and company now has to face the reality of it. Their team MVP will not be back, and it will not be easy to replace his statistical production nor his veteran savvy.

First, the BayHawks need to find a way to replace a player who averaged a double-double over the course of the season while anchoring the BayHawks' defense in the post. I'm not sure if there's one single player in the D-League pool who fits that description, so it may take a combination of players.

And secondly, Erie has to look for someone with some experience under their belt. In a league filled with first- and second-year players, I think it's very beneficial to have one or two high-character veterans that have been playing professionally for a handful of years to help accommodate the youth that's going to populate the roster.

Daniels' departure leaves a definite hole to fill. In my opinion, replacing him has to become priority number one for the coaching staff right now as they get ready to formulate the roster for the upcoming season. Erie's success this season may very well depend on how well they're able to replace Daniels' productivity in the paint and presence in the locker room. If they can find another player of the caliber of Erik Daniels, a second-straight postseason appearance may be in the cards for the BayHawks. If not, they'll likely find it very challenging to duplicate their first-year success.

BayHawks Free Agent Tryouts in Cleveland

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In case you don't follow me on Twitter, where I posted this over the weekend, the Erie BayHawks will host free agent tryouts in Cleveland on October 17-18 at the Cleveland Cavaliers practice court at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cleveland free agent tryouts come in addition to the free agent tryouts that were held in Erie this past weekend.

“We’ve seen some talented players come through the tryout process,” said BayHawks head coach John Treloar. “Being in this setting at ‘The Q” (Quicken Loans Arena) in the Cavaliers practice court will make this very exciting for the players.”

Space for the tryouts is limited, interested participants should register early to guarantee their place. Hopefuls should arrive prepared to participate in team drills, individual skills work and scrimmages. BayHawks coaches and Cleveland Cavaliers staffers will be on hand for player evaluations.

Players interested in participating in the free agent tryout can get registration forms online at

An Interview with NBA D-League President Dan Reed, Part 2

Monday, September 21, 2009

In part two of my interview with Dan Reed, he talks about the decision to select Erie as a D-League city, his experience at a BayHawks game, what he's looking forward to this season, and more. Also, in case you missed it, check out part one of my interview with Dan Reed where we discussed D-League issues including innovation, scheduling, and finances.

Blog Talk BayHawk (BTB): Let's switch gears to the BayHawks since I operate an Erie BayHawks fan blog. How many cities were in contention for the expansion spot granted to Erie last year, and what was it that made Erie stand out?

Dan Reed (DR): There were several cities in the mix that we evaluated. Without necessarily naming names, we evaluated several cities within proximity of Erie and the Cleveland area. We also evaluated a lot of possibilities just generally in the midwest as we were looking for a team in the midwest or sort of a near-northeast region.

Ultimately, what made Erie stand out were a few things. One, it's a real sports town. That was clear from the moment I got off the plane. I grew up in Michigan, and it reminded me of the sort of passion that I grew up with following teams in Detroit, and that was immediately evident.

It also has a strong basketball history. Gannon University is very closely followed there locally, and we thought that would translate well. We had excellent support from the mayor, from the county commissioner, from the arena, and another significant factor was an extremely strong set of owners with Steve Demetriou from Cleveland as well as Owen McCormick and a group of investors there in Erie.

We felt that the team was in very good hands. So, when you combine the strong sports heritage of Erie, a suitable arena, excellent support from the city, and wonderful owners, we thought it was an opportunity that we had to take advantage of, and we're very excited.

BTB: As a lifelong Erieite, it's always nice to hear someone say that we have a great sports heritage here. That's pretty cool.

DR: I would just add that the Cavaliers were important in consideration. The Cavaliers really threw their support behind the idea of an NBA Development League team nearby them. They were in support of Erie, as you know, during the team launch, and really in the ongoing operations they've been big supporters of the team and have helped in a number of different ways. And I think that's a payoff for the fans of Erie because they're so closely connected with the Cavs―and now the Raptors, who are also nearby―we thought that'd be a good thing for the fans in Erie, and that has played out.

BTB: How would you assess the BayHawks' first year as an organization compared to other teams in the league?

DR: I think they had a good year. It seems like the word is out. They closed the season on an excellent note; they had a great turnout for some of their end-of-season games. I was there for their home opener, and it seems like their games overall were well attended and the basketball was top-notch. There aren't many expansion teams that get in the playoffs their first year, and I think that is a really impressive achievement for a first-year team. It speaks to the quality of their organization from the top on down to be able to do that.

Of course, like any team, there are lessons learned in the first year, really like any business. But they are completely committed to making sure that there is a wonderful fan experience at the BayHawks games, that it's affordable, family-friendly, top-notch basketball. And the fans in Erie, if they haven't gone to check out a BayHawks game, they should go because it's really a wonderful organization, and they are committed to being the best.

BTB: I know one of the keys―not only at the Development League level but also in the NBA is getting the organization, including the players and the coaches, out into the community. I think that really resonates at the Development League level because the teams aren't as well known, and they don't have that level of media exposure. What does the Development League do to encourage community involvement with teams like the BayHawks?

DR: We certainly encourage it. It's an important part of our mission and the NBA's mission through NBA Cares and NBA Development League Cares. One thing we do as a league, and it's a major advantage of being associated with the NBA, is we have a group here that all they do is share best practices between teams in the area of ticket sales, in the area of sponsorship, in the area of fan experience, marketing and community relations.

So, if a team has a particularly successful community event, we will take that and share it with the rest of the league so they can take that information, and if it makes sense in their market, they can do that. In addition, we have our vice president of community relations and player development working with all of the teams, collaboratively, to not only share those best practices but also to provide support in terms of theme weeks, developing national relationships and tracking information and being able to share it with the teams in real time so they can make the smartest decisions for their organization and their community. Getting into the community and making a difference is really part of our DNA. It's something that's critically important for us because we are the NBA in Erie, and we have an obligation based on the celebrity and notoriety that comes with that to be able to give back to the community and make a positive impact.

BTB: So you've already answered my next question. You were in Erie for a game last year. So instead let me ask, was your experience good enough? Are you going to come back to Erie for another game sometime in the near future?

DR: Oh I'm sure I'll be back in Erie for a game in the near future. I certainly enjoyed my time at the BayHawks game last year. I try to make it to a game at every team in the league every year. I haven't yet been successful because we have so many teams, but it's still a goal that I shoot for, so I hope to be able to see the fans in Erie this year.

BTB: Speaking of the fans in Erie this year, there's a huge sports tradition in Erie (as you said), a huge basketball tradition with Gannon in Erie, high school rivalries are really intense around here. So there are a lot of local basketball fans. The key is getting this to translate into supporting a professional team. What is it about the Development League that should translate to your average basketball fan?

DR: If you're a fan of basketball, you should want to watch NBA Development League games because it truly is―other than the 30 NBA teams―the highest level of basketball you're ever going to see. For college fans, I would say that over 60 percent of the players in the NBA Development League were all-conference or better in college. We are a major college all-star team every single night in the NBA Development League.

For fans that are interested in basketball because of the hard work, leaving it on the floor every night, the speed of the game, the intensity of the game―that is unmatched in the NBA Development League. All of our players, who are not only talented and very credentialed in the basketball world, are playing every single night in front of NBA scouts. They're playing every single night to try to prove that they're a great team player, that they have the skills, the attitude, and the intangibles it takes to make it to the NBA.

I think that fans will be very pleasantly surprised to see the intensity at a game, the speed of the game, the skill level of the players. There are no plays off in the NBA Development League, I will tell you that. In many ways, the games in the NBA Development League represent the skills and the athleticism of the NBA as well as the passion and energy that you see in the college game.

And all of that happens in a very affordable, fan-friendly atmosphere where you can sit in an intimate arena, like Tullio Arena. A family of four can come to a game for less than 40 bucks and see NBA players, former college players, and top prospects who are just playing for the love of the game and hungry to get to that next level. I think that's why a basketball fan, whether in Erie or elsewhere, would want to and should pay attention to what's happening in the NBA Development League.

BTB: I agree, I think there's no better basketball for your buck. I went to a couple games last year and have season tickets this year. Now that I'm trying to cover the team as a fan, I'm hoping to attend as many games as possible and looking forward to it. The basketball is great. I'm just hoping that through what the league is doing, through my blog, through the efforts of the BayHawks, that we can keep raising the fan interest level because nothing makes the game more exciting than having a sellout crowd going crazy throughout the game.

Dan, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me. I'm going to let you get out of here with one last question. What are you personally most looking forward to about the upcoming season?

DR: I think more of the high-level basketball and affordable, fan-friendly entertainment that we've provided year after year. I'm excited about the launch of our two new teams, the Maine Red Claws and the Springfield Armor. Both of those teams are off to great starts with ticket sales and sponsorship revenue. They just had their expansion draft, so the jury's still out on whether they can replicate the BayHawks' success of getting in the playoffs their first year, but they're off to a great start.

I'm excited about everything. I think we're going to have a great year. I think the on-court play will be better than ever. I think that fans will be able to follow their team more easily through our media and social media. And I think we're in line for another great season of call-ups to the NBA and the success of our players in the NBA, and the next generation playing right in the NBA Development League.

BTB: Again, I'd like to thank Dan Reed for taking the time to speak with me at Blog Talk BayHawk. Please check out his blog, Reed and Write, on the official NBA D-League site.

An Interview with NBA D-League President Dan Reed, Part 1

Friday, September 18, 2009

Since taking over as NBA Development League President on July 1, 2007, Dan Reed has overseen continued growth of the NBA's minor league system. He's helped the league grow and expand into the eastern part of the country with Erie last year as well as Maine and Springfield for the upcoming season.

Reed has also spearheaded the league's efforts to be the most accessible league in the world, embracing social media and encouraging the D-League to reach out to fans via blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. So I probably should not have been surprised when Reed graciously agreed to speak with me about the D-League and the Erie BayHawks, but I definitely was excited.

Our conversation was so information-rich that I've decided to break it up into two parts. Part one focuses on issues that affect the D-League as a whole. Enjoy!

Blog Talk BayHawk (BTB): Though there is still room for the D-League to grow in terms of mass appeal, there is a clear cult following of fans that is evident, especially on the Internet through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. Some leagues like the NFL seem almost scared of social media but the D-League seems to embrace it wholeheartedly. Why is that and how has it paid off?

Dan Reed (DR): In the NBA Development League, we aim to be the most accessible sports league in the world, and we made a decision that embracing social media was a great way to provide fans with access, provide fans with the opportunity to really understand how this league works—both in front of the scenes and behind the scenes. And selfishly it was a great opportunity to share our message directly with the fans because we are still a relatively new league on the scene.

As you mentioned, there is a very deep following of NBA D-League fans, but there are still many people that are still learning what this league's about. And it's a great opportunity for us to share a very authentic message directly with fans who are interested in knowing. What we've found is that the fans who are believers in the league and the people that are very knowledgeable about the league are using the same social media tools to tell everybody else. And that was part of the idea because we know we have a great product.

We know it's a great experience in the arena, and we produce nearly 20 percent of NBA players and growing. So, we've got a great message and a great story. It's just a matter of getting the word out, and we feel that social media is a great way to do that while at the same time providing the level of access to our fans that we pride ourselves on.

BTB: Absolutely. When I jumped into this blog thing, because I didn't really see people in Erie getting as excited as I thought they should be, it was really great to see that other people around the country were doing this for other teams. You've got Ridiculous Upside covering the D-League as a whole. It was great to see that there are lots of people that are really passionate―not just about basketball, but actually about the D-League―and I think that's going to help it grow. I think it's cool that you guys are so open to people like me and others in social media. You're ahead of the curb in terms of most sports leagues.

DR: Well, thank you. We also strive to be innovators, so it's nice of you to say that.

BTB: Sticking off the court, the D-League has grown significantly since beginning with eight teams in 2001. The BayHawks were part of an expansion last year, and two additional expansion teams in Springfield and Maine will begin this year. However, there have also been a handful of franchises that have gone under, including last year's champion Colorado 14ers. What is the D-League doing to continue the growth of the league while also working to protect its teams/cities from going under?

DR: I think the really positive news is that we have been growing so aggressively. In the last three years, we've doubled the size of the league from eight to 16 teams, and we'll have the same number of 16 teams playing in the league this season. What that shows is that the demand for NBA Development League teams is very strong, and we have a very strong set of owners.

If you look at the newest teams that have come into the league, the Maine Red Claws are owned by the chairman of TD Banknorth, one of the largest companies in Maine. The Springfield Armor are owned by a gentleman who owns four very successful minor league baseball teams. The Reno Bighorns are owned by the group that owns the AAA baseball team, the Reno Aces. Our new Frisco team is owned by Donnie Nelson, general manager of the Dallas Mavericks. So, if you look at the latest teams that have come into our league—and that's not even mentioning Erie, who's owned by the chairman of a Fortune 500 company in Cleveland—it demonstrates that a very strong caliber of owner is increasingly attracted to this league, and we continue to grow despite the challenges of the economy and despite the fact that I think every league in the world is reevaluating the team business model.

It's just sort of a tough business for everybody in every industry right now with the economy being what it is. And so, in terms of what we're doing, we're continuing to invest in our teams. We're continuing to work closely with our teams to take costs out of the system like trying to get smarter with the way that we schedule. Teams are looking at every item and trying to find ways to reduce costs but at the same time looking to find new revenue opportunities.

We're working on how can we grow our media presence, how can we continue to grow our sponsorship base―and those numbers have been growing consistently over the last three years―our team sponsorship revenues increased by double digits every year. Our team ticket sales have also been steadily increasing over time. And most importantly, the valuations of our teams have quadrupled over the last two years. We, like very company in every industry, are focused on how do we continue to improve the fundamental business proposition in our league. I think it's very strong now, but it can and will get stronger.

BTB: One of the things that I think helps you as a business, and I think you would agree with me on this, is your connection to the NBA that other minor leagues haven't had in the past. What is the D-League doing to get more NBA teams to invest more―money but also time―into utilizing the D-League as a developmental tool for their organization?

DR: One fundamental change we made that I think over the long term will have a big impact on both the NBA and the NBA Development League is the adoption of our single-affiliation partnership model―or as it is popularly known, the hybrid model―which allows NBA teams to essentially take control of the basketball operations for their NBA Development League team.

This is something that NBA teams have expressed a lot of interest in because some NBA teams have not been able to take advantage of the league the way that they would like to—sometimes because of injuries or because of circumstances outside of their control. Everyone is very passionate about the NBA Development League. Everyone sees the value that the NBA Development League provides, and it's really just whether the opportunities line up to take advantage of it.

There are many NBA teams that have expressed that they would be even more engaged if they actually had control of the basketball operations, so we made that opportunity available. It says a lot that in this tough economy there was an NBA team that took advantage of it last year. The Houston Rockets partnered with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and now the Rockets are in full control of the basketball operations of the Vipers. And by the way, while the Rockets obviously see a lot of value in that from a basketball standpoint, that's another thing that helps the economics of the NBA Development League team because those basketball operations costs come right off the bottom line for that team.

That's one thing that we've done based directly on NBA team feedback that allowed them to get more involved. Other things that we do are our Showcase. It's an event that we hold every year that all 30 NBA teams participate in. It's a great scouting opportunity for them, and it's an opportunity for them to get closer to the D-League. We have what we call an affiliate partner program where we encouraged NBA teams and NBA Development League teams both on the business and the basketball side to work together. So, over the last two years, you've seen an increase in the number of NBA D-League head coaches who have participated in their NBA parent team's training camps, for example. You're seeing teams that are having weekly/daily calls when a player's signed. You're seeing teams share information about what sets they're running and what skill that they'd like a particular player to improve upon.

There are conversations all the time between NBA teams and NBA Development League teams―and, frankly, from us at the league office―about how teams can use the system and how it can grow. I think we're in a good place.

If you look at the stats, the fact that nearly 20 percent of NBA players are formerly of the NBA Development League. We had an all-time high number of players called up to the NBA last year; we had 20 players called up to the NBA. The number of assignments from NBA teams to the NBA Development League continues to grow. The system is working. There's no doubt about it. It's just a matter of, over time, proving out that adoption model. But we've seen steady and consistent growth in this area, and we expect to see even more down the road.

BTB: Keeping along those lines, you talked about how the affiliation model has worked out. As the D-League continues to grow and expand, does the D-League aim to someday work as a farm system for the NBA similar to Major League Baseball where there's a one-to-one team correspondence? Is that something that's in the plans or what is the direction of growth for the D-League in the future?

DR: I would say that our goal is to build the perfect minor league system for the NBA and the game of basketball. There are certainly other models out there to look at. You mentioned the minor league baseball model where it's a one-to-one relationship. You can look at hockey where it's not quite a one-to-one relationship, but the system still works quite effectively. I think there's still an open question as to what is the ideal model for basketball.

We are certainly the closest to the ideal model that's ever come about so far. Every team is directly affiliated with an NBA Development League team. We are seeing the up-and-back movement that you typically associate with those leagues, and the proof is in the pudding. If you look at the players in the NBA Development League, 20 percent of the players in the NBA Development League in any given year will also play in the NBA that same season. And, I think in minor league baseball, 8 percent of all the players in minor league baseball will ever make the majors—much less in the same year.

In many ways, we are already that quote-unquote true minor league system for the NBA. But the answer is yes, we're still looking to grow and strengthen it. I expect that over time we will add more teams to the league. I expect that over time NBA teams will continue to take more and more advantage of the league. I think the upcoming collective bargaining discussions with the NBA Players Association offers an opportunity to continue to change our model. In eight short years we've made big progress, and I think that eight years from now the league will look even better in terms of being a true minor league for the NBA.

BTB: Yeah, it's really impressive how much has developed In such a short time. I guess the Development League is an appropriate name in that sense. I think one of the thing that helps is that you [the D-League] are innovators, you're not afraid to try new things. Playing the game of H-O-R-S-E at All-Star Weekend and the pick-your-poison playoff format adopted last year immediately come to mind. Are there any experimental plans in the works this season, anything new the D-League will be trying out?

We do have a history of that, and it's something we pay a lot of attention to. It's part of our mission to be the [research and development] department of the NBA. There are two areas that we are spending a a lot of time on now.

One is how do we continue to be better at the core process of development. We are taking a look at other leagues, other industries, other businesses, and identifying what tactics we can apply to our league because we are the Development League after all. And while we've certainly demonstrated that we have a good track record with our promotions to the NBA―not only in terms of players but also with coaches and referees―we want to be the best in the world at that, and we have to innovate in order to do that.

The other area that you can expect to see some innovations from us over the coming years is in the area of statistics. There is certainly a cult following around basketball statistics and the evolution of basketball statistics. I think the unique thing about our league is that unlike NBA teams, who are all investing in statistics in a lot of different ways but they're also very proprietary―they're not interested in sharing their methods, not interested in sharing their stats because it would let go of their competitive advantage—is that we have no such issues.

In many ways, we can be a laboratory to experiment with different ways of collecting and calculating statistics. If there are new statistics out there that should be incorporated into the game, we're a great test lab to do that. We've actually assembled a group of people from around the country who have expressed interest in working with us on this, and we're looking to work collaboratively with them and see how we can reorganize ourselves and eventually help move the discussion along in terms of basketball statistics.

BTB: Is that something that's going to show up in the box score? Is it something that we're going to see this year or a bit more down the road?

We're still in the midst of determining how fast we can move in the area, but that certainly would be the long term goal, that to the extent that there are meaningful statistics that can be captured and calculated, that we can implement them. And not only the way that we capture and report statistics but the way that we report them to NBA teams as it relates to having them evaluate players in our league to be called up or how their assigned players are progressing. That may not happen right away. First you've got to figure out what statistics make the most sense and how to capture those. But the idea would be to use that information throughout the league.

BTB: One last general D-League question. The new schedule came out not too long ago and everyone noticed a shift in the way the schedule was put together with the unbalanced model promoting local rivalries. What was the thinking behind the new model and what has the response been?

DR: It certainly does serve to promote local rivalries as teams that are nearby each other are going to play each other more frequently. This is one of those areas when we looked at how to continue to invest in the business because if you look at other minor leagues, they have a very highly regionalized, and in many cases, unbalanced schedule that serves to promote rivalries but also to reduce travel costs.

For us, we thought it was an appropriate time to take that step to do those same things in our league. We're spread pretty well around the country, and this was an opportunity to pump up the rivalries locally while saving teams a pretty significant amount on travel. I'm happy to say we were successful in that effort. We still will make sure that every team gets to play each other at least once during the course of the season, and we think it will serve to promote rivalries and fans in every market will still get the opportunity to see the best players in the league and the best basketball in the world outside the NBA on their floors during the season.

BTB: I was really happy to see that yout kept it so that each team is going to play every team at least once, so that someone like me with season tickets can get to see pretty much everybody in the league that way. And it certainly makes sense from a financial standpoint to save on travel costs, especially in today's economy. So it's sort of the best for both worlds that way.

DR: I think that's right. And I'd say as well that with NBA Futurecast, fans also have the ability now that they didn't have a couple years ago to watch every team in the D-League regardless. That's an areas where we're putting some additional investment as well, and I think you'll see an improved NBA FutureCast as well as an easier ability to catch highlights of the teams in the league this season.

BTB: That's great news, and I'm definitely looking forward to that, especially for the BayHawks' road games this year.

***UPDATE: Check out part two of my interview with Dan Reed where we speak about the Erie BayHawks, their arrival on the D-League scene last year, and the league president's impressions of Erie as a basketball town.

Busy Weekend for the BayHawks

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tryouts abound for the Erie BayHawks this weekend.

This Saturday and Sunday, the BayHawks will be holding open tryouts. BayHawks coahes John Treloar and Ben McDonald will run the tryouts, however, members from the Cleveland Cavs scouting staff likely also will be on hand to help out.

As of Wednesday, 35 players had already signed up to take part in the tryouts. One member from the 2008-09 team, Jarvis Gunter, is confirmed to be participating in the drills and scrimmages as is Gannon University alum Kyle Goldcamp. The BayHawks expect several more people to sign up in the final days leading up to the tryouts as well as on the day of registration.

The tryouts will be held at Family First Sports Park, 8155 Oliver Road, in Erie. The schedule for the tryouts is as follows:

Saturday, September 19

  • 10 a.m. Player check in and registration.
  • 11 a.m. Session One (player drills and scrimmages)
  • 6 p.m. Session Two (player drills and scrimmages)

Sunday, September 20
  • 9-11:30 a.m. Session Three (player drills and scrimmages)
Additionally, the Erie BayHawks Dance Team is holding its tryouts on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Dance Vibe Studio, 2307 West 12th St. The BayHawks have also established a partnership agreement with Envy Spa & Salon that includes title sponsorship of the dance team.

So, whether you're a prospective D-League player or dancer, this is a big weekend. Or, if you're a fan of the BayHawks, this is a weekend that will begin to shape the team and game experience for you this upcoming season.

Now taking your questions for D-League President Dan Reed

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm very pleased to announce that I have secured an interview with D-League President Dan Reed later this week, and while there is plenty that I am interested to talk about with him, I wanted to take this opportunity to see if anyone reading this has a question of their own they'd like me to ask.

I can't guarantee that your question will be asked as I only have a limited amount of time, but please feel free to suggest a question/topic either in the comments section below or via Facebook or Twitter (@BlogTalkBayHawk).

The D-League and President Reed have been very inviting to technology and the blogosphere. Reed even runs his own entertaining and informative blog, Reed and Write, over at the D-League site. I'm excited for the chance to speak with him and look forward to sharing much of it with you all later this week.

Until then, send in those questions!

Gannon University Star Kyle Goldcamp in the D-League?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Over the weekend, Duane Rankin reported that former Gannon University star Kyle Goldcamp has been playing pickup basketball against some members of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Goldcamp, a 6'10", 230-pound forward/center, helped lead Gannon to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.

According to Rankin's report, Erie BayHawks coach John Treloar has shown interest in bringing Goldcamp into the BayHawks' training camp this fall. Goldcamp reportedly will also partake in the BayHawks' open tryouts later this week.

If Goldcamp has the talent to make the team, he would definitely help create buzz for the BayHawks as Gannon's basketball following is one of the most devout groups in Erie. It seems to follow that many of those fans would be intrigued to see if a Golden Knight alum could hold serve at the next level.

There's no guarantee that Goldcamp chooses to play in the D-League or that he makes the BayHawks roster, but if it happens, it'll be a big day for basketball in Erie. It's definitely a story to keep your eye on as the BayHawks begin to form their roster for the upcoming season.

Summer League, D-League, Basketball Hall of Fame

Friday, September 11, 2009

The dream starts the same for millions upon millions of kids growing up. Someday they'll grow up to play in the NBA, score a lot of points, make a number of all-star teams, win a few rings, maybe even a gold medal. Very few ever come close. Fewer still actually realize those dreams.

Among that elite group of the finest players ever to play the game are three men being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame today: John Stockton, David Robinson, and Michael Jordan.

There's nothing I can say here that hasn't already been said about these players and their legendary careers, but as a Lakers fan who spent many years rooting against them, I want to briefly pay my respects to three historic careers (Twitter style, in 140 characters or less)

John Stockton: Not big, not fast, not strong, but the all-time leader in assists and steals. No one before or since threw a better bounce pass.

David Robinson: Smoother than Ewing, stronger than Hakeem, more athletic than Shaq, mentor to Duncan. The Admiral was admirable on and off the court.

Michael Jordan: Winner, champion, G.O.A.T., played w/ an aura of invincibility from 91-98 that may never be duplicated again. Inspired a generation to fly.

Thinking about the Hall of Fame and its relation to the D-League is interesting. When this class of Hall of Famers retired, the D-League was in its infancy, and I'm fairly certain none of these players ever played WITH a D-League alum, let alone playing in the D-League themselves.

However, this will not be true for long. Kobe Bryant's Lakers featured a number of players with D-League experience, including contributors like Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown that played key supporting roles in L.A.'s 2009 NBA championship run.

That leads to my next question. Who will be the first D-League player inducted into the Hall of Fame? Or maybe I should ask, will a D-League player (meaning someone who played in the D-League at some point in time) ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame? I say yes, assuming the D-League is here to stay. But I don't know that that player, whoever he is, is even playing professionally just yet as the D-League is still developing and maturing in its affiliation as a minor league system for the NBA.

Still, look how far the league has come. There are D-League alumni sprinkled across the rosters of NBA teams. Someone like Dahntay Jones, a former D-League mainstay, started the majority of games last year in Denver for the Nuggets, a Western Conference finalist.

It's far from impossible to think that someday 15, 20, 25 years from now, someone will be writing the story of some player who was drafted young and seasoned in the D-League before rising to stardom in the NBA. And it'll be a great story if and when it happens.

Until then, we'll celebrate the greats and keep our eyes on the others trying to make those dreams a reality. Speaking of those others, Sham Sports has a tremendous three-part piece detailing the whereabouts of all of the players from Summer League. Of interest to Erie BayHawks fans, the Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League team is featured in part one, Erik Daniels (currently unsigned) can be found under the Grizzlies section of part two and the Toronto Raptors Summer League players are included in part three.

Keep the dream alive. We may never see another Stockton, Robinson, or Jordan, but there is plenty of basketball greats waiting to shine, and who knows, some of themt just may pass through Erie on their way to the top.

Ridiculous Upside Looks Back at Gunter, Lafayette, Clinkscales

Thursday, September 10, 2009

While I've been slacking recently between the offseason/end-of-summer doldrums and getting acclimated to my new life as a graduate student, the folks at Ridiculous Upside just continue to crank out good D-League articles.

With the local tryouts getting underway soon (September 19-20 for Erie), Jon L has looked at some recent local tryout success stories, including three from the Erie BayHawks:

Jarvis Gunter (6'10" F/C, Erie)

Gunter was a backup big man for the BayHawks, who didn't get a ton of playing time because Erik Daniels had the center position locked down (and there's a discussion to be had as to whether Daniels should've had that position on lock, but that's not this). Gunter didn't provide a whole lot of scoring, but he's athletic and has some decent rebounding ability, averaging about 10 per 36 minutes. He doesn't have the best hands around and his free throw shooting needs work, but he has skills, and as a lot of other frontcourt types are heading overseas he could be a guy to watch this season.

Oliver Lafayette (6'2" G/F, Erie)

Lafayette played a lot of forward for the BayHawks, though he doesn't really have the size for it, and he's not really an efficient scorer. He can put it together occasionally, but there were a lot of 12-points-on-15-shots and five-points-on-nine-shots outings. His best games were those where he got to the line, as you'd expect, but his shooting percentages weren't great overall. He got a decent amount of rebounds early in the season, but those tailed off a bit as the year went on. Lafayette's one of those players that I don't have strong feelings about either way, but kudos to him (and all the other guys I'm talking about, of course) for making it from local tryouts.

Cliff Clinkscales (6'1" G, Erie/Rio Grande Valley)

Cliff Clinkscales is a pretty good player who I should probably talk about more around here but don't for some reason. He's not a great outside shooter, but he at least realizes it and doesn't attempt a lot of threes. He spent most of the season with Erie but finished it out with the Vipers, and he averaged about seven assists per 36 minutes. He's not always the most efficient scorer, but he runs the offense pretty well.

Check out the full two-part article at (part 1 and part 2).

And now for something completely different

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Because I love competition and football almost as much as basketball, I present you with the opportunity to compete against me in a weekly NFL pick 'em contest on

I know the season starts tomorrow night, so I apologize for the late notice but go ahead and sign up. If enough people join to make this worthwhile, I may even throw in a Blog Talk BayHawk prize for the winner.

The game challenges you to select the winner of each game throughout the 17-week NFL season (against the spread). If you're already in one, you can sign simply add yourself to my group because you're allowed to use your entry for multiple groups. And best of all, it's FREE to play.

Get in the action now:

Group: Blog Talk BayHawk

Birthday/Labor Day

Monday, September 7, 2009

I turn 25 today, and it's also Labor Day, so no posts today, but I'll be back!

Poll: Which '08 expansion draft pick would you most like to see as a BayHawk?

Friday, September 4, 2009

As a follow-up to yesterday's post reviewing last year's expansion draft picks by the BayHawks, I'd like to know which of the nine picks that didn't suit up for Erie you'd most like to see as a BayHawk. Is it Dahntay Jones, who finally found a home in the NBA last year or perhaps Mike Gansey, the shooting star from West Virginia?

Most of the players played overseas last year, so I don't know what their contract status is, but this is just a hypothetical. If they were all eligible to suit up for the BayHawks, which one would you be most excited to see in action?

Looking Back at the 2008 D-League Expansion Draft

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yesterday the D-League's two expansion franchises, the Maine Red Claws and Springfield Armor, took part in a 10-round expansion draft. Some of the players selected included Cedric Bozeman (UCLA), John Lucas III (Oklahoma State), and James White. For full expansion draft analysis and results, check out Jon L's recap at Ridiculous Upside.

What I'd like to do is turn the clock back a year to look at the 2008 D-League expansion draft, specifically the 10 selections made by the Erie BayHawks. The BayHawks were joined at last year's expansion draft by the Reno Bighorns and full results can be found here courtesy of

Below is a quick look at each of the BayHawks' 10 expansion draft selections from last season:

Round 1: Mike Gansey
While Gansey was the first round selection of the BayHawks, he didn't play for the team. Instead he played last season in Germany with Eisbaeren Bremerhaven where he averaged 8.7 points per game. He also poses with a mean game face.

Round 2: Jackie Manuel
The UNC alum was the BayHawks' second-round selection and the only expansion draftee that ended up on Erie's roster. Manuel was a key contributor for the team last season, particularly on defense.

Round 3: Kris Lang
The BayHawks made it two Tar Heels in a row with the selection of Kris Lang in round three. Lang, however, returned to play in Turkey last season with Turk Telekom Ankara.

Round 4: Dahntay Jones
After finishing the 2008 season in the D-League, Dahntay Jones found his niche last season, signing on with the Denver Nuggets. The former Duke Blue Devil started 71 games for the Nuggets and played a key defensive role during the team's postseason run to the Western Conference Finals. He signed with the Indiana Pacers this offseason.

Round 5: Steven Smith
The 6'9" Smith played last season in Greece with VAP Kolossos. Unfortunately, he ruptured his Achilles tendon 22 games into the season.

Round 6: Cecil Brown
Brown, formerly of UC Santa Barbara, played last season for Etendard de Brest in France, averaging 15.4 points per game.

Round 7: Brian Greene
Former Colorado State forward Brian Greene went in round seven. He wound up spending the 2008-09 season with Entente Orleans 45 in France where he averaged 12.4 points per game.

Round 8: Brian Chase
Chase, who played his college ball at Virginia Tech from 1999-2003, has been all over the place since turning pro, including a few years with the L.A. D-Fenders in the D-League. Last season he had stints with Le Mans Sarth Basket of France and Dynamo Moscow of Russia.

Round 9: Jeff Hagen
According to this article from, Hagen, a former Minnesota Golden Gopher, retired following the 2007-08 season, which he played for the Iowa Energy.

Round 10: Randy Livingston
Though he was retired, the BayHawks selected Livingston in the final round of the expansion draft with the hopes that they could entice the 2006-07 D-League MVP to come out of retirement. But it didn't happen. Livingston remained retired and caught on as an assistant coach with the Idaho Stampede. This season he will be part of an expansion team—as an assistant coach with the Maine Red Claws.

(My thanks to Their comprehensive profile listings helped me track down a lot of the players/information for this post.)

BayHawks Learn D-League Showcase Opponents

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The D-League Showcase will take place January 4-7, 2010, at the Qwest Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Each season the D-League Showcase welcomes general managers, player personnel staff, and scouts from each of the 30 NBA teams to evaluate the league’s talent. Numerous members of the international basketball community will also attend.

As part of the showcase, the Erie BayHawks will play the Reno Bighorns on Wednesday, January 6, and the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Thursday, January 7. Reno and Los Angeles were the only two teams not on Erie's home or away schedule the rest of the sesaon. With these two matchups added to the schedule, Erie will now play each team in the league at least once during the course of the season.

The complete 2009 NBA D-League Showcase schedule is listed below:

2010 NBA D-League Showcase Schedule (all times local)

Monday, Jan. 4
Rio Grande Valley vs. Albuquerque, 11 a.m.
Los Angeles vs. Maine, 1:45 p.m.
Dakota vs. Reno, 4:30 p.m.
Idaho vs. Springfield, 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 5
Maine vs. Sioux Falls, 11 a.m.
Tulsa vs. Utah, 1:45 p.m.
Austin vs. Iowa, 4:30 p.m.
Springfield vs. Dakota, 7:15 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 6
Reno vs. Erie, 11 a.m.
Bakersfield vs. Rio Grande Valley, 1:45 p.m.
Sioux Falls vs. Austin, 4:30 p.m.
Fort Wayne vs. Idaho, 7:15 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 7
Albuquerque vs. Tulsa, 11 a.m.
Erie vs. Los Angeles, 1:45 p.m.
Iowa vs. Bakersfield, 4:30 p.m.
Utah vs. Fort Wayne, 7:15 p.m.

About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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