Game Review: Erie BayHawks 82, Fort Wayne Mad Ants 93

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Erie BayHawks lost to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants 93-82 Sunday night, falling to 1-1 on the year.

Erie jumped out to a 22-14 first quarter lead, which made it seem like this might be a re-run from Friday night's win, but the Mad Ants stormed back to outscore Erie 56-38 in the second and third quarters to break this one open.

The BayHawks did a much better job taking care of the ball, committing just 12 turnovers (as opposed to 22 on opening night) with 19 assists.

Fort Wayne relied on a three-headed offensive attack. Ron Howard led the way with a much more efficient night 25 points on 13 shots (compared to 19 points on 16 shots Friday). Kyle McAlarney added 22, including four 3s. And Rob Kurz finally took and made a shot—several of them, in fact—on his way to a 16 point, 19 rebound night.

The BayHawks once again won the battle in the paint as John Bryant posted his second straight double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. On the flipside, the Mad Ants had another less-than-stellar shooting night at 40.8 percent from the field, but they made up for it by hitting 9-20 from 3 and 22-26 free throws. Fort Wayne outscored Erie by a count of 49-18 on 3s and free throws alone.

Aside from Bryant, Donell Taylor was the lone standout for the BayHawks. The veteran guard posted a double-double of his own with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Even more impressively, he bounced back from a sloppy opener (2 assists, 6 turnovers) with a much more composed effort (7 assists, 3 turnovers). That's the ratio Erie would love to see on a consistent basis as they try to figure out their backcourt situation.

Jackie Manuel's shooting touch from Game 1 was nowhere to be found in this one and teammate Ivan Harris was no better. The two returning BayHawks combined to shoot just 8-30 from the field, 0-4 from 3-point range.

Coach Treloar played the starting five (Bryant, Harris, Manuel, Taylor, and Cedric Jackson) heavy minutes. Only Martin Zeno played more than 15 minutes off the bench. Kyle Goldcamp received a DNP-Coach's Decision for the second straight game, the only BayHawk yet to see game action this season.

The BayHawks' next two games are on the road against the Sioux Falls Skyforce (1-1) next Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-5 before returning to Erie to host the Maine Red Claws (1-1) in their home opener Dec. 12.

Game Preview: Erie BayHawks (1-0) at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (0-1)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My apologies for originally writing that this game was being played tonight. It is, in fact, being played tomorrow (Sunday). I was working off the original BayHawks pocket calendar (photo here), which shows the game date incorrectly. Unfortunately, that means we have to wait an extra day before the BayHawks are back in action again. But that doesn't mean we can't start looking ahead to tomorrow's rematch of the opener.

Game 2 Preview: Erie BayHawks (1-0) at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (0-1)

Erie passed its first road test of the season last night. In game two Sunday night, they get to face the same opponent, but that doesn't mean the same result will come easily. Having now beaten Fort Wayne twice in eight days (counting the preseason game), the BayHawks need to avoid complacency in a game that figures to play out differently. The Mad Ants surely do not want to start the year 0-2 at home, and it's hard to imagine they'll shoot so poorly (35.7 percent) on consecutive nights.

Erie coming in: After winning a high scoring affair in the preseason, the grind-it-out defensive battle last night should have Erie feeling confident that they can handle whatever the Mad Ants throw at them. They'll need to guard against overconfidence setting in early in the season as Fort Wayne is still adjusting on the fly to the NBA call-up of Chris Hunter.

Fort Wayne coming in: They cannot be happy with last night's offensive production. Everyone who saw the box score questioned how Rob Kurz could play 33 minutes without attempting a shot. Look for Kurz to be more involved in thegame plan and look for the Mad Ants to re-establish the long range attack that worked for them for much of the preseason game against Erie a week ago.

BayHawks keys to success:

  1. Limit turnovers.
    The one black eye on last night's box score for the BayHawks was turnovers. Erie had 22 turnovers to go with just 18 assists. More importantly, the bulk of turnovers came from the guys who are going to have the ball in their hands the most this season. Cedric Jackson had 7 and Donell Taylor and Jackie Manuel had 6 turnovers apiece. That's not going to cut it for the BayHawks to be successful over the course of the season.

  2. Get big production from the bigs.
    Fort Wayne is thin up front and Sonderleiter had to play 41 minutes last night. Pound the ball inside to Bryant, Aminu, Gunter, and company. Sonderleiter had 5 fouls last night. If Erie can get him in foul trouble, that will really open up the paint for the BayHawks frontline to score at ease.

  3. Heat up the Microwave.
    Ivan Harris has a tendency to be a streaky shooter, but when he's hot, he's automatic (hence the nickname). As they did much of last year, the BayHawks have him playing the 4, though he shoots more like a small forward. If he can space the floor with his shooting, it'll open up the inside even more for Erie.
The game tips at 5 p.m. Sunday. Watch the action live on NBA FutureCast or listen locally on the radio on WFNN 1330 AM.

Game Review: Erie BayHawks 85, Fort Wayne Mad Ants 77

The Erie BayHawks defeated the Fort Wayne Mad Ants 85-77 last night to open the season 1-0. The two teams will play again *tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. in Fort Wayne.

The BayHawks seemed to follow my three keys to success (from yesterday's preview post) like gospel:

  1. Dominate the paint.
    The BayHawks outrebounded the Mad Ants 47-36 and had strong performances from both John Bryant and Alade Aminu in their D-League debuts. Bryant got the start at center and made good on the opportunity, recording a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds) to go along with 3 blocks and 3 assists. Aminu played about half as long as Bryant but still managed an efficient 9 points and 6 rebounds. Mad Ants center Sean Sonderleiter played pretty well himself, but he didn't have much help on the frontline. Fort Wayne clearly missed the presence of NBA call-up Chris Hunter down low.

  2. Defend against the 3.
    Whether it was a change of defensive strategy from Erie or offensive focus from Fort Wayne, the BayHawks limited the Mad Ants to just 3 of 11 shooting from 3-point range after they shot 8 of 23 in their preseason game a week ago. The attempts went down, and so did the percentage, which was a recipe for failure for Fort Wayne against the size of the BayHawks.

  3. Depend on experience.
    Not surprisingly, returning BayHawks Jackie Manuel and Ivan Harris were one and two in minutes played for Erie last night with Manuel playing all but one minute of the game. Manuel, known as a defensive stopper, led the team with 18 points on 5-9 shooting, including 2-3 from 3-point range. Top draft choice and Erie's number one draft pick Donell Taylor also chipped in with 16 points after a bit of an auspicious start.
*The game tips at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Originally, I had mistakenly wrote that it was to be played tonight. Watch the action live on NBA FutureCast or listen locally on the radio on WFNN 1330 AM.

Game Preview: Erie BayHawks at Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Friday, November 27, 2009

Put away those Thanksgiving leftovers, stash away the bags from Black Friday shopping, and tune into FutureCast. The Erie BayHawks tip off the 2009-10 NBA Development League season tonight on the road against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Locally, fans can also listen to the radio broadcast of the game on WFFN 1330 AM.

Erie plays at Fort Wayne again tomorrow night and then travels to play two games against Sioux Falls next weekend before returning to Erie for its home opener Dec. 12.

The BayHawks defeated Fort Wayne last Friday in preseason action, 106-100, so these teams have some familiarity with each other.

Erie BayHawks at Fort Wayne Mad Ants Game Preview

Erie coming in: The BayHawks made two surprising cuts to set its final 10-man roster, waiving guards Rod Wilmont and Oliver Lafayette. Both players had D-League experience and they were first and second on the team in scoring in Erie's preseason win over Fort Wayne. Obviously that begs the question, who's going to pick up the scoring slack for the BayHawks? Ivan Harris is the team's leading returning scorer, having averaged 15.7 points per game last season. Also look for top draft choice Donell Taylor to be heavily involved.

Fort Wayne coming in: Just prior to the preseason game, the Mad Ants saw Chris Hunter get called up to the Golden State Warriors. With that void up front, Fort Wayne turned to third-year forward Ron Howard to lead the charges, and he did not disappoint. He led all scorers in the preseason game with 24 points. Fort Wayne also boasts a trio of former Fighting Irish in Rob Kurz, Kyle McAlarney, and Ryan Ayers. Kurz, who was traded from Erie to Fort Wayne for Alade Aminu, will no doubt be up for this game after he struggled to find the touch shooting the ball in their preseason meeting.

BayHawks keys to success:

  1. Dominate the paint.
    Look for the BayHawks to try to establish a low post game with Alade Aminu and/or John Bryant. This year's BayHawks are considerably bigger than last year's squad and dominating the paint may be their best course of action, especially with some questions at the point guard spot.

  2. Defend against the 3.
    Almost 1/3 of Fort Wayne's shots (23 of their 78 attempts) came from beyond the arc when these teams played last week. The Notre Dame crew was especially lethal from distance as McAlarney and Ayers each hit three from distance. Kurz didn't make a 3, but he launched 5, so he's another long-range gunner to watch.

  3. Depend on experience.
    Before this season is over, Erie will need contributions from everyone, but with five players making their professional debut tonight in a hostile environment, it's a good time to look to players who have been here before like Ivan Harris and Jackie Manuel.
The game begins at 7:30 tonight. And if their preseason matchup was any indication of what's to come, this will be a high-intensity, back-and-forth game that will come to down fourth quarter execution and free throw shooting. The season is finally here. Let the games begin!

Thanksgiving for the BayHawks

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Blog Talk BayHawk!

The roster was set yesterday, and the season begins tomorrow. Today, I've got a guest post over at listing reasons for the new bunch of BayHawks to be thankful this holiday season.

Here's a sampling:

Your three returning players (Jarvis Gunter, Ivan Harris, and Jackie, Manuel) know what’s coming. As for the newcomers, just give it a few weeks. You may never fully warm up to the idea of Erie winters (at age 25, I still haven’t), but once you endure December’s fifth blizzard number, you should develop a sort of reluctant acceptance of the way it is around here. Sure, the games are played indoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of Erie’s winter climate. Surviving an Erie winter is badge of honor that we natives take for granted. So don’t fight it; embrace it. And when your opponents fly in from Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and Bakersfield, California, take joy in whatever fun twists Mother Nature throws their way. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL POST.
Enjoy the post and enjoy the holiday!

Erie BayHawks 2009-10 Roster, Final Cuts

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And then there were 10. The Erie BayHawks waived guards Oliver Lafayette and Rod Wilmont today to set its opening day 10-man roster.

The 2009-10 BayHawks roster is as follows:

Analyzing the cuts
Both of the final cuts came as surprises to me. Lafayette started 23 games for Erie last season and started the BayHawks' only preseason contest Friday against Fort Wayne. He scored 14 points on 3-7 shooting, (1-3 3PT, 7-7 FT), grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 2 assists with 2 turnovers in 21 minutes. As one of only four players returning from last season, it seemed like Lafayette would be back, but the coaching staff obviously felt differently.

Equally surprising to me was the decision to waive Wilmont. Not only did Wilmont have D-League experience, playing the full 2007-08 season with Fort Wayne, he also had played under BayHawks coaches John Treloar and Ben McDonald when they were assistants at Indiana University. After Wilmont led Erie to victory with a 23-point performance in the preseason game against his former team, his roster spot seemed secure. Clearly the coaches saw something in practice that overshadowed the lone preseason game.

The only thing that I can figure is that the coaching staff must have felt set in terms of scoring. Lafayette and Wilmont are both scoring guards capable of catching fire in a hurry. However, the coaches may have decided that more backcourt scoring was not necessary. Instead they ruled in favor of guards Zach Sowers and Martin Zeno., who scored a combined 8 points on 3-9 shooting but showed their worth in other ways that may not necessarily show up in a box score.

Analyzing the roster
Now that the final cuts have been made, a few things jump out at me:

  • Size
    This year's bunch of BayHawks is significantly bigger than last year's version. Four players are listed at 6'10" or bigger and no one is smaller than 6'3".

  • Youth
    Inexperience is sort of the status quo at this level. After all, it is called the Development League for a reason. Still, by cutting Lafayette and Wilmont, two guys with D-League experience, Erie will start the season with just five players with any pro basketball experience.

  • Diversity
    The BayHawks have players from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, WCC, and the Horizon League as well as NCAA Division II and NAIA Division II. The 10 players hail from nine different states—Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Lousiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

  • Versatility
    The official press release credited only Jackie Manuel with a slash in the position column, but I'd argue that every player is well-suited to play two positions with the exceptions of Cedric Jackson (point guard) and John Bryant (center).

  • Fan Appeal
    BayHawks fans will recognize some familiar faces when Erie hosts its home opener Dec. 12. Jarvis Gunter, Ivan Harris, and Jackie Manuel return from last year's team, and they'll be joined by Gannon University alum Kyle Goldcamp.

Looking Forward By Looking Back

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Erie BayHawks must make two more cuts to trim its roster to the league-mandated 10 by Thursday at 5 p.m. Tell me, who is the heartless person that thought it would be nice to make Thanksgiving Day the final cut. I know the season starts Friday, but as Uncle Jesse always said, "Have Mercy, NBA D-League." OK, so he left out the NBA D-League part, but you get the idea.

Anyway, the BayHawks have to make two cuts. And whether that news comes down tonight, tomorrow, or Thanksgiving Day, it will be disappointing to two players who fought through training camp for a shot at a roster spot.

After watching Erie's 106-100 preseason victory over Fort Wayne (the official D-League box score wasn't loading as of this posting, but it's back up now) on Friday, it's my opinion that four men are battling for the BayHawks' final two roster spots.

Erie's starters on Friday included four returning players: Jarvis Gunter, Ivan Harris, Jackie Manuel, and Oliver Lafayette, and this year's first-round draft choice Donell Taylor. I think it's safe to say they're safe. Rod Wilmont led the team in scoring to secure his spot. I believe point guard Cedric Jackson also did enough to earn a spot with his play off the bench as he's probably the team's best ballhandler. Alade Aminu, another first-round pick, showed flashes of why Erie traded for him. That makes eight that are all but locked in.

That leaves big men John Bryant and Kyle Goldcamp as well as guards Martin Zeno and Zach Sowers. My hunch is that Erie will keep one of the bigs and one of the guards. For what it's worth, Sowers and Goldcamp did not see the floor until the second half against Fort Wayne. Bryant saw the most quality action of the foursome and played down the stretch. As I mentioned, I'm unable to view the box score right now, but I believe Bryant saw twice as many minutes as Goldcamp. Judging by that, you'd have to say that Treloar is leaning toward Bryant, but Goldcamp was very active defensively and was part of a key BayHawks surge in the late third quarter.

As for the guards, Sowers' game seemed to be perimeter-oriented. He demonstrated a quick release and did not shy away from the moment. Zeno's game was a bit quieter on Friday, but his Texas Tech resume speaks for itself.

Every spot matters on a 10-man roster, so you can bet that the coaching staff is doing everything it can to evaluate these players before deciding who to keep and who to cut. It won't be an easy decision to let any of them go, but we'll find out in the next 48 hours or so as the BayHawks set their official opening day roster.

Desktop Wallpaper: 2009-10 Erie BayHawks Schedule

Monday, November 23, 2009

In celebration of the NBA Development League season tipping off this week (Friday!), I thought I'd put out a desktop background highlighting the full BayHawks' season schedule.

The thumbnail version is below. Two full size options are avilable: standard (1024x768) and widescreen (1440x900). Download the one that fits your screen today and outfit your computer in style for the upcoming season.

Erie 106, Fort Wayne 100: Video Post-Game Recap

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This is a little something different from me, my first venture into the video world with Blog Talk BayHawk. We'll see how it goes, but I'm thinking this may become my mode of communication immediately following the home games I attend because it's a quick and easy way to get my thoughts on the game out there.

With that in mind, here's the first post-game video recap from yesterday's preseason opener from Meadville, Pa., where the BayHawks beat the Mad Ants 106-100.

Prepare For the Preseason

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sure, it's only one game long, but the NBA Development League preseason is here. The Erie BayHawks host the Fort Wayne Mad Ants tonight at Meadville High School in Meadville, Pa. Tipoff is schedule for 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6.

For more on the importance of the game, check out my guest post over at Here's a sampling:

Some of these players have passed on bigger contracts overseas to pursue their dream of an NBA call-up. Cliché as it sounds, these guys are playing for the love of the game because they don’t get much more than that. They play because basketball is what they know, and they know that the D-League gives them a shot to play in front of NBA scouts on a nightly basis. They play knowing that a shot at the big time is literally just a phone call away. READ THE FULL POST.

For those looking for even more analysis of the game, check out these links:
  • Ridiculous Upside's Jon L has a brief preview of tonight's preseason action in the D-League.
  • At, Duane Rankin writes about BayHawk guard Rod Wilmont facing his former team tonight and blogs about the projected starting five for tonight's game: Jarvis Gunter, Ivan Harris, Jackie Manuel, Oliver Lafayette, and Donell Taylor.
  • Want to read up on the competition? There are two Mad Ants blogs out there: the cleverly titled Martz Madness, run by account executive, and the (how can I put this nicely?) not-so-cleverly titled Potter's New Blog, run by team president Jeff Potter. Both provide good information on the team and take great pride in trying to one-up the other's blogging efforts.
  • And as always, don't forget to follow me on Twitter, where I often post links, breaking news, and some quick thoughts that don't always warrant a full blog post. You can also see my five-latest tweets streamed in the far right-hand column of the blog.

Poll: Which of the first five training camp cuts was the most surprising?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

BayHawks Release Joe Jones, Trimming Roster to 12

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The news just came out that the Erie BayHawks made the final cut needed to trim the roster to the league-mandated size of 12 by 5 p.m. today. Joe Jones, a 6'3" guard from Edinboro University.

A native of Erie and graduate of nearby Edinboro, Jones had a lot of local support in his effort to secure a spot on this year's team. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for him. The he biggest knock against Jones is his size and strength. At 180 pounds, he was the lightest player left in camp, and a little added bulk would go a long way toward defending the guards Erie is likely to see in D-League competition this season.

That said, Jones is a talented young player, and I wouldn't be surprised if he explored his options and found an opportunity to play professionally in some other capacity. He's got a good first step, a quick-release on his jumper that allows him to get his shot off against any defender, and he's also shown himself capable of being a feisty defender.

It's too bad that the Erie dream won't come true, but Jones deserves a great deal of credit and respect for making it down to the final 13. As someone who played with and against Jones back when he was in high school, I can't say enough about how impressed I am with the way he's developed his game over the years. He won't be a BayHawk to start this season, but Jones' emergence at Edinboro and run at a roster spot with the BayHawks proves he's made himself into one of the best players in Erie basketball's recent history. Blog Talk BayHawk wishes him best of luck wherever his future path leads him.

Implications of the Initial Roster Cuts

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If you missed it, the BayHawks announced they had cut cut their training camp roster from 17 to 13 last night. Gone are Raheem Moss, Derrick Mercer, Jeff Skemp, and Ryan Troutman. One more player must be cut to get the roster down to the D-League mandated 12 by tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. The final 10-man roster must be set by Nov. 26.

Skemp and Troutman were the BayHawks' fifth and sixth round picks from Wisconsin-Platteville and Tusculm, respectively. Moss was a late training camp roster addition from Cleveland State, who also happened to be the last man cut in training camp last year. Mercer, a point guard from American, was Erie's fourth-round selection.

Speculation alert! No roster spots are guaranteed for the BayHawks, but I'm going to suggest it would be surprising if the BayHawks cut any of their four returning players. After talking with Coach Treloar on media day, I'd also be surprised if the team cut either of its first-round draft acquisitions, Donell Taylor and Alade Aminu. Assuming those six are safe, which is not guaranteed but likely, that leaves seven players battling for just four open spots.

I've groupedt he players into one of three categories: backcourt (point guards/shooting guards), wings (small forwards, shooting guards), and frontcourt (power forwards/centers).

Likely in: Oliver Lafayette

Still in contention: Cedric Jackson, Joe Jones, Martin Zeno, Zach Sowers, Rod Wilmont

Analysis: With the departure of Maureece Rice, there's a lot of scoring to be replaced at the guard spot. But perhaps more importantly, the BayHawks need to find themselves a point guard. Of the six players listed here (including Lafayette) are each listed between 6'2" and 6'5". Jackson is really the only true point guard of the bunch, which may give him a leg up on the competition. The other small guards would do well to show the coaching staff they can distribute and defend from the point guard position. My gut tells me it's one of the five guards above that gets the axe tomorrow. In terms of the final roster, I expect two or three of the guards listed above to make it along with Lafayette.

Likely in: Ivan Harris, Jackie Manuel, Donell Taylor

Still in contention: N/A

Analysis: You could easily make a case that some of the shooting guards listed in the backcourt section are better suited for a wing classification, but I chose to lump them together because a lot of the minutes at small forward and shooting guard figure to go to returnees Harris and Manuel and newcomer/number one pick Taylor.

Likely in: Alade Aminu, Jarvis Gunter

Still in contention: John Bryant, Kyle Goldcamp

Analysis: It wouldn't surprise me if all four of these players make the final roster, giving Erie four viable big man options. It's also possible that Bryant and Goldcamp, who have similar games based on work ethic and sound fundamentals in the post, are battling each other for a spot. But I'd expect them to both remain on the roster through at least the preseason game on Friday before that decision is made.

Catching Up With Coach Treloar

Monday, November 16, 2009

Of all the conversations I had during BayHawks media day, the quote that stood out the most came from BayHawks coach John Treloar, who said, "I believe this team can become the premiere D-League franchise."

It's a lofty goal, but one I was glad to here coming from the head coach. He's on board with the organization in Erie and wants to see it succeed on and off the court. He made a point to say that the basketball following in Erie is great, especially the support of the local Division II colleges. "We're not in direct competition with them," Treloar said, and the BayHawks don't want to be. Instead, they offer local fans something different. "Fans who come to our games are going to see more size, more athleticism, just a higher level of basketball," Treloar said.

That high level of basketball comes thanks to the hard work of Treloar and assistant coach Ben McDonald, who helped lead Erie to the playoffs last season as an expansion franchise. After a busy offseason, they're back and ready to try to build upon their first year success.

While Treloar says that every season is a new beginning, he does have four returning players in training camp that should ease the transition from season one to season two. Nonetheless, there are several holes to fill in the roster, most notably the spots of Erik Daniels and Maureece Rice, Erie's top two scorers from a season ago. Treloar spoke highly of both players, but feels good about the players Erie has in camp.

Some of Daniels' experience will be replaced by Donell Taylor, Erie's number one draft pick in the D-League draft, who has played two seasons in the NBA. As for Daniels' position on the floor, Treloar is hoping to find a more traditional low-post center this season. "We wanted to be able to have five or six big guys in camp," he said. Between returning Jarvis Gunter, allocating Kyle Goldcamp, trading for Alade Aminu, and drafting John Bryant and Jeff Skemp, the BayHawks accomplished that goal and brought six players listed at 6'10" or taller into camp.

There's no telling just yet how many of those big men will make the final cut, but one thing is clear. As the BayHawks enter their second season, coach Treloar is very satisfied with the relationship he and the organization has with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"Danny Ferry and Mike Brown have been great putting this together," Treloar said. "Their vision of the relationship between the Cavs and Erie has developed into a great situation." Treloar has taken part in the Cavaliers' mini-camp and training camp and even sat in on meetings leading up to the draft.

But Cleveland is only one of two NBA affiliates for Erie. After a one-year partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers that involved very little interaction, the BayHawks are excited about their new affiliate, the Toronto Raptors. Despite being in a foreign country, Toronto is actually closer than interstate city Philadelphia, and the BayHawks believe the manageable travel distance will encourage more work between the two organizations. "The situation with the Raptors is new but has the potential to develop. Bryan Colangelo has really welcomed us in," Treloar said.

Treloar has some very difficult decisions to make over the next 10 days as he trims the roster from 17 down to 10 by the start of the season. But having been through this process once with success, Treloar is confident heading into the season. And he's not the only one, as the first D-League power rankings have Erie projected as the fourth best team in the league.

Guest-Blogging at

Friday, November 13, 2009

I recently was asked if I'd be interested in guest-posting for the popular regional blog, and I accepted without hesitation. Don't worry, Blog Talk BayHawk isn't going anywhere, but this is a great opportunity for me to spread the word about the BayHawks to a new, larger, and (appropriately) local-based audience.

I'm honored that they asked me to chip in and look forward to contributing to the great content that they provide there on a regular basis. I don't have a set schedule per se, but my plan is to post once a week every Friday, but that schedule is subject to change.

I'll post an excerpt of the column here, and if you like what you read, you can click on over to read the full post at ErieBlogs. And as always, you can follow me on Twitter to find all of my postings as well as other links, thoughts, and insights of varying degrees of relevancy.

Happy start of the D-League season. And now without further ado, here's a snippet from my first post over at ErieBlogs titled "Golden Knights and Fighting Scots as BayHawks, Oh My!"

The start of a new season is always an exciting time, but this year’s Erie BayHawks training camp has an extra bit of sizzle for the local following. Center Kyle Goldcamp (Gannon) and guard Joe Jones (Edinboro) spent the past few seasons dazzling fans of their respective schools. Starting today, they are among an elite group of 17 players being considered for one of just 10 spots on the 2009-10 Erie BayHawks, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.

Both Goldcamp and Jones earned invites to Erie’s training camp via free agent tryouts, meaning they’ve already made strong first impressions on the BayHawks’ coaching staff. Still, both Goldcamp and Jones know that making the jump from DII to the D-League won’t be an easy one.


Media Day Tidbits

I just got back from Erie BayHawks Media Day. I was able to speak with Coach Treloar and some of the players, and I'll follow up with more substantive posts from those talks and training camp insights in the days to come. I'm also in the process of putting together my first post as a regular guest blogger for another prominent local blog. Don't worry, it won't replace what I do here at Blog Talk BayHawk; it'll supplement it. But I wanted to share my initial observations here first.

  • The BayHawks' training camp/practice facility is a state-of-the-art complex. If you haven't been to the LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center, it's worth checking out. If you can't get there, at least take the virtual tour.

  • I know I shouldn't be surprised by size walking into a gym of professional basketball players, but I was. After playing an undersized Erik Daniels at center much of last year, the BayHawks staff made a point to bring several big bodies to camp this year. Five players on the training camp roster are listed at 6'10" or taller. I don't know how many of them will make the team, but I'd be surprised if it was less than three because coaches always say you can't teach size.

  • From top to bottom, the BayHawks are a quality organization and it shows in the players they draft. Basketball aside, these are guys you'd want to go to work with. I didn't meet everyone, but I've yet to meet a player who wasn't likeable. It seems like they really got a group of quality guys.

  • The players were a mixture of excitement and anxiety, looking forward to the prospect of playing while realizing that the 17 that entered camp today will be trimmed to 10 by Nov. 16—giving them little time to make an impact on the coaching staff.

Thoughts on the Expanded D-League Playoff Format

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last year, the BayHawks qualified for the playoffs in their first D-League season. That's quite an achievement for an expansion franchise, even in a league of where 8 of the 16 teams qualify for the postseason.

Unfortunately, the fans in Erie didn't get to enjoy their team's playoff berth as Erie's playoff experience was a one-and-done game halfway across the country against the eventual D-League champion Colorado 14ers. And just like that, Erie's season was over.

If the BayHawks are fortunate enough to make a return trip to the postseason in their second season, the fans and the team will be guaranteed at least one home game thanks to the D-League's decision to expand its playoff format for the 2009-10 season.

This year's playoffs will feature a best-of-three series in each of the three rounds. In the past, only the championship round was a best of three series while the quarter- and semi-final rounds were one-and-done matchups. In each round, the lower-seeded team will host game one. Then the higher-seeded team will host game two and, if necessary, game three. While this means additional travel costs, I think it's a great move by the D-League, ensureing that every playoff team gets to reap the benefits of hosting at least one playoff game.

I think it's good from a basketball perspective, too. March Madness is the place for one-and-dones. The pro game has always thrived with playoff series. Just look back at Bulls-Celtics last year and imagine if we'd been robbed of games 2-6. The new series format means more basketball, and that's something we can all support.

Despite realigning the league's 16 teams from three divisions to two conferences this season, the D-League will not have conference-based playoff qualification or seeding. The top team from each conference will qualify, but the other six playoff spots are up for grabs based on the best win-loss records. It'll be interesting to see how the new unbalanced schedules affect playoff qualification this season, as it figures that if one team faces a particularly bad team several times as part of a "rivalry," that could give them an leg up on the competition for playoff qualification.

One of the interesting wrinkles that the D-League tried out for the playoffs last season is back again this year. The top-seeded division winner will select its opponent first, followed by the second-ranked division winner selecting second and the wild card team with the best regular season record selecting third. The fourth-seeded team will play the remaining team.

The playoffs won't begin for another five months or so, but the D-League's decision to expand the playoff format has me looking forward to spring. Let's just hope the BayHawks perform well enough to be a part of the playoff mix come April.

Which NBA Players May We See in Erie This Season?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels
Earlier today, the NBA Development League put out its list of potential assignment players for the 2009-10 season. Last year, Erie fans were treated to a pair of assignment games from Cavaliers forward Darnell Jackson. This season, Jackson is one of seven potential players that Erie's NBA affiliates, Cleveland and Toronto, could send on assignment to the D-League.

There's no guarantee that any of these players make an appearance with the BayHawks this season, and most of them may not, but that won't stop me from forecasting the possibility/probability. I've seen the list of seven, and based on their NBA team's current makeup and their individual role with the team, here's my countdown from least to most likely to be a BayHawk this season with the chances put into basketball shot-making terms.

J.J. Hickson (90-foot, one-handed toss)
The Cavaliers are clearly in full win-now mode with LeBron James in a contract year and Shaquille O'Neal likely serving in a one-and-done capacity at center. With that in mind, they aren't going to be developing players that are part of that win-now core, and after starting the past two games, it appears as if Hickson is certainly included in that mix, which means he'll be spending his winter with the Cavs on the banks of Lake Erie but not playing for Erie.

DeMar DeRozan (half-court heave)
It's not impossible to suggest that DeRozan could spend a stint as a BayHawk this season. Back when he was first drafted, I gave it a 33 1/3 percent chance of happening. Now that he's started the season as a starter for the Raptors, I'd say that percentage is significantly lower (and I'm willing to be most people can't make 1 out of 3 from midcourt, including DeRozan). But while he's been getting decent time in Toronto, he's not yet a polished product and could potentially benefit from a few games at the D-League level.

Darnell Jackson ("Thunder" Dan Majerle 3-pointer)
This is a tough call as Jackson is sort of the odd man out on a loaded front line in Cleveland, playing behind the likes of Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson. Unless something changes this season and a Cavs big man goes down with injury, it's unlikely that he will break through to earn significantly playing time this season. So then, the question becomes whether he's willing to return to the BayHawks again. His best bet may be an extended stay in the D-League where he can showcase his talents enough to peak the interest of a team that, unlike Cleveland, is in need of a young power forward.

Jawad Williams/Coby Karl (elbow jumper)
I lump Williams and Karl together because they're in similar situations. Like Darnell Jackson, both Williams and Karl are bit pieces on a Cavaliers roster that has very little wiggle room at the top. Neither is likely to crack the rotation this season and both have D-League experience. I think either would be a great add-on for Erie if they can get them for any extended period of time, and the Cavs have shown they're very open to working with the BayHawks organization in the past. I'd be surprised if at least one of them doesn't show up in Erie at some point this year.

Sonny Weems (free throw)
Weems has seen action in just two games with the Raptors this season and was a major contributor in the D-League on assignment from Denver last season, averaging better than 20 points per game. I think Weems could play a role similar to Quincy Douby for the BayHawks this season, making a brief cameo and doing enough to really impress some people at the NBA level.

Danny Green (dunk...or a layup for the vertically challenged)
It's been rumored that Green will play as a BayHawk at some point this season, and it's been reported that he's open to the idea and why not? He'd get to team with another former Tar Heel in Jackie Manuel. He's yet to see action as a Cavalier, and he'd certainly get a heavy dose of minutes with Erie. He'd be a fan favorite as a Cavalier rookie and NCAA national champion. If no one else follows in Darnell Jackson' footsteps from last season, I expect that Green will.

Poll: Which returning player are you most excited to see back with the BayHawks?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Better Know Your BayHawks: 2009 D-League Draft Review, Part 2

Monday, November 9, 2009

On Friday, I examined the top five picks the BayHawks acquired in last Thursday's D-League Draft. This morning, it's time to round out the evaluation, examining the late round picks made by the BayHawks. One only has to look back to Erie's 9th-round pick from 2008, Cliff Clinkscales, to find an example of a late-round pick contributing to the team.

Between their draftees, returning, and allocated players, Erie is slated to have 18 players in training camp, competing for only 10 roster spots. Competition will be fierce. Without further ado, here's a look at the final four draft choices:

5th round: Rod Wilmont, SG, 6'4", 215 lbs, Indiana
What I know: Wilmont played the 2007-08 season in the D-League with Fort Wayne before spending last year playing in Italy and Turkey. He has decent size for a shooting guard but has been labeled a streaker shooter.

What I want to find out: I'd be interested to learn why Fort Wayne didn't look to bring him back since he not only played for the Mad Ants but was a local college star as well. Erie sees Fort Wayne in a preseason matchup on Nov. 20, so that could be an interesting game to watch Wilmont's performance against his former team.

6th round: Jeff Skemp, C, 6'10", 270 lbs, Wisconsin-Platteville
What I know: Skemp was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American and West Region player of the year in 2008-09, averaging an efficient 16.9 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting.

What I want to find out: Erie drafted two players listed 6'10" or taller ahead of him, returns 6'10" Jarvis Gunter and also has allocated 6'10" Gannon University center Kyle Goldcamp. I'm not sure how many bigs Coach Treloar plans to keep, but you have to figure at least one will be cut. How will Skemp work to show that he deserves to be kept over one of the other bigs in camp for the BayHawks?

7th round: Ryan Troutman, G, 6'2", 165 lbs, Tusculum
What I know: Troutman caught the eye of Erie's coaching staff at the Erie free agent tryout back in October. In two years at Tusculum, he set the SAC record by averaging 5.73 assists per game.

What I want to find out: Impressing the coaching staff at the free agent tryout is a start, but it's a big step to impress them enough to make the final cut. Clearly his strength is as a pass-first point guard. But can he show that he can handle the ball against pressure, hit the open shot, and defend the other guards in training camp?

8th round: Zach Sowers, SG, 6'3", 205 lbs, William Jessup
What I know: Sowers spent the first three years of his college career at Akron before averaging 17.8 points per game for William Jessup in NAIA competition as a senior.

What I want to find out: Sowers has his work cut out for him, battling for a roster spot in a crowded BayHawks backcourt headed to training camp. Obviously, the deck is stacked against him as the eighth-round pick, but clearly he showed the team something to get them to take a flyer on him, so who knows. Maybe Sowers is this year's Clinkscales, a diamond in the rough, emerging on the roster as a late-round pick. Only time will tell.

Better Know Your BayHawks: 2009 D-League Draft Review, Part 1

Friday, November 6, 2009

The 2009 D-League Draft is in the books. (Check out the official D-League recap and the more opinionated Ridiculous Upside review and DraftExpress Diary.) And that means its officially time to start honing in on who will be on the floor when the BayHawks tipoff the season three weeks from tonight, Nov. 27, in Fort Wayne. Training camp gets underway next week (Nov. 13 or 14) and the first roster cut will come shortly thereafter. Then the BayHawks will play a preseason game in Meadville on Nov. 20 before making their final roster cuts.

Wednesday, I introduced you to Erie's first seven training camp invites, which included four returning players from last year's team and three locally allocated players. Today, it's time to put the first five players from Erie's 2009 draft class under the microscope and examine exactly who and what they acquired with last night's selections. On Monday, I'll look at the final four picks made by the BayHawks.

1st round: Donell Taylor, F, 6'6", 185 lbs, Alabama-Birmingham
What I know: Taylor has 98 games of NBA experience with the Washington Wizards. To put that in perspective, the rest of the BayHawks players heading to training camp have a combined ZERO games of NBA experience. There's a reason Erie chose him number two overall when rumors had them looking to go with a big man and that reason is that he brings a level of professional experience that is significantly lacking on this team with the departure of the veteran team leader from last season, Erik Daniels.

What I want to find out: Now 27 years old, how has Taylor tailored his game to make an impact for the BayHawks this season? He shot just 39.5% from the field, 20.6% from 3-point range, and 64.1% from the line in his two years with the Wizards. As Erie's top pick, I expect Taylor to be a focal point on offense, but he'll need to show that his shooting proficiency has improved.

*1st round (via Fort Wayne): Alade Aminu, PF, 6'10", 235 lbs, Georgia Tech
What I know: Aminu was one of the names rumored for Erie's top pick. Instead, they got him in a draft-day deal with Fort Wayne, sending Rob Kurz to the Mad Ants. Coach Treloar had his eye on Aminu since he saw him back at the Cavs mini-camp in June. He's also one of five players Erie will bring to camp listed at 6'10" or bigger, which should mean a much different frontline look than last year's team that resorted to playing the undersized Erik Daniels out of position at center most of the year.

What I want to find out: Despite playing at a big-time ACC school, I've never heard of Aminu. The first thing that jumps out at me is that 235 seems a bit light for a 6'10" power forward. The second thing that stands out is the jump he made from his junior to senior season in terms of a statistical impact with the Yellow Jackets. Whether or not he can continue to build on that upward trend will be the big question for Aminu in Erie.

2nd round: John Bryant, C, 6'11", 300 lbs, Santa Clara
What I know: According to this video (insert your soundtrack of choice here), Bryant is also known as "Big" John Bryant and a master of the up-and-under move, a backyard basketball favorite of mine. More importantly and impressively, he was named the 2009 West Coast Conference Player of the Year over strong competition that included Patty Mills of Saint Mary's and Josh Heytvelt of Gonzaga.

What I want to find out: How will he adjust to Erie coming from Santa Clara? He'll be one of the biggest bodies in the D-League, but how will he matchup against smaller, quicker centers that other teams will use to counter his size advantage?

3rd round: Martin Zeno, SG, 6'5", 205 lbs, Texas Tech
What I know: The BayHawks roster comes from many different basketball backgrounds, but few can say they played for as legendary of a coach as Zeno did, playing for Bob Knight at Texas Tech.

What I want to find out: Zeno led the Red Raiders in scoring and was second in assists as a senior in 2007-08. As a junior, he was second on the team in scoring and first in assists. Almost everyone good enough to make a D-League roster was a top-scorer in the past, but if Zeno can develop that playmaking ability and be a high assist/low turnover producer from the 2-guard spot, he could definitely play a valuable role for the BayHawks this season.

4th round: Derrick Mercer, PG, 5'9", 170 lbs, American
What I know: Along with backcourt mate Garrison Car, Mercer nearly led American University to a stunning first-round upset of Villanova in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament. Mercer played all 40 minutes, scoring 17 points on 8-16 shooting.

What I want to find out: Is he the guy to fill Rice's shoes? I've made a big deal about the void left by the departure of Erik Daniels, but the absence of last year's point guard, Maureece Rice, who opted to play in Mexico, is also a major concern for the BayHawks. Mercer is four inches smaller and 55 pounds lighter, and thus plays a much different style than Rice, so it'll be interesting to see if and how Coach Treloar adjusts the role of the point guard position to better suit Mercer's strengths, if indeed he wins the starting job.

2009 NBA Development League Draft Results and My Initial Reactions

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Unfortunately, Erie did not select any of the 15 players I had listed as guys I'd like to see in a BayHawks uniform this year. But this is why I write the blog and John Treloar and Ben McDonald—the guys who will actually be coaching these players drafted tonight—make the picks. My list was made up primarily of high-profile names from big-time college programs. The coaches picked based on players that could fit into the BayHawks system and develop in their program.

It was a solid draft that sured up some week areas for the team and it should lead to a very competitive training camp, especially at the center and point guard position where Erie looks to replace Erik Daniels and Maureece Rice, arguably its two best weapons last year.

Expect a more substantial draft review tomorrow after we've all had time to digest eight rounds of D-League names (and the draft party food). For now, I'll just offer a quick list of those we picked and the whereabouts of those we passed on from my wish list (that would be all fifteen of them).

1st round: Donell Taylor, F, 6'6", 185 lbs, Alabama-Birmingham
*1st round (via Fort Wayne): Alade Aminu, PF, 6'10", 235 lbs, Georgia Tech
2nd round: John Bryant, C, 6'11", 300 lbs, Santa Clara
3rd round: Martin Zeno, SG, 6'5", 205 lbs, Texas Tech
4th round: Derrick Mercer, PG, 5'9", 170 lbs, American
5th round: Rod Wilmont, SG, 6'4", 215 lbs, Indiana
6th round: Jeff Skemp, C, 6'10", 270 lbs, Wisconsin-Platteville
7th round: Ryan Troutman, G, 6'2", 165 lbs, Tusculum
8th round: Zach Sowers, SG, 6'3", 205 lbs, William Jessup

* Erie traded the rights to Rob Kurz to Fort Wayne for the #10 overall pick

By drafting Bryant and Skemp and trading for Aminu, coach John Treloar will have a very healthy competition for the frontline roster spots as those three battle along with returning BayHawk Jarvis Gunter and Gannon University alum Kyle Goldcamp.

I'd expect Taylor, as the number two overall pick, to make the team and be a significant contributor for the BayHawks. His NBA and overseas experience should be a major plus.

I grant thee zero wishes
While the BayHawks didn't agree with me, I certainly wasn't the only one high on these players. Eleven of the 15 went in the first two rounds and all of them were selected by round six.

My congratulations to Tulsa and Idaho for agreeing with me enough to choose three players from my wish list apiece. I'll definitely be circling Erie's matchups with the 66ers and Stampede on the schedule (unfortunately watching via FutureCast since they're all on the road this year.) Here's a recap of my full wish list as well as when and where the players were drafted:

1st round, 3rd selection: Deron Washington (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
1st round, 8th selection: Paul Harris (Maine Red Claws)
1st round, 9th selection: Rashad Anderson (Iowa Energy)
1st round, 12th selection: Antonio Anderson (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
1st round, 14th selection: JamesOn Curry (Springfield Armor)
1st round, 15th selection: Sundiata Gaines (Idaho Stampede)
1st round, 16th selection: Latavious Williams (Tulsa 66ers)

2nd round, 1st selection: Mustafa Shakur (Tulsa 66ers)
2nd round, 11th selection: Russell Carter (Austin Toros)
2nd round, 13th selection: Reece Gaines (Bakersfield Jam)

4th round, 1st selection: Jeral Davis (Tulsa 66ers)
4th round, 12th selection: Jason Richards (Utah Flash)

5th round, 1st selection: Shagari Alleyne (Albuquerque Thunderbirds)
5th round, 15th selection: JC Mathis (Idaho Stampede)

6th round, 2nd selection: Mike Gansey (Idaho Stampede)

Future BayHawks Watch: 2009 D-League Draft Preview Edition

In less than seven hours, the Erie BayHawks will be on the clock with their first selection in the 2009 NBA Development League Draft. Erie has the second overall selection; Albuquerque will choose first. The pool of players is 200 deep featuring a mixture of players from big-time college programs, small schools, and, for the first time, a player straight out of high school.

As the BayHawks look to add to their initial training camp roster in tonight's draft, I scanned the potential list of draftees and made my wish list for the BayHawks' 2009 draft. If they're able to select several of these prospects, it should be a fun and successful year for the BayHawks and their fans.

My Top-15 Wish List (in alphabetical order)

  1. Shagari Alleyne, C, 7'3", 270 lbs, Kentucky
    Erie fans will remember Alleyne, the tallest player in this year's draft, for the performances he put on in two McDonald's Classic appearances (2001, 2003). While his college career did not turn out as planned at Kentucky, there is no doubt that his size is appealing to Coach Treloar in a league where the big men are few and far between.

  2. Antonio Anderson, G/F, 6'6", 215 lbs, Memphis
    As the 2009 Conference USA Player of the Year, Anderson would likely challenge Jackie Manuel for the role of defensive stopper. It also doesn't hurt that he comes from a winning tradition at Memphis, having won a whopping 137 games in four years with the Tigers.

  3. Rashad Anderson, G/F, 6'5", 225 lbs, Connecticut
    Speaking of winning traditions, it doesn't get much better in basketball than UConn, where Anderson won an NCAA championship as a sophomore. Impressively, he was the third-leading scorer on that team behind only NBA lottery picks Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor. That team also included Charlie Villanueva, Josh Boone, Marcus Williams, Hilton Armstrong, and Denham Brown, so there's no doubt that Anderson can hang with elite company.

  4. Russell Carter, SG, 6'4", 200 lbs, Notre Dame
    College teammate of another potential Bayhawk, Rob Kurz, Carter led the Fighting Irish in scoring his senior season back in 2006-07 and was named 1st-Team All-Big East. Carter also had a brief stint in the D-League with Tulsa in 2007-08.

  5. JamesOn Curry, SG, 6'3", 195 lbs, Oklahoma St.
    Anyone who has a capital O in the middle of their first name is worth a look in my book. But beyond the spelling anomaly, Curry is a proven D-League commodity, averaging 20.2 points per game in 2007-08 and leading the Iowa Energy to a Central Division title last year.

  6. Jeral Davis, C, 7'1", 225 lbs, Talladega College
    Did I mention that D-League coaches like size? Davis is one of only six 7-footers listed among the pool of 200 available players, which makes him a hotter commodity than most. I can neither confirm nor deny that I chose to highlight him over the others because he went to the school of Ricky Bobby. A closer look at Davis' resume shows that he did not play basketball in high school and attended five colleges/junior colleges from 2004-2008, making it difficult to evaluate his game. He's a bit of a raw prospect, most noted for his shot-blocking ability. However, he is a native of nearby Toledo, Ohio, so it could make since for the BayHawks to choose him and give him an opportunity, especially if he's around later in the draft.

  7. Sundiata Gaines, PG, 6'1", 195 lbs, Georgia
    Gaines was a gamer for the Bulldogs, most notably leading them to an improbable NCAA tournament berth in 2008. Georgia was a sub-.500 team and an afterthought heading into the SEC Tournament. But after rattling off four wins in four days, including three in the space of 30 hours due to complications caused by a tornado, they earned a spot in the Big Dance. As a senior, Gaines led that team in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals.

  8. Reece Gaines, G/F, 6'5", 210 lbs, Louisville
    The former Louisville Cardinal standout played in 71 NBA games with three teams from 2003-2006. Last season he played for Angelico Biella in Italy, averaging just over 10 points a game in 39 contests.

  9. Mike Gansey, SG, 6'4", 190 lbs, West Virginia
    This listing comes with an asterisk as Gansey was the BayHawks' first pick in the 2008 D-League Expansion Draft before he bolted to play overseas. The former Mountaineer can flat out shoot, though, and would be a welcome addition to the BayHawks if he was willing to make amends for last year's decision to test the foreign waters over that of Lake Erie.

  10. Paul Harris, SF, 6'6", 225 lbs, Syracuse
    Even though my allegiance is to the Big Ten (Go Blue!), there's a definite pattern of Big East players developing on this list. After three years at Syracuse, Harris put his name in the NBA Draft and went undrafted. At 6'6", Harris needs to continue to develop his overall offensive game, especially from the perimeter to make it at the next level. Thus, an extended stint with the BayHawks may be just what the doctor ordered for Harris, a player with a great deal of potential that simply needs time to develop his game.

  11. J.C. Mathis, PF, 6'8", 225 lbs, Michigan
    The former Michigan Wolverine played 46 games in the D-League in 2006-07 with Sioux Falls, though he saw just 13.7 minutes per game. He's another big, strong frontcourt presence that the BayHawks are looking for to fill the void left by the overseas departure of Erik Daniels.

  12. Jason Richards, PG, 6'2", 195 lbs, Davidson
    When people see Davidson, they immediately think of Stephen Curry. But the difference between the 2007-08 Davidson team that went to the Elite Eight and the 2008-09 team that went to the NIT was Jason Richards, the point guard who led the nation in assists his senior season and helped set up so many scoring opportunities for Curry. There are questions about his quickness and defense, but he's one of the best pure point guards available in the draft and the type of player that anyone would love to play with.

  13. Mustafa Shakur, G, 6'3", 190 lbs, Arizona
    A native of Pennsylvania, Shakur played three years at Arizona, starting at point guard in all but four games for the Wildcats. Shakur has spent the past two seasons overseas. If he returns to his roots in PA, he'd bring some explosiveness and athleticism into the BayHawks' backcourt that is without last year's standout Maureece Rice.

  14. Deron Washington, SF, 6'7", 215 lbs, Virginia Tech
    Whether it's this hurdling layup over Greg Paulus or this dunk over Danny Green (now with the BayHawks' NBA affiliate in Cleveland), Washington was one of the best finishers at the rim during his four years at Virginia Tech. The athletic wingman saw time with the Pistons this preseason and impressed some people in the organization before being waived in October. He's one to watch as a call-up candidate for an NBA team this season.

  15. Latavious Williams, SF, 6'8", 195 lbs, Christian Life Academy
    In an under-reported development, Williams is the first player entering the D-League Draft straight out of high school. After originally committing to play at Memphis, Williams opted instead for the D-League. His age restricts him from playing for an NBA team at any point this season, but he would certainly be an intriguing prospect for the BayHawks—or any team for that matter—to develop, knowing that he's ineligible for a call-up and going to be there for the long haul this season.

The 2009-10 BayHawks at First Glance

With the D-League draft tonight, yesterday was the busiest and noisiest day in the D-League since the summer as teams were announcing the initial invites for training camp featuring returning players, allocations and tryout standouts. The D-League also provided the full list of 200 players eligible for the draft.

The Erie BayHawks put out a press release with seven names that will take part in the their training camp, slated to open November 14. The list includes four returning members of the 2008-09 team and a couple of names that are sure to get local basketball fans buzzing.

Tonight's draft will help fill out out the training camp roster, but for now let me give some quick thoughts on the initial seven invites.

Kyle Goldcamp, C, Gannon (tryout)
Goldcamp was the best player on a Gannon team that went to the Division II Elite Eight last season, averaging 18.9 points and 9.3 points per game. I wrote about Goldcamp back in September when the news broke that he was playing pickup games with members of the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. He has the size; it'll be interesting to see if he has the strength and speed to keep up with the pro game. One thing's for sure: he'll have a lot of attention locally representing Gannon, who has a passionate hoops following in the area.

Jarvis Gunter, F, Arkansas Pine-Bluff (returning)
Friend of the blog and entrepreneur Jarvis Gunter is determined to have a breakthrough season after seeing limited action last year, his first as a pro. After a busy summer that included a month scrimmaging against the likes of LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, and company in Cleveland, Gunter says his confidence is sky high. Gunter also may benefit from the departure of D-League all-star Erik Daniels as Coach Treloar will be looking to fill that void in the frontcourt.

Ivan Harris, F, Ohio State (returning)
With apologies to Vinnie Johnson, Harris showed flashes of why he's called "The Microwave" last season, especially later in the year. He finished the year at 43 percent from distance, best on the team and I'd expect more of that from him this season. Also, in the absence of Erik Daniels, look for Harris to become a focal point of the offense.

Cedric Jackson, G, Cleveland State (allocation)
I've never seen Jackson in action, so I'll cede the floor to Tom Mieskoski, who runs a Cleveland State hoops blog:

The 6-3 Jackson averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and led the nation with 112 steals last season.

Jackson tried out for the Cavs a week before training camp and really impressed the assistant coaches, according to CSU head coach Gary Waters.
Joe Jones, G, Edinboro (tryout)
Like Goldcamp, Jones will be under the spotlight of the local media with the added pressure of being an Erie native who played high school basketball for Cathedral Prep. The biggest question for Jones, a top-flight scorer at the DII level, will be whether he can tailor his game to make an impact without necessarily being the number one or number two option on offense. He's very competitive and the improvement he made from year one to year four at Edinboro shows that he puts the work in to better his game, something he'll need to continue to do to catch on with the BayHawks and play at the professional level.

Oliver Lafayette, G, Houston (returning)
Injuries prevented Lafayette from reaching his full potential last year with the BayHawks. But when he was in the lineup, he gave them a scoring punch from the guard position and also took care of the ball pretty well. Hopefully good health will mean bigger and better things for Lafayette with the BayHawks this season.

Jackie Manuel, F, North Carolina (returning)
Last but not least is Jackie Manuel, the best perimeter defender on last year's BayHawks and probably most teams he plays on. Manuel is a coach's delight because he does all the things that coach's love to harp on—playing tenacious defense, diving for loose balls, taking charges—and he's unselfish on offense. If he can develop an outside shot, he could play a Bruce Bowen role for this team and possibly at the next level.

The NBA Development League site and Ridiculous Upside both mention one additional allocated player for the BayHawks, Rob Kurz, who was waived by the Cavs in October and played his college ball at Notre Dame. The official press release from the BayHawks, however, did not include Kurz, so I'm not sure what the truth is. I'll try to clear up this discrepancy and let you all know the story as soon as I can confirm it one way or the other.

BayHawks Hosting D-League Draft Party

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Erie BayHawks announced last week that they will hostan NBA Development League Draft Party this Thursday, November 5, at 6:30 pm at the Fox and Hound English Pub and Grille, 250 Millcreek Plaza.

The BayHawks have the second overall pick in the first round of the eight-round player draft that will be carried live on NBA-TV.

Among the highlights of the night: returning BayHawks forward Jackie Manuel will be on hand to sign autographs and greet fans. Appearances are also expected from BayHawks coaches John Treloar and Ben McDonald, members of the BayHawks Dance Team and “Clutch” the mascot.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public and everyone who attends will have the opportunity to win great prizes including signed gear from the BayHawks, prize packs from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sports Obsession in the Millcreek Mall, free food and drink specials.

Prior to the draft, AM 1260 The Score (ESPN Radio/WRIE) afternoon host Mike “Chico” Bormann will broadcast live on location from 4:00-6:30 p.m., featuring a draft preview, BayHawks staff interviews and more.

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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