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.


Post a Comment

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.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter


    A Proud Erie Blogger