The NBA G-League, formerly known as the D-League for us older folk, has been slowly building its reputation since Gatorade became the title sponsor last year. With the introduction of the two-way contract in 2017, the G-League became an intriguing, and soon controversial way for players to work their way up through an organization in a manner similar to the baseball farm system.
But let’s put the G-League debate aside for a second. There are UConn products scattered throughout the league on two-way contracts, looking to work their way up through the system. Let’s take a look at how they’re doing this year, while simultaneously strolling down memory lane.
Amida Brimah - Austin Spurs
Amida Brimah has carved out a nice role for the Austin Spurs, the affiliate to the San Antonio Spurs and 2017-2018 G-League champs. This is his second stint with the Spurs, and last year earned G-League All-Defensive Team honors. This year, he is averaging 9.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, and is second in the league with 3.2 blocks per game. He’s also fifth in the league in field goal percentage (67.8%).
It never hurts to be part of a successful organization like the Spurs, with their reputation for developing talent. Here’s something that might look familiar for Husky fans:
Daniel Hamilton - Erie Bayhawks
It’s fitting to bring up Daniel Hamilton next, the frequent tosser-of-lobs to Amida Brimah during their time together at UConn. Hamilton this year is playing for the Erie Bayhawks, an affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, after signing a two-way contract in the summer. He previously spent two seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and their G-League affiliate.
Hamilton got minimal burn for the Hawks in two games, but has started the two tilts he’s appeared in for the Bayhawks. He displayed the same kind of stat-stuffing we saw at Storrs, averaging 18.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, and 9 apg. Check out this clip of his best assists in November, and tell me some of those lobs don’t look familiar:
Marcus Williams - Stockton Kings
Now it’s time for a blast from the past, Marcus Williams. Yes, THAT Marcus Williams, who currently plies his trade for the Stockton Kings, an affiliate of the — you guessed it — Sacramento Kings. Marcus has played in 10 games this season, and because some things never change, leads the league in assists with 8.6 per game.
Here are some of his best dimes from November:
At age 33, Williams has acquired quite the stamp book on his passport, with stops in China, Russia, Serbia, France, and most recently, Puerto Rico. Now back stateside, Williams joins the ageless Rudy Gay as the last two players from the 2005-2006 UConn team to still be playing pro ball in the States.
Ryan Boatright - Agua Caliente Clippers
2014 national champion Ryan Boatright is finally back stateside. After tours for powerhouse clubs in Italy, China, Croatia, and Turkey, he signed with the Agua Caliente Clippers (LA Clippers affiliate) for the 2018-2019 season.
He’s appeared in four games for the Clippers, averaging 24.3 minutes and 5.0 points.
UConn men’s basketball recently announced a home-and-home series with Florida beginning next season, so someone ought to check on Scottie Wilbekin, who probably still wakes up in a cold sweat from nightmares of Boat’s on-ball defense in the 2014 Final Four game.
Shonn Miller - Salt Lake City Stars
Shonn Miller has continued his often underrated work for the Salt Lake City Stars, an affiliate of the Utah Jazz. He’s appeared in 11 games this year, averaging 4.8 points per game. He spent the last two seasons for the Greensboro Swarm.
Rodney Purvis - Sioux Falls Skyforce
Finally, we get to Rodney Purvis. Last season, the Ferrari peddled a 10-day contract into 16 games for the Orlando Magic, averaging 6.0 points per game. After bouncing around in trades this summer, he was eventually signed by the Miami Heat, but waived during the final camp cuts but added to their affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
This year, he’s appeared in 11 games, starting 6, while averaging 17.2 points per game to go with 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. As many have ascertained, he clearly looks more comfortable with the pacing and style of play found at the professional level. Here he is racking up 36 points earlier this year: