D-League Report: Sundiata Gaines, Othyus Jeffers and Jeremy Evans

As the NBA season heads into crunch time, we have started to see solid activity in the D-League. NBA teams who are either battling the injury bug or potentially looking for something new are looking to the D-League to help them do so.

For today’s report, I’ve highlighted a few important news items in the world of the D-League and included a list of all the D-League Call Ups and Assignments so far this season. Enjoy!

Sundiata Lights up London

D-League favorite Sundiata Gaines is back in action, this time playing for the New Jersey Nets alongside former Utah Jazz teammate Deron Williams.

The Nets ‘hosted’ a pair of games against the Raptors in London’s O2 Arena over the weekend, both of them close; both of them surprisingly exciting.

During Friday’s game, Deron Williams picked up his 4th foul early in the 4th quarter. Gaines came in to replace him, and – along with the help of Jordan Farmar – sparked a 20-6 run including 7 points and 2 assists out of 7:44 total time played. That run put the Raptors to bed for the night and the Nets went on to win by 13.

This from the Toronto Sun:

“It’s a testament to working hard and being ready whenever my name is called,” Gaines said. “I had a couple practices already, so I felt pretty comfortable out there. I just tried to play my shot if it was open, and if not, pass it to my teammates; whatever the defense gave me, I tried to play off.”

Gaines saw 23 minutes in Saturday’s triple overtime win against the Raptors, though his game wasn’t quite as electric. He went 1 – 5 from the field and 0 – 3 from the three point line, but still, it’s encouraging to see Coach Johnson providing Gaines with additional time on the floor.

Oh, in case you forgot Sundiata Gaines, he’s the guy who made a big splash for the D-League last year after being called up from the Idaho Stampede to the Utah Jazz, and – after one practice with the team – hit this shot over the LeBron-led Cavs on TNT.

Gaines defeats the Cavs (You Tube)

As a Jazz guy, I never tire of this clip.

Othyus Jeffers and the Spurs

On Friday, the San Antonio Spurs announced they had signed Othyus Jeffers to a ten-day contract.

Jeffers has had a great season in the D-League, averaging 21.1 PPG (2nd in the D-League), 9.0 RPG (7th) and 1.9 SPG (4th).

You may remember our description of Jeffers’ story to the NBA, but  if not, Jeffers came up through Illinois-Chicago in the Horizon league and played well. He won the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year award in his first year and was named First-Team All-Horizon League as a Junior.

Two weeks after receiving that honor, Jeffers was shot while defending his sister from her boyfriend.

After forging a comeback, Jeffers signed with the Iowa Energy for the 2008-09 season, and made the D-League All-Star game that year. Jeffers is considered to potentially the best overall wing player in the D-League this year.

So far, Jeffers has only seen 8 minutes of play with the Spurs, but one would assume that he’ll see more before his ten-day contract is up. Given the right circumstances, Jeffers could easily contribute to the Spurs off the bench and help give the Spurs starters needed rest down the stretch.

Evans Given Weekend Assignment to Flash

On Friday, the Utah Jazz announced that they had put second round pick Jeremy Evans on assignment to the Utah Flash. Coach Tyrone Corbin stated that the assignment was simply intended to provide Evans with some on-court experience.

Evans went 4 – 9 for 10 points in 34 minutes on Friday, and 5 – 8 for 11 points in 29 minutes on Saturday before he was recalled to the Jazz on Sunday night so that he could travel with the team on their four game East Coast road trip (New York, Toronto, Minnesota, Chicago)

Evans has rapidly become a favorite to Jazz fans, notably due to his high flying dunks and intensity off the bench.

Jeremy Evans Dunks Three Times in a Quarter (You Tube)

It will be interesting to see what comes of him in the new landscape of the Utah Jazz.

2010-11 D-League Call Ups

Othyus Jeffers Iowa Energy -> San Antonio Spurs*
Jeff Adrien Rio Grande Valley Vipers -> Golden State Warriors*
Chris Johnson Dakota Wizards -> Boston Celtics
Steve Novak Reno Bighorns -> San Antonio Spurs*
Orien Greene Utah Flash -> New Jersey Nets
Trey Johnson Bakersfield Jam -> Toronto Raptors
Garrett Temple Erie BayHawks -> Milwaukee Bucks
Chris Johnson Dakota Wizards -> Portland Trail Blazers
Mustafa Shakur Rio Grande Valley Vipers -> Washington Wizards*
Larry Owens Tulsa 66ers -> San Antonio Spurs
Zabian Dowdell Tulsa 66ers -> Phoenix Suns*

* Current Call-Up

2010-11 D-League Assignments

Jeremy Evans Utah Jazz -> Utah Flash
Willie Warren Los Angeles Clippers -> Bakersfield Jam*
Luke Babbitt Portland Trail Blazers -> Idaho Stampede*

* Current Assignment

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Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.