NBA & G-League Players from ‘the Valleys’
(St. Louis, MO) – Our leagues are always fighting for respect and notoriety. From mostly smaller towns and labeled as ‘mid-major’ conferences sometimes you can hear a little of Rodney Dangerfield in back ground “all I want is a little respect.”
However, Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley Conference alumni are doing quite fine in some of the upper echelons of professional basketball. We decided to check out how former OVC and MVC players are fairing in the NBA and in the, now named, G-League.
For this examination we are looking at players that played in our leagues during their college careers and we’re including Valparaiso’s Alec Peters, even though his team just joined the Valley. By-the-way, here his Peters’ first career basket with the Suns.
— Valpo Basketball (@ValpoBasketball) October 19, 2017
Former Wichita State guards Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker have managed to stick with their respective NBA teams. Though neither is a headlining player, they contribute on a nightly basis to their squads. Baker is averaging just under three points and three assists per game for the New York Knicks, while VanVleet is contributing nearly six points a night for the Toronto Raptors. Though WSU left the Valley, these two college stars played their entire careers in the MVC.
Former Creighton Bluejays Kyle Korver and Doug McDermott continue to roll along in their careers in the Association. Korver, who will go down as one of the greatest three-point shooters in NBA history played his entire career in the MVC and McDermott’s three years in the Valley were historic. McDermott averages just under eight points for the Baker’s Knicks and Korver continues his ten-point-per game career with the Cavaliers.
The ‘Manimal’ Kenneth Faried has had a very solid NBA career. The former Morehead State Eagle is having a slightly down year averaging over five points and three rebounds per game for the Nuggets. There have been times during his career when Faried has been a legitimate difference maker.
Belmont’s Ian Clark won a title with Warriors last year, but is averaging just over five points per game for the Pelicans this season. He just received his championship ring several nights ago. Murray State’s Cameron Payne is contributing just over five points per game for the Bulls.
No longer the ‘D-League’, it’s named for the chief sponsor Gatorade, this ‘farm system for the NBA has several recent players contributing in large ways. Double digit scorers include Bradley’s Walt Lemon Junior who exploded this season as one of the top scorers in the league (26.5 ppg) for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (yes that is their name). Lemon continues to play nasty defense and has become an offensive force.
Undrafted from @RamblersMBB, Milton Doyle (@MDLU35) is making a name for himself! The @LongIslandNets guard records his 2nd straight 30-point game, shooting 7-of-10 from deep 🔥 #NBAGLeague pic.twitter.com/UCoVBFU2n8
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 28, 2017
Peters has a two-way contract and has spent some time in the NBA, but the former Crusader is putting up 16.3 points and 8.8 points per game in ‘the G’. Loyola’s Milton Doyle’s overall game is impressive. Averaging 18.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists for the Long Island Nets, is getting him noticed by the NBA teams.
Former Shocker Cleanthony Early is with the Santa Cruz Warriors averaging 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds. Despite his high draft status by the Knicks when he graduated, the WSU star hasn’t been able to stick in the NBA.
Southeast Missouri’s Antonius Cleveland is having a solid rookie season averaging 13.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and handing out 2.9 assists playing with Doyle for the Long Island Nets. Former Northern Iowa Panthers Jeremy Morgan and Wes Washpun are performing the G-League with the Memphis Hustle and Iowa Wolves respectively.
Former Illinois State wing Kaza Keane plays for the Raptors 905 squad. Southern Illinois star Anthony Beane Junior is technically with the Reno Big Horns but has not played a game.
Editor: Headline photo: courtesy of nba.com