Archive for April 24th, 2014

Fort Wayne Mad Ants guard/forward Ron Howard and current Minnesota Timberwolves and former Iowa Energy guard/forward Othyus Jeffers were today named the 2013-14 NBA Development League’s Co-Most Valuable Players, as voted by the NBA D-League’s 17 head coaches.

Howard (6-5, 200, Valparaiso) played in 49 regular season games for the Mad Ants, averaging a team-high and career-best 20.5 points to go with 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Howard spearheaded Fort Wayne’s offense, leading the team in scoring 24 times and serving as the high-assist man in 22 games. A seven-year Mad Ants veteran, Howard became the league’s all-time leading scorer on March 29 when he scored 20 points to pass Renaldo Major’s previous record of 4,252 points.

Selected as an All-Star in 2014 for the third time in his career, Howard led his Mad Ants to a franchise record and NBA D-League best 36-14 record, the East Division Championship and the top-overall seed in the 2014 NBA D-League playoffs. Fort Wayne won 13 of its last 15 regular season games and boast a perfect 4-0 record in the 2014 postseason having swept the Reno Bighorns and Sioux Falls Skyforce en route to the team’s first-ever NBA D-League Finals appearance. In four playoff games, Howard is averaging 17.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds.

The recipient of back-to-back NBA D-League Jason Collier Sportsmanship awards, Howard and the Mad Ants begin their inaugural trip to the NBA D-League Finals tonight when the team takes on the Santa Cruz Warriors in California. Howard will be presented with his Co-MVP trophy on Saturday when the series moves to Fort Wayne for Game 2.

Jeffers (6-5, 210, Robert Morris) played in 44 of the Energy’s 50 regular season games before earning a GATORADE Call-Up to the Timberwolves on April 8. He averaged a team-high 20.9 points, good for eighth-best in the NBA D-League, to go with 9.9 rebounds (fourth) and 2.2 steals (fifth). He led Iowa in scoring 20 times and was the team’s high-rebounder in an additional 20 contests. Jeffers scored in double figures in 43 of his 44 games with the Energy, scoring 30 or more points twice.

A 2014 NBA D-League All-Star, Jeffers joins Howard as the only NBA D-League players to play in three NBA D-League All-Star Games. He was named NBA D-League Performer of the Week on Dec. 2 and was the season’s first NBA D-League Player of the Month for games played in November and December. During the 2013-14 season, Jeffers appeared in six NBA contests following call-ups to Minnesota and the San Antonio Spurs. A five-time GATORADE Call-Up recipient, Jeffers owns NBA averages of 3.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 11.9 minutes over 37 games.

Jeffers led the Energy to the Central Division Championship and the third-overall seed in the 2014 NBA D-League playoffs before being signed by Minnesota. A five-year veteran of the Energy, Jeffers was the 2009 NBA D-League’s Rookie of the Year and boasts career averages of 19.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 steals and 35.8 minutes in 185 games.

“I’m thrilled that our coaches honored both Othyus and Ron as Co-MVPs in our league this season,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “Both Ron and Othyus had impressive seasons, leading their teams to Division Championships while putting up the best numbers of their respective careers. I’m proud to honor them both, and congratulate each of them on the tremendous and well-deserved award.”

Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy presented to the 2013-14 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner, the NBA announced today. Conley becomes the first Grizzlies player to receive the honor.

Conley (Southwest) was one of six divisional winners, which included Boston’s Jeff Green (Atlantic), Chicago’s Mike Dunleavy (Central), Phoenix’s Channing Frye (Pacific), Portland’s Damian Lillard (Northwest) and Washington’s Bradley Beal (Southeast).

Conley received 77 first-place votes (of a possible 334) and 2,335 total points overall. The NBA will make a $10,000 donation on behalf of Conley to his charity of choice, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, specifically for research pertaining to sickle cell anemia.

For the 10th consecutive year, NBA players voted on this award, with eleven points given for each first-place vote, nine points for each second-place vote, seven points for third, five points for fourth, three points for fifth and one point for each sixth-place vote received. Each team nominated one of its players for the award. Former NBA players John Crotty, Antonio Davis, Eddie Johnson, Jalen Rose, and Isiah Thomas selected the six divisional winners from a pool of 30 team nominees.

The NBA will make a $5,000 donation to each of the divisional winner’s charities of choice: a split donation between Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington for Beal; Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer for Dunleavy ; the Frye Family Foundation on behalf of Frye; the Cleveland Clinic Foundation on behalf of Green; a split donation between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Oregon/Southwestern Washington affiliates of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure for Lillard.

The annual award reflects the ideals of sportsmanship — ethical behavior, fair play and integrity — in amateur and professional basketball, a key focus of the league’s NBA Cares program efforts. The trophy is named for former Detroit Pistons guard and Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, the award’s first recipient.

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