April 19, 2011
January 24, 2010
- Keith Closs
For the 2007-08 season, a 31 year old Closs joined the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League, and spent the entire year there. It represented the best job security that Closs had had since his NBA career floundered almost a decade ago, and an article (which I now can't find) spoke of his comeback from the apathy and alcoholism that had plagued him until that point. It was a nice story.
Since that season ended, though, Closs's career has been back to its previous stop-start ways. Closs started last year in China, averaging 14.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and a league best 4.5 blocks in 18 games for the now-defunct Yunnan Running Bulls. After putting up a triple double (13/13/11) in his final game with the team in late December, he moved to rival team Liaoning for a tryout, but did not make the team, and then this summer he was a part of the stacked IBL team, the Los Angeles Lightning.
What's he doing now? Well, this very week, Closs was the first pick in the second round of the Universal Basketball Association draft by the seminally named GIE Morrow Disciples, a team that clearly read the Anthony Morrow Facts before choosing that name. The Universal Basketball Association is a minor league that you've probably never heard of; nor had I until I looked up Keith Closs's recent career. The UBA is based in Texas and used to be known as the United Regions Basketball League. The MVP of the league last year was Atlanta Christian's very own Jermaine Barnes, who averaged 41 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals per game.
For Keith Closs to have been only the 9th pick, there must be 8 players in the UBA deemed to be better than him.
(By the way, Jermaine Barnes has never played to a standard above the ABA, which isn't much of a standard at all. But the advantage to that is huge statistics, and Barnes fully took advantage of that by averaging 48.2 points per game for an entire season in 2007-08. It was in the Japanese third division, but still.)