This will be the last instalment for this season of this series of posts, one which has gone on forever and seen more than a couple of jokes be repeated. It has come to its rightful end, ending as it does with the human conversation killer, Eurelijus Zukauskas. I’ll still take requests, but these lengthy diatribes are being put to bed. With that in mind, let’s get on with it.
– David Young averages 12.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game for the Aishin Sea Horses in the Japanese JBL. You should know who David Young is, but, if you don’t, Young is a shooting guard who was a second-round draft choice and subsequent training camp signing of the Seattle Supersonics back in 2004. This came after a season that saw him put up 20/5 for North Carolina Central, a Division II team that isn’t really comparable to the real North Carolina. Before that, Young spent three years coming off the bench for Xavier, averaging no more than 8.1 ppg in any season. Along with his Sonics stint, Young has also played on summer league teams for New Jersey, Milwaukee and Sacramento, Last year, he played to a decent standard with Pau Orthez, averaging 13.1 points per game in the ULEB Cup, but the move to Japan represents a downgrade from that. You have now learnt about David Young. My work here is done.
– Another Sonic training camp signing from that year was also called Young, and also played for an imitation UNC. Former Bucks draft pick and North Carolina-Charlotte standout Galen Young made their training camp roster that year, and put up 4.5 points and 4.0 fouls in four preseason games before being waived. He had also made the Sonics’ 2003 training camp roster, as well as the Pacers’ one in 2001, and the Bucks’ camp roster in 1999, the year in which he was drafted 48th overall. However, Young never made a regular season roster or appeared in a single game. Now 33, Young is still going, although he was waived earlier this month by his Philippines team, the Alaska Aces, and before that he was kicking around what’s left of the CBA. But still. It’s something.
– Former Northwestern star Jitim Young is signed with Polonia Warszawa in Poland, averaging 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.9 assists per game, shooting all of 27% from the field. Jitim never made a training camp roster, but he was added to this website way back in 2005, because I thought he did. Must have confused him with Galen. Ah well.
– Former UCLA guard Ray Young went undrafted in 2003, and spent the 2003-04 season with the Gary Steelheads of the CBA, averaging all of 4.9 points. Young was signed by the New Orleans Hornets for 2004 training camp anyway, surviving all of five days before being cut. Young then went back to the Steelheads for the 2004-05 season, playing part of the year there, and then signed with the Golden State Warriors for 2005 training camp. He didn’t make the team, and has not played anywhere in the ensuing three and a half years. Now 29, I’m assuming he’s given up the game, although I can’t find a single thing that says what he does these days. By the way, what’s the common theme running through this Ray Young section? Answer: Baron Davis. The two played together for one year at UCLA in 1998-99, and clearly cemented some kind of firm bond – Davis was a star for the Hornets in 2004, and was traded to the Warriors in 2005. Is it a coincidence that a man like Ray Young was signed by those two teams, without the benefit of an NBA calibre resumé, conveniently while his good friend was a star on those teams at the same time? No. So if Young joins the Clippers any time soon, even after four years out of the game, then don’t be too surprised.
– Xue Yuyang is in the elite company of players like Ramon Van De Hare and Sergei Karaulov, surviving as a testament to just how emphatic that turn-of-the-century “let’s draft a seven-foot foreigner who has decent mobility, CV and skillset be damned” trend was. Drafted 57th in 2003 by the Mavericks, the Nuggets traded a future second-rounder (later used on Vassilis Spanoulis) for Xue’s rights….and that’s where the good times ended. Xue has spent the ensuing six seasons playing for the Xinjiang Gyang Hui Flying Tigers in his native China, where, quite frankly, he’s not even one of the best Chinese players on his team. Indeed, he’s barely rotation-calibre at this point. If you’ve been following this series of posts at all, you will know that numbers for fringe NBA players in the Chinese league are amusingly inflated, with players such as Bonzi Wells and Rodney White averaging well into the 30 ppg+ range. But Xue is nothing like that; he averages 6.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.2 blocks in 18.3 minutes per game, not exactly big man numbers from a seven-footer. (If you want those numbers in some sort of context, former NBA big man Mengke Bateer is also on that team, and he averages 16.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 blocks per game, and the team’s lone American import – former D-Leaguer Myron Allen – averages as-near-as-is-22/6/6. Just a FYI.) Worse still, despite being the team’s tallest player, Yuyang seems content with being a three-point chucker – Xue has attempted 131 three-pointers to his 98 two-pointers, with only 38 free throws shot all year. Off the top of my head, Quinton Ross went undrafted in the 2003 draft, and surely there was others of some significance that would have been more sensible selections than Xue Yuyang. Even Ray Young would have done. But nope. Thankfully, this trend looks to have died down.
– While we’re on the subject of Mengke Bateer and Xue Yuyang, you’ll probably be interested in what became of Wang Zhizhi. After his NBA career died away, Wang did the expected and returned to China, now into his third season with the Bayi Fubang. He averages 22.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in 31 minutes per game, which would have made him the leading scorer amongst all the Chinese players had he played in enough games to qualify, as well as third in the rebounding averages behind Bateer and Zhang Kai. Bayi didn’t sign any imports for this season, despite the success that imports always seem to be – however, since Bayi just missed the CBA playoffs, maybe they now realise that they should have done. [UPDATE: Oh, turns out they can’t by rule. Well, then.]
– Former Warriors and Nets point guard Derrick Zimmerman is signed in Ukraine with Budivelnyk Kyiv, averaging 11.7 points, 3.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks through 33 games. Zimmerman has not hit a three-pointer all year, even from the shorter three-point line, but those defensive numbers are pretty beastly from a point guard, and his numbers were enough to make him a Ukrainian league All-Star this year. His team also won the Ukrainian Cup, and finished second in the UBL regular season.
– Finally – really finally this time – mid-90’s draft pick Eurelijus Zukauskas is back in his native Lithuania, averaging 5.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for the smouldering dregs of Zalgiris Kaunas. Zukauskas’s rights are still technically owned by the Bucks, but he’ll be 36 in the summer, and I think a 36-year-old Eurelijus Zukauskas is one of the few players that we can confidently claim Dan Gadzuric is better than. Fun Eurelijus Zukauskas fact: not only is his name inconsistently spelt all over the internet, but his draft rights (alongside those of the mighty Jeff Nordgaard) were traded on draft night 1996 for the rights to Eric Snow, who once started for an NBA Finals team. Shrewd move, in hindsight. (As for Jeff Nordgaard, he is averaging 0.5 points per game in the Polish league.)
As a bonus, here are some requests of yours.
– Pervis Ellison retired in 2000 and is working (unpaid, apparently) as the basketball coach for New Beginnings Academy, a brand new school in Chester with all of about 60 pupils. He is also paying for the scholarships of five troubled kids in the area, and is also a football coach for the Lawnside Jaguars, whoever they are.
– Anthony Bowie retired in 2001, and became the head coach of the Bishops Moore High School basketball team in 2003, but doesn’t seem to be there any more.
– Anthony Bonner just spent three years as the head coach of Vashon High School’s boys basketball coach, but quit last month.
As another bonus, here are a few transactions that have taken place since the players in question were covered:
– Sofoklis Schortsanitis has been suspended by a month by Olympiacos, essentially ending his tenure there. He’s also gone from huuuuuuuuge to being HEEEEEEYOOOOOWWWWWWWGGGGGE. It’s scary.
– Sammy Mejia’s Greek team, AEL Larissa, have gone into a bit of a crisis, and Mejia has left the team.
– And Ira Newble has signed in Israel with Bnei Hasharon.
Ira Newble seems like a good note to go out on. We’ll resume this in nine month’s time.