After years of being a huge scorer, Marc Salyers has come back to Earth this year. Playing for Le Mans, Salyers is averaging 11.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the French league, He’s still pretty good, but in relative terms he’s having a down year – his PER is down five points from last year to an average of 15.2, and his EuroCup statistics were an almost identical 12.7/4.5/2.3. Le Mans are tied for the lead in the French league with Cholet, but lost to Cholet in overtime yesterday. Salyers had only eight points in 34 minutes.
Samb’s only contract this year was a one-month deal with Real Madrid back in October. He played in only one game and played only two minutes. He went for a tryout in Latvia with VEF Riga in early February, but they couldn’t get him a work visa. Samb remains unsigned.
Sampson played in China last year, and was said to join up with the stacked L.A. Lightning IBL team last summer, but never played a game for the team. This season, he joined up with Philippines team Smart Gilas to act as C.J. Giles’s replacement (and not his predecessor as I mistakenly wrote earlier). Statistics are unavailable, but it’s not gone well.
Also, in a summer league round-up for the Golden State Warriors back in July, I called him “a pretty terrible offensive player,” citing it as a reason for his offensive struggles in China. Sampson wants it known that the reason he averaged only 10.7 points per game in China was because he was playing injured all year. Correction noted.
Former Nuggets draft pick Sanchez, whose rights are now owned by the Sixers, started the year in Mexico. He averaged 9.3 ppg and 3.7 rpg for Halcones Rojos de Veracruz, who lost to the other Halcones team (Xalapa) in the LNPB Finals. After the Mexican season ended last month, Sanchez moved to his native Puerto Rico to join up with the Cangrejeros de Santurce. In 11 games he has averaged 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds, shooting 36% from two-point range and 44% from three, while taking seven threes a game. He hasn’t expanded his game much after being drafted, but he’s sticking to what he does well.
Former Spurs and Oklahoma State wingman Sanders is signed with Gran Canaria this year, soaking up the sun and playing in the ACB and EuroCup. He has come off the bench to shoot threes, and has done little else but fill that role. Sanders has averaged 7.0 points in 17 minutes per game in ACB play, alongside 6.9 ppg in 16 mpg in the EuroCup. He has shot 190 three-pointers combined between the two competitions, compared to only 12 free throws. Not even Damon Jones has a ratio like that.
Valencia won the EuroCup tonight, beating ALBA Berlin 67-44 in the final. ALBA choked, as the score suggests, but pretty much every Valencia player played impeccable defence. Those players include Nando De Colo, Rafa Martinez, Marko Marinovic, Thomas Kelati, Florent Pietrus (obviously), Victor Claver, Matt Nielsen, Serhiy Lishuk and even Kosta Perovic all played defence to win championships. Whereas ALBA, who had ridden the Adam Chubb train to make the final, just couldn’t find a good shot all night.
UC Irvine’s Sanders was in the D-League in the 2008/09 season with the Iowa Energy, but was released in March due to injury. That injury kept him out until January, at which point he returned to action with MyGuide Amsterdam in Holland. Sanders has since averaged 30.9 minutes, 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks per game, shooting 41% from two-point range and 42% from three.
Eric Sandrin is an athletic Korean-American-Brazilian forward who was once a Sacramento King for about a week. How he got far when he came from a background featuring decent but not stand-out performances at Division II Seattle Pacific, Brazil, the ABA and the Austrian second division, is not immediately obvious. But it happened, and so here we are now. Sandrin spent last year in his native Korea – one of his homelands, at least – and averaged 15.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Seoul Samsung Thunders.
Sandrin’s brother Daniel is of the same triple heritage, plays in much the same way, and also went to Seattle Pacific. The difference is that when Daniel Sandrin received his Korean passport, he changed his name to Dong-Jun Lee. And Daniel never played for the Kings.
Sanikidze, whose rights are owned by the Spurs, played in Estonia in 2008-09. His team TU/Rock played in both the Baltic League and the EuroChallenge, so it wasn’t as farfetched as it may otherwise have seemed, but he needed better work this year. And he got it when he joined La Fortezza Bologna (now known as Canadian Solar Bologna), for whom he is averaging 6.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in Serie A play. Sanikidze also averages 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks in only 18 minutes per game off the bench, while shooting 45% from three-point range, doing a little bit of everything. Real Madrid are said to be pursuing him for next year, even though Sanny is under contract to Bologna for at least one more year. Maybe they regret letting go of Axel Hervelle.
Puerto Rican big man Santiago spent much of the year with Efes Pilsen, but was on the fringes most of the time. He played only in EuroLeague games for the team, and averaged only 10.1 minutes, 5.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in that time; with Efes’s elimination from the EL last month, Santiago has not played since. He was rumoured to be close to a deal with Lottomatica Roma as an injury replacement for Andre Hutson, but now it appears Roma will sign Vladimir Stimac from Crvena Zvezda instead. Yet another one leaving Red Star. Bad times.
Another former Spurs draft pick, Romain Sato has been with Italian powerhouse Montepaschi Siena for four years now. He’s one of the best players on the best team in arguably the third-best league in the world, averaging 13.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 26 minutes per game in Serie A, alongside 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 27 minutes per game in the EuroLeague, while playing his usual awesome defence. Sato is also shooting 44% from three-point range in Serie A play, and shot 40% from there in the EuroLeague; he’s the player the Miami Heat thought Yakhouba Diawara would be. In fact, since Sato’s contract with Siena expires this summer (conveniently concurrent with an ownership mandate to cut the team’s budget), the Heat might even look to Sato as an option in the summer. Sato will return to the NBA if he gets promises of playing time, because as a star player in Europe, he could stay here and get paid without any problems.
Another former Spurs guard, Scales didn’t sign anywhere until February, when he signed with Turkish side Oyak Renault Bursa to replace Wankmaids (Wink Adams; now winning D-League playoff games for Rio Grande Valley). In nine contests with the team, Scales has averaged 15.3 points and 3.3 assists per game.
Alex Scales lost his “shortest amount of playing time ever received in an NBA career” career record this year, when his previous record-setting nine seconds of playing time was smashed by JamesOn Curry’s one and only four-second blitz in a January 25th game between the Clippers and the Celtics. As if to rub it in Scales’s face, the Clippers waived JamesOn the following day.
After going undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2005, Schenscher spent two years either in the NBA or in the D-League trying to get back there. He then went to Germany for the 2007-08 season to play for Bamberg, but got injured on debut, and has since spent the last two years back in his native Australia. However, after averaging 16.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 1.4 bpg for Adelaine last year, his numbers this year with Perth dropped to only 10.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 0.4 bpg. He was still a key part of the Wildcats championship-winning season, but the numbers took a hit.
Schenscher recently played in the Foot Locker High Stakes Hoops tournament, which rank from April 6th to the 11th. Eight teams are playing in a summer time tournament with $250,000 (Australian) in prize money; it runs independently of the NBL league season, features some funky rules (such as bonus points for winning individual quarters), and one particularly funky rule involving four-point shots. This was the tournament’s inaugural season; others who took part in it included Lance Allred, Sean Lampley, Corey Williams, Julius Hodge, and the eventual champions were the simply named “Rays,” who had on their roster former St Mary’s big man Ben Allen.