June 25, 2015
Dwyane Wade has played 12 seasons in the NBA, all with the Miami Heat, and averaged 21.5 points per contest while adding 4.8 assists and 3.5 boards per game during the 2014-15 season. Wade's season included two 40-plus point performances, one against the Utah Jazz in December when he went for 42 points, while the other was against the Detroit Pistons, when he added six boards and four assists to go along with 40 points.
Jimmy Butler just completed his breakout season, his fourth overall in the association, which include Second Team All-Defense honors and the NBA's Most Improved Player Award. The Bulls shooting guard averaged 20.0 points per game during the 2014-15 campaign and averaged 5.8 rebounds per outing. Butler eclipsed the 30-point mark on seven occasions throughout the season, highlighted by a 35-point performance to go along with seven boards and three steals at the Staples Center against the Lakers. Butler carried his Bulls through the playoffs, averaging 24.8 points per contest in the conference quarterfinals, and 21.0 points during the conference semis.
Steve Novak concluded his ninth season in the NBA in 2014-15. The 6-foot-10 small forward was part of a deadline deal that sent him from the Utah Jazz, to the Thunder. Novak concluded the season by shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the arc. His best performances of the season came in his final two games with the Jazz when he recorded 12 points in each contest, and shot a combined 8-of-11 (.727) from deep.
Wesley Matthews completed his fifth year as a Portland Trail Blazer in 2014-15, and averaged 15.9 points per game while shooting 38.9 percent from three. Matthews has also added 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest. Earlier in the season, Matthews became the all-time leader in three-point field goals made in Portland's franchise history. The Madison, Wisconsin native was sidelined by a ruptured Achilles tendon in early March.
Jae Crowder completed his third professional season and first with the Boston Celtics. Crowder averaged 7.7 points per game this season. However, after a trade from Dallas to Boston, Crowder averaged 9.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest. Crowder's best performance of the season came on January 12 versus the New Orleans Pelicans when he tallied 22 points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals in a winning effort. Crowder averaged 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in his playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Dwight Buycks, who has played four professional seasons, was a member of three separate international teams during the 2014-15 campaign before signing with Oklahoma City's D-League affiliate in March. In ten games with the Oklahoma City Blue, Buycks tallied 18.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per outing. In April, Buycks signed with the Lakers and played in six games, averaging 8.7 points per outing and shot 63 percent from three.
Jerel McNeal signed with the Bakersfield Jam, the D-League affiliate of the Phoenix Suns, in January of 2015 and averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 boards, and 4.6 assists in 27 games. In March, McNeal was brought up to the Phoenix Suns where he appeared in five games and recorded his first career points in the NBA, finishing with seven against the Clippers. McNeal was also named USBasket.com All-D-League Impact Player of the Year in 2015.
Jamil Wilson, a starter and teammate of McNeal on the Bakersfield Jam, played well in his first professional season. Wilson averaged 10.9 points and has grabbed 5.4 rebounds per showing. His best performance of the year came on December 16 when he dropped 32 points along with five rebounds and three steals in a winning effort against Idaho.
Vander Blue has now played two professional seasons, and made an appearance with the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the season. With the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the D-League affiliate for the Lakers, Blue averaged 23.3 points per game and scored 40 points on two occasions. Blue also recorded two triple-doubles during the D-League season. Blue debuted for the Lakers on April 13, and played 48 minutes on April 15, in a 15-7-8 performance. The talented guard was a member of the D-League All-Star Game and participated in the D-League All-Star Game 3-Point Shootout.
Maurice Acker has played five seasons as a professional and just completed his first with the Bakken Bears (Denmark). In 33 games, Acker tallied 15.1 points per game and 4.8 assists per outing. Acker's best output of the season came on April 16 when he dropped 30 points on 4-of-6 shooting (.666) from beyond the arc, leading his squad to a one-point victory.
Ousmane Barro completed his seventh season in professional basketball and first with Targu Mures (Romania). Barro averaged 11.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game during the season. Barro has also recorded seven double-doubles and tallied 24 points and nine boards in his final game. Barro was named to the Romanian All-Import team, All-Romanian League First Team, and garnered All-Romanian League Center of the Year honors.
Dwight Burke played with two different teams in his sixth season in professional hoops and started with AB Ancud (Chile). In 23 contests, Burke tallied 22.1 points and 12.0 rebounds per outing. In those 23 contests and recorded a staggering 18 double-doubles. Burke's season-best performance occurred November 23 when he compiled 25 points and 20 rebounds in the team's win against Las Animas. In January of 2015, Burke moved to Uppsala Basket (Sweden) where he appeared in 25 games, averaging 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Burke also recorded five double-doubles in Sweden, bringing his 2014-15 total to 23.
Chris Otule, a 2014 graduate of Marquette, finished his first professional season with Crailsheim (Germany). Otule impressed early by recording 9.2 points per contest and 4.8 rebounds per game. Otule scored efficiently by shooting at a 60.9% clip in 33 games. Otule's best performance of the 2014-15 campaign came on March 14 when he recorded 18 points and added nine boards.
Darius Johnson-Odom wrapped up his third professional season and first with AV Cantu (Italy). During the Eurocup season, DJO averaged 15.7 points and 3.4 assists per contest. The best game of his season came on December 10 when he dropped 31 points and added four assists in a win against Dijon.
Lawrence Blackledge concluded his seventh professional season and third consecutive with the Iwate Big Bulls (Japan). As a starter, Blackledge scored 14.4 points per competition as well as grabbing 9.1 boards. In 58 games, Blackledge recorded 26 double-doubles and had double-digit point totals in 50 of 58 games.
Junior Cadougan finished his second professional season and first with Sidigas AV (Italy). Cadougan appeared in 19 games and averaged 2.2 points per contest while shooting 41.4% from the field.
Joe Chapman wrapped up his ninth professional season and first with Shimane SM (Japan). During the 2014-15 campaign, Chapman averaged 15.8 points per outing while shooting 53.4 percent from the field. Chapman's best performance came on March 14 when the 6-foot-4 guard scored 30 in his squad's 74-69 victory.
David Cubillan concluded his fifth season in professional hoops and first with Trotamundos (Venezuela). In 19 games, Cubillan averaged 11.6 and 3.8 assists per showing. A 27-point, eight-assist outing marked Cubillan's best performance of the campaign.
Davante Gardner ended his first season with Hyeres-Toulon (France). Gardner, a 2013 MU graduate, averaged 15.8 points and 6.8 boards per game this season. Gardner shot 64.4 percent from the field and 83.6 percent from the free throw line. He recorded five double-doubles through 36 games, his last one coming on May 15 when he scored 25 points, grabbed 10 boards and shot 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Gardner was also named MVP of the Pro B League in France for his 2014-15 efforts.
Trent Lockett wrapped up his second professional campaign and first with Braunschweig (Germany). In 30 games, Lockett averaged 12.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per outing. Lockett followed a double-double performance on December 6 by recording 23 points and six rebounds in a December 13 win versus Ludwisburg.
Oluoma Nnamaka finished his 13th professional season and third consecutive with Uppsala (Sweden). In 48 contests, Nnamaka averaged 8.7 points and 4.6 boards. Nnamaka helped his team to the Swedish Basketligan Finals in 2015.
Jake Thomas, a 2013 graduate, concluded his first professional campaign with Massagno (Switzerland). Thomas notched 11.4 points per contest in 14 games. Thomas' career best performance came against Boncourt on October 12th when he tallied 32 points while shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Dominic James completed his fifth season as a pro, first as the starting guard with Al Rayyan Doha (Qatar). In 2015, James helped lead his squad to the Qatari League regular season championship. In the league championship, James chipped in 18 points to help clinch the title for Al Rayyan. His team also advanced to the semifinals of the Qatari Emir Cup.