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Dakota's Chris Johnson Named NBA D-League's Defensive Player Of The Year

  1. Written by: DHawes22  / avg. rating: 4.7

    - Four GATORADE Call-Ups Highlight NBA D-League All-Defensive First Team -

    NEW YORK, April 16, 2011 – Dakota Wizards center Chris Johnson, currently of the Portland Trail Blazers, has been chosen as the NBA Development League’s Defensive Player of the Year, as voted on by the NBA D-League’s 16 head coaches.

    Johnson joins Iowa Energy guard Othyus Jeffers, who ended the season with the Washington Wizards, Texas Legends center Sean Williams, Tulsa 66ers forward Larry Owens, who also ended the season with Washington, Utah Flash forward Tony Gaffney and guard Orien Greene, who earned a GATORADE Call-Up to the New Jersey Nets this season, on the NBA D-League All-Defensive First Team.

    The All-Defensive Second Team features Idaho Stampede guard Cedric Jackson, Maine Red Claws guard Mario West, who ended the season with the New Jersey Nets, Erie BayHawks forward Ivan Johnson, Utah forward Ronald Dupree and Austin Toros center Marcus Cousin, who is currently on the Houston Rockets’ roster, on assignment to Rio Grande Valley. Both All-Defensive teams were also voted on by the NBA D-League’s head coaches.

    “This season, our defense started with Chris, with his athletic ability and timing to block shots,” said Dakota coach Rory White. “By working hard on the defensive end, it set the tone for the rest of the team.”

    In 35 games with Dakota this season, Johnson averaged 16.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, ranking as the NBA D-League’s second-leading shot-blocker and sixth-leading rebounder. An NBA D-League All-Star, Johnson was the only player in the NBA D-League this year to block eight shots in three separate games. Johnson earned three GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA this season, one with the Boston Celtics and two with the Portland Trail Blazers, with whom he’ll appear in the NBA Playoffs starting today.

    “Chris grew his reputation as a defensive game-changer throughout the course of the season, and it’s no wonder he earned three GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “I congratulate Chris on his accomplishment as he prepares for the NBA Playoffs, as well as the accomplishments of the All-Defensive First and Second Teams.”

    Johnson joins Greg Stiemsma (Sioux Falls, 2009-10), Brent Petway, (Idaho, 2008-09), Stephane Lasme (Los Angeles, 2007-08), Mouhamed Sene (Idaho, 2007-08), Renaldo Major (Dakota, 2006-07), Derrick Zimmerman (Austin, 2005-06; Columbus 2004-05), Karim Shabazz (Charleston, 2003-04), Mikki Moore (Roanoke, 2002-03) and Jeff Myers (Greenville, 2001-02) as winners of the NBA D-League’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. This is the first year the NBA D-League has named All-Defensive teams.

    Guard Orien Greene Utah Flash
    Guard Othyus Jeffers* Iowa Energy
    Forward Tony Gaffney Utah Flash
    Forward Larry Owens* Tulsa 66ers
    Center Chris Johnson* Dakota Wizards
    Center Sean Williams Texas Legends

    Guard Cedric Jackson Idaho Stampede
    Guard Mario West* Maine Red Claws
    Forward Ivan Johnson Erie BayHawks
    Forward Ronald Dupree Utah Flash
    Center Marcus Cousin# Austin Toros / Rio Grande Valley Vipers

    *Currently on an NBA roster.
    #On assignment from an NBA team.

    The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league. Featuring 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, the NBA D-League is a proven developer of talent: 20 percent of players in the NBA at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season boasted NBA D-League experience, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front-office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the league’s 10th season, fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA FUTURECAST, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at


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