Brady Morningstar was not surprised Thursday night when informed he’d been selected in the third round of the NBA Development League draft.
“I knew there were a couple of teams looking to draft me, so I was just waiting to see which one it’d be,” said the 25-year-old former Kansas University guard after he was taken by the Tulsa 66ers as the 33rd overall pick in the eight-round, 127-player extravaganza.
“I think anywhere in the league would be good if you are trying to play some ball,” Morningstar added of a spot in the 16-team league, “but being from Kansas ... Tulsa is just a couple hours away. I’m sure a lot of Jayhawks will support me there. It’s exciting to go to a Midwestern city.”
Morningstar, who recently returned from Crete after a six-week stint with Greek League team AGO Rethymno, reports to Tulsa on Thursday for the start of training camp.
If the 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard makes the 10-man opening-day roster, he’ll be one step from the NBA. Twenty-three percent of players in the NBA at the end of the 2010-11 season boasted D-League experience. Since its inaugural season in 2001-02, the NBADL has had 128 players called up to affiliate teams.
Tulsa is affiliated with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It’s everybody’s ticket to the NBA. Everyone has a chance when they are in this league to show what they can do,” former Free State High standout Morningstar said. “To get in the NBA takes a lot of getting lucky, right time, right place. I am not looking to treat it like this is my ticket to the NBA. I’m looking at it like it’s my job. I’m excited to play for Tulsa. People have been called up to play in the NBA. I don’t know how many a year, but it happens often. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get a call-up.”
He has mixed emotions about his first experience in professional basketball.
“Crete was awesome. The island was awesome. The league was really good,” he said. “But Greece is going through some tough times right now, like everyone knows. The economy wasn’t doing so well. It was trickling down to the clubs. I saw the writing on the wall. I just didn’t want to get too deep staying in Greece, not knowing if I was going to get what I was supposed to get out of it.”
Morningstar did not wish to comment on rumors some players had checks bounce.
“I really appreciate the opportunity they gave me to play there,” Morningstar said. “I enjoyed being there. I really miss the food. There were no American fast-food restaurants. There were a lot of taverns with families that cook homemade food. It was awesome. The chicken and steak were all good. Sometimes you hear the food overseas won’t be good, but everything there was great, and I miss it a ton.”
D-League draft notes
Eight-year NBA veteran Jamaal Tinsley, a 6-3 guard out of Iowa State, was the first overall pick (Los Angeles D-Fenders). ... Tulsa had two picks in the first round — Villanova’s Curtis Sumpter at No. 11 and Texas’ Gary Johnson at No. 16. ... Tulsa took Marquette’s Dwight Buycks in the second round. ... A list of all draft picks is available at http://on.nba.com/vk718j. … Eighteen players who were selected participated at the D-League national tryouts that were held in Chicago, Louisville and Los Angeles. Marshall’s Jonathan Thomas was selected by the Springfield Armor with the first pick of the second round, becoming the highest-ever tryout player taken in a draft. ... Tulsa is coached by former University of South Dakota player Nate Tibbets.