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Local college alums getting time in D-League

St. John's forward D.J. Kennedy handles the ball

St. John's forward D.J. Kennedy handles the ball during the second half against Rutgers. (Mar. 9, 2011) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Often lost in the professional basketball shuffle, the NBA Development League is making more and more of an effort to emerge as the true NBA minor league.

Already this year, 15 players have been called up from the D-League to the NBA, including Long Island native Mike James. That after 20 players were called up during the 2010-11 season.

You're also beginning to see more veterans use the D-League as a springboard for a comeback attempt. NBA veterans such as Ricky Davis (Maine Red Claws), Greg Ostertag (Texas Legends) and Antoine Walker (Idaho Stampede) dot D-League rosters.

Additionally, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, NBA teams can use the D-League to send players recovering from injury. The Spurs (Gary Neal) and Mavericks (Yi Jianlian) have taken advantage of the new rule.

Nine players that attended college in New York are currently on D-League rosters. Here's a look at where they are at, and what game action they are getting:

Antoine Agudio, Hofstra, Canton Charge

Agudio is shooting 50.7 percent from three early in the season, good for third in the league. He's playing big minutes (30.5 per game) in his first season with the Charge, and is averaging 11.6 points per game. Agudio, who spent his first two seasons in the D-League with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, has 1,350 total points in his career.

David Akinyooye, Adelphi, Springfield Armor

The lone New York Division II basketballer playing in the D-League, Akinyooye has spent much of his first season coming off the bench for the Armor. One of five former Panthers playing professionally -- the others are in Europe -- Akinyooye has scored in double digits in four of his first 18 D-League games.

Justin Brownlee, St. John's, Maine Red Claws

Brownlee took the D-League by storm, scoring in double-digits in nine of his first 10 games. He scored a season-high 24 points on Jan. 8 against the Texas Legends on 12-for-19 shooting. Brownlee is averaging 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game.

Paul Harris, Syracuse, Maine Red Claws

Harris is one of the D-League's forces. He opened the season red hot, including a 30-point, 16-rebound showing against Erie on Dec. 18, and a near-triple double against Iowa five days later. An injury has slowed his production of late, but the 6-4 guard is still filling up the stat sheet, averaging 15.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Jeff Foote, Cornell, Sprinfield Armor

Just as he did in college, Foote is making his living on the glass in his first season in the D-League. Averaging 9.1 boards per game, Foote is fifth in the league in rebounding. He has been especially effiicient pulling down offensive rebounds, averaging 4.2 per game. Foote has six double-doubles in his first 13 games this season.

D.J. Kennedy, St. John's, Erie Bayhawks

Playing for the Knicks' D-League affiliate, Kennedy has been aggressive, averaging 12.4 points on 42.9 percent shooting. He has scored in double digits in nine consecutive games, and scored a season-best 21 points against the Armor on Dec. 15. Kennedy has been active on the glass, too, pulling down 6.3 rebounds per game.

Anthony Mason, St. John's, Sioux Falls Skyforce

Mason is 15th in the D-League in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game. He has scored over 20 points six times this season, including a 28-point game against the Legends on Jan. 11. Mason's rebounding average is down from 2010-11, though; he averaged 8.2 boards per game last year, but just 5.2 this season.

Loren Stokes, Hofstra, Erie Bayhawks

Stokes has seen limited action in his second season in the D-League. He's playing 18.7 minutes per game, averaging 6.7 points and 1.6 assists. Stokes, 28, has also played basketball in Cyprus, Beligum and Ukraine.

Edwin Ubiles, Siena, Dakota Wizards

Ubiles is leading all local college hoops stars in scoring, averaing 20.3 points per game.  He has scored at least 10 points in each game this season, and poured in 36 against Rio Grande Valley in early January. Ubiles has been extremely efficient from the field, shooting 46.8 percent, and has been a reliable three-point threat in his first season in the D-League, shooting 36.8 percent from downtown.

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