Pelicans Sign Bryce Dejean-Jones

NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed guard Bryce Dejean-Jones. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Dejean-Jones, 6-6, 203, has appeared in 11 games (eight starts) for the Pelicans, averaging 6.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. Prior to joining New Orleans, Dejean-Jones played for the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League, appearing in nine games (seven starts), averaging 19.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals in 31.1 minutes per game. Undrafted out of Iowa State, Dejean Jones was a member of the Pelicans’ 2015 Las Vegas Summer League team and training camp roster. In six summer league contests, Dejean-Jones averaged 12.8 points on .619 shooting from the field, including .500 from three point range, to go along with 1.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.2 assists in 21.7 minutes per game. Appearing in all seven preseason contests for New Orleans, Dejean-Jones averaged 8.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists. In a related move, New Orleans has waived forward Jarnell Stokes. Stokes, 6-9, 255, was acquired from the Miami HEAT, along with cash considerations, yesterday in exchange for a future second round draft pick. Stokes has appeared in 26 career NBA games with Miami and Memphis, holding career averages of 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 5.5 minutes per game. New Orleans’ roster stands at 15. Source: nba.com

Pelicans Sign Bryce Dejean-Jones From Stampede To 10-Day

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed Bryce Dejean-Jones from the Idaho Stampede to a 10-day contract. Dejean-Jones will help the Pelicans replace Eric Gordon. Dejean-Jones was with the Pelicans during training camp. In nine games this season in the D-League, Dejean-Jones is averaging 19.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Source: RealGM.com

Miami Heat Rookie James Ennis’ Dunk Is Already A Candidate For NBA Dunk Of the Year

The Miami Heat won their season opener Wednesday night, defeating the Washington Wizards, 107-95. Much has been made of how much the Heat will miss LeBron James, and although there's no replacement for a player of James' caliber, it appears rookie James Ennis may at least be able to fill James' shoes in the highlight department. In the fourth quarter, the 6-foot-7 Ennis caught an outlet pass from Mario Chalmers on a fastbreak. Ennis caught the pass on the right wing just inside the 3-point line and raced to the basket. The Wizards' Rasual Butler tried to set up and take the charge in the paint, but it was too late — Ennis took off. Read more Source: William Scott Davis, Business Insider

HEAT Signs James Ennis

MIAMI, July 15 – The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed forward James Ennis. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We were excited to draft James a year ago and have been impressed by the growth of his game in Summer League and Puerto Rico, as well as his terrific experience in Australia, leading Perth to a championship,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “We are looking forward to the infusion of energy he will bring to our roster.” Ennis, who was acquired by the HEAT in a draft night trade during the 2013 NBA Draft, spent last season with the Perth Wildcats of the Australian Basketball League appearing in 33 games (32 starts) and averaged 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.42 steals and 31.7 minutes while shooting 46.6 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three-point range and 77 percent from the foul line. He helped the team win the 2014 Australian Basketball League Championship and capped the season finishing third in MVP voting while being named Australiabasket.com’s All-Australian NBL Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, Import Player of the Year, First Team and All-Imports Team. Additionally, after his stint in Australia, Ennis appeared in 12 games (all starts) with Piratas de Quebradillas of the Puerto Rican National Superior Basketball League and averaged 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.75 steals, 1.00 blocks and 33.6 minutes while shooting 47 percent from the field and 76.2 percent from the foul line. This summer, Ennis has appeared in six Summer League games with the HEAT (all starts) and averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.33 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the field, 48.1 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the foul line. He posted a 29-point, four-rebound, two-assist game in 25:33 minutes of action while shooting 10-of-12 from the field, 7-of-8 from three-point range and a perfect 2-of-2 from the foul line in a 110-91 win against the Brooklyn Nets on July 6. He previously spent the 2013 Summer League with the HEAT, appearing in 11 games (10 starts) and averaged 13.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.45 steals while shooting 44 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from three-point range and 76.9 percent from the foul line. Ennis was originally drafted in the second round (50th overall) by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2013 NBA Draft. Source: NBA.com

Report: Josh Akognon claimed off waivers by Memphis Grizzlies

While Gal Mekel impressed a lot of people during the Dallas Mavericks' summer league run in Las Vegas, the other point guard for the Mavs' team was also finding quite a few raised eyebrows at his quality of play on the court. Josh Akognon played a lot of off-guard, even though he's listed at 5'11", but he did a great job scoring the ball and being someone who rarely seemed to hurt his team offensively. Akognon was reportedly waived by the Dallas Mavericks and claimed off of waivers by the Memphis Grizzlies, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. In the last two years, Akognon has played for two different teams (Dongguan Leopards and Liaoning Dinosaurs) in the Chinese Basketball Association, three games with the Canton Charge of the D-League, and three games with the Dallas Mavericks last season. He scored five points in nine minutes over three games with the Mavericks last season. During the Las Vegas Summer League this month, Akognon averaged 17.5 points in six games. He made 41.8 percent of his shots and managed to knock down 39.1 percent of his 3-pointers. He played like a poor man's J.J. Barea in his role next to the bigger Gal Mekel while playing in a bit of a chaotic basketball environment in Vegas. Akognon projects to be the third or fourth point guard for the Grizzlies right now, depending on how you classify Jerryd Bayless' role heading into next season. Source: Zach Harper, CBS Sports

Long Beach State’s Ennis sprinting his way toward NBA career

In another life, Long Beach State's James Ennis, who's done his best in the two months since his final college season ended to boost his NBA Draft stock into the first round, might have become an Olympic track star. Long Beach coach Dan Monson and his assistant Rod Palmer remember a recruiting visit when they received a convincing demonstration of Ennis' athletic ability. It was after one of Ennis' practices at Ventura College, and the team convened to the school's track for some conditioning work. The task: a series of 200-meter sprints. "James just blew every single one of his teammates away," Palmer said. "Just humiliated and ran past them. And that was after practice. That's when we knew we had something special." Monson was so impressed he felt compelled to see how fast Ennis was running. "I probably exaggerate more than Rod," Monson said, laughing. "But there's no exaggeration here. After about the third [200], where James was probably 15, 20 yards ahead of the other guys, I started timing him. I said to Rod, this kid's running these things in 21, 22 seconds. One after the other." At the time, Ennis was also dabbling in the high jump. He'd cleared 6-foot-5 in high school but thought he could do better, so he consulted YouTube for education and inspiration. Read more Source: Chris Dortch, NBA.com

James Ennis Interview

Long Beach State guard/forward James Ennis is no stranger to working hard to get where he wants to go. He began his career at little known Ventura College in Southern California and after two years there was offered a scholarship at Long Beach State. After helping his team to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012, Ennis led his team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots on his way to Big West Player of the Year Honors in 2013. He averaged 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game during his senior year and was a Honorable Mention on the 2013 AP All-American team. He isn’t a household name but he knows what it takes to be successful at the next level and isn’t afraid to put in the work to make that happen. His strong PIT performance has earned him an invite to the Chicago predraft camp in 10 days. We recently got a chance to catch up with James to talk a little bit about his senior year at Long Beach State and what he is doing to get ready for June’s Draft. Read the interview Source: Clayton Crowe, nbadraft.net

NBA Pre-Draft Tour: James Ennis Workout

The Long Beach small forward is preparing for the next level. For James Ennis, this is all a dream. Early in his career, track and field may have been his calling card to stardom. Now, he’s less than two months away from hearing his name called in the NBA Draft. “I started doing track when I was in high school. They gave me a chance because I could jump high,” the wiry athlete explained. “In high school, I didn’t jump so high. I only cleared 6-5. Then at VC, I cleared 6-11. I had no form, but if I did, I would have cleared 7-4. Growing up in Ventura, CA, Ennis as always known as an athlete. Every basketball hotbed has that 6-6-ish guy who can jump out of the gym, but lacks in the skills department. In this 22-year-old’s case, that potential was fulfilled, but it took some time, though. After his stellar career at Ventura HS ended, he didn’t have the grades to head to a DI school. Left with limited options, Ennis stayed at home to play at Ventura College, a Cali JuCo that doesn’t even offer full rides. “Knowing that I came from a JC, I had to put in a lot of work to keep up at the DI pace. After my JC career, I just kept on working really hard and kept pushing myself to be the best I can be,” he explained. “Once I got to the DI level, I had to get my shot off a lot faster because everyone has around the same talent as you.” James got it done in the classroom and on the hardwood at Ventura. He got his grades right and accepted a scholly to Long Beach State. Rocking perhaps the dopest jerseys in the NCAA, his first year at “The Beach” was a successful one. The team had diminutive scoring point guard Casper Ware and athletic big man TJ Robinson taking the majority of the shots, but Ennis still contributed. With Ware and Robinson graduating last summer, it was James’ team and he was ready to blow up. With the keys to the car his senior year, Ennis put in work. He averaged 16 and 7, yet also making a monster presence on the defensive end. His dominance was noticed too, as he won Big West Player of the Year honors. Long Beach State won the regular-season crown, but was then was upset in the conference tourney. With his college career over, Ennis headed to Portsmouth and put on a show, solidifying his status in the NBA Draft in the process. This brings us to where we were today: Manhattan Beach, where he is prepping for the Draft with Tyrell Jamerson. A former point guard at UNLV, Jamerson specializes in ball handling and he has a willing student. He put the 6-7 swingman through stationary drills, full-court drills, and drills with varying speeds to enhance explosiveness. Giving maximum effort throughout the drills, it was evident that Ennis was engaged. “I’m really trying to get my handle right,” he admitted. “I’m getting sharper, keeping the ball low to the ground, and am trying to keep my head up at all times.” One area of the workout that left a lot of optimism was Ennis’ perimeter shooting. He shot a respectable 36 percent from three in college, but shot the ball at a much higher clip from the NBA line in the workout than he did the college line. Ennis is an unselfish player with above average court vision for a wing and we couldn’t even see his biggest strength (his defense) in a workout like this. Add all these things together and you see why James will be hearing his name called in Brooklyn in late June. The first thing I’m going to bring to a team is my defense. I can guard multiple positions. My length also allows me to keep little guards in front of me,” he said. “Also, I’m a high energy guy off of the bench who is willing to do whatever it takes to help my team win.” Humble, hungry and freakishly athletic, the best days lay ahead for Mr. Ennis. Source: Rodger Bohn, SLAM ONLINE

Sources: Mavs to sign Akognon for 10 days

The Dallas Mavericks, as promised, are bringing in another guard in for a 10-day look as they continue to evaluate backcourt prospects for the future while trying to cling to life in the race for the West's final playoff berth. Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavs on Thursday will sign Josh Akognon to a 10-day deal. The high-scoring sharpshooter from Cal State Fullerton went to training camp with the Mavs but ended up returning to China to play for Liaoning when he was Dallas' final cut before opening-night rosters were finalized. Akognon is meeting the team in Colorado, sources said, in advance of the Mavs' game Thursday against the Denver Nuggets. The 5-foot-11 combo guard averaged nearly 30 points per game in China this season and will take the roster spot of Justin Dentmon, who was informed after Tuesday night's loss to the Lakers he wouldn't be receiving a second 10-day deal. The Mavs, though, had always planned to audition one more guard after previously giving 10-day trials to Dentmon and fellow D-League star Chris Wright. Dentmon, MVP of the D-League in 2011-12, was called up from the Texas Legends in nearby Frisco and appeared in two Mavs games for a total of four minutes. Dentmon earned call-ups with the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors last season. Wright joined the Mavericks last month from the Iowa Energy and became the first player in league history to appear in the NBA while diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The Mavs will have three games left in the regular season after Akognon's 10-day contract expires, but it is not yet known if they plan to sign a fourth guard to a 10-day deal before the end of the season. Source: Marc Stein, ESPN.com

No Joshin’… This Guy Can Play! Josh Akognon Hangs With The Mavericks

Who is this guy?? Maybe the hottest shooter at the Dallas Mavericks’ training camp.  He doesn’t even have a guaranteed contract but Josh Akognon (pronounced uh-koy-nun) may end up being the biggest surprise of all in a group of impressive rookies. Finishing up practice before heading to Barcelona, four players were locked in a three-point shootout – Dirk, Mayo, Roddy and Josh Akognon. The Dallas Mavericks released Tu Holoway and DJ Mbenga Tuesday leaving Akognon as the sole remaining player outside of the presumptive “Gang of 15.”  But if you don’t know who Akognon is and you thought you were paying attention, it’s hard to believe he slid under the radar. This is the same guy who impressively came off the bench playing for the Sacramento Kings just this summer in Las Vegas to lead the team, averaging 19.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.  But that type of performance isn’t unusual. Josh’s play in college was nothing short of electrifying. Playing his first two years of at Washington State, he was voted the Pac-10′s “Most Underrated Player” by Sports Illustrated and as with his play this last summer for the Kings, Akognon led the team in scoring despite coming off the bench most of the year. He transferred to Cal State-Fullerton for his junior and senior years and achieved numerous accolades.  His senior year was named the 2008-09 Big West Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, averaging 23.9 points per game, good for 8th in the nation.  A scoring machine, he hit 136 three-pointers (2nd best in the nation per game) and 132 free throws (8th best in the nation with 89.2% FT percentage) and set a Big West Tournament scoring record with 37 points including 9 threes.  He reached double figures in 36 of 37 games, scored over 20 points twenty-two times, over 30 points six times and even had two 41 point games. Josh has something in common with late-to-the-game rookie Bernard James, who is entering the NBA at age 27.  A five-year player in college (with a year off for transferring), Akognon was not drafted and instead spent three years overseas, playing professional ball in the Estonian League, Baltic League and Chinese Basketball Association before finally landing a brief stint the NBA Developmental League’s Canton Charge in 2012.  A Nigerian-American, he also played for the Nigerian team in FIBA competition.  He lands at the Mavericks camp at the ripe old age of 26, just a year younger than James. Read more Source: Craig Berlin, SI.com