Toros Watch: January

TorosWant to get a look at some potential future Spurs without looking up Doc Brown in the white pages and putting a down payment on a DeLorian? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!

Get out to Austin and take in a Toros game. It won’t cost you nearly as much as installing a new flux capacitor and you just might be surprised at the level of play.

In our first monthly look at the Toros, we’ll recap their most recent game, spotlight a player who is at the top of everyone’s call-up-lists and go over some of the latest news.

Recap

The Toros are currently 5th in the Western Conference at 9-9. Their latest loss came at the hands of Mustafa Shakur and the 4th place Tulsa 66ers.

While the Toros led out of the gates early, the 66ers bounced back and led the last three quarters, thanks to some strong bench play.

Malik Hairston, who was just recently sent down from the Spurs, led all players with 28 hard-fought points on 9 of 22 shooting from the field.

Dwayne Jones, who was in Spurs training camp and played a few preseason games had a strong game on both ends of the floor with 24 points and 18 rebounds. Another training camp invitee, Curtis Jerrells had eight points and seven assists.

Alonzo Gee, one of the Toros’ most exciting players had a rare off game with five points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes.

Player Spotlight

Alonzo Gee

While he may have suffered against the 66ers, Toros 6-6 guard Alonzo Gee was averaging 24.8 points and eight rebounds per game in the previous five games. For the season, Gee, who was selected sixth in the 2009 D-League Draft, is averaging 20.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

While Gee got very little time playing on the Spurs summer league team, Spurs brass must’ve seen enough of him to keep him around.

Gee is a high-energy, athletic swingman that loves to attack the rim. He’s been keeping fans in the Austin Convention Center at the edge of their seats all season long. He’s also made some fans in Hardwood Paroxysm’s Matt Moore, DLeague Digest’s Steve Weinmann and Scott Scroeder of Ridiculous Upside.

“This Gee kid is legit. Saw him last night and at 6-6, he’s going to be a nightmare for teams in the Toros/Spurs system,” said Moore after seeing Gee in early December. “Throw in only 1 turnover in 38 minutes of play last night, and I’ve got to put this kid at or near the top of the Call-Up charts. It’s hard for me to do because he does all the things that teams DON’T look to the D-League for (scoring, shooting, not just being a body), but his shooting numbers are good enough to make you think Anthony Morrow with a bigger body size.”

DraftExpress seemed to agree with that assessment when they saw him at the D-League showcase recently.

“Alonzo Gee was one of the players we were most intrigued with coming to Boise this week, and he did little to dispel that notion. Showing elite athleticism with a very well-built body, Gee made countless impact plays in his two games he played, mainly on dribble drives started from the mid-range area, where he took advantage of his long strides and explosive first step to get to the rim.”

Gee is currently 12th in scoring in the D-League and he’s shown some promise on the defensive end. While Hairston is likely the first player the Spurs will call up when a player hits the IR, it’s comforting knowing Gee is right behind him.

Elsewhere

From Ridiculous Upside

Also also! Malik Hairston is also (also) coming back to the D-League, on his second assignment of the year from the Spurs (actually he already played last night). His previous stint also (also) was two games, when he scored a combined 50 points. He probably becomes Austin’s best perimeter defender, which has more to do with how poorly the Toros have defended so far this year. He and Alonzo Gee are a devastating scoring combo (ignore the fact that it didn’t work last night), and perhaps he can provide some leadership and get the team to play some consistent ball.

Latest News

Toros players David McClure, Justin Bowen, Alonzo Gee Curtis Jerrells, Carldell Johnson, Russell Carter, Lewis Clinch, Malik Hairston Dwayne Jones and Augustine Okosun are on the D-League All-Star Ballot. You can vote daily at NBA.com.

Upcoming Schedule

• vs. Fort Wayne, Wed., January 20 at 7:30 p.m. ($5 ticket Wednesday)
• @ Maine, Fri., January 22 at 6:30 p.m.
• @ Springfield, Sat., January 23 at 12:00 p.m.

All games are available on NBA Futurecast.

Want to give us your first-hand experience from a Toros game or want a certain player profiled, email michael@projectspurs.com and we’ll make sure to include it in our next Toros Watch.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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