The Northern Arizona Suns announced their Opening Night roster Thursday. The Suns kick off the 2016 NBA Development League regular season Saturday, November 12 at the Prescott Valley Event Center at 7 p.m.
There are 12 players who made it through training camp and made the final cuts. Three of the 12 players remaining are local tryout participants. They are Grand Canyon University’s Daniel Alexander, Josh Gray from Louisiana State University, and Limestone College’s Asaad Woods.
Four of the players to make the Opening Night roster are returning players, who previously played for the Bakersfield Jam. Askia Booker, Derek Cooke Jr. and Xavier Silas all played for the Jam last season, while Elijah Millsap played in Bakersfield in 2014-15. Millsap didn’t play in Bakersfield last year, as he was playing at the highest level for the Utah Jazz.
Two of the Suns four draft picks made the roster. Michael Bryson, the Suns 8th overall pick, found his way on the roster after playing four years at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Greg Mays, the Suns 30th overall pick, makes the roster after playing overseas last year. He played for the Albury Wodonga Bandits from the South East Australian Basketball League after playing four years at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.
The Opening Night roster rounds out with the Suns’ two affiliate players and the player assigned to them by their parent club, the Phoenix Suns. The two affiliate players are Gracin Bakumanya and Shaquille Harrison. Derrick Jones Jr. is the assigned player. Bakumanya gets ready for his first season in the D-League after playing last year for the Antibes Sharks, which is part of the LNB Pro A League in France. Harrison and Jones made the team fresh out of college. Harrison played four years at the University of Tulsa, and Jones enters the league after one season at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
|Daniel Alexander||9||F||6-9||217||7-18-91||Grand Canyon/USA||Local Tryout|
|Michael Bryson||33||G||6-4||200||9-30-94||UC Santa Barbara/USA||Drafted|
|Derek Cooke Jr.||11||F||6-9||220||8-23-91||Wyoming/USA||Returning|
|Josh Gray||5||G||6-1||180||9-9-93||LSU/USA||Local Tryout|
|Derrick Jones Jr.||1||F||6-5||196||2-15-97||UNLV/USA||Assigned|
|Greg Mays||21||F||6-8||220||1-30-93||UW-Green Bay/USA||Drafted|
|Elijah Millsap||7||G||6-6||215||8-12-87||Alabama at Birmingham/USA||Returning|
|Xavier Silas||13||G||6-5||198||1-22-88||Northern Illinois/USA||Returning|
|Asaad Woods||23||G||6-4||215||6-27-92||Limestone College/USA||Local Tryout|
Bo Barnes, Mikh McKinney, Langston Morris-Walker and Waly Niang were all waived from the team on Thursday.
Barnes was the only returning player not to make the roster, although he never appeared in a game for Bakersfield last season. McKinney was one of the Suns’ second round draft picks (25th overall) and Niang was claimed from the Available Player Pool last week, but neither made the team. Morris-Walker was the lone local tryout to be cut out of the four who were invited to training camp.
The NAZ Suns inaugural season tips off on Saturday, Nov. 12th at 7 p.m. against the Iowa Energy at the Prescott Valley Event Center. The team is excited to bring affordable, family-friendly entertainment and quality basketball to Northern Arizona. A variety of season ticket membership packages are available, with packages starting as low as $8 per game for the full season.