NEW YORK, April 14, 2015 – Bakersfield Jam guard Jerel McNeal, now a member of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, was today named the 2015 NBA Development League Impact Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 18 head coaches. The award recognizes a player who joined an NBA D-League team after Nov. 27, 2014, and made the greatest contribution to his team’s success following that in-season acquisition.
McNeal (6-3, 200, Marquette) joined the Jam on Jan. 10, 2015, and was placed on the active roster five days later, 22 games into the 2014-15 season. He appeared in the team’s next 26 games, 21 as a starter, with the team posting a 20-6 record. He lead the Jam in scoring nine times, including netting a season-high 40 points in a road win over the Austin Spurs on March 7, and was the team’s leading assist man eight times. Following his successes with the Jam, McNeal earned a GATORADE Call-Up to the Suns on April 1.
“Jerel joined the Jam almost halfway through the season and instantly contributed to the team’s success,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “He was not only able to be a key contributor in Bakersfield, but to parlay his skills into an NBA contract with Phoenix and we’re pleased to congratulate him on an impressive season and this honor.”
A three-year NBA D-League veteran, McNeal has earned three GATORADE Call-Ups during his career and was a member a 2013 NBA D-League All-Star. In 26 games this season in Bakersfield, he averaged 19.2 points, 4.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 33.3 minutes.
“The entire Jam organization is very happy for Jerel,” said Jam General Manager Bubba Burrage. “His talent and skill sets obviously had a positive impact on us. His leadership, his heart, and his feel for the game impacted our team with equal measure. He is solid in every way and it’s fitting that he has been recognized for his work here.”
McNeal is the third member of the Jam to earn the Impact of the Year award, joining Ike Diogu (2013-14) and Brian Butch (2009-10).
All-Time NBA D-League Impact Players of the Year:
Jerel McNeal* (Bakersfield Jam, 2014-15)
Ike Diogu (Bakersfield Jam, 2013-14)
Rasual Butler* (Tulsa 66ers, 2012-13)
Eric Dawson (Austin Toros, 2011-12)
Jeff Adrien (Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 2010-11)
Brian Butch (Bakersfield Jam, 2009-10)
Eddie Gill (Colorado 14ers, 2008-09)
Morris Almond (Utah Flash, 2007-08)