#ThisIsWhyWePlay: Meet the 2016 Champion Sioux Falls Skyforce

By Brian Kotloff | May 2, 2016

The Sioux Falls Skyforce’s 2016 championship culminated the best individual season in NBA Development League history — a record-setting 46-11 run through the regular season and playoffs.

MORE: Finals Hub | Playoff Central

It validated the Miami Heat’s investment in their affiliate 1,500 miles across the country and cemented their status as one of the NBA’s top organizations for player development. It also gave the small town of Sioux Falls, S.D., a reason to celebrate a franchise that has been a fixture in the city since 1989.

But as Heat player development coach Octavio De La Grana said while watching his player celebrate, “This is all about them.”

“It’s pure,” he added. “These guys are pure.”

NBADLeague.com asked each of the 10 players on the Skyforce roster — from MVP to tryout player — to detail their journey to the title:

Jarnell Stokes, Forward/Center
From: Memphis, Tenn.
Age: 22 Years Pro: 2
College: Tennessee
Overseas Experience: None


Nigel Spikes, Center
From: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Age: 26 / Years Pro: 2
College: Marshall
Overseas Experience: Canada


Jabril Trawick, Guard/Forward
From: Philadelphia, Pa.
Age: 23 / Years Pro: 1
College: Georgetown
Overseas Experience: None


Greg Whittington, Forward
From: Columbia, Md.
Age: 23 / Years Pro: 1
College: Georgetown
Overseas Experience: None


Rodney McGruder, Guard
From: Landover, Md.
Age: 24 / Years Pro: 3
College: Kansas State
Overseas Experience: Hungary


Larry Drew, Guard
From: Encino, Ca.
Age: 26 / Years Pro: 3
Colleges: North Carolina, UCLA
Overseas Experience: France (Monaco)


Keith Benson, Center
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Age: 27 / Years Pro: 5
College: Oakland
Overseas Experience: Italy, Philippines, Belarus, China, Lithuania, Estonia


Bubu Palo, Guard
From: Ames, Iowa
Age: 24 / Years Pro: 2
College: Iowa State
Overseas Experience: None


Toure Murry, Guard
From: Houston, Texas
Age: 26 / Years Pro: 4
College: Wichita State
Overseas Experience: None


DeAndre Liggins, Guard
From: Chicago, Ill.
Age: 28 / Years Pro: 5
College: Kentucky
Overseas Experience: Russia, Germany


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