They must have the keys to development and preparation in Northern Arizona. This week’s NBA G League Alumni Report features three NAZ Suns alums who have since risen to make meaningful contributions across the league. Elsewhere in the NBA, a former Austin Spur had a career night with San Antonio and a former RGV Viper is gunning towards a potential big league award.
Here’s a look at five minor league alumni who have been strutting their stuff in impressive fashion in recent days.
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs alum)
Have a game why don’t you, young fella. Former Austin Spurs assignee Derrick White came up in the clutch for San Antonio during the team’s exhilarating double-overtime victory over the Thunder on Thursday. He scored a career-high 23 points, all while hitting key shots with time winding down in the fourth and making the right plays on both ends of the floor to help pace San Antonio through both extra periods. Such a performance is just the latest impressive outing for the young gun, who has averaged 18.7 points over his last six.
Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers (RGV Vipers alum)
Before emerging as a formidable ‘Sixth Man of the Year’ candidate, Harrell could be seen suiting up for the Vipers (on assignment from Houston) back in 2015-16. Since, the big man has become quite the formidable threat around the perimeter. His 63% shooting currently ranks third best in the NBA. His already impressive numbers have seen an incline in the new year, so far averaging 16.6 points and 7.8 rebounds in January. He’s produced in just 23.6 minutes a night, allowing the Clippers to rest their starters and still maintain an impressive attack and level of intensity from start to finish.
Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat (Northern Arizona Suns and Sioux Falls Skyforce alum)
Still just 21 years old, Jones Jr.’s budding professional career has already had its relevant successes. He’s a past NBA Slam Dunk Contest participant and earned a regular NBA contract after impressing while on a Two-Way deal with Miami last season. Fast-forward to 2019, and he’s settled into a comfortable role at the next level. This high-flying finisher is averaging 12.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in his last five games. His vast athleticism and ability to explode around the basket (and occasionally hit shots from way downtown) is keeping defenders on their toes.
De’Anthony Melton, Phoenix Suns (Northern Arizona Suns alum)
After turning heads with a triple-double earlier this season as a NAZ assignee, Melton quickly put people on notice to the idea that he boasts tremendous versatility. Just a couple of short months later, and this 20-year-old is honing in to the fact that he can make key contributions to his NBA club when pitching in with all the little things. Defense has been Melton’s calling card, already averaging 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals through five January contests. Additionally averaging 4.6 assists in that span, he’s proven that he’s not only willing to sacrifice his body, but that he also puts the offense of others above his own. He’s been a rather selfless teammate.
MELTON MONEY MOVES!
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 7, 2019
Shaquille Harrison, Chicago Bulls (Northern Arizona Suns alum)
Though he spent much of the past two seasons playing with the Northern Arizona Suns, it’s safe to say Harrison’s perseverance is paying off. He’s been fully integrated as a member of the Bulls’ rotation after joining them at the beginning of the campaign. His averages of 5.8 points and 1.3 steals over his last five are on par with his seasonal numbers, but the key here is that his minutes are rising. Receiving 21 minutes per contest, Harrison is earning favor with the coaching staff thanks to his no-nonsense attitude and desire to keep up the intensity on both ends of the floor.
Shaq Harrison brings it on the defensive end every time pic.twitter.com/8aiU0fIbbI
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 22, 2018