Tapscott Heading to NBA D-League
After an enormously successful rookie season in the International Basketball League, 6'6" forward Chehales Tapscott is moving up this fall to the official minor league of the NBA, the NBA Development League, ready to make an impact at the next level.
Less than two months removed from his senior season at Portland State, where he was named to the Big Sky All-Conference team, Tapscott made the short trek down I-5 to Salem and joined the Salem Soldiers for their inaugural season in the IBL. His impact in the league was immediate, scoring 32 points in his first game as a pro, 112-105 a win over the eventual league champions, the Bellingham Slam.
"It was a smooth transition [going from college to the IBL] but I felt like the IBL fit my game better," commented Tapscott in regard to his early success for the Soldiers. "There was more space to operate, whereas at Portland State there was less spacing in games and it was more constructed offensively so I couldn’t play to my full ability."
The Soldiers' run-and-gun style allowed Tapscott to highlight the scoresheet throughout the season, finishing first in the IBL in scoring with 28.5 points per game and second in rebounding with 12.7 boards per game. He also proved to be one of the league’s most efficient shooters, sinking his field goals at a rate of 63.6 percent. His impressive numbers led him to twice be named IBL Player of the Week, and at the season’s conclusion he was named a First Team All-IBL All-Star and also picked up the league’s Rookie of the Year award.
After finishing the 2012 IBL season, Tapscott joined other league all-stars at the 39th annual Southern California Summer Pro League in Los Angeles, where he was highlighted as a “Diamond in the Rough” and selected as a second team SPL All-Star thanks to his 19 points and 11 rebounds per game performance. While in southern California, Tapscott was invited to workouts with both the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam and Los Angeles D-Fenders, and later impressed new Head Coach Michael Peck at a tryout for the Idaho Stampede held at their affiliate, Portland Trail Blazers practice facility. As a recipient of the Big Sky all-conference accolade as a senior at Portland State, Tapscott will go directly into the D-League draft and await his destination.
Tapscott’s journey to the IBL, and now the D-League, was by no means direct. Raised by his father, Lawrence, in a single-parent household, Chehales and his sister bounced from city to city before settling in Hillsboro, Ore., when he was 10. Complicating matters was Lawrence’s battle with skin cancer, which has been ongoing since his time as a high ranking Army officer during the Vietnam War. Through the challenges, the elder Tapscott kept Chehales focused on getting an education and playing professional basketball.
"In college the idea was for my son to go into the NBA draft, and when scouts came to see [Damian] Lillard they noticed Chehales," explained Lawrence. "This is his game, this is what he does and it has been verified by signing with the NBADL, which gives him the opportunity to show he can advance within his realm and to reach his ultimate goal of the NBA."
"He is my sole motivator, the reason why I compete so hard on the hardwood and is my best friend, idol, mentor," Chehales shared when asked about his father. "I appreciate him being by my side through my decisions. Without him, honestly I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in."
Tapscott is optimistic about the future after deciding to take a shot at the D-League rather than head overseas.
"The D-League has better opportunities to improve my game and chase my dream. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface with my abilities," said Tapscott.
Many scouts and coaches agree. The 2012 D-League Draft is set for November 2, when the league’s 16 teams will select players through eight rounds. Full coverage of the draft will be provided on the league's website at www.nba.com/dleague.
IBLers Line Up D-League Workouts
Chehales Tapscott is not the only IBL player to have caught the eye of NBA D-League coaches and scouts. A number of other players from the league have also earned invitations and participated in workouts for D-League teams around the country.
With a familiar name like the 6’4” guard from Oregon State playing with the Dallas Mavericks, the 6’9” version, forward Jared Cunningham who helped the Portland Chinooks reach the IBL Championship Game is heading to the Idaho Stampede’s Training Camp November 13 in Boise, ready to earn his spot on the roster for the Portland Trail Blazers' single affiliate team.
Mike Ward, 6’4” guard of the Olympia Reign, took part in workouts with the Bakersfield Jam, Idaho Stampede and Los Angeles D-Fenders with good reviews. 7'0" center Gjio Bain, who joined the Olympia Reign late in the season and nearly powered them to an upset of Portland in the semi-finals, also got a look from the Jam and D-Fenders, however ultimately signed with the Summerside Storm of the NBL Canada who have started training camp in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The Nippon Tornadoes' 6'3" guard Masa Kataoka was invited to a workout with the D-Fenders before eventually being selected by the Kyoto Hannyarz in the BJ League Draft as the first non-import pick.
One of Tapscott's teammates with the Soldiers, 6'6" forward Corey Largent, participated in a workout with the Bakersfield Jam and is planning to head to China for the CBA draft, while Chinooks' big man Joe Wolfinger tried out for the Idaho Stampede.
Finally, 6'3" guard Josh Tarver from the Vancouver Volcanoes, who played with the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers during the 2011-12 season, also got a look from Idaho's coaching staff where his brother and fellow Oregon State alum, 6'5" guard Seth Tarver holds a roster spot after being with the Memphis Grizzlies at the NBA Summer League, and is currently a part of the Minnesota Timberwolves' training camp roster.
More IBL Players Heading to New Opportunities
Over the past eight seasons the IBL has transitioned over 275 players into positions with the NBA D-League as well as international leagues overseas such as the Basketball Japan League, Chinese Basketball Association, Germany's Basketball Bundesliga, and the Portuguese Basketball League and many more.
Several IBL players from the 2012 season have recently signed contracts to play overseas this winter while IBL Alumni can be found on many rosters overseas, with some already in action for their new teams:
Gjio Bain (7'0" center, Olympia Reign) – Summerside Storm training camp (NBL Canada)
William Boatwright (6'8" forward, Orlando Venom) – Gansos Salvajes (Mexico LNBP)
Jermaine Bucknor (6'8" forward, Edmonton Energy) – TBB Trier (Germany BBL)
Rashaun Broadus (5'11" guard, Edmonton Energy) – Neptunas Klaipeda (Lithuania LKL)
D.J. Ferguson (6'1" guard, Orlando Venom) – TSV OH Diesenhofen (Germany Regionalliga)
Troy Gottselig (6'8" forward, Edmonton Energy) - Astrum Levice (Czech Republic NBL)
Paul Guede (6'4" forward, Salem Soldiers) – BG Goettingen (Germany ProA)
Daishi Hayakawa (6'7" forward, Nippon Tornadoes) – Oita Heat Devils (Japan BJ League)
Atsushi Kanazawa (Nippon Tornadoes) – Fukuoka Rizing Head Coach (Japan BJ League)
Masa Kataoka (6'3" guard, Nippon Tornadoes) – Kyoto Hannyarz (Japan BJ League)
Virgil Matthews (6'2" guard, Olympia Reign) – Erdgas Ehingen (Germany ProA)
Brian Morris (6'9" forward, Portland Chinooks) – Atletico Cordon (Uruguay LUB)
Louie McCroskie (6'5" forward, Jersey G-Force) – Oshawa Power (NBL Canada)
Durrell Nevels (6'6" forward, Vancouver Volcanoes) – Energy Invest Rustavi (Republic of Georgia Superleague)
Robbie Sihota (6'6" forward, Edmonton Energy) – Matrixx Magixx Wijchen (Netherlands Eredivise)
Stephen Sir (6'5" guard, Edmonton Energy) – CSM Bucharest (Romania Division A)
Shinji Tomiyama (Nippon Tornadoes) Chiba Jets Head Coach (Japan BJ League)
David Wood (6'3" guard, Orlando Venom) – Gigantes Edomex (Mexico LNBP)
Gio Woods (6'3" guard, Olympia Reign) – Kapfenberg Bulls (Austria Bundesliga A)
Watch for updates during the off-season on IBL players, teams and partnerships at www.IBL.com.