On the same night that Appalachian State University men’s basketball drained 17 three-pointers and scored 102 points in an exhibition win against Lenoir-Rhyne, the program’s all-time leading scorer, Donald Sims, took the first step in his professional career. The 2011 graduate was drafted in the
NBA Developmental League’s fourth round (51st overall) by the Reno Bighorns on Thursday evening.
The 2,000-point scorer was the team’s second pick in the draft, following UCLA’s Cedric Bozeman in the second round. Sims was the only former Southern Conference player drafted.
Reno is the minor league team of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings for 2011-12. Despite the current NBA lockout, the NBDL season opens later this month. Reno begins the campaign at Bakersfield (Calif.) on Nov. 25.
The Bighorns won the 2011 Western Conference title and recently hired Paul Mokeski to coach the team. Reno’s most recent NBA call-up was former Harvard standout Jeremy Lin, who closed out his collegiate career in Boone against the Sims-led Mountaineers in the 2010 CollegeInsider.com Tournament’s opening round.
Sims was the 2010 Southern Conference Player of the Year, a 2011 all-SoCon honoree and left ASU last spring with six career records to his name.
Butts Cleared For Season Opener
After sitting out the 2010-11 season while recovering from a knee injury, senior center Isaac Butts was sidelined again on Thursday night while a minor paperwork issue affecting his NCAA eligibility was being cleared up.
Head coach Jason Capel was understandably pleased to announce on Friday morning that the issue was resolved and the healthy big man is cleared to make his debut when ASU hosts Lees-McRae on Nov. 11 at the Holmes Center in the regular season opener.
Butts led the Mountaineers and ranked second in the league with 8.1 rebounds per game as a junior in 2009-10. His inside presence also helped the Mountaineers to a +7.8 rebound margin that season, good for a top-10 ranking in the nation.
Explosive Offense Puts on Exhibition Display
Despite Butts’ absence and with Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year Omar Carter playing just two minutes off the bench while resting an injury in Thursday night’s exhibition against Lenoir-Rhyne, the Mountaineer offense still fired on all cylinders and gave fans a glimpse of the 2011-12 team’s potential.
Junior transfer Rodney Milum sank 8-of-12 three-pointers to help the Apps to a 17-of-28 night from downtown. In the regular season, Milum’s outburst in his unofficial debut would have ranked fourth on ASU’s single-game list. ASU’s 17 treys matched the most in program history, tying the 2005-06 squad’s output against The Citadel. ASU’s season high from downtown in 2010-11 was 11.
Milum’s 28 points were the most in an exhibition since Sims scored 33 against Mars Hill in 2009. Sims was 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in that contest.
ASU’s 63 first-half points matched or exceeded the team’s total output from five complete games in 2010-11.
Photo Courtesy: Donald Sims, ASU Athletics