Japeth gears up for final NBA D-League try-out
LOS ANGELES, California -- With the National Basketball Association (NBA) Development League draft only a few weeks away, Pinoy basketball player Japeth Aguilar hopes to make a "lasting impression" in his final try-out this Saturday.
On October 20, the 6-foot-9 Aguilar will attend the Iowa Energy's open try-out in Chicago, Illinois. The Energy is the D-League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards.
Chris McGarry, Aguilar's agent, said the 25-year-old Filipino forward is ready to give his best performance, citing that the player is very good at showing off his skills.
"Japeth is really excited for this tryout. With all of the opportunities he's been given in the past two months, he's ready to make a lasting impression," said McGarry.
The 2009 PBA No. 1 pick has been on a whirlwind journey trying to make it into the NBA since arriving in the US last September.
Aguilar’s PBA contract with Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters has already expired and this allowed him to pursue his NBA dreams.
He has worked out with several NBA and NBA D-League teams including the San Antonio Spurs, Hornets, Bakersfield Jam, Santa Cruz Warriors, Los Angeles D-Fenders, among many others.
"'We're very confident that he has done his best," said McGarry. "He's a totally different player than when he came here. He's adjusted to the speed, strength, his approach and the way the game is played here in the US."
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle and Western Kentucky Hilltopper Aguilar is expected to be chosen by a team in the second or third round of the D-League draft on November 6.
Some D-League teams have already openly expressed their desire to draft the Filipino forward early, according to reports.
McGarry said Aguilar doesn't care where he goes as long as he continues to develop and help the team win.
Wherever Aguilar gets drafted, he'll have a legion - perhaps a nation of hardcore basketball fans following his every move.
No Philippine-born player has ever been drafted by an NBA D-League team.
"This could be history in the making," said McGarry. "Filipinos are the highest followers of the NBA on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites so there's already a lot of excitement [in the Philippines]."
"We are all very excited. Japeth and his whole family will track the draft and hopefully, he'll get drafted," McGarry added.
In three seasons playing in the Philippines, Aguilar split his time with Smart Gilas Pilipinas and PBA's Talk N' Text.
Another Pinoy prospect
Aguilar will be one of only two players of Filipino descent to participate in the open try-out, according to McGarry.
McGarry said he recently signed Fil-Am prospect, Avery Scharer, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound point guard from Shoreline Community College in Seattle.
Scharer ranked No. 3 in assists in the whole nation last year, according to McGarry.
"This guy can score, pass and is a triple double threat every game," he said.
Scharer is half African-American and Filipino. His mother is from Bauang, La Union.
McGarry said Scharer spoke to Philippine national coach Chot Reyes, who has expressed his desire to see him play in person and perhaps join the national team.