Japeth Aguilar Rumors
With the NBA Development League draft only a few weeks away, Filipino basketball player Japeth Aguilar hopes to make a lasting impression in his final try- out on 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 the Washington Wizards. Chris McGarry, Aguilar’s agent, says the 25-year-old Filipino forward is ready to give his best performance.
Japeth Aguilar’s dream of pursuing a career in the American professional basketball circuit stays alive for the meantime after a National Basketball Association (NBA) Developmental League team promised to draft the former Talk ‘N Text center in the upcoming D-League draft. According to Leo Balayon, the CalTech assistant coach who is supervising Aguilar’s skills training in the United States, the six-foot-nine Aguilar attended the tryouts of the Los Angeles D-Fenders and the Santa Cruz Warriors, and gave such a good account of himself in the Warriors’ tryout that the team said they would draft him. “Basically both teams (the D-Fenders and the Warriors) invited him to try out,” Balayon said in an e-mail to Yahoo! PH Sports. “The D-Fenders did not have a coach yet when he was invited so it was not the best situation. Someone I know in the organization had brought Japeth to the D-Fenders general managers’ attention. We really appreciated that. So after a day, Japeth got an invite to their closed invite-only tryout.”
The problem, Balayon said, was that some people in the organization got “too excited” about Japeth and claimed he played like Kevin Durant. On the day of the tryout, the team introduced former NBA player Reggie Theus as the new head coach, and Balayon said this caused some problems. “[Theus] had no input on who would be in the tryouts because he was just brought in so I think he was not as invested in it,” he continued. “The assistants from last year as well as other staff were the ones who organized the tryouts. So after being told Japeth played like KD and that he was the one to be looked at first, Theus was already being set with the wrong expectations. “They forced him to play center and power forward, not the SF, which we have been really working on. So even though Japeth played decently, Theus had unrealistic expectations, through no fault of his own.”
Since the Warriors are already planning on using their first-round pick in the draft on another player, they hope to land Aguilar with their second-round pick. There are currently 16 D-League teams, and it’s not yet clear where the Warriors, who were known last season as the Dakota Wizards, will land in the order of drafting. The draft is set in the first week of November. “They (the Warriors) said they would draft him if he is still available when their turn comes in the draft,” Balayon said. “That’s good to hear because they really value him. They even think na maunahan sila. Kasi their very first pick has already been promised to someone else. But their second pick daw will be for Japeth. All we need to do now is wait for the draft. “My concern right now is that if he gets drafted by a team other than the Warriors, he might not get the playing time he needs to improve and get to the NBA. I hope if a team drafts him they really intend to play him.”
Although it’s a long shot, at least there’s one young man trying to change the latter. Japeth Aguilar, an athletic 6-foot-9 forward, has spent the last month working out in the U.S. with hopes of joining a pro team stateside. The 25-year-old Aguilar has already practiced in front of scouts from the Spurs and Hornets and tried out for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBADL. The son of a former basketball player now working in a factory in Chicago, Aguilar calls Jeremy Lin an inspiration to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA one day. “The story about Jeremy Lin is really inspiring,” Aguilar told HoopsHype. “How he worked to get into the NBA… It’s really inspiring. I actually had the chance to play with him in Las Vegas at Impact (Basketball). He really worked hard. You can tell that he’s really something special. When we were playing with him, you could see he was all over the court. I don’t really know if he remembers, but we went and say ‘Hi” to him.”
With the NBA an unrealistic goal at this time, Aguilar’s best shot at a career in the United States right now would be in the D-League. Brian Levy, assistant general manager for the Bakersfield Jam, saw some positives in Aguilar’s game during his workout with the club. “Japeth has great length and athleticism, especially at his size,” Levy said. “He’s an explosive leaper that runs the floor well and has good instincts when crashing the offensive glass. He can shoot just well enough from three that he must be respected. “He has the tools to contribute to a team this year if he finds the right situation.”