The Austin Toros look to defend their 2012 D-League Championship tonight as the season tips off for them in Frisco against the Texas Legends.
But for Spurs fans looking to follow the Toros this season, they'll notice two key players missing from the opening day roster that spent some time with the Spurs in training camp.
Forward Wesley Witherspoon was the final training camp hopeful to be cut from the Spurs roster before opening day and now he is no longer a Toro either. Witherspoon was sent to the RGV Vipers in a three-team deal that netted the Toros forward/center Rick Jackson.
Coincidentally, Jackson was the player that declined the Spurs' invitation to minicamp before last season. Jackson was frustrated that he was not selected in the 2011 NBA Draft and apparently he had a case of sour grapes saying the Spurs should have selected him with their 59th pick.
A four-year player at Syracuse, Jackson was highly touted coming out of college after leading the Big East in rebounds, blocked shots and field goal percentage. After going undrafted, Jackson decided to play over seas in France for a season.
Jackson (6-9, 240) played in France in 2011 for the Chorale Roanne Basket averaging nine points and 5.5 rebounds in 21 games played. He played four years (2007-11) at Syracuse and was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year his senior year.
The trade gives the Toros some extra size up front where they seem to be very thin, but even with the Jackson trade, the Toros still have no one taller than 6-9, although Jackson's 7-1 wingspan allows him to guard centers.
And on the topic of Toros big men, the Spurs' D-League affiliate released their final roster recently with one name not included, that of former Alabama forward/center JaMychal Green.
Green was signed by the Spurs during training camp and released just days later, seemingly just to assure that he would play with the Toros while they watched him develop. Green, a very athletic big man, seemed to be an exciting prospect to Spurs fans.
Green could just be injured or he could've been a release, but an email to the Toros public relations office and several inquiries left me without an answer. The Toros can certainly use his size in the frontcourt, but it remains to be seen what his status is with the team.
Tonight's opener against the Legends will be available live through a new partnership the D-League formed with YouTube. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CST.