As a basketball fan, I have always had a love for the lesser known, obscure and/or underappreciated. At school, when most kids were wearing Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal or Michael Jordan jerseys, I was wearing Bobby Hurley, Derek Harper and Dino Radja.
This is my open tribute to the lesser known players in today’s game. This is Spotted on the Pine.
Name: Dwight Buycks
Team: Toronto Raptors
Jersey Number: 13
Rookie Year: 2013-14
Summer League season tends to hand out a few feel good stories. If last week’s entry on Ian Clark wasn’t good enough for you, get ready for the great story on new Raptors point guard Dwight Buycks.
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dwight Buycks attended Bay View High School in Milwaukee. The point guard wasted no time and immediately earned a key spot on his school’s squad, en route to being a four year starter. Buycks caught so much attention becoming his high school’s all-time leading scorer (and first player in school history to break the 1,000 career point barrier), that he named to the All-League team every year he was in high school.
The recognition was widespread, as by his senior year, Dwight would be selected to All-State teams as selected by coaches and the AP.
His dominance didn’t stop there.
Dwight Buycks also produced insane AAU play, where he led his team to the championship while being voted the top player in Wisconsin.
With these great high school accolades, one of the solid basketball programs in the Midwest was surely in touch with Dwight, right?
In the Fall of 2007, Buycks would play for the Indian Hills Community College Warriors.
Interesting tidbit on IHCC : Despite being the Warriors for the majority of their sporting teams, the baseball team is called the Falcons.
The Wisconsin Community College actually had several athletic alumni that were made it to the professional level.
They gave Rick Upchurch to the NFL.
Baseball had alumni such as Riley “Brock” Kjeldgaard, Ramon Vazquez and Duane Kuiper.
The 2000 NBA draft would see two Indian Hills players drafted as Ernest Brown was selected by Miami at 52 and Cory Hightower drafted at 54. Sandwiched at 53 was Northern Arizona Lumberjack, Dan McClintock. That 2000 draft, eh?
Most notable alumni?
But let’s get back to Dwight Buycks, who would sooner rather than later make the star of Carpool look like… well… the star of Carpool.
Buycks played the Junior College circuit and excelled. No misstep from his high school success. Two seasons with the Warriors and he was the third all-time leading scorer at 1,254 points. First Team All-Region both seasons and First Team NJCAA All-American his sophomore year.
So this got attention of a school in Wisconsin that may sound familiar… Marquette.
After a stellar Junior College Career, Buycks shows up with the Golden Eagles and starts his first game in 2009-10. He would primarily be the sixth man, but it just goes to show the talent. Buycks walked in to a historically solid program and starts 11 games. In the games he doesn’t start? He is their key reserve.
A solid senior season would lead to Buycks announcing his intentions for the 2011 NBA draft but would be overlooked in a draft that was fairly point guard heavy.
In the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, Dwight would catch on with Tulsa 66ers, the D-League affiliate of the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 28 games, despite only getting two starts, Dwight would average 15.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Not too bad for a point guard off the bench.
Buycks produced these solid numbers but the team probably watching him the closest, the Thunder, didn’t take a look at him. They’d have Russell Westbrook to play the majority of the minutes. On top of that, they were still grooming Reggie Jackson behind him.
So Buycks took his talents to the French Pro A league for the 2012-13 season. Playing with BCM Gravelines, Buycks averaged a team high 18.0 PPG to go with 3.2 RPG and 2.9 APG. It was enough to be named the MVP of the league.
A solid international campaign led the Thunder to invite Dwight to wear one of their ugly Summer League jerseys in Orlando.
Buycks agreed to play five games with the Thunder in Orlando before heading to the West Coast to join the World Champion Miami Heat for the Vegas Summer League.
Dwight opened his first game in Orlando with twelve points and thirteen assists. He just produces.
Four games in, the Toronto Raptors come calling and Dwight isn’t playing his fifth game with Thunder or going to play with Miami. The Raptors give him a one-year guaranteed contract, he will join them in Vegas.
Buycks goes to Vegas, where Jonas Valanciunas is already dominating the competition with the Raptors, on his way to being named MVP of the league, and Buycks contributes in two games as if he’d been there gelling with the Raps the whole time.
He suits up for the 7/18/2013 game against the Nuggets – goes for 18 points (on 6-11 from the floor) with 10 assist and 6 rebounds.
People start pointing out Buycks has a contract but the Raptors have Kyle Lowry and DJ Augustin on the roster.
They had one more game against the Suns, who are undefeated in the Summer League because half their team was on the regular season roster last year.
Not phased – 28 points on 11-20 shooting and he tosses in 4 assist and 4 boards.
Summer League down, Buycks heads to camp with a young Raptors team, ready to show the world why he was worth that guaranteed contract.