Mad Ants Mitchell Repeats As Slam Dunk Champion

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 15, 2014 — Robert Covington of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, playing on assignment from the Houston Rockets, scored 33 points and added six rebounds and three steals on his way to being named MVP of the 2014 NBA D- League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire, won by the Prospects over the Futures 145-142 at Sprint Arena at NBA All-Star Jam Session. Devin Ebanks of the Texas Legends added 27 points as part of a balanced effort that saw seven of 10 Prospects score in double figures, while shooting 61 percent from the field as a team.

Covington, who went undrafted in 2013 out of Tennessee State, has spent most of his rookie season on assignment with the Vipers, averaging 21.4 points in 23 games. He’s appeared in five games with the Rockets, averaging 3.8 minutes.

“It’s a great feeling being able to play well in this game in front of our GM Daryl Morey and all these others scouts and NBA people,” said Covington, whose 33 points set a new NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire record. “I feel like I’ve gotten better during my time with Rio Grande Valley, and it�s good to see the hard work paying off in a game like this.”

Ebanks, who spent his first three professional seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, shot a blistering 13-for-17 from the field and looked very much like a player on his way back to the NBA at some point. Rio Grande Valley�s Troy Daniels added 21 points for the Prospects, connecting on 6-of-7 from behind the arc.

Pierre Jackson of the Idaho Stampede led the Futures with 30 points to go with eight assists and four steals. The Canton Charge’s Arinze Onuaku added 22 points and eight rebounds for the Futures, with Justin Hamilton of the Sioux Falls Skyforce chipping in with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Jackson’s situation has been well documented this season. He was selected out of Baylor by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft, then had his rights traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. The original plan was for Jackson to spend the year overseas, but he eventually elected to play domestically in the NBA D-League. The Pelicans still hold his rights, and another NBA team would have to trade for those rights in order for Jackson to have a chance to play in the NBA this season. He�s not eligible to be called up by a team other than New Orleans.

The afternoon began with the 2014 Boost Mobile NBA D-League Three-Point Contest, won by Idaho’s E.J. Singler, who needed a sudden death round to defeat the Vipers’ Daniels to claim victory. Booker Woodfox and P.J. Hairston of the Texas Legends, Adonis Thomas of the Springfield Armor, and Patrick Christopher of the Iowa Energy rounded out the field.

The 2014 Boost Mobile NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest took place at halftime of the NBA D-League All-Star Game, and was won for the second straight year by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants’ Tony Mitchell, whose final dunk in a sudden death round with Ra’shad James of the Reno Bighorns earned a 49, edging the 48 turned in by James. Both players posted identical scores of 99 on two dunks in the final round before needing an extra round, which consisted of a one dunk. Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Delaware 87ers and Darren White of the Erie BayHawks rounded out the field.

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