Last season, L.A. marched all the way to the NBA D-League Finals under the direction of then head coach Casey Owens (now a Lakers assistant coach) before falling to the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Now, head coach Coby Karl leads a roster that returns several familiar faces from year’s past, including Vander Blue, Justin Harper and Josh Magette, as well as two local products – both affiliate players – in Julian Jacobs (USC) and Travis Wear (UCLA).
The D-Fenders open the season at home on Friday, Nov. 12 to face the Iowa Energy. Tip-off is at 7:30pm.
Here is a look at the final roster:
G Vander Blue (Marquette University)
Weight: 200 pounds
Blue averaged 26.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game last year for the D-Fenders, making his second career D-League All-Star team in the process. One of his more memorable performances came during the postseason when he scored a career-high 43 points against the Reno Bighorns on April 7. Blue is an athletic combo guard who appeared in two games at the end of the 2014-15 season for the Lakers, totaling 22 points. He also has previous NBA experience playing with the Boston Celtics.
G Troy DeVries (University of New Mexico)
Weight: 194 pounds
At 34 years old, DeVries will be among the more experienced players in the D-League this season. DeVries has spent the last decade playing all over the globe, most recently representing FC Porto in Portugal. He last played in the U.S. as a collegiate player at New Mexico, where, in his senior season, he helped lead the Lobos to the NCAA Tournament. DeVries shot 43.9 percent on three-point attempts in college and shot 48 percent from distance in Mountain West Conference games, which was a record at the completion of his college career.
C David Foster (University of Utah)
Weight: 250 pounds
At 7-foot-3, Foster is hard to miss on the court. In his sophomore season at Utah (2009-10), he was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 4.0 blocks and 4.8 rebounds per game. Foster missed his senior season with a broken foot and made the D-Fenders roster after completing the tryout process.
F Justin Harper (University of Richmond)
Weight: 245 pounds
Harper returns to the D-Fenders after averaging 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 42 games for the team last season. The stretch-four shot 39.1 percent on 5.4 three-point attempts per game on the year and averaged 28.9 minutes per game, making the D-League All-Star team in the process. He also inked two 10-day contracts with the Detroit Pistons before returning to L.A. As a senior at Richmond, Harper led the Spiders to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, averaging a team-high 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was a First-Team All-Atlantic 10 selection and was the 32nd overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
G Julian Jacobs (University of Southern California)
Weight: 188 pounds
Jacobs was a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection last season for USC, averaging 11.6 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. He was one of the most athletic guards in the country, though he shot just 30.9 percent of his three-point attempts for his career. He played with the Indiana Pacers in the Summer League and appeared in two preseason games with the Lakers before being waived and designated as an affiliate player for the D-Fenders.
Josh Magette (University of Alabama-Huntsville)
Weight: 175 pounds
After being the final cut from Atlanta Hawks’ training camp roster this year, Magette returns to the D-Fenders for his third season. The 6-foot-1 point guard helped orchestrate one of the top offenses in the D-League last season, averaging a league-best 9.2 assists per game. Magette also played with the Brooklyn Nets during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
David Nwaba (Cal Poly Pomona)
Weight: 204 pounds
Nwaba came to the D-Fenders by way of a draft-day trade with the Reno Bighorns. The guard finished 15th among Big West Conference players at 11.4 points per game last season. A native of L.A., Nwaba starred at local University High where he averaged 22.0 points and 11.5 boards his senior season.
*D.J. Shumpert (Cal State-San Bernardino)
Weight: 220 pounds
Shumpert returns to the D-Fenders for a second season after playing in 22 games for L.A. a year ago. The Tucson native played two seasons at University of Arizona before transferring to Cal State-San Bernardino. Fun fact: Shumpert averaged a triple-double during his senior year of high school with 11 points, 10.9 rebounds and 10.6 blocks per game.
*inactive for Friday’s game
Kenneth “Speedy” Smith (Louisiana Tech)
Weight: 187 pounds
Smith, better known as “Speedy,” also returns for a second season with the D-Fenders. He appeared in 31 games for L.A. a year ago and provided quality minutes off the bench behind Magette. Speedy earned Conference-USA Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and Conference-USA Player of the Year honors as a senior at Louisiana Tech.
Roscoe Smith (UNLV)
Weight: 206 pounds
Smith returns for a second season with L.A. after spending some time overseas playing in Israel and Greece. The UNLV product averaged 18.1 points and 11.0 rebounds in his lone campaign with the D-Fenders during the 2014-15 year. He previously played for the Lakers Summer League squad in 2014.
Travis Wear (UCLA)
Weight: 221 pounds
Wear was designated as an affiliate player, after appearing in two preseason games with the Lakers. The standout Mater Dei product played one season at North Carolina before concluding his college career at UCLA. He previously played 51 games for the New York Knicks during the 2014-15 season and has experience playing overseas in Spain.