The four players invited to work out with the Nets' roster players have a few things in common. All played in the D-League last season. All but Eddie Gill are swingmen, with three of them having some experience playing point guard or forward--Gill, Julius Hodge and Dermarr Johnson--which could give them an advantage with the Nets needing a backup point. Three of them have played in the NBA...only Brian Hamilton hasn't.
Maybe most interesting of all, Hodge and Johnson, both qualify as "fallen angels", the term Kiki Vandeweghe has used to describe young players who are worth a second (or third) chance in the NBA. In fact, both of them have been signed by Vandeweghe in the past. Hodge was drafted by him in 2005, and Johnson signed by him in 2004.
Here's a thumbnail sketch of each with links to their D-League experience.
Julius Hodge, 6'7", 24 years old, NC State, Drafted #20 by Denver Nuggets, 2005. Can play three positions--both swing positions and point guard. Was shot five times in a near-fatal Denver drive-by in 2006, requiring surgery. Averaged 24 ppg in both Australia's NBL and the D-League in 2007-08. Blogs for Hoopshype. Played for the Nets in summer leagues. Drafted by Kiki Vandeweghe in Denver, brought to New Jersey by Vandeweghe. Last played in the NBA for the Bucks, 2006-07.
Dermarr Johnson, 6'9", 28 years old, Cincinnati, Drafted #6 by the Atlanta Hawks, 2000. Played with Kenyon Martin in college. Averaged 18 ppg in the D-League in 2007-08. Has played 344 games with the Hawks, Nuggets, Knicks, and Spurs, starting 136, by far the highest of the four invitees. Once scored 28 points in an NBA game vs. the Bucks in 2002. Signed by Vandeweghe in Denver, brought to New Jersey by Vandeweghe. Once hyper athletic, he suffered near-fatal injuries in a 2002 car accident. Has been arrested twice. Last played in the NBA for the Spurs, 2007-08.
Brian Hamilton, 6'6", 26 years old, Louisiana-Lafayette. Undrafted, 2005. Averaged 11 ppg in the D-League in 2007-08. Tough defender at the swing man positions. Hamilton led the D-League in total steals (115) and steals per game (2.3). Impressed the Nets in the summer leagues with that defense. Scores mostly around the basket and can grab offensive rebounds. Never played in the NBA but never underestimate Lawrence Frank's love of scrappy defensive specialists, particularly those he's seen play up close.
Eddie Gill, 6'1", 30 years old, Weber State. Undrafted then signed by the Nets, 2000. Has played for the Nets five times as well as the Grizzlies, Blazers, Pacers, and Sonics. Averaged 2.9 ppg in 13 games with the Nets and 18.0 in 37 games with Colorado 14ers in the D-League in 2007-08. A steadying presence who knows the team. Has played professionally in Greece, Italy and Russia as well as the D-League. He has played in 181 NBA games, starting nine, the last when he filled in for Jason Kidd in the "migraine game".