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Brooklyn Nets Optimistic About Springfield Armor

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Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

The Springfield Armor opened training camp Monday and the Nets officials who monitor their D-League affiliate think this year's team could be better than last year's squad which won the Eastern Conference of the D-League.

The best known players --Ben Uzoh, Carleton Scott and James Mays-- have all worn the Nets uniform, Uzoh in the 2010-11 season, Scott and Mays in preseason this year. While they are generally seen as the team's top players, the Armor's GM, Milton Lee, and head coach, Bob MacKinnon, are also excited about a number of others they acquired in the draft and found in open tryouts, among them a 22-year-old who was on his way to being drafted by an NBA team before being expelled from St. Louis University and a 28-year-old who hasn't played since 2009.

Willie Reed, a 6'9" power forward, averaged 12.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks as a sophomore for St. Louis, then at the beginning of his junior year, was dismissed after a woman claimed he and two teammates had a sexual encounter with her. Police declined to charge him and Reed denied he had even touched the woman. Reed has played overseas since. He was signed and then cut by the Kings last month. Reed was taken in the second round of the D-League draft.

Chaz Crawford, is the 28-year-old. The 6'10" Crawford was a defensive standout at Drexel, graduating in 2007. He played some overseas, then stopped. He returned to the court recently and the Armor believes he can still play. He was taken in the seventh round. The Armor also like third round pick Cliff Tucker, a 6'6" swingman from Maryland.