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Media Release

Published: 11/02/2007
Sean M. McLaughlin, Director of Marketing and Communications, (505) 265-DUNK

Thunderbirds Pick 3rd, Choose Ham as Number One Pick

Thunderbirds Select Ten New Faces to Join Training Camp
Albuquerque - The Albuquerque Thunderbirds selected ten players in Thursday’s D-League Draft who will join others when training camp begins on November 11th. Joining training camp from the Thunderbirds Open Try Outs will be Abdul Mills(University of Nebraska - Omaha), Serge Angounou (University of Arizona), Kris Collins (University of New Mexico), Jackson Marlow (Fresno State), Harry Good IV(Rutgers University), Steve Barber(UT-Arlington), and Elijah Ingram (St. Johns University).

The Thunderbirds used their first pick, 3rd overall, to select Darvin Ham, a 6’7, 240 pound forward-guard from Texas Tech University. Ham was a member of the Philippine Basketball Association in 1997. Ham was also a member of the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons and spent time with the Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks.

Ham has earned himself the nickname “Dunkin Darvin” for his powerful dunks. Most notably in the 1996 NCAA Tournament when he shattered the backboard in a second round game against North Carolina, propelling Texas Tech to their first sweet 16 appearance.

With the twelfth pick in the second round, 26th pick overall, the Thunderbirds selected Daniel Horton; a 6’3, 205 pound guard from the University of Michigan. Horton was signed by the Miami Heat in 2006. At Michigan he was named the 2004 NIT MVP; he averaged 14.7 points per game to go along with 4.4 assists in his four year college career.

Additional 2007 Thunderbirds Draft Picks include: James Smith (Colorado State), Tiras Wade (LouisianaLafayette), Ejike Ugboaja (Nigeria), Ali Berdiel (Valparaiso), Josh Gross (UNC - Greensboro), Michael Adams (Youngstown State), Ramon Dyer (Houston), and Tim Smith (East Tennessee State).  

Prior to the draft, Head Coach Jeff Ruland said that it would be interesting to see if the Thunderbirds could get the players they wanted since they were only returning one player from last year. Both coaches are very pleased with the 10 new faces they selected.

“I think we did pretty well” Worthen said, “we got shooters, big men, and a balanced roster. It should make for a pretty competitive training camp!” Coach Ruland seemed to agree:

“We addressed all of our needs tonight. We are athletic, long, and have a very good basketball I.Q., now its up to the coaches to make it work. I can’t wait to get started!” Ruland said.   

The Thunderbirds season tips off at home on November 23 against the Idaho Stampede at 7 p.m. Thunderbirds 2007–08 season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at or at the Thunderbirds front office at 111 Lomas Blvd. NE, Suite 240, Albuquerque, NM 87102. For premium or group seating call the Thunderbirds office at (505) 265-DUNK.

The Thunderbirds continually stay focused on the community by participating in community events such as the Read to Achieve Program as well as D-League Cares. In the past two seasons the Thunderbirds have worked almost 3,000 hours in the community, staying dedicated to Albuquerque and New Mexico.

Entering its seventh season, the NBA Development League, the NBA’s minor league established to develop talent across all disciplines for the NBA, has relocated its headquarters from Greenville, S.C. to New York City. The move provides the D-League with direct access to the support and resources of the NBA and WNBA. During the 2006-07 season 19 NBA teams assigned 24 players to D-League rosters and 14 NBA teams called-up 16 players (‘Gatorade Call-ups’). In addition to players, the D-League has also provided the training ground for every referee hired by the NBA since 2002, and this season the first former D-League coach will lead an NBA team as Sam Vincent takes over the reigns with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Individually, the Thunderbirds have had two player call-ups, two front office call-ups, two training staff call-ups and three call-ups from the Storm Chasers Dance and Cheer squad.

Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the D-League offers NBA-quality basketball and fun, family entertainment at affordable prices. For additional information on the NBA Development League, visit

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