MANILA, Philippines – The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, who are still in the thick of their late conference run in the season opening Philippine Cup, are also looking ahead at the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup conference by already securing an import.
Head coach Tim Cone confirmed to Rappler that their import will be James Mays, a 6-foot-9 forward from Garner, North Carolina. Cone said they signed him on the morning of January 21 and is set to arrive on Friday, January 24.
Mays graduated from Clemson University in 2008 and proceeded to joining the 2008 NBA Draft but went undrafted. He then played for the Colorado 14ers in the NBA D-League.
Cone said he would have preferred having the Mixers’ reliable import Denzel Bowles to return. But the 6-9 height limit disqualifies the 6-foot-11 Bowles who won the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Import award.
He may not get Bowles, but Cone seems quite excited at his new prospect nonetheless.
“[He’s a] 6-foot-9 guy that I scouted in the D-League. Plays the 4, 5 (power forward, center) position,” Cone said. “He’s a good post up player, a good passer out of the post and strong guy.”
Following a luckless NBA Draft, Mays, 27, played in the international hoops circuit for teams in countries like China, Puerto Rico, and Turkey. He also represented his home country of Central African Republic at the 2013 FIBA Africa Championship.
According to Cone, the Petron Blaze Boosters wanted to get Mays last year. But Mays wanted to try his luck in the NBA.
“My understanding is he almost came in for Petron last year. But he decided to stick around and see if he can make the NBA, he didn’t want to come over.”
Mays returned to the D-League for the 2012-2013 season where he played for 3 teams—Springfield Armor, Maine Red Claws, and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
For Springfield he averaged 16.4 points in 26 games and 36 minutes per game, according to usbasket.com. With his short 5-game stint with the Maine Red Claws he averaged 12.4 points in 31.6 minutes of playing time. Finally, with Sioux Falls, he normed 14.4 points in 16 games where he was on the floor for an average of 29.4 minutes.
“We were fortunate because he didn’t play in the D-League this year so we didn’t have to buy him out. Last year he played the D-League.”
Securing their import early is also of utmost importance for the multi-titled coach.
“He’ll be here the morning of our next game. So at least we’ll have a lot of time to work with him.”
On Twitter, Mays appeared to be warming up to San Mig Coffee fans as he retweeted welcome messages from them. He’s also gearing up for his trip to the Philippines as he inquired of the local weather.
What’s the weather like in Manila?— James Mays (@J_Maze) January 22, 2014
Unlike an all-Filipino Philippine Cup, the Commissioner’s Cup allows teams to bring in imports for reinforcement. For the top 8 teams of the Philippine Cup, they are allowed imports of up to 6-foot-9 in height. While the bottom two teams are allowed up to 6-foot-11. – Rappler.com