Do it all DJ Kennedy wins NBDL Champion with the Rio Grande Vipers

Nick Laham

Do-it-all DJ Kennedy led the Rio Grande Vipers to a championship, but still has his eyes squarely set on the NBA.

From the first made bucket fifty seconds in to the game for the NBA D-League Champion Rio Grande Vipers to his last appearance on the floor with 17 seconds left, D.J. Kennedy put on a command performance.

The 2011 St. John's grad and Red Storm star led his team to the championship over the Santa Cruz Warriors in Hidalgo, Texas, winning the best-of-three game series in two. It was a solid end to a season, despite Kennedy wanting more from his basketball odyssey.

For Kennedy, it was the continuation of his journey just below the radar of NBA rosters, where he does a little bit of everything, and hopes that some NBA team will give him an extended chance at the top level. But he appreciated the championship, calling it "a blessing."

"You have to have faith in yourself," Kennedy said to NBADL reporter Anthony Oliva. "I knew if I kept pushing, was working hard and stayed patient that the opportunity [for an NBA call-up] would present itself."

The opportunity did not present itself; but Kennedy certainly stayed on GM's radars with his performance, and will look to get to an NBA summer league in the coming months.

Kennedy led the Vipers with a game-high in points with 27 and a game high in assists with six, displaying the versatility he's had since high school; he also added 7 rebounds, second on the team to former Georgia Tech wing Glen Rice Jr.

It wasn't a pretty game, with both teams shooting under 23% from outside the arc.

"Pack the paint. Pack the paint," forward Glen Rice Jr. said. "That was our main objective. Make them make some tough shots, tough 3s, but no layups."

"We're a bunch of quick, athletic guys," Kennedy said. "Everybody crashes the boards and we play defense personally. Teams might be bigger, but we don't back down."

Reflecting on his trade from the Erie Bayhawks - who he played with last year and started the season with - to Rio Grande, D.J. Kennedy told Oliva that "at first I was confused and frustrated... I was playing good out in Erie – good group of guys, great staff – and then the trade came and it kind of threw me off a little. At first it took me a little while to get into a rhythm. I really wasn’t in it, but I was able to get through it."

His teammate Rice lauded Kennedy's skill set, saying "you can see he plays point guard for us a lot of the time and he’s also getting rebounds down with the big guys battling and he’s picked up some of the scoring since [Andrew] Goudelock left. He’s an unselfish player and those are the best players to play with."

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker