During Summer League, Dionte Christmas was the talk of Celtics Nation. He played very well, showing range, good defensive skills and the ability to handle the ball. His play in Orlando and Vegas landed him a partially guaranteed contract with the Celtics. Most of us are excited to see him play in the preseason and feel that it would be good to keep him on the team because of the promise he showed in the summer.
Dionte has been playing in a couple of classics and tournaments this summer. First, he led a trio of former Temple players on a team called "Take Your Game To Another Level" to win the Delco Pro-Am title. The tournament took place at Haverford College just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dionte showed off his 3 point shooting to help his team win the title.
Red's Army reported that Dionte's team, “Show Ya Love,” won the 7th annual Rumph Classic held in Philadelphia. The tournament, named in memory of Danny Rumph who passed away from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy at the age of 21. This is a thickening of the heart muscle that causes sudden cardiac arrest & strikes even the healthiest of victims with no warning. The Rumph Foundation uses the funds raised to provide defibrillators to local rec centers & high schools and also to assist athletes in getting tested for Cardiomyopathy.
This year's tournament was won by Dionte's team, “Show Ya Love.” Dionte Christmas was named the MVP of the tournament. Dionte's team beat “Flip” Murray's team 73-67 in the title game. Dionte scored a team high 21 points to lead his team to victory.
Dionte has spent 3 years in Europe playing in the Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, and Turkey as he got stronger and worked on his rebounding and playmaking ability. That work paid off as his all around game impressed Danny and Doc enough to give him a partially guaranteed one year contract at the end of Summer League. Christmas got several overseas offers after his Summer League performance, but he wanted to play with the Celtics and wanted to finally get his shot in the NBA.
The Wages of Wins Journal has a post on European basketball and mapping performance in European basketball leagues to NBA performance. It's a fascinating article but down at the very end was a statement that Celtics fans will find very interesting.
The signing with the most potential for impact next year other than AK47 is Dionte Christmas for the Celtics. He was fabulous in Europe last year and has a chance to be a legit replacement for Ray Allen for the Celtics.
Dionte has had quite a summer. He impressed in the Orlando and Vegas Summer Leagues for the the Celtics and landed a contract with them. He won two different tournaments in his hometown Philly and was named MVP of one. Oh, and he has also found the time to work out with fellow Celtics, Jason Terry.
He has the potential to make an impact on the Celtics this season if he can stick and get some playing time. I'm looking forward to seeing him play in the NBA with the Celtics. I'll leave you with a couple of quotes from Dionte from today's Globe.
“I’ll be coming in 110 percent,” he said. “One thing you have to adjust to is having the veterans on your back — not only me, but all the rookies — and that will be tough, mentally".
“My time overseas in professional ball the last couple years prepared me for the situation coming into camp. I know what being a professional means, I conduct myself as a professional. And I know what coaches expect, especially with the Celtics. They want you to give 100 percent every time.
“Overseas, if you’re not playing well or not practicing well, they send you right home. And I’ve been fortunate to stay. Coaches have liked my work ethic, and people expect that over there. I definitely think I’m ready for the NBA.”
“I can’t wait for the start, Day 1 of training camp. Kevin Garnett is there to teach the young guys and myself, and we’re all willing to learn.”