Dionte Christmas opened a lot of eyes with his play in Summer League. He was originally scheduled to play with the Celtics in Orlando and then was going to play with the Suns in Vegas. But, things went so well with the Celtics, he stayed with them through both leagues. When E'Twaun Moore was traded in the middle of the Vegas league, Christmas got even more playing time to show what he could do. After Summer League ended, he signed a 2 year partially guaranteed contract with the Celtics.
Christmas attended Samuel Fels High School in Philadelphia and Philadelphia's Lutheran Christian Academy. He averaged 18 points per game on a team that went 35-3. Christmas stayed in Philly for college, attending Temple University. In his freshman year, he was a reserve on a team that went to the NIT. In his sophomore year, he led Temple and the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 20 points per game. He was named second team All-Conference and the league's Most Improved Player.
In his junior year, he again lead the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 19.7 ppg, becoming only the third player in the history of the conference to lead the league in scoring in back to back seasons. In the 2008 Atlantic 10 tournament, Temple won the conference title and an automatic berth to the 2008 NCAA tournament. Christmas was named Most Outstanding Player, scoring 57 points in the three games, including 22 in the final game.
Christmas ended his Temple career with 2,043 points, becoming only the fourth player in school history to score over 2000 points for his career. During his senior season, he set school records for most three-pointers in a season (107) and career (317).
After his stellar 4 year career at Temple, he was disappointed to go undrafted in the 2009 NBA draft. He has played with the Sixers and the Clippers in Summer League and he was signed by the 76ers in 2009, but was waived less than a month later. Realizing that he needed to get stronger and improve his game if he really wanted a shot in the NBA, Dionte looked to Europe for the experience he'd need to eventually make it to the NBA.
He signed in Israel to play the 2009-10 season. After that season, he also played in the Czech Republic as well as in Greece in following seasons. After 4 seasons in Europe, he decided to give the NBA another shot. He now has his shot with the Celtics and has signed a contract with Reebok as well. Jason Terry, also with Reebok, has taken Christmas under his wing and has been working out with him.
His former coach at Temple, Fran Dunphy has kept tabs on him and watched him closely in Summer League with the Celtics this summer. He had this to say about what he saw in Christmas.
“He’s developed into the kind of guy who you would not really want to cover because he is constantly in motion and he’s learned how to use screens and come off them. Once he comes off the screens and caught the ball, he’s making good decisions whether or not it’s a good shot or making the extra dribble or making the extra pass and helping his teammates.”
After Summer League he's kept busy playing in local tournaments in the Philly area. 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.
Dionte's team, “Show Ya Love,” won the 7th annual Rumph Classic held in Philadelphia. Dionte was also 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.
I've liked what I've seen and heard from Dionte in Summer League and leading up to the season. He's a hard worker and has been putting in the time to make himself better. He's a versatile player and along with being a scorer, he proved that he could handle the ball and run the team. He also was a good rebounder for a guard. He's the kid of kid that makes you want to cheer for him. I'm pulling for him to stick with the team, even if it's the 15th man. He'll be great to push the other guards in practice.