Hustle welcome revenge opportunity, defending champs to Southaven on opening weekend

By Geoff Langham | November 8, 2018

The Memphis Hustle will begin the 2018-19 home slate with weekend tilts against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. and the 2017-18 NBA G League champion Austin Spurs on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. The Hustle will be looking for its first win of the Brad Jones regime.

At Friday’s game, the first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a Hustle headband upon arrival. Sunday, the team will celebrate Veteran’s Day by adorning themed uniforms. Fans both in attendance at the game and those online will be able to submit bids for these one-of-a-kind game-worn jerseys by downloading the Handbid app and searching ‘Hustle Auction’. All jerseys will be autographed and shipped to winners who are unable to attend the game. Auctions will be open at a time to be determined leading up to each game and close at the conclusion of each game and all proceeds will benefit the State Guard Association of Mississippi.

The Hustle have already faced Rio Grande Valley to open the season on Friday, Nov. 3, struggling to score consistently and dropping a 120-103 decision. Brandon Goodwin led the team with a stellar 29-point performance and the team will look to get revenge on its home court. Rockets assignee Zhou Qi is expected to make his return to Landers Center.

Memphis defeated Austin twice last year to take the season series 2-1 from the eventual league champions, including a massive 22-point comeback on the road on Feb. 1 to sweep a back-to-back and a home win on March 20. On each occasion, the Spurs stood atop the Western Conference. Austin returns Jaron Blossomgame, Amida Brimah, Jordan Green, Jeff Ledbetter and Julian Washburn from last year’s team. Hustle fans may also recognize NBA veteran DeJuan Blair from his stint with the San Antonio Spurs, who now plays for the Austin club.

Fans who want to support the Memphis Hustle by purchasing 2018/19 Season Tickets can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP and pressing 6. Season Ticket Packages start at just $10 per game and include multiple Season Ticket Member benefits including discounts on gear and merchandise, playoff ticket priority for both the Memphis Hustle and Memphis Grizzlies, invitations to select Grizzlies games during the 2018/19 season and more. Single Game Tickets are now available for all games at all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com, the Landers Center Box Office, online at memphishustle.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000 (TM Charge-By-Phone) or (901) 888-HOOP and pressing 6.

For more information on the Memphis Hustle, visit memphishustle.com, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@MemphisHustle) or like Memphis Hustle on Facebook.

Hustle Stats to Watch

  • Goodie Bag: Just a rookie, Brandon Goodwin is already starting to establish himself as one of the NBA G League’s premier scorers. Through his first two games, the Florida Gulf Coast product is averaging 28.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists, putting up a consistent 29 points and 27 points in each game.
  • Gotcha: The starting guards of the Hustle backcourt have been particularly adept at taking the ball from their opponents. Goodwin (2.5 spg) and Grizzlies assignee Jevon Carter (4.5 spg) have combined for 7.0 steals per game thus far, with Carter grabbing six steals at Sioux Falls on Monday and holding the early lead for steals per game in the NBA G League. Additionally, two-way forward Yuta Watanabe is averaging 2.0 steals per game. As a team, the Hustle are averaging 11.5 steals per game, good for fourth in the G League.

Familiar Faces

  • Hustle guard/forward D.J. Stephens and Vipers guard Angel Rodriguez have both spent time with Puerto Rico’s Vaqueros de Bayamon.
  • Hustle basketball operations assistant Wade Langlois and Vipers guard Brandon Sampson both attended LSU.
  • Vipers guard Michael Frazier played on the Iowa Energy with Stephens during the 2015-16 season.
  • Grizzlies assignee Jevon Carter and Vipers guard DeAngelo Isby are both from the Chicagoland area.
  • Skyforce guard Briante Weber has had two stints on the Grizzlies roster, coming in the 2015-16 season and the 2017-18 season.H
  • Hustle head coach Brad Jones was the head coach of the then Austin Toros from 2010-12, winning a league championship in 2012 and setting the franchise record for wins in a season (33)
  • Hustle assistant coach Alex Lloyd and Spurs guard Jordan Green spent one season (2014-15) at Texas A&M.