Alaska import over height limit

    155

    THE new direction Alaska is supposed to take just got waylaid by a big pothole.

    The Aces have been forced to find a new reinforcement after original choice Branden Dawson was found to be over the height ceiling for imports in the coming PBA Governors Cup.

    The former Michigan State standout was one-fourth inch above the 6-foot-5 maximum height for imports during official measurement yesterday at the league offices in Quezon City.

    That means new coach Jeff Cariaso and management have to explore other options and get their final choice flown in well ahead of the season-opening tourney’s kickoff on Sept. 20.

    Cariaso has already said he intends to adopt the defense-oriented system implemented by predecessor Alex Compton and Dawson should have fit the bill to a tee.

    The 26-year-old has been described as a “strong inside player and a good defender,” became a Big Ten All-Defensive Team member before graduating as Michigan State’s all-time leading shotblocker.

    The New Orleans Pelicans picked Dawson in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft, but immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers for cash.

    The Gary, Indiana, native signed a two-year deal with the Clippers, but his rookie year there involved multiple assignments to the NBA D-League with multiple teams before his contract was waived the next year.

    Dawson later signed with the Orlando Magic but got waived again. He saw action for several D-League teams anew before plying his trade to such places as Israel, Japan and Mexico.

    Former NBA campaigner Mike Harris reinforced Alaska in the same tournament last year, averaging 30.3 points, 20.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 block up to the semifinals and won the Best Import award.

    The Aces, however, could only finish runner-up to Magnolia and Harris had entertained hopes of returning before those plans were junked when it came out Cariaso had opted for Dawson.