Northern Arizona Suns

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Northern Arizona Suns
Northern Arizona Suns logo
League NBA Development League
Founded 2003
History Long Beach Jam
ABA: 2003–2005
Bakersfield Jam
D-League: 2006–2016
Northern Arizona Suns
Arena Prescott Valley Event Center
Location Prescott Valley, Arizona
Team colors Orange, purple, gray, black, white[1]
President Chris Presson
General manager Bubba Barrage
Head coach Tyrone Ellis
Ownership Phoenix Suns
Affiliation(s) Phoenix Suns
Championships ABA: 1 (2004)
D-League: 0
Division / Conference titles ABA: 1 (2004)
D-League 1 (2013)

The Northern Arizona Suns are an NBA Development League team based in Prescott Valley, Arizona and the minor league affiliate of the Phoenix Suns. The franchise began as the Long Beach Jam in 2003 under the revived American Basketball Association and moved to Bakersfield in the D-League in 2006 as the Bakersfield Jam; after 10 years in Bakersfield, California, the franchise was moved to Prescott Valley in 2016 by the Phoenix Suns and were subsequently renamed the Northern Arizona Suns.


Long Beach Jam (2003–2005)[edit]

During the year-long hiatus that the American Basketball Association had in the 2002–03 season, one of the teams the league approved of would be the Long Beach Jam. In the team's inaugural season, the Jam managed to procure NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and Japanese point guard Yuta Tabuse on their squad. They also got former NBA Finals winning head coach Paul Westhead during the start of the season, but he managed to procure himself an assistant coach gig with the Orlando Magic during the season. Nevertheless, with the presence of Rodman and Tabuse, the Jam would hold a 24–7 record, which was not only considered the best record of the league that season, but also gave the Jam a bye all the way into the Finals, where they competed against the winner of the Kansas City Knights and the Juárez Gallos. In the championship round, the Jam barely escaped against the Knights to win the ABA Championship with a final score of 126–123.

In their second and final season under the Long Beach name, the Jam had former player and future head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, Corey Gaines, coach them during the second half of their season. In that season, they managed to produce an 18–10 record in a greatly expanded ABA, which produced them with the second-best record in the Red Division. The Jam competed in the playoffs and made it to the quarterfinals, where they lost 130–115 to the Utah Snowbears (who produced a 25–1 that season), who would surprisingly end up forfeiting their last match to the Bellevue Blackhawks (potentially due to sunk costs with the team) since the Snowbears folded soon afterwards, while Bellevue lost the championship match to the Arkansas RimRockers. After the end of that season, the Jam would withdraw themselves from the 2005-06 ABA season to move to the NBA Development League next season, with the intent to also move to Bakersfield soon afterwards.[2]

Bakersfield Jam (2006–2016)[edit]

After their first season in Bakersfield ended in 2007, there was a contest where the fans could decide on a new name for the team. The choices were to rename the team Desperados, Roughnecks, Oilers, or keep the name Jam. On Thursday, May 17, the team announced that the team will remain the Bakersfield Jam, as that name won the poll in a landslide vote. After the contest, the Jam unveiled a new scheme for the logo. They replaced the blue to red.[3]

On April 29, 2009, it was reported that the Jam had ceased operations, citing lack of sufficient fan attendance. However, on June 18, the Jam announced that they had not shut down and plan to play in the 2009–10 season, with further details to come the following day.[4]

On April 30, 2014, it was reported that the Jam would enter a hybrid operation with the Phoenix Suns. Not only would that lead to the Suns having exclusive collaborations with the team, but it would also allow the Jam to operate under their own management in the process. On May 9, it was confirmed that the Suns and the Jam would agree to working under a hybrid affiliation.[5] Four days later, the Jam completed their transition by allowing Suns scout Bubba Barrage to be the team's newest general manager and letting Nate Bjorkgren coach the Jam in place of Will Voigt.[6] Since the Dignity Health Event Center seated only 500, the team did not sell individual general admission tickets and were sold to season ticket holders only.

On May 29, 2015, it was announced that Nate Bjorkgren would leave the Jam to take part in the Suns' organization as a leading player development and assistant coach.[7] Three months later, former NBA coach Chris Jent would be the newest head coach for the Jam.

Move to Prescott Valley[edit]

On April 12, 2016, the Phoenix Suns announced that the organization had officially purchased the Jam and were relocating the franchise to the town of Prescott Valley, Arizona for the 2016–17 season, where the team would be known as the Northern Arizona Suns.[8] In response, the previous owners of the Jam franchise, Stan Ellis and David Higdon, announced that they have been working with the D-League in securing a new franchise and affiliation before the 2016–17 season.[9] On May 2, it was announced that former Arizona Sundogs and current Arizona Rattlers president, Chris Presson, would become the new team president for the Suns. The new team logo and jerseys for Northern Arizona would be officially unveiled on May 11, 2016.[10][11] The new front office personnel and coaching staff would officially be unveiled on August 16, 2016.[12] During their first season as the Northern Arizona Suns, the team started out the season strong, entering with an 10-1 record at one point. However, the Suns would enter a major losing streak after having Tyler Ulis and Alan Williams briefly play for them via assignment, and would ultimately not recover from it afterwards.

Season-by-season record[edit]

Season League Division/
Finish Wins Losses Pct. Postseason Results
Long Beach Jam
2003–04 ABA 1st 24 7 .774 Won ABA Championship (Kansas City) 123–126
2004–05 ABA Red 2nd 18 10 .643 Won ABA Quarterfinals (Las Vegas) 148–126
Lost ABA Semifinals (Utah Snowbears) 115–130
2005–06 Suspended operations for D-League application
Bakersfield Jam
2006–07 D-League Western 6th 19 31 .380
2007–08 D-League Western 5th 11 39 .220
2008–09 D-League Western 3rd 26 24 .520 Lost Round 1 (Utah Flash) 0–1
2009–10 D-League Western 8th 17 33 .340
2010–11 D-League Western 4th 29 21 .580 Lost Round 1 (Rio Grande Valley) 1–2
2011–12 D-League Western 3rd 28 22 .560 Won Round 1 (Dakota) 2–0
Lost Semifinals (Los Angeles) 0–2
2012–13 D-League Western 1st 36 14 .720 Lost Round 1 (Austin) 2–0
2013–14 D-League Western 5th 24 26 .480
2014–15 D-League Western 2nd 34 16 .680 Lost Round 1 (Austin) 2–1
2015–16 D-League Pacific 3rd 22 28 .440
Northern Arizona Suns
2016–17 D-League Pacific 22 28 .448
ABA regular season 42 17 .712 2003–2005
D-League regular season 268 282 .487 2006–2017
Total Playoffs 6 10 .375 2003–2017
Total Regular season and Playoffs combined 314 308 .505 2003–2017

Current roster[edit]

Northern Arizona Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
C 4 Bakumanya, Gracin 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1997–07–27 Pantego Christian Academy (TX)
G 6 Booker, Askia 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1993–08–31 Colorado
G 33 Bryson, Michael 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1994–09–30 UC Santa Barbara
F 11 Cooke, Derek 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1991–08–23 Wyoming
F 21 Davis, Alex 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1992–01–28 Fresno State
G 5 Gray, Josh 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1993–09–09 LSU
G 3 Harrison, Shaquille 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1993–10–06 Tulsa
G 8 Jackson, Joe 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 171 lb (78 kg) 1992–02–08 Memphis
G 13 Silas, Xavier 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 198 lb (90 kg) 1988–01–22 Northern Illinois
G 23 Woods, Asaad 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1992–06–27 Limestone
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
  • Bret Burchard
  • Tyler Gatlin
  • Brandon Rosenthal

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (NBA) On assignment from NBA affiliate
  • (I) Inactive
  • Injured Injured

Last transaction: 2017–04–10

Former players[edit]

Players assigned by NBA teams[edit]

  • Derrick Jones Jr. was the first player assigned to the Northern Arizona Suns through the Phoenix Suns parent squad. He would be assigned to the squad on November 3, 2016, November 25, 2016, December 23, 2016, January 4, 2017, January 9, 2017, and February 22, 2017.
  • Tyler Ulis – Assigned by the Phoenix Suns on December 14, 2016.
  • Alan Williams – Assigned by the Phoenix Suns on December 14, 2016.
  • Chris McCullough was the first player assigned to the Northern Arizona Suns via a different franchise besides the Phoenix Suns. He was assigned by the Washington Wizards on March 3, 2017.

Players recalled by NBA teams[edit]

Players called up by NBA teams[edit]

  • Johnny O'Bryant III was the first player from the Northern Arizona Suns to be called up to an NBA team. He was first called up by the Denver Nuggets on January 26, 2017 for two 10-day contracts.
  • Johnny O'Bryant III was later called up by the Charlotte Hornets on February 24, 2017 before signing a multi-year deal on March 16, 2017.
  • Elijah Millsap was the first player from the Northern Arizona Suns to be called up to the Phoenix Suns. He was called up on a multi-year deal on April 9, 2017.

Players returned to the Suns[edit]

  • Johnny O'Bryant III was the first player to return to the Northern Arizona Suns after an NBA stint was concluded. He briefly returned to Northern Arizona on February 16, 2017.




External links[edit]