Mark Tyndale is anxiously awaiting the chance to join his pals again.
Every summer, the former Temple and Simon Gratz High basketball star heads to Villanova to test his mettle against players from the city who play professionally. The group includes best friend and Clippers guard Mardy Collins, a fellow Temple and Gratz product, and the Rockets' Kyle Lowry, from Villanova and Cardinal Dougherty.
"They think I'm good enough to play in the NBA," Tyndale said. "They just tell me I have to do all the little things to get there. Unfortunately, I have not gotten there yet, but they keep encouraging me and telling me what to expect. They are doing a good job of helping me maintain my focus, staying humble, and staying positive toward my ultimate goal."
Tyndale has been trying to attain his NBA dream since leaving Temple. This weekend, he will participate in the second annual NBA Development League Elite Mini Camp at Hoop Magic in Chantilly, Va., for the second straight year. The event is an opportunity for the top 30 prospects in the D-League who were not called up last season to showcase their skills for NBA scouts.
Going undrafted in 2008, the 6-5, 210-pound swingman played a year in Italy before moving to the NBA's minor league. This past season, Tyndale averaged 12.3 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Iowa Energy, scoring 17.2 a game in the playoffs, where the team lost in the semifinals. He hopes to land on a summer league and training camp roster like he did last year with the Bucks. The Bulls and Raptors also showed interest at last year's event.
"It was a tough situation by them having so many contracts, making it tough for me to make the team," Tyndale, the 2008 Big 5 co-MVP, said of his time in Bucks camp. "It was a good experience to be a part of an NBA team. I was always told to just be a basketball player and I never had a set position. Now I have to work on my two-guard skills. I know that's what is going to get me to the league, playing like a Bruce Bowen or Matt Barnes; somebody that plays defense and does the little things on offense."
Chris Alpert, the vice president of basketball operations and player personnel for the D-League, said Tyndale's versatility and ability to improve will get him many looks.
"First of all, [Mark] is a great person," Alpert said. "I'm sure a lot of that has to do with how he was raised and his career at Temple. He has done an excellent job at really improving every year. He is a tremendous young prospect. He can guard multiple positions. He has improved his outside shooting and ball-handling. I think he is a player that NBA teams are going to be very interested in certainly for summer league and also vet camp. I've heard from NBA teams about Mark."
Tyndale appreciates his time in the D-League, but he has plans to join his fellow Philly players at the next level in the near future.
"The D-League develops you as a player," he said. "You have a lot of free time, so you learn to become a man and how to do things with your time wisely. It's a great league for the young guys working on getting to the NBA and developing their game. Growing up, I always wanted to play in the NBA. Seeing guys that I grew up with, you feel that and you want to be a part of that. It's the hunger for being in the NBA, to make your family proud of you." *