April 26, 2012
Former Vanderbilt basketball star Derrick Byars celebrated his 28th birthday Wednesday night in style by playing in his first NBA game with the San Antonio Spurs in a 110-106 win over Phoenix. Byars scored two points in four minutes of action.
Byars had a putback at the end of the first half for his first career NBA bucket, and also added three rebounds in his debut.
Byars, the 2007 SEC Player of the Year, was a second-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers, who was then traded to Philadelphia. He has bounced around several NBA preseason camps, including Chicago, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers. He has also played professionally in Greece, France and Germany. In 2009, Byars made it through the entire preseason camp, but was cut just prior to the regular season with the Bulls.
- Byars' NBA points was the first by a former Commodore player since Matt Freije scored in the 2006-07 season. Freije averaged 2.1 points per game in 19 games that year.
- The Commodores have had some history with the Spurs' franchise, dating back to the 1974 season, when Bob Warren played for then-ABA Spurs from 1974-76 seasons. Mike Rhodes was drafted by the Spurs in 1981 but never played, Charles Davis played for San Antonio in 1988, and Will Perdue wore the silver and black from 1996-99 and won a championship with the team in 1999.