Monday, April 1, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: April 1, 2013

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Here's this week's edition:

As you can probably tell if you have been following this blog, I am a completely rabid basketball fan. Whether its the NBA, college hoops, or even high school basketball, it is rare for me to feel behind when it comes to knowledge about players in any given game. (Quick aside about high school hoops: if Andrew Wiggins commits to UK in the next few months, you can go ahead and write them into your 2014 tournament bracket as the champions in pen, and I give them a 40% shot at going undefeated. Their recruiting class is In. Sane. For clips: this guy, this guy, this guy, this guy and possibly this guy. Be very afraid.) So you can imagine my surprise when I was watching the Timberwolves and a player checked in who I had literally never heard of before - not from high school, not from college, and not from anywhere else. Naturally, he became a prime candidate for this edition of Obscure NBA player of the week! Who is he?

No, that's not Lil' Wayne from the days before his tattoos, that's Mickael Gelabale! More on the Wolves' new starting 3-man after the jump.

Country of Origin: Was born in Guadeloupe, but is of French nationality

Vitals: 6'7" / 215 lbs (2.01 m / 98 kg...EN FRANCE)

Position: Forward, primarily SF (or again, L'ailier - le petit ailier, EN FRANCE)

Nickname: None that I can find. We will go with "Jelly Belly."

Career Arc: Gelabale started playing for the Cholet Basket team...EN FRANCE...before signing with Real Madrid in the 2004 season (Cholet Basket is best known for being the team of Rudy Gobert, projected first round draft pick this year). Believe it or not, Gelabale was in fact drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2005 and gave us one of the top 5 draft day photos of all time:

Why did they give him the kids' size hat?

He had the misfortune of being stuck behind some good players (Ray Allen and Kevin Durant to name a few), and his contract was not renewed after the 2007-2008 season. He bounced around the D-league and Euroleague for a while until T-Wolves GM David Kahn was cursed by god and lost about 14 forwards due to injury. With nowhere else to turn, they went for the Jelly Belly.

Buck-est Jelly Belly Mixtape Available on YouTube: Here's an extremely poorly edited video of Gelabale scoring some points in a Russian league game. Also look out for what appears to be a teenage Alexey Shved (my NBA doppelganger) playing PG for the other team at 0:13.
It looks like Gelabale is a decent shooter but relies primarily on athleticism to make an impact. When that fails, he shakes his dreads at the opposing SF and hopes to get under their skin that way.

Notable Moments in his NBA Career: Gelabale doesn't look like he does a lot of scoring and the statistics bear that out: his career high is a mere 21 points. He also doesn't do much rebounding...or much passing...or really much of anything. Hmm.

Will he ever make the big time? Unfortunately for Gelabale, the Wolves get most of their starting front line back from injury next year and he will have a difficult time making the team. But we will always have this moment:

Please submit comments, questions, and recommendations for next week's Obscure NBA Player to

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