Rookie Byron Mullens displays potential

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: January 10, 2010
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Viewed as a project, probably at least a year away from playing a key role, rookie center Byron Mullens flashed a brief glimpse of his long-term potential Saturday night in the Thunder’s 108-102 win over Indiana.

Told before the game he would get some playing time, the 7-foot center drew a few oohs and aahs from the Ford Center crowd after draining two 15-foot jumpers in the first half.

"Coach (Mark) Bryant told me to make the most of my time, basically go in there and get tired,” Mullens said. "I ran and got back on defense real fast. I made good use of my seven minutes.”

In those seven minutes, Mullens scored four points and grabbed three rebounds. The only other time he’s appeared in an NBA game was the final 40 seconds in a road win at New Jersey.

"My time in Tulsa got me ready for this,” Mullens said. "I was down there basically for a month. If it wasn’t for that those shots I knocked down I might have been nervous, had butterflies in my stomach. But I wasn’t nervous because in D-League I have the green light to get shots up.”

In 11 D-League games, Mullens averaged 15.