It took about five hours for Denham Brown to realize Tulsa, Okla., was a long way from the NBA.
That was the duration of a bus ride from Tulsa to Fort Worth, site of a NBA Development League game, for the Toronto-born Brown and his Tulsa 66ers earlier this month.
When the Seattle SuperSonics cut their second-round pick in the pre-season, Brown's days of charter flights and five-star hotels were put on hold. Now, he's trying to open NBA eyes again and he figures Tulsa is a perfect place to do just that.
"For me it's old school," said the University of Connecticut product, who figures Tulsa, size-wise, compares to Brampton or Mississauga. "Throughout high school, I was travelling like that and I can adjust to situations. I think I'm doing pretty well. Regardless of how luxurious it is or isn't, at the end of the day it's basketball and it's where it's going to take me (that is important)."
Home to a Texas League baseball team, a Central Hockey League team and an Arena Football division-II team, Tulsa doesn't quite have a pro sports landscape like Toronto or Seattle. But going to Oklahoma, instead of Europe, where offers were on the table, was a slam dunk for Brown.
NO TO EUROPE
"I think it was obvious," the 6-foot-6 swingman said. "I never wanted to go to Europe, I always wanted to play in the (NBA). No matter what, I still wanted to work on getting there."
With the NBA's 10-day contract window opening Jan. 5, Brown is a quick call away for interested parties. He is averaging 18.4 points in Tulsa, putting him 12th in the league.
What D-League numbers mean in the big picture is open to debate. Remember, Pape Sow tore up the D-League last season with the Arkansas RimRockers before returning to the Raptors, where he was a bit player.
"Obviously, it's not like the NBA," Brown said. "But a lot of players in the NBA have been in this league. It's somewhere for guys to develop and work toward the NBA."
Watching the Sonics struggle, minus an injured star in Ray Allen, makes Brown wonder how he could have fit in Seattle. If things had worked out differently, he would have been playing the Raptors in Seattle tonight, while being watched by tons of friends and family members back home.
"I was pretty surprised," Brown said. "But something like that didn't stop me and I wasn't down or anything. A lot of people around me in Toronto were the same, saying 'Don't worry about it, things will be better,' and giving me encouragement.
"With the situation right now in Seattle, I think I'd be doing pretty good."
Brown will return to Toronto for Christmas after two home games this weekend.