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DJ MBenga


When your backstory includes being convicted to death, being recruited from a bus stop and living in a refugee center - Didier (DJ) Ilunga-Mbenga (MBenga) went surprisingly under the radar in his short stint in the Belgian league.

And with Free Agency looming, it's likely DJ MBenga (right) won't find his way back to Texas.

Born again DeSagana Diop has worked himself into the starting lineup with his ferocious defense and died again Erick Dampier still consistently gets minutes as Dallas' strongest big man. The man to set a screen if need, or to pound a player who's getting out of line.

And as fitting as this saying ever was, considering Texas' cowboy heritage, This (team) ain't big enough for the (4) of us". Not forgetting project Pavel Podkolzin who is doing diddily-squat in the D-League, who unfortunately is signed for longer. DJ seems to be the odd man out, some team can offer him just a big a contract as Dallas, but more playing time.

If you were to look at his NBA profile, you'd think he's a worthless scrub - but to the Mavericks fan who bleed blue (lately, it could be green judging by the popularity of the alternatives) every minute he plays is scrutinized and over analysed, like the popular TV show Lost (those who watch know what I'm saying).

Lately, Avery Johnson has made more and more faith in him. In his rookie season, DJ played more than 10 minutes once, and in appeared in a huge 15 games totalling 41 minutes. This season, DJ has almost (read: almost) cracking into the regular rotation.

MBenga was a late bloomer, and I don't mean puberty, because from the looks of it he hasn't stop developing since he was 8, he didn't get into basketball until apparently he was 20 (give or take). To show for that, he has a very raw offensive game which is slowly moving into 13 foot jumpers - he is foul prone and falls for headfakes. So what's to like? Everyone likes the amazingly gifted athlete, throw in the fact he is a foreigner and has an amusing name and he should stick around the NBA for a while.

The Belgian / Congo native was born in the same town as Dikembe Mutombo (something in the water?) and has developed a bond with him. Showing himself as a raw Dikembe, with shotblocking talent, basketball instinct that isn't taught and a tough-rugged attitude, DJ MBenga is progressing in leaps and strides, jumping into play lately.

In the last three games, DJ has played more than ten minutes twice - averaging an extremely respectable 3.2 ppg / 3.2 rpg / .5 bpg in 8 minutes. Don't get too overwhelmed.

So when Dallas is facing the pressures of re-signing starting PG Jason "Jet" Terry, a little Congonese voice should be in the back of their minds reminding them of his potential.

In a league where anyone can turn into a valuable contributor, big athletic men like DJ MBenga should be watched and scouted.

"DJ Mbenga has to stop fouling when he walks in the gym," said coach Johnson.

Did you know?
DJ has a black belt in Tae-Kwan Doe
His career high in blocks is 5 against the New York Knicks


Look at those muscles
 
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