The Idaho Stampede got to see a great deal of the country during the month of December.
Starting Dec. 6, the NBA Development League team played eight consecutive road games.
The Stampede began on the East Coast, with a game in Springfield, Mass., and then continued through Maine, Delaware and Indiana. Last week, the team played three games in California before getting a holiday break.
So, coach Mike Peck might be forgiven if he were to use the road trip the longest any D-League team will have this season as an excuse for losing the past three games after starting the season 8-0.
You hate to do that, Peck said. It probably had something to do with it, but our readiness and sense of urgency wasnt quite where it needed to be. We had some slow starts, and then youre trying to dig yourself out of a hole. Thats a tough way to make a living, and it caught up to us.
Still, Idahos 8-3 record is a far cry from last season, when the team started 1-12. The Stampede sit atop the West Division, and have that long road trip in their rear-view mirror.
Oh, yeah, its great to be home after all the miles we covered, Peck said.
Home or away, Peck said the Stampede learned that teams wont be looking past them after their 8-0 start.
Guys are coming at you now, Peck said. We learned that it doesnt matter if were playing a 1-8 team or a 1-10 team, all these teams are competitive.
And theyre beginning to target Idaho guard Pierre Jackson, too. The 5-foot-10 Baylor product leads the league in scoring and had a season-high 49 points Dec. 14 at Fort Wayne, but he was limited to 11 and 18 points in Idahos past two games (a 121-91 loss at L.A., and a 95-91 loss at Santa Cruz).
Teams are chasing him around and doubling him a little and trying to trap him, Peck said. That took its toll, but we hope we can put some things in that will help him bounce back.
A return to the home court shouldnt hurt, either.
Texas plays Idaho starting at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the CenturyLink Arena.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424