Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tom McMillen Inducted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

Last weekend, former Terp Tom McMillen (1970-74) was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Baltimore Sun reported:
On Sunday, McMillen — a Rhodes Scholar who went on to play in the NBA and serve in the U.S. House of Representatives — will be among the new inductees into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Mo.

"I'm really proud of him," said Driesell. "Tom said he wanted to be a Rhodes scholar and an All-American basketball player. I said, ‘Tom, you can't do both.' And he did. He should have been there [in the Hall of Fame] a long time ago."

McMillen, now 61, helped lead Maryland to a 73-17 record. He was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team that lost to the Soviet Union in the gold-medal game with a memorably controversial finish.

At the Washington Post, Lefty Driesell called up to talk about the Hall Of Fame Induction and pointed out that another former Terrapin assistant coach, George Raveling, will be inducted too:
“I’ve been trying to get him in there for years,” Driesell said. “Hey, how many Rhodes Scholars they got here?”

Before McMillen? Just one: three-time all-American, NBA star and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley.

Driesell has another connection in the class of 2013, too. George Raveling, the first assistant coach hire he made upon arriving in College Park, will also be inducted as a “contributor,” for his work as Nike’s director of international basketball.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Juan Dixon Hired as Maryland Assistant Coach

The University of Maryland has hired former Terp Juan Dixon (1998-2002) as a special assistant for the men's basketball team, coinciding with the resignation of assistant coach Dalonte Hill. Current Director of Basketball Operations, Dustin Clark, will formally assume Hill's assistant coach position (Clark has been doing that job since October anyway). Here's the school's press release, though I haven't been able to read it since the news seems to have swamped their server this afternoon.

Instead, here's the Washington Post story with details about the hiring:
And in a semi-related move, legendary Terrapins guard Juan Dixon has been hired as a special assistant to Coach Mark Turgeon. The program’s all-time leading scorer will primarily serve as a mentor to the team’s players, advising current players on athletics and academics, breaking down film and scouting future opponents, and other administrative duties. He cannot recruit on the road, but can meet recruits who visit campus. [...]

Dixon also returned to school at Maryland to obtain his undergraduate degree in family sciences and, according to another individual with knowledge of the situation, his hiring was conditional on its completion. He is currently on course to graduate, and this move marks the first step in Dixon pursuing a coaching career, with the hopes of eventually advancing up the ranks.

Also, here's the Baltimore Sun's story, where Dixon talks about his goal of becoming a coach:
In a subsequent teleconference, Dixon said he has been talking to Turgeon for "a couple months" about joining the staff, and he has thought about coaching for a long time.

"As far as coaching, this process began many years ago while playing," Dixon said. "When I was even here at the University of Maryland with coach [Gary] Williams and moving on to the NBA, I realized that after my basketball career I wanted to be a coach someday. Today, Coach Turgeon has given me an opportunity to be part of his staff, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Alex Len Prepares for his Rookie Season

Bright Side of the Sun, a Phoenix Suns blog, has a two part interview this week with rookie Alex Len (2011-13): Part 1; Part 2.


Q: Are you back to 100% and totally cleared to play?
A: Not 100% yet. When I play pick-up games, I start every game but they pull me off to the side after a couple minutes because they don't want me to overdo it before the season, you know? I haven't played for about 5 months so I'm out of shape. Training camp is going to be a lot of running just to get in shape, get my wind back.

Q: A lot of people don't know exactly what to expect from you this year. [...] So what can you tell fans to expect to see from you in your rookie campaign?
A: Rookie year will be a bit different for me because I'm coming off two surgeries on my ankles. It's going to be really tough for me but I'm just going to play as hard as I can and bring a positive energy to do whatever I can for the team. [...]


Q: I know you started playing again recently but has the coaching staff been telling you what to work on in terms of any specific skills?

A: Right now, I've been working a lot on defense, like team defense. Just trying to learn little things to help the team overall. I've been working a little bit with coaches on my post moves and stuff like that but I think for me, it's going to be about just helping the team on defense and being a presence at the rim - block shots, rebound, run the floor. Things like that are going to be big.

(Thanks Testudo Times!)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory in Germany This Season

Braxton Dupree (2007-09) is headed to Germany this season to play for the German ProA league Heidelberg Academics (a frightening mascot if there ever was one. Translating (and editing for clarity) from the team's press release:

Braxton Dupree completes the roster of MLP Academics. The center comes from the Bulgarian Association team Rilski Sportist Samokov to Heidelberg.

Although putting the finishing touches on the squad took some time, the last piece puzzle fits perfectly in the squad. The 24-year-old American is a good choice; while his 2.03 meter height is not the greatest, he comes with excellent physical abilities and has all the skills to compete in the ProA league.

After his college transfer from Maryland to Towson, he was required to sit out a year according to NCAA transfer rules. However, the following year he was in the starting five. He paid back his coach's confidence with an average of 12 points and 8 rebounds per game. He was one of the best rebounders of his conference. The attention of European scouts was secured. In Israel in 2011, Dupree signed a three-year contract with Maccabi Ashdod. However, his time in the Israeli Premier League was not satisfactory, so he moved to Canada in January 2012. There he won the championship with the London Lightning.

For the 2012-13 season, Dupree's journey took him to Bulgaria. He had a successful season playing center in the Bulgaria-NBL - semi-finals in the league, cup and Balkan League title - one of the top players in the categories of rebounds and blocks. In the national championship he grabbed 8 rebounds per game. In the Balkan League, he was named to the "All Imports Team." His new home will be on the court in Heidelberg OSP.

He will have Terrapin company in the German League: Dino Gregory (2007-11) had his contract with Phoenix Hagen renewed at the end of the last season.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Steve Blake Takes NBPA Position

Steve Blake (1999-2003) will serve as a new leader in the NBA Players Association this year. From the LA Times:

Lakers guard Steve Blake has been named as a vice president on the National Basketball Players Assn. Executive Committee. [...]

When healthy, Blake averaged 7.3 points a game while shooting 42.1% from three-point range -- but he missed 37 regular-season games to injury.

Blake is in the final year of his deal with the Lakers, at $4 million for the 2013-14 season

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Grevis Vasquez Surgery Recovery On Pace for NBA Season

Greivis Vasquez had surgery on his ankle following the end of the NBA season last spring, but he's on pace to recover in time to play for his new team, the Sacramento Kings, when the NBA preseason opens next month. In the meantime, he was there in spirit for the Venezuelan national team this summer, but forced to watch from the sidelines. ESPN had a story about Vasquez this week. A short excerpt:

Vasquez isn't limping after the operation and he's on schedule for the start of the NBA season. Since the start of the rehab process on the ankle, the Venezuelan never doubted that he would be there for the first preseason game with his new team, the Sacramento Kings.

"I find myself to be much better," he said. "The progress has been really good and really productive but I need a month and half to get my physical condition at 100 percent again."

There's an unconditional motivation in his new adventure and Vasquez is conscious that he will be one of the key components to a renewed Kings team paddling in the direction of the playoffs, something the franchise hasn't done since the 2005-06 season. He arrives after a tough season in New Orleans but a satisfactory one on a personal note after averaging 13.9 points, 9 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 78 games. Overall, Vasquez had 704 assists which led the league. He was also third in the NBA in assists per game, right after Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.