Thursday, August 30, 2007

DJ Strawberry Inks Contract with Phoenix Suns

When D.J. Strawberry (2003-07) was drafted late in the second round by the Phoenix Suns earlier this summer, there was no guarantee that he would ever make the team's roster. Second round picks often get invited to summer league and training camp, and then are sent off to the NBDL. But yesterday, the team signed Strawberry to a two year deal (only the first year is guaranteed):
The Suns scooped up the 6-5 combo guard in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft with the 59th overall selection. Hoping to add some defensive toughness and versatility to both positions in the backcourt, Strawberry already has made an imprint with his play in the Las Vegas Summer League.

The first-year guard ran the team at the point, averaged 15.6 points and led the entire summer league with 6.4 assists a game. [...]

On Tuesday, Strawberry inked a two-year contract that includes a guaranteed first season and a second-year team option, giving Phoenix 12 signed players for the coming season.

The Mohave Daily News reports that Strawberry will earn the NBA rookie minimum salary.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Following WNBA Season, Shay Doron Will Play in Israel

Once the WNBA season is over for Shay Doron (2003-07) and the New York Liberty, Shay has signed to play with Elitzur Ramle in Israel, according to the International Herald Tribune:
Shay Doron, the only Israeli ever to play in the Women's National Basketball Association, on Tuesday signed a contract with Israeli powerhouse Elitzur Ramle, and will begin playing for the defending champion this October following the conclusion of her rookie WNBA season.

The Jerusalem Post points out that because the Israeli league plays in the winter and the WNBA plays in the summer, Shay will be able to come back and play in the WNBA again next summer:
The WNBA season lasts for just three months during the summer, meaning Doron can combine the WNBA with the Israeli league which begins in November.

Although the Liberty made it into the postseason on Sunday with a win over the Chicago Sky, Doron has warmed the bench for most of her first season in the US, playing a total of just 35 minutes and scoring a combined 10 points in the team's 34 games this season.

For now, the New York Liberty are still alive in the WNBA playoffs, though some in Israel were hoping they would lose so that Shay can quickly join the Israeli national team. Shay had a tough rookie year in the WNBA, not getting much playing time while stuck at the bottom of the depth chart and the end of the bench in New York, according to the Baltimore Sun. Also worth noting, Shay Doron has her own official website.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

John Gilchrist signs in Latvia

John Gilchrist (2002-05), has signed with BK Ventspils of Latvia. There's not a lot of news sources for Latvian basketball. Other than transaction lists, the only news I found about it was this press release on the team's web site.

Besides the general lack of news coverage about Latvian basketball, the other downside to trying to follow the news about Latvian basketball is that there don't seem to be any free Latvian to English translation sites, so what little news I find, I can't read. Helpfully, the press release at least printed John Gilchrist's name in English:
Šodien 20.08.07 tika panākta vienošanās ar saspēles vadītāju Džonu Gilkristu (John Gilchrist). Līgums tika noslēgts uz vienu sezonu.

Gilkrists ir 23 gadus vecs un 187 cm garš saspēles vadītājs.Savulaik beidzis Merilendas koledžu, kura spēlē NCAA čempionāta spēcīgajā ACC konferencē. Ticis atzīts par visas konferences vērtīgāko spēlētāju. Pēdējos divus gadus spēlējis Izraēlā, Francijā un NBA attīstības līgā.

„Domāju, ka mūsu klubam viņš nenoliedzami būs labs pastiprinājums, jo Džons vienlīdz labi spēlē kā uzbrukumā, tā aizsardzībā. Komandas komplektācija turpinās, tiek meklēti atbilstoši spēlētāji centra postenim un arī uzbrucēja postenim.", kluba darba gaitu komentē Ralfs Pleinics.

I think that it says something about playing at Maryland in the NCAA, winning an ACC conference championship, and then playing in Israel and the NBA developmental league. Then it goes on to quote the coach, or possibly another team official, as saying how much Gilchrist's experience will help the club this season. How do I know this without being able to read a word of Latvian? Because that's what all of these press releases say.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mike Jones Signs with Mersin in Turkey

I can't get a good Turkish-to-English translation of this news article, but it basically says that Mike Jones (2003-07) has signed in Turkey with Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi. Google and Babelfish don't do Turkish, so today we turn to to see how they handle the challenge:
Ahmet which bring the pocket knife to the duty and (yapilanan) repeatedly a myrtle a (Buyuksehir) municipality Mike playful American Jones'u transfer meat.Maryland Mike Jones at the 1.92 distance which finishes new 2 is playing with at a number position.

The season which We finished Mike which takes her playful prize which finishes fastbreak most good Jones 1000 at this league zamanda a number barrage my soot became exceeding.The season team whom We finished 14 time skorer ismi (uclukculeri) most good which Jones becomes your league at the same time 4 betwixt.At the bench.

I did figure out that the Ahmet in the article is Ahmet Caki, the team's coach. From what I can understand, the first sentence says something like, "Coach Ahmet Caki has brought in American player Mike Jones from the University of Maryland, who is 1.92 meters tall and plays the 2 guard position."

Mersin is going into only its third season of Turkish Division I pro league play, after having won the Turkish Division II title in 2005.

Searching for news on Mike Jones in Turkey will be a challenge, since there is a different Mike Jones (who played at TCU several years ago) who played in Turkey last year for Darussafaka Istanbul. The article I linked to above has a picture of our Mike Jones wearing a Maryland jersey, so I'm confident I've got the right one. (Plus, a European league transaction list confirmed it).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lonny Baxter Signs with Joventut in Spain

Lonny Baxter (1998-2002) signed a new contract (translation) with DKV Joventut of the Spanish ACB league (Spain's highest level pro league).

My favorite part about Terps signing in Europe is reading the un-edited Google translations of the press releases:
With 22 years, Baxter obtained the bronze medal with the university equipment of the United States in the Universiada of Beijing in 2001, and comprising of the university equipment of Maryland champion of NCAA proclaimed itself, where he divided equally 15.2 points and 9 bounces by party.

When finalizing the year, Lonny Baxter was chosen in “draft” of 2002 by Chicago Bulls, its first equipment of NBA. After defending the t-shirt of the equipment of Chicago, juice in Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizzards, New Orleans Hornets and Atlanta Hawks, before saturating in the Greek Olympiacos, where it gained Liga and the Glass.

Whether he actually plays or not depends on the outcome of Baxter's August 31st sentencing hearing for the gun charges he plead guilty to last month. Last season, he missed the first month or two of the season in Italy while serving jail time for a related gun charge here in the U.S.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chris McCray Signs with Oostende in Belgium

Chris McCray (2002-2006) has signed his first European contract with Telindus Oostende in Belgium. I can't find a Flemmish to English translation for the primary news sources, but thankfully, the ULEB Cup site publishes in English:
Telindus Oostende of Belgium closed its roster for the upcoming season with the addition of American shooting guard Chris McCray (196, 23). He played college ball in Maryland where he was one of the top scorers averaging 15.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists during the 2005-06 season. Last season he played with the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, but he had a testimonial role in the team. He also played in the NBDL with the Dakota Wizards where he averaged 11.8 points, 3.0 boards and 2.9 assists, and now he is ready for his first European experience.