Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jamar Smith Briefly Back in the NBDL

After spending the winter playing in Japan, Jamar Smith (2002-04) briefly returned to play a few play-off games for the NBA D-League's Austin Toros in April, after DerMarr Johnson was called up to play for the NBA's Spurs. Jamar played for the Toros the previous two seasons (2005-07).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crystal Langhorne Off And Running With Mystics

After she was drafted in the first round by the Washington Mystics a few weeks ago, the Washington Post today has an article about how Crystal Langhorne (2004-08) is off and running with her new team. Excerpts:
"The past few weeks have been the craziest of my life," Langhorne said. "Playing with the U.S. team and veterans like Lisa Leslie and Katie Smith was amazing, but I'm really so happy to be back, ready to get settled and become part of this team."

There's no time to waste as Langhorne rapidly becomes a regular part of the Mystics' makeup, adapting to new teammates and coaches -- and the plays Coach Tree Rollins handed the rookie when she arrived. Luckily, Langhorne said, Washington's style is similar to the Terrapins' and includes many familiar plays, with different names.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DJ Strawberry Has a Famous Dad

Did you know that DJ Strawberry (2003-07) is the son of former major league baseball star Darryl Stawberry? It's true! The Arizona Republic wrote a story about DJ and his famous father this month.

OK, so seriously, they actually do cover a lot of new ground other than the standard "DJ Strawberry is Darryl's son" retread cookie-cutter feature story elements, and it's a good read, so click on the link and read the whole thing. Here's some of the highlights from the story:

But D.J. — who uses the name his family has always called him — stopped trying to run from the embarrassment long ago. He embraces the relationship and the tag that it always will bring him.

"Everybody says I look like my dad," said the Phoenix Suns rookie guard, who played college basketball for Maryland.

He just wouldn't mind being known as Lisa Watkins' son and Virginia Andrews' grandson, too. He might be the spitting image of his dad and benefited from those genes, but the women raised him, talked to him daily and visited him frequently. [...]

The Suns might have benefited from Darryl's sordid background. D.J. nearly went undrafted until Phoenix selected him at No. 59. During the pre-draft screening, teams constantly asked about drugs and off-court behavior, even though D.J. had never been in trouble.

"That's not fair," Darryl said. "He shouldn't have been labeled for that, because he has nothing to do with my life.

The same Arizona Republic writer also has a story about how DJ is hoping to improve his game, learning from his rookie year experience and getting better over the summer.

"I've learned a lot about the game, how to be a professional and how long the season is," Strawberry said.

"You hear about the rookie wall, but you don't know it until you feel it. It came to a point where I was tired every day. I didn't feel like going to the gym and working out, but it's my job. I pushed through it, and it made me better in the end."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Atman Smith Running Non-Profit in Baltimore

Former Terp walk-on Atman Smith (1996-98) is one of three co-founders of the Baltimore-based Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. HLF hosts mentoring and after-school programs which stress the interconnectedness of people and the environment in which they live. They also teach yoga and holistic health, and facilitate environmental advocacy work at dozens of after school programs, camps, and recreation centers. Atman is the foundation's Director of Youth Programming. You can read more about HLF Inc. and its history and mission on their website.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Duane Simpkins Coaching St. Alban's HS in DC

Duane Simpkins (1992-96) is the Head Coach of the varsity basketball team at St. Alban's School in Washington, DC. They have a bio of Coach Simpkins (PDF) on their athletic department website.

Simpkins had previously been the coach at Sidwell Friends School, also in DC.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Juan Dixon Fitting In With Pistons

Michigan News site ran a good story recently about how Juan Dixon (1998-2002) is fitting in well with his new team, the Detroit Pistons. (You may recall, he was traded from Toronto to Detroit at the draft deadline in February.)

Most of the story is the same story we all know about how Juan's tough challenges growing up has turned him into a mentally tough player and people's doubts about him because of his size (except for Gary Williams, who believed in him) made him into a player who never quits. Papers run the same story every time he goes somewhere new, but it's a new story to the people of Detroit. Here's a short excerpt:

"The makeup of this team, is guys that other teams didn't want," Dixon said. "You go around this locker room. It's like that with everybody."

And it is that familiarity that has made the former Toronto Raptor's transition to an already crowded backcourt surprisingly smooth.

"That's why this is the perfect team for me," Dixon said. "Everybody in here knows what it feels like to not be wanted."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Parrish Brown Joins the Elgin Racers

Parrish Brown (2005-07), who had been playing in Germany this winter, returns to the United States to play for the International Basketball League's (IBL) Elgin Racers (of Elgin, Illinois). The Racers put out a press release (PDF), and the story was covered in the Suburban Chicago Courier News:
Former University of Maryland guard Parrish Brown has signed with the Elgin Racers.

Brown, a 6-1 guard, played two years at Maryland after two seasons at Kennedy King Junior College. Brown averaged 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. At Maryland, Brown played both guard positions, and was one of the team leaders in free-throw percentage. During Brown's senior season, Maryland finished 25-9 advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Racers president/coach Michael Murphy said: "The organization is very excited that Parrish will be wearing a Racer jersey for us this spring. He has an outstanding background and has played against the best competition the college game has to offer. We expect him to be a force on both ends of the floor."

The IBL consists of 18 teams, mostly in the U.S., but as the league's name implies, there are international teams in Canada, Holland, and China this season. Their regular season runs from early April to late June.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Terence Morris in the Euroleague Final Four

Maccabi Elite of Tel Aviv Israel, with ex-Terp starting forward Terence Morris (1997-2001), rolled on to the Final Four of the Euroleague Championships last night, winning game 3 of their series with AXA FC Barcelona, and thus winning the quarterfinal series 2 games to 1. Maccabi won game 1 in Tel Aviv, with Morris getting 14 points and 10 rebounds. They then lost game 2 on the road in Barcelona, despite 16 points, 11 boards, and 3 blocks from Morris. Heading back home again this week, Terence scored 8 points and 8 rebounds in the series-clinching game 3.

For the whole tournament, Terence leads all players with 1.87 blocks per game. He is in second place for the tournament in rebounds, (8.43 RPG), but was the rebounding leader for both the round of 16 (10.17 RPG) and the semi-final round (9.67 RPG).

Up next: Maccabi takes on Montepaschi Siena in the semi-finals on May 2 (trivia: Lonny Baxter played for Siena last year when they won the Italian League Championship). The Final Four is one-and-done. No "best-of" series. The finals are on May 4.

And now, let's learn some basketball fundamentals with Terence Morris.

In this first instructional video, Terence teaches younger players the finer points of offensive rebounding during game 1 of his series against FC Barcelona:

Now watch as Terence demonstrates how to play low-post defense during a round of 16 match-up against Lithuanian Champs Zalgiris Kaunas:

I hope we've all learned something to make ourselves better players today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Two Terps Picked in First Round of WNBA Draft

In yesterday's annual WNBA draft, two Terps were selected in the first round. Crystal Langhorne (2004-08) was drafted with the 6th pick by the Washington Mystics, and then shortly thereafter, Laura Harper (2004-08) was drafted with the 10th pick by the Sacramento Monarchs.

Excerpts from the Washington Post story (linked above):
Langhorne, who was joined at the draft by her parents, two brothers and Maryland Coach Brenda Frese, is the Terrapins' all-time leading scorer and rebounder. The two-time all-American and ACC player of the year averaged 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds and made 64.7 percent of her shots last season. She had hopes of being selected in the first round but wasn't sure what to expect on draft day.

"A lot of people were saying some things, but you never know what coaches are thinking or who they need, guards or posts," Langhorne said. "When Washington came up, I was like, 'Hopefully they pick me,' and they did." [...]

Langhorne's teammate, Laura Harper, was chosen by the Sacramento Monarchs at No. 10, giving Maryland two first-round picks for the first time in school history.

"We're just elated," Frese said. "What a proud moment, special day for Maryland basketball."

Harper was stunned to hear her name called when it was.

"When I heard my name I was euphoric," Harper said. "I didn't know if it was a dream or what. Playing amongst a class of so many talented players, it's just like the bar is set so high. To be among them, I just felt speechless."

The Baltimore Sun has a good story about Langhorne and Harper too:
For four years, Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper were inseparable on the Maryland women's basketball team's front line, not to mention their time together on a Philadelphia-area Amateur Athletic Union team before that. The pair, integral pieces of the Terps' 2006 national championship effort, were sent to opposite coasts yesterday in the WNBA draft.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Byron Mouton Plays in Wilmington for a Month

Apparently Byron Mouton (2000-02) had re-signed in February for a brief stint with the Wilmington Sea Dogs, who now play in something called the "Premier Basketball League" instead of the ABA. Don't bother looking for him on the roster or stats page of the Sea Dogs' website... they haven't updated the team stats since January 11. I only noticed he was there because his team got eliminated from the playoffs by the Maryland Nighthawks recently.

Byron played for the Sea Dogs last year, when they were an ABA team, then briefly played for the Albany Patroons (of the CBA) last October-November.

So anyway, Mouton played for Wilmington for about a month (and played quite well from the news stories I found on Google), and now their season is over. Remember to come back to my blog for all your fresh, breaking news stories about things that happened a month ago that I just now noticed.