Friday, October 31, 2008

Joe Smith Wearing a Facemask

If you're tuning in to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder this season, you may not immediately recognize one of Maryland's most famous ex-Terps. Joe Smith (1993-95) is wearing a facemask to begin this season after having his nose fractured in a pre-season game last month:

Smith wasn't so comfortable Friday, admitting he was hesitant in traffic. But he took two shots to the face against the Lakers that gave him confidence he could survive blows when mixing it up in the lane.

"I just got to get used to being in the paint and being around a lot of bodies again," Smith said.

Smith's role becomes more important if Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox don't get healthy. Wilcox missed his second consecutive game Friday because of a strained hamstring. [...]

Perhaps Smith's biggest hurdle will be learning to play with a new set of teammates after only 44 minutes of preseason action and very few practice hours while protecting his injury.

Smith's teammate, Chris Wilcox (2000-02), did indeed heal up after the above story was written and led the Thunder with 15 points in their first regular season game.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Steve Blake Interview

There is a good Steve Blake (1999-2003) interview on the Hoops TV Online website today.  Steve talks a lot about his outlook for the upcoming Blazers season, his career so far, and how he keeps in touch with his Maryland teammates and Coach Williams. It hearkens back to the series of stories from back in August about how Steve has become one of the leaders in Portland and is loved on and off the court by the city.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Juan Dixon Survives Wizards Cuts

This week, the Washington Wizards cut two players, assuring Juan Dixon (1998-2002) a spot on the 15-player roster to start the regular season next week:

Dixon, originally drafted by the Wizards out of Maryland in 2002, missed the first four preseason games with a calf injury but returned to action Friday against the New Orleans Hornets. After three strong practices, Dixon feels confident he can help the Wizards, who open the season at home Oct. 29 against New Jersey.

"Just knowing the system, Coach has a lot of confidence in me," Dixon said. "He knows that I'm going to go out and execute the play, be in the right positions on the floor. And my job is to do whatever they ask of me, so whatever my role is, that's what I'm going to go out and do."

Friday, October 24, 2008

D.J. Strawberry Cut by Rockets

After being traded to the Rockets before the season and playing well in training camp and the preseason, D.J. Strawberry (2003-07) was waived by the team today. D.J. was apparently the victim of the NBA luxury tax:

Strawberry, acquired from Phoenix for Sean Singletary, also played well, averaging 8.2 points on 41.7 percent shooting.

With Friday's move, the Rockets trimmed their roster to 14 players, one fewer than the league maximum, but there are no immediate plans to make an addition to the roster that already takes the Rockets' payroll past the luxury tax threshold.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Travis Garrison in Turkey's 2nd Division

Travis Garrison (2002-06), who I just announced had signed in Uruguay less than a month ago, has now signed a new deal with Dalaman A.┼×. Pamukkale University in Turkey's 2nd division. I am still annoyed that Google translation doesn't do Turkish, so again we turn to The first two paragraphs of the press release are mostly about a sponsorship deal for the team, and the third paragraph is about Garrison. My heavily edited translation:
The Dalaman A.┼×. Pamukkale University basketball team announced its first foreign transfer player is Travis Garrison from the United States. Having previously played in South Korea, Spain, and Venezuela, Garrison is 24 years old, 2.05 meters tall. Travis Garrison has signed a one-year contract with Pamukkale.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ekene Ibekwe in Turkey

Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) has signed on with Mutlu Aku Selcuk University of Selcuk, Turkey. The team released a press release announcing his signing earlier this week. Want confirmation? Here's a news article which repeats the team's press release almost word for word.

Sadly, Google translation doesn't do Turkish, so I tried out a different translation website. The press release is obviously unreadable without translation (except for "Ekene Ibekwe" and "NBA"), and it didn't really get much more readable when I did manage to translate it:
With its preparations for the new season, and Turkish Cup final stage for ┼čehrimizden Erzurum tomorrow we will move to the team, 4. Ekene Ibekwe agree with foreign as an actor.

The season which We finished Israil a cave Galil with at a Gilboa team at the 10 matches 11.3 A number, 5.3 She centers ribaund and which play with Federal Republic of Nigeria Pivot percent at the 2 numbers 65 77 percent at the free shot percent an owner. 2.06 1985 pivot born at your distance last NBA the league had worn the form Summer.

Cengiz which the head trainer clarifies that the transfer increased her power under the crucible team Montenegro Ekene Ibekwe is immediately to my jewelry piece I think that she will provide harmony. To the extra league cupful full staff and a ready halo We came. Ibekwe cupful last eight and the one at the league Play-Off your contributions will become important for our target I believe. She told.

Happy Battery Selcuk University, Turkish Cup for the matches tomorrow we will Konya?dan Erzurum?a the move.

Apparently, translating Turkish to English is very hard. As far as I can tell, Selcuk's team is sponsored by the Happy Battery company.

While researching this story, I also learned that Selcuk is famous for its Camel Wrestling Festival in January. You won't read about that on your other Maryland sports blogs.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Travis Garrison in Uruguay

Travis Garrison (2002-06) is continuing his tour of South America by signing to play for Club Trouville of Uruguay (following stops in Argentina and Venezuela). Here's a brief announcement (translation) of his signing in a "sports briefs" article, and no, I personally did not feel the need to register with the website to read beyond the first paragraph:
On the afternoon of Thursday, Trouville heralded the arrival of Travis Garrison. He stands 2.03m tall, weighs 109kg, and is 24 years old. In the 2006/07 season, he played for the Great Falls Explorers (CBA), where he averaged 11.9 pts., 6.1 rebounds, and was chosen Rookie of the Year. In 2008 he played for Gaiteros of Zulia, Venezuela.