Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chris McCray Signs in the D-League

Chris McCray (2002-06) has signed to play for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Developmental League. From the team's press release:
The Sioux Falls Skyforce announced today the acquisition of former NBA player Chris McCray. He is expected to join the team before tonight’s matchup with the Springfield Armor and will wear number 14. [...]

McCray appeared in five games with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2006-07 season after making the team as an undrafted rookie. After being waived by the Bucks he was acquired by the Dakota Wizards and averaged 11.8 points and 2.9 assists in 23 games while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor. He averaged 11.5 points and 4.0 assists in two postseason contests to help lead the Wizards to the 2007 NBA Development League Championship.

The 6-5, 192-pound guard averaged 10.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in four seasons at the University of Maryland. He averaged a college career-best 15.2 points during his senior season while shooting 51.6 percent from the field.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let Your Inner Turtle Glow

Happy Holidays to all the Terp fans who read this blog!

You can share this video with a YouTube link or the University of Maryland's Holiday Greeting page (including turtle snow-globe!).

Two of the video's stars are Gary Williams (1964-68) and Tom McMillen (1970-74)... just so this blog entry isn't completely off-topic. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tom McMillen: Multiple Career Disorder

For everyone who isn't familiar with the Maryland basketball in the early 1970's, here is a story about the career of Tom McMillen (1970-74) from the archives of The ACC:
Tom McMillen says he has “multiple career disorder.” That’s one way to look at it. Others might note that his basketball All-America-Rhodes Scholar-United States Congressman skill-set comprises a pretty rare and impressive resume. And that doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story. [...]

Lefty Driesell was only a year out of Davidson and convinced McMillen that he could help him build something special at Maryland; in fact, Jay gave Driesell his famous “UCLA of the East” line. McMillen decided that, “creating a program from nothing was more interesting than sustaining a program. I could be another Larry Miller or a pioneer. I picked pioneer. Still, telling Dean Smith I wasn’t coming was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Steve Francis Resting Knee, Handing out Turkeys

Steve Francis (1998-99) is back home in Silver Spring, Maryland, handing out Thanksgiving food packages. In this story in the Montgomery County Gazette papers, Steve mentions that he is sitting out this season with a knee injury:
While used to shooting layups for pro-basketball franchises, former NBA player and University of Maryland star point guard Steve Francis looked right at home handing out Thanksgiving food packages to the needy last week in Silver Spring.

Of course for Francis, who is sitting out this season as a free agent due to a bothersome knee injury, the Silver Spring/Takoma Park area is home. And from the smiles and laughs he shared with families and Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington coordinators Nov. 24, it was good to be back.

"It definitely humbles you a lot to know these are the people who raised you, who gave me my start," Francis said after meeting with former neighbors and handing out food. "I'm just like everyone else here; I grew up on Maple Avenue [in Takoma Park]."

Friday, December 11, 2009

James Gist Signs in Russia

James Gist (2004-08) has signed to play for Lokomotiv Kuban (translation) of the Russian Superleague this season. From the team's press release (translation):
BC Lokomotiv Moscow-Kuban has signed a contract until the end of the season with American forward James Gist (height 206 cm, weight 107 kg). He was born Oct. 26, 1986 in Silver Spring, playing position number four (strong forward), and is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 2008, James Gist was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA with the 57th pick. He then signed a one-year contract with the Italian Serie A club Angelico Biella. During his season in Italy, he played in 39 games. He averaged 27 minutes, 12.5 points, 6 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 0.8 block shots.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dave Neal Has a Blog

Dave Neal (2005-09), now in Northern Ireland, has a blog about school, basketball, travel, and life in Ireland. It's been up all fall, but Testudo Times just brought it to my attention today.

Dave is working on his Masters degree in Sports Marketing in Belfast and playing for the school's team, the Ulster Elks, while also teaching basketball to freshmen. Sample homework assignment for Neal's students: go on YouTube and watch the movie of Dave setting a screen on Nolan Smith, which is a good assignment for all of you this weekend too. This "week in the life" post gives a picture of what school and basketball life is like for Neal this fall.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

People Still Love Byron Mouton

The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg's D.C. Sports Bog has a feel-good story about how people still love Byron Mouton (2000-02):
"I thought it was over, but people still coming up to me like thank you, just thanking me," Mouton told me. "It happens all the time. It's amazing. I tell my mom, my brothers and everybody I'm familiar with, people will still talk about that championship until there's another one. That's what I believe." [...]

"I only played for Maryland for two years, but it was the best experience I've ever had," he said. "We were all friends, we had no beefs. After the game we'd all go our separate ways, but when we came back, it was a family. Just a family. We never had a fight or anything. The best team I ever played on, man. It's still like that. We see each other, we acknowledge each other, we support each other, and it's great. It's real great."

Mouton spent some time with Steve Blake this summer. He talks to Juan Dixon. Lonny Baxter called last month. He dreams of being an assistant coach for the Terps one day.

Byron is playing for the Maryland Greenhawks of the Premier Basketball League this winter. The team's schedule runs from January through April, and the Greenhawk's first home game will be January 16, 2010, at Wootten High School in Rockville, Maryland, if you would like to go share your love of Byron Mouton in person.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Terrapin Women Wintering Overseas

As most basketball fans know, the WNBA plays its league schedule during the summer, traditionally the off-season for basketball. What this means for the players, though, is that they are free to also pursue "off-season" careers during the normal basketball season overseas. Five former Terrapin women are playing in some of the top European leagues this winter:

Marissa Coleman (2005-09) -- Famila Wuber Schio of Italy's Lega A1. Profile page (translation). During the summer, Coleman played for the Washington Mystics and made the 2009 WNBA All Rookie Team.

Shay Doron (2003-07) -- Municipal MCM Targoviste of Romania's Division 1. Profile page (translation). Doron once played for the New York Liberty, but now lives year-round overseas.

Laura Harper (2004-08) -- Umana Reyer Venezia of Italy's Lega A1. Roster page. During the summer, Harper played for the Sacramento Monarchs.

Crystal Langhorne (2004-08) -- Rivas Ecopolis of Spain's LFB. Profile page (translation). During the summer, Langhorne played for the Washington Mystics and was named the 2009 WNBA Most Improved Player.

Kristi Toliver (2005-09) -- Raanana Hertzeliya of Israel's Division 1. Profile Page. Here is a long feature article about Toliver and making big shots, playing professionally, and practicing shooting with a tennis ball with the lights out. During the summer, Toliver played for the Chicago Sky.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bambale Osby Enjoying Life in Israel

Bambale Osby (2006-08), now playing for Ramat Gan in Israel, is enjoying life there, according to a story in the Haaretz newspaper. The story follows Bambale and his teammate, Taj McCullough, as examples of American players exploring the country's nightlife and finding a way to fit in off the court. Excerpts:
Taj McCullough and Bambale Osby of Ironi Ramat Gan - both 23-year-old Americans (Osby by way of The Democratic Republic of the Congo) - like to think of themselves as following the straight and narrow.

"We don't go out at night before a morning practice," says McCullough, adding unconvincingly, "but it has happened a few weekends that we've stayed awake until sunrise, just to see how long we could stay up." [...]

In Osby's view, "Israel is like paradise. There is good food here, comfortable weather, beautiful women and great nightspots. It's like a little America."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Exree Hipp has a Blog

Exree Hipp (1992-96) debuted a new blog in October: Talking Maryland Basketball With Exree Hipp.

Unfortunately, he posted three times in one week and then never updated again. But the posts are about Maryland Madness and Exree's experience playing in the alumni game. Hopefully, he'll come back and post more as the basketball season progresses.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Terrell Stokes: Assistant Coach at UDC

Terrell Stokes (1995-99) is now the Assistant Coach for the University of the District of Columbia, though they haven't gotten around to writing a bio for him on their website. Head Coach Jeff Ruland says that Stokes has been an important part of rebuilding the program at UDC.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mike Jones in Argentina

Mike Jones (2003-07) has signed in Argentina (translation) with Peñarol Mar del Plata. The local paper says:
Monday morning saw the arrival in Mar del Plata of replacement player Michael Jones, who has the same name as another foreign player who had played for Peñarol at the end of the previous decade.

Mike Jones is a guard, 25 years old, 1.96 meters and 91 kilos, who graduated from the University of Maryland. When he left the United States, he tried his luck in Turkey (Mersin BSB), Cyprus (Apoel BC), and finally in Romania (Ploiesti Asesoft CSU). There, in the Carpathian league, in 37 games, he averaged 19.9 minutes, 13.2 points (59.7% 2-pointers, 37.5% 3-pointers, and 74.4% free throws), 2.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists.

According Peñarol's managers, the player is a "stepping stone" toward the the future.

The team has a website but it hasn't been updated in 2 years, so don't look for any Mike Jones news there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Full Interview: Parrish Brown on Eurobasket

I tried to post a link to this yesterday, but Eurobasket's news links are being flaky. The link to the full interview works sometimes, but fails most of the time. So, while it was briefly working this morning, I copied the whole thing (and good thing, because as I'm rechecking links before clicking the "publish" button, the link is dead again).

Parrish Brown (185-G, college: Maryland) is a guard from Chicago, Illinois. In 2007 he graduated from the University of Maryland and turned pro. He spent his first season overseas in Germany, playing for BG Suedpark Bochum in the Regionalliga West during 2007-08. While there he appeared in 10 games and scored 26.8 points per contest and was named to the 2007-08 All-Regionalliga West First Team. From December 2008 until October 2009 he suited up for Potros ITSON of Mexico. Brown averaged 14.0 points, 3.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 10 games of the 2009-2010 campaign, before he parted ways with the team recently.

You played in Mexico recently. How is the level of competition there compared to Germany?
The competition is the same in that the games are really physical. The refs allow a lot of grabbing, pushing, holding and it's very competitive, no one wants to lose.

You left your team in Mexico in October. What happened?
The coach that brought me on the team ended up being fired, so the new coach that was hired brought in his own players.

When you were in Germany during the 2007-2008 season you dominated the Regionalliga West and scored 26.8 points per game for Bochum. What do you remember the most from your time in Germany?
I liked playing in Germany. I mainly miss the fans. The fans in Germany are very loyal to their teams and show lots of support.

You attended the University of Maryland and played with several great players there. Who was the best teammate that you had?
I had a lot of good teammates at the University of Maryland. I can't really say which one was the best because I shared a different relationship with each teammate. But I still speak with Chris McCray, Dj Strawberry, Ekene Ebekwe, James Gist and Bambale Osby.

How is it like to play for such a famous school like Maryland in huge arenas and then come to Germany and play in front of a couple of hundred fans in a small gym?
I think it's very different but you have a love for the game that it doesn't matter how many people are at the game as long as you can lace up your shoes and go out there and compete.

What is your best memory from your college days?
I have a lot of great memories from college but my best memory is my senior year when we beat North Carolina at home and everybody stormed the court. That was a great feeling to have after beating a great team in North Carolina and all the fans on the court jumping up and down and yelling.

What are you plans after parting ways with the Mexican team?
Well right now I just plan to keep working out lifting weights and working on my game until I can find somewhere else to play.

I don't like copying the whole interview like this, but until Eurobasket fixes their news database issues, this is probably the only way most of you will get to read it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Q&A with Parrish Brown has a Q&A with Parrish Brown this week. Parrish is a free agent right now, after playing last season with Potros ITSON of Mexico's LNBP league. Here's a very brief excerpt (click the link to read the whole interview):

You left your team in Mexico in October. What happened?

The coach that brought me on the team ended up being fired, so the new coach that was hired brought in his own players.

What are you plans after parting ways with the Mexican team?

Well right now I just plan to keep working out lifting weights and working on my game until I can find somewhere else to play.

Update: Sigh... broken link. Eurobasket seems to be having some issues this week with all their news links, and lots of things on their page are broken. I found this interview week, but the link broke when I tried to go back to post it. It was broken all weekend, then worked again last night, so I went ahead and posted it, but now it's dead again. I was able to copy and post the full interview text, which you can read while we wait for Eurobasket to get their website working again.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Free Agents

As the international leagues start their seasons, several prominent ex-Terps are still free agents. Here is the run-down, including a few profile pages I found on their Agency's websites:

Chris McCray (2002-06), who played last season with the Rimini Crabs of Italy's Lega2 (Agent's Profile)

James Gist (2004-08), who played last season with Angelico Biella of Italy's LegaA (Agent's Profile)

DJ Strawberry (2003-07), who played last season with Fortitudo Bologna of Italy's LegaA (Agent's Profile)

Mike Jones (2003-07), who played last season with CSU Asesoft in Ploiesti, Romania.

Parrish Brown (2005-07), who played last season with Potros Itson in Mexico's LNBP (Agent's Profile)

Steve Francis (1998-99), who ended up on the Memphis Grizzlies roster last year, but never played for them.

Ryan Randle (2001-03), who played last season with Saint Etienne BC in France's ProB league.

Also..., I haven't had anything to post about them all summer, but Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) and Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) are both signed for another year in Greece with Euroleague Champs Panathinaikos. Here's a story from over the summer about PAO re-signing Sarunas.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Laron Profit is back in Argentina

Laron Profit (1995-99) is playing in Argentina (translation, see also below) for Libertad Sunchales again this season. Laron also played for Libertad back in the 2007-08 season, but sat out last year recovering from a ruptured Achilles. Here's what the local paper (linked above) had to say about Laron (I edited for clarity from the Google translation):

Sunchales Libertad coach Juan Carlos Parola offered this opinion in a conversation about Laron Profit: "Laron is a very complete player. Technically gifted with great knowledge of the game. During his stay in Libertad, he managed to be loved by the people of the city and the club, and recognized and highly respected by his peers."

On the significance of his hiring, he added: "The addition is significant because his qualities as a player give us sufficient reason to believe that apart from his experience and knowledge of the game, he will provide a lot of quality minutes."

The only question is American's physical condition, since just over a year ago he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. In the midst of negotiations that seemed on track, the player had to face the injury, preventing his return for Libertad's 2008/09 campaign. In fact, he has now had 16 months of inactivity in professional competitions.

Profit made an excellent reputation for himself in his previous spell in the National League, where he became a game-changing player in the final leg of the 2007/08 season in which Libertad won the championship. In the final series against Quimsa, the forward was the leading scorer and was voted MVP of the finals.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Juan Dixon Signs with Aris in Greece

Juan Dixon (1998-2002), after being cut by the Atlanta Hawks last week, has signed to play this season with Aris Thessaloniki in Greece. Aris has recently been a very good team, finishing no worse than 5th place in the past 7 seasons. Aris was invited to the opening qualifying round for this year's Euroleague tournament, but was already eliminated last month.

Here are excerpts from the team's press release (translation here):
"It was a difficult decision to play for the first time in Europe after 7 years in the NBA. At the start of the season I participated in training camp with the Atlanta Hawks, then I was a free agent and I thought about what was the best choice for my family. After much thought, I accepted the proposal of Aris. I think I made an excellent choice," said the ace and added, "I promise that I will try hard to be good teammate for the team and hopefully that will help bring victories for the club, drawing on my experience in the NBA. [...]

As regards his role on the court, the American player said: "I can play both guard positions, either in position '1 'or the '2'. I spoke by phone with the coach of the team and he told me that he intends for me to be the second point guard on the court. I will try my best to do what is needed and what the coach expects from me."

At the same time, however, the leading scorer in the history of the Maryland Terrapins in the NCAA, Dixon showed a willingness to "bomb" the opposing basket, if necessary: "The past two years, I diverted from the road that led me to the NBA, meaning the scoring. I tried to make a transition from scorer to pure point guard, but that has not had the best result. My goal is to put the ball in the basket as much as possible. I came on to score!".

Note when reading the translation, Google is mistakenly translating the team name, Aris, as Mars.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Byron Mouton drafted by PBL Team from Maryland

The Maryland GreenHawks of the Premier Basketball League (PBL) drafted Byron Mouton (2000-02) in the first round of the PBL Draft this week. Here's part of the team's press release, with requisite cliché-ridden comments from the general manager:
The Maryland GreenHawks selected Byron Mouton, a 6’6” 225lbs guard/forward from the University of Maryland with the third overall pick in Thursday’s 2009 PBL Draft.

“Byron brings a tremendous amount of experience and leadership to our team,” [GM Adam] Dantus said. “We think that he is a tremendous well rounded player with a high basketball IQ and will fit in very well with our team.”

I just now learned from Wikipedia that the PBL is an offshoot of teams who left the ABA in 2007. The GreenHawks were formerly called the Nighthawks up until last week, and several other former Terps played for them over the years (including Travis Garrison and Johnny Rhodes). For those of you wanting to see Byron in action, the GreenHawks play their games at Wootton High School in Rockville, but they don't have this season's schedule up on their website yet.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

John Gilchrist Videos

Here are two videos from YouTube with John Gilchrist (2002-05) running shooting and dribbling drills and talking about training before he left to play in Australia this summer (they're ads for his trainer's company).

The John Gilchrist Journey, Part 1:

The John Gilchrist Journey, Part 2:

And here is an interview with Gilchrist (1st 2:30 of the video) and his coach from the Adelaide 36ers (2nd half of the video) from back in August:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hawks Cut Juan Dixon

Juan Dixon (1998-2002) was cut by the Atlanta Hawks yesterday. Brought in to training camp as a free agent to compete for a spot, Dixon ended up averaging 9 points per game in 3 preseason games. Shell Games predicts that Juan could get signed to another team once the season starts and injuries create the need for a veteran player to step in somewhere.

Over Juan's NBA career, he has averaged 8.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He has played seven seasons for four different teams (Washington, Portland, Toronto, Detroit, and Washington again). His most productive year was 2005-06, when he started 42 games for Portland and averaged over 12 points per game.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gilchrist Taking Over Games in Australia

Over in Australia, John Gilchrist (2002-05) is taking the reins to lead his team, the Adelaide 36ers, as demonstrated in this story (sent to me by a reader) from Adelaide Now. Gilchrist, normally a playmaking point guard, took things into his own hands to score 5 points in the final two possessions to seal a close and exciting game.
Gilchrist's only successful triple of the night gave Adelaide the lead 88-87 with 26 seconds left before Williams drove to the hoop for the final two of his 32 points.

Now down 88-89, the Sixers had 19 seconds to fashion a winner, the ball in playmaker Gilchrist's hands. [...]

Update 10/21/09:
Here is a video of the last 50 seconds of the game. Gilchrist is #20 in red. He hits the go-ahead 3 pointer about 40 seconds into the video, and then the game winner at the 1:10 mark.

Thanks for your Mobbies Vote!

The Baltimore Sun's Mobbies Award voting is over, and Maryland Basketball: Where Are They Now? finished respectably in 5th place in the Best Terps Blogs category, achieving my own personal goal of not finishing in last place.

Congratulations to all the other blogs in the competition, especially our friends at Shell Games (who won the Terps category and represented all of Terp-dom by finishing 7th in the overall Best Blog balloting) and Testudo Times (who won the Best Sports Blogs category).

Friday, October 02, 2009

Steve Blake Fights for his Starting Spot

As training camp opens for the Portland Trailblazers, Steve Blake (1999-2003) is the incumbent starter at point guard, but he faces a huge challenge from off-season free agent acquisition Andre Miller. In a story in the Columbian (via Gary Williams's Twitter feed) Blake's teammates are calling him the 'true' and 'ideal' point guard:
There has never been any flash to Blake's game, and there likely never will be. The 6-foot-3, 172-pound Blake is an old-school point guard in an ever-changing, modern league. To some, Blake is a throwback — a player who will never be more than a simple set-up man. But according to many of his teammates and several Portland coaches, Blake is irreplaceable. [...]

Monday, [Brandon] Roy drew a small line in the Blake-Miller debate, saying he feels extremely comfortable playing with Blake. Tuesday, Roy stated Blake's selfless style makes him feel limitless on the court.

"I hadn't played with that in a while," Roy said. "I was playing with point guards — the new-school point guard, who is aggressive and is kind of looking for his (points). But, you know, I played with Blake and I was like, 'Oh, OK. This is great.' "

Dime magazine says the coach has named Blake as the starter to open camp, even though Miller is the talk of the town:
Last season, Steve Blake did a legit job at the point but now management upgraded the position this offseason by signing Andre Miller to a three-year, $21 million deal.

The obvious choice to start would be Miller. [...] But Blake has done a great job running the Blazers’ offense for the past two seasons.[...] Plus, he has the ear of the team and more importantly, the confidence of coach Nate McMillan. The coach even said Blake is the starter coming into training camp.

Finally, the Rip City Project blog says Blake is the forgotten man in all the Andre Miller hype:
However, we can’t just go ahead and crown Andre Miller already. Thinking that Steve Blake is going down without a fight is just silly. His nickname is Lieutenant Dan and I’m pretty sure he could choke 80% of the NBA out. I mean he was the starter on a team that won 54 games last season. Say what you want but that’s something that Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash can’t say. Is everyone forgetting that this is a guy whose been in the NBA six years and played for four different teams (including this one) before finally finding a home in Portland. AND he’s in a contract year??? This is a big year for him.

(The Baltimore Sun's Mobbies blog awards voting is still going on through October 9. Remember that you can vote once per day! Our blog is hovering around #4-6 in the Terps category. I don't expect to win, but I'd like to avoid the embarrassment of finishing last. So why not stop on by and vote for us today?)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bambale Osby Leaves Germany, Signs in Israel

Bambale Osby (2006-08) has been released by Phoenix Hagen (translation) of Germany. Osby had been hampered by knee injuries and was facing stress from a death in the family. Because of these factors he was not producing the way he or his coaches expected. Similar news stories (translation) also make it sound as though Osby and his agent requested the release, or at least the release was mutually agreed upon.

Bambale is now getting a fresh start with a new team in Israel, joining the roster of Ironi Ramat Gan (translation) of the Israeli Premier League. (The translation is mangling his name, but you can see him on the roster here.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chris Wilcox has a Shot at Starting for the Pistons

As the Detroit Pistons start training camp this week, there is no clear choice to be their starting center after an off-season roster shake-up. Chris Wilcox (2000-02), who signed a two-year deal with Detroit as a free agent back in July, hopes to have a shot at that starting spot. He's going up against Ben Wallace, who is returning to the Pistons after three years in Chicago and Cleveland, and incumbent starter Kwame Brown. says this about Wilcox:
Wilcox, signed as a free agent after splitting last season between Oklahoma City and New York, offers a different set of skills. At 6-foot-10 and about 240 pounds, Wilcox’s calling card is his athleticism and ability to finish in traffic. Though not a perimeter threat, he’s a threat, unlike Brown, facing the basket from 15 feet and can score over smaller defenders from the post. [Pistons vice president Scott] Perry knows Wilcox well from the season he spent away from the Pistons as assistant general manager with the then-Seattle Sonics.

“Chris is an excellent athlete, very explosive," Perry said. “Going back to my time with Seattle, he was a guy who could get you four to six points in transition with his ability to run the floor and you kick it up ahead to him. He can improve your ability to fast break because once you get the ball, either on a steal or a rebound transitioning to the offensive end, he’s very good at that because he’s got good speed and athleticism. If and when he plays that five position, you can use that to his advantage." [...]

The Pistons are also hoping that being dropped into the first winning environment he’s experienced in his seven-year career – Wilcox has not only never appeared in a playoff game, he’s never begun a season with a team expected to challenge for a playoff berth – will draw out the best in Wilcox.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vote for the Mobbies

Click here to vote for Maryland Basketball: Where are They Now? ... early and often!The Baltimore Sun is running a huge "Best Of" local blog voting competition called The Mobbies, and "Maryland Basketball: Where are They Now?" is a candidate for Best Terps Blog. You can vote once per day, but you will have to register on the Baltimore Sun website in order to vote (but then, the Sun has excellent Terps coverage, so many of you are probably registered there already anyway).

Remember, vote early, vote often!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Juan Dixon in Training Camp with Atlanta

Juan Dixon (1998-2002) has been a free agent all summer and still doesn't have a guaranteed contract locked up for the upcoming NBA season, but he is on the training camp roster for the Atlanta Hawks, according to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal:
The internal concerns about the Hawks’ point guard depth is reflected in the number of veteran guards on the camp roster, highlighted by this veteran guard. Dixon has never carved a niche for himself as a starting point guard but he’s been a factor on several teams as a situational combo guard. He’ll need a huge showing in camp to snag a roster spot.

There are eight players in training camp playing for one or two roster spots once the season starts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Calvin McCall Coaching at His Old High School

Calvin McCall (1999-2003) was a starting quarterback and half-season basketball player for the Terps in 1999 and 2000, but he quit the football team and dedicated himself full time to basketball his junior and senior years (2001-03). Now, this two-sport star is back home in Orlando, Florida, coaching basketball at his alma mater, Dr. Philips High School (scroll 90% of the way down that link... McCall is the third coach profiled on the page). Calvin is the head JV coach as well as an assistant coach for the varsity team.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Terence Morris to Play for FC Barcelona

Terence Morris (1997-2001) isn't playing for Efes Pilsen of Turkey after all, which I posted back in July. A commenter on that post alerted me today that the deal with Efes fell through, and Terence is now signed to play for four years with Spain's Regal FC Barcelona, where he will be teammates with Ricky Rubio.

Excerpt from the press release:
Terence Morris is Regal Barça’s second signing for the 2009/10 season. The American power forward is especially motivated because he thinks the way Barça play will suit his game.

The former CSKA Moscow player signed for the next four seasons this afternoon and says that Barça is his big chance “to win a major title”. So far the American has been playing in minor leagues such as those in Russia and Israel though he combined that with Euroleague action. Now with Barça and in the ACB, he hopes to be able to show off his talent once more.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jamar Smith Signs with a New Italian Team

Jamar Smith (2002-04), who played last season in Italy's Lega2 for Fastweb Casale Monferrato, is moving to a different team within the same league, Trenkwalder Pallacanestro Reggiana of Reggio Emilia, Italy. From the team's press release (translation):
Playing for Fastweb Casale Monferrato last season, Smith played a total of 37 games, including playoff and regular season, averaging 29.4 minutes a game, 12.5 rebounds and 7.5 points scored. [...]

In the words of coach Ramagli, "We have added to our roster a veteran player who has already had substantial experience in Lega and which may be of great help to our young players. He is a very technical player who has returned from a very positive experience in Casale Monferrato, where he helped lead his team to the league semifinals and earn a promotion to Serie A. He has good hands on offense and improved his defensive impact a lot last season. His integration will be an important addition to our team."

In his comments to the media upon his arrival with the new team (translation), Jamar said all the standard, generic things about his new city and teammates.
"I'm really excited to be here," Jamar said in her first interview with the media as a new forward for Trenkwalder. "My first impression of the people and the city has been very positive, I liked my new colleagues, it seems like a young and highly motivated team. I will do my best to contribute to the team."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Joe Smith Signing is Official

The Atlanta Hawks made it official this week: Joe Smith (1993-95) will wear #32 for them this winter. This was rumored and reported as a done deal by ESPN last week, but now it's official. The Hawks' official blog lays out all the positives that Joe Smith brings to the team, but there is one negative:
If there is any downside to this signing, it’s that the similarity of names (Joe Johnson, Joe Smith, Josh Smith) on the Hawks roster will potentially make discussing them very confusing.

The Hawks also have an interview with Joe Smith available in their podcast section.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nik Caner-Medley Has a New Team in Spain

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) has signed with a new team, MMT Estudiantes Madrid. This is Nik's third season playing in Spain's top league, the ACB: last season, he played for Cajasol Seville, and two years ago he was with Kalise Gran Canaria.

Those of you who studied Spanish in high school may have already translated the team's nickname for yourselves: "The Students". You know with a nickname that sounds so weak, they must be an ironically tough team.

Spanish sports news site (translation) talks about the signing:
Caner-Medley, playing for Cajasol, was one of the players who awoke from the lethargy that had sunk the bench in Seville after spending a long time as the bottom club in the ACB. He played in 20 games for Seville, averaging 10.7 points and nearly 8 rebounds per game.

"He's a player who is very familiar with the ACB. I'm sure he will create a strong connection with the fans of the 'Stu' because he gives it all on the court: maximum intensity and pure heart," said sports director Nacho Azofra.

Three more news sites with pretty much the exact same story, but with different pictures of Nik Caner-Medley: here, here, and here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Obinna Ekezie Runs a Travel Business in Nigeria posted this link to a CNBC Video of an interview with Zeep Travel founder Obinna Ekezie (1995-99). Obinna, with his pro basketball days behind him, now lives back in his home country of Nigeria, where he started his new business. Zeep Travel is an on-line travel company specializing in travel between the United States and Africa, which he says is an important, under-served market.

People who were around campus back in the late 90's might remember that Ekezie was known as a stellar student who chose Maryland primarily to attend its School of Business.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shay Doron to Play in Romania Next Year

Shay Doron (2003-07) isn't playing in the WNBA this summer, but she says she will be playing in Romania for MCM Targoviste next winter. In an aside in a story about the WNBA New York Liberty loss to the Washington Mystics last month, caught up with Doron in the audience and asked her about her plans for the year. An excerpt:
Doron will be playing in Romania this winter, with a club called Targoviste. As for why she is not returning to the WNBA, she said, "I'm enjoying my summer too much. I'm fortunate to have my European passport. I love playing overseas. You get to travel the world, and getting to live in another country is pretty cool. Plus, I get to see all these girls year round. We play against each other all the time."

Also, I don't have enough material to make this its own story, but I found a player transaction list showing that Shay's former Maryland teammate Aurelie Noirez (2003-07) is now playing for France's ASA Sceaux, in the French amateur NF2 league.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Keith Gatlin Coaching High School in NC

I don't usually go back beyond the Gary Williams era of Maryland basketball players, because Gary was hired at around the same time that I started paying attention to Maryland basketball, and I don't really remember the players before then. But I did happen upon this Fox Sports story this week: Keith Gatlin (1984-88) has been hired to coach Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina. The story provides interesting details on what Gatlin has been up to recently:
Gatlin takes over the Trojans program after a short stint at Veritas, the sports academy that opened in Kernersville last year and quickly ran out of money.

Gatlin was an assistant coach at Greensboro Day before taking the Veritas job. He also works as a personal trainer - among his pupils is 7-foot-9, 370-pound Chinese star Sun Ming Ming - but that business has changed.

"Most of the kids I train now are college kids and guys that play professionally in Europe," Gatlin said. "I stopped training a lot of the younger kids because I didn't want parents to think I was training kids to try to get them to come to Veritas or (Wesleyan). I would train my own kids that already played for me, but ... I stopped doing a lot of high school training when I took the job at Veritas because that's a conflict of interest."

Another story from fills in some more details of Gatlin's career:

Keith came to Greensboro and was set to play for the Greensboro City Gaters of the short-lived Global Basketball Association(GBA), but he suffered a knee injury and never got to suit up for the City Gaters. [...]

Gatlin recovered enough from that knee injury to get in some quality time playing professional basketball in Europe and did well enough finacially to return to Greensboro after his playing days in Europe were complete.

Gatlin became a youth basketball coach and helped run camps here locally and he also served as the assistant to Greensboro Day School head coach Freddy Johnson. Gatlin later coached the girl’s at GDS for a brief time, before Josh Shoemaker took over the Lady Bengals. Keith and his wife also opened up an over-the-road trucking company that put them in the transport business.
Keith became the head boy’s basketball coach at the now-defunct Veritas Academy in Kernersville and maintained that team and job for one season.(2008/2009)

Here's the YouTube clip of Gatlin's famous inbounds play against UNC in 1986 that is mentioned in the story. I might not remember Gatlin, but I do clearly remember seeing this game on TV way back when:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Joe Smith Signs with Atlanta Hawks

It's not officially announced yet, but ESPN is reporting that Joe Smith (1993-95) has signed a 1 year deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Since the free agent signing period started, the Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Orlando Magic had all been rumored to be interested in him.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

John Gilchrist in Australia

John Gilchrist (2002-05) has signed to play with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia's NBL. Here's an excerpt from the story from Adelaide Now:
The American playmaker, who in 2004 led University of Maryland to its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 20 years, has impressed strongly during a two-week trial and has agreed to terms. The MVP of the ACC tournament, Gilchrist, 25 and 191cm, has big shoes to fill here following the retirement of superstar guard Brett Maher.

But coach Scott Ninnis always was confident he had found the right man.

"He's going to terrorise a lot of NBL players this season," Ninnis said.

The 36ers should formally announce securing Gilchrist's signature within a few days and he is likely to make their up-tempo game a treat to watch.

Access Athletes' Real Athlete Blog has a three part interview with John Gilchrst that started last month and concluded this week:
Part I - "The Journey", about John's rise to stardom in Southeastern Virginia.
Part II - "The Lessons", about John's departure from Maryland and life lessons as a young professional overseas.
Part III - "Alert and Prepared", about John's new outlook and goals for his career.

(Thanks to Testudo Times for finding the first part of this interview last week.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dave Neal: School and Hoops in Ireland

The Washington Times D1SCOURSE blog has news about recent grad Dave Neal (2005-09). Dave will be going to grad school and playing professional basketball in the Irish Superleague in Northern Ireland this fall:
Neal will attend the University of Ulster in Belfast this year, where he will work on a master's degree in sports management while playing in Basketball Ireland's SuperLeague. [...]

"People always say I fit more of an international game," Neal said. "I'm not the most athletic guy, but I'm very fundamentally sound. That's what international ball is all about. You're going to have some athletes, but the majority of it is fundamentals, knowing the game and playing hard. I have a chance to do well, and if I have a good season, you never know what next year will bring."

Update 8/17/09: In the comments section of his blog, Patrick Stevens answered my question about what team Dave will play for: the University of Ulster Team, which appears to be called the Ulster Elks.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kristi Toliver Talks About Being a WNBA Rookie

Last week on, former All-American Terp Kristi Toliver (2005-09) talked about her rookie season playing for the WNBA's Chicago Sky, where she is currently averaging 6.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Q: What were your feelings coming back to DC to face former teammates, Crystal and Marissa, in front of many Terp fans this summer?
A: It was awesome coming to DC! It was great to see all the red in the stands and to hear the cheers when I came into the game for the first time. It was even better hearing them silent when I started making some shots towards the end.

Updated 8/12/09: The Baltimore Sun is also running a story about Kristi Toliver this week.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Osby in Germany

Bambale Osby (2006-08) has signed to play in Germany (translation) with Phoenix Hagen. This will be Hagen's first season in Germany's top league, the Bundesliga, having been recently promoted after finishing last season #2 in the lower ProA league.

Here is the relevant excerpt from the team's press release:
Osby is 23 years old, 2.03 m tall, 118 kg in weight and plays power forward and center. The man with Congolese roots played last year at Mobitelco Cluj in Romania. There, he reached an average of 10.7 points and 7.6 rebounds. "Boom", as he is nicknamed, previously played in college at the University of Maryland. In his senior season, he scored 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots.

"Bambale Osby is exactly the player we wanted. He gives us what we need under the basket. He is strong on defense and rebounding, and he brings the necessary mass to dagegenzuhalten," said new Phoenix coach Ingo Freyer. Freyer was particularly impressed by Osby's appearance in a European Cup game against German champion Oldenburg, where he scored 18 points and 6 rebounds.

Last season, I felt that Maryland was definately lacking in dagegenzuhalten after Osby's departure. (Google translation doesn't know what dagegenzuhalten means; other free translation sites say it means, "on the other hand to hold," but that doesn't help in this context. Could mean defense under the basket? Could be offensive putbacks? Any German speakers out there?).

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Steve Blake Saves Lives

OK, so maybe the title of this post is a little bit of an exaggeration, but Steve Blake (1999-2003) did rescue two young boys who had become separated from their parents while hiking in an Oregon State Park.

(Found via Gary Williams's Twitter feed.)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Baxter and Ibekwe sign in Turkey

Lonny Baxter (1998-2002) has signed a new deal (translation) with Besiktas of Turkey's top league, the TBL. Several years ago, Rodney Elliott used to play for Besiktas, and Laura Harper and Shay Doron both played for Besiktas's womens team last year.

Staying in the Turkish Basketball League for another year, Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) has signed with Kepez Bld Anatalya (translation). Ekene played in the TBL last season with Mutlu Aku Selcuk Universitesi Konya, but that team finished near the bottom of the league and was relegated to the TBL2 minor league. By signing with Kepez, Ibekwe will get to continue playing in the top pro league.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top 20 Players of the Gary Williams Era

Last month in the Washington Times D1SCOURSE blog, Patrick Stevens ranked the top 20 players of the Gary Williams era based on their college careers, counting down to number 1: Juan Dixon. You can read his full top 20 at the bottom of the post.

Here is my own Top 10, based solely on post-college professional success. Feel free to debate in the comments section!

#11) Keith Booth: 2 NBA seasons, where he got an NBA Championship ring with the Bulls (albeit at the end of the bench). Post-NBA, he has developed into a good assistant coach, and could move up on this list before his coaching career is over. Keith was originally my #10, but at the last minute before posting, I remembered someone else who had to be on the list, so I'm keeping Keith Booth here as an honorable mention. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#10) Juan Dixon: 7 NBA seasons and counting as a good role player off the bench, but he may have peaked in 2005-06 with Portland (the only year he was consistently a starter). ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#9) Terence Morris: Played a few years off the bench in the NBA, then went to Europe where he became a highly-respected starter. Made it to the Euroleague Finals twice, but lost twice. All-Euroleague team in 2008. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#8) Chris Wilcox: 7 NBA seasons and counting, but may have peaked in 2005-07 with Seattle when he was one of the team's star players. Recently joined the Pistons, where he could rejuvenate his career and move up on the list. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#7) Steve Blake: 6 NBA seasons and still improving. Blossomed into a starting point guard in the league in Denver and Portland. Could move up on this list before his career is over. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#6) Drew Nicholas: The NBA thought he was too small, so he went and became a star sharp-shooter in Europe, winning a Euroleague championship this spring. Italian league scoring champ in 2005, Euroleague scoring champ in 2006. (Wikipedia)

#5) Tony Massenburg: Played for 12 NBA teams in 13 seasons plus some great seasons Europe, winning an NBA Championship with the Spurs in 2005 and a Spanish League Championship with Barcelona in 1994. Started 233 career NBA games. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#4) Walt Williams: 11 seasons in the NBA with 6 teams. 409 career starts, but only played in 35 post-season games, since he was on a lot of bad teams. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#3) Joe Smith: #1 draft pick and 14 seasons (and counting) in the NBA. His career got off to a slow start, but he has turned into a consistent role player that contending teams covet. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#2) Steve Francis: 9 NBA seasons, #2 draft pick, Co-Rookie-of-the-Year, 3-time All-Star. Could have become a Hall of Fame Player if his career hadn't been plagued by injuries and playing for the Knicks. ( Profile, Wikipedia)

#1) Sarunas Jasikevicius: His NBA run fizzled, but the guy is a genuine STAR on and off the court in Europe, with four Euroleage championships with three different teams. Led Lithuania to the 2003 FIBA European Championship. All Euroleague Team in 2004 and 2005, Euroleague Final Four MVP in 2005, FIBA European Championship MVP in 2003. Won national league championships in Slovenia, twice in Spain, twice in Israel, and twice in Greece. Sarunas has NOT won a league championship in only 4 of his 11 pro seasons, including his two years in the NBA. (Wikipedia)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chris Wilcox Signs with the Detroit Pistons

Chris Wilcox (2000-02) has signed as a free agent with the Detroit Pistons. His new deal is worth $6 million for 2 years. The Detroit Free Press says:
One the major weaknesses of last season's 39-43 squad was a lack of athleticism; other teams were quicker and played above the rim against the Pistons.

Wilcox addresses that -- the 6-foot-10, 235-pounder can pull off some highlight-reel dunks.

The Piston's team blog says that while many people in the league have written Wilcox off, GM Joe Dumars believes that with a fresh start with a young team, he can blossom:
Wilcox carries something of an underachiever label with him to Detroit, which explains why he was still available more than two weeks into free agency and why the Pistons got him for $6 million over two years [...]

But like so many of the players Joe D has picked up in the past and watched thrive in the environment he’s painstakingly created with the Pistons, Wilcox has been mired in situations that would have had to improve by half to be considered mediocre. Consider this: In seven seasons in the NBA, he’s yet to finish one of them with a winning team. The Clippers won 27, 28 and 37 games in his first three seasons, then traded him midway through the next year to Seattle, which won 35, 31 and 20 in his three seasons there. Last season was split between the relocated Thunder and the woebegone Knicks, both of them speeding toward the lottery.

Not only has Wilcox never appeared in a playoff game, he’s never been on a team that threw it up on opening night dreaming the playoffs were a possibility.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Terps in the NBA Summer League

Three former Terps are playing this summer in the 2009 NBA Summer League: James Gist, Ekene Ibekwe, and Nik Caner-Medley.

James Gist (2004-08) is back in the US after his year in Italy and playing for the Spurs. (Summer League Stats)

In a post on the Diamondback's Terrapin Trail blog last month, James Gist, while attending Ty Lawson's draft party, said he intends to play for the Spurs this year:
Gist, drafted last year by the San Antonio Spurs No. 57 overall, has played basketball with Lawson since the two were in elementary school. Last year the Terp didn’t make the Spurs roster and played with Pallacanestro Biella in the Italian professional leagues. But Gist said this year he’s determined to have a reunion with his longtime friend.

“Sunday I’m going down to San Antonio to start working out,” he said. “Hopefully I get to play against Ty again. I’m going to play for the Spurs this year.”

Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) is doing OK now following a scary injury during a Toronto Raptors game. (Summer League Stats)
Toronto's Ekene Ibekwe was hurt making a game-saving block during the Raptors' 74-73 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix's Goran Dragic drove in the final seconds and his layup attempt was blocked by Ibekwe, who was undercut by Dragic. Ibekwe's chin crashed to the floor. Ibekwe was immobilized and taken off the court in a stretcher and rushed to a UMC Medical Center. He did not sustain any serious injuries, but it is uncertain if he will play in the remaining game for the Raptors.

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06), after spending the season in Spain's top pro league, is playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, and is impressing the team. (Summer League Stats)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2008-09 Overseas League Wrap-Up

Here is a wrap-up of how all of our former Terps fared playing overseas last season. Stats are from; click on the player names for their EuroBasket profiles.

Lonny Baxter played for Panionios ON Telecoms in Athens, Greece. In Greek League games, he scored 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game (21 games). The team finished 6th in the league, and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Panionios also played in the Euroleague tournament, but did not advance past the opening round. Lonny scored 11.0 points, 5.8 rebounds per game (8 games) in Euroleague games.

Parrish Brown's team, Portos, finished in last place in Mexico's LNBP North Division. (No stats available)

Nik Caner-Medley played for Cajasol Sevilla of Spain's ACB League. In ACB games, he scored 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game (20 games). Cajasol finished in 14th place (out of 17) in the league and missed the playoffs. Cajasol also played in the EuroChallenge tournament, where they advanced to the Top 16 round-robin stage. Nik scored 10.5 points, 5.6 rebounds per game (10 games) in the tournament.

Andre Collins played for Carife Ferrara of Italy's SerieA. Ferrara finished in 10th place and did not make the playoffs. Collins had probably the best stat line of any former Terp this season, scoring 17.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 3.0 steals per game (30 games).

Rodney Elliott played for Paris-Levallois which finished first in the French ProB League regular season, but lost in the semifinals of the league tournament. He scored 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds (39 games).

Travis Garrison's team, Dalaman A.S. Pamukkale Univ., finished in 6th place in their division in Turkey's TB2L (2nd division). (No stats available)

James Gist played his first pro season for Angelica Biella of Italy. He scored 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game (34 games). Angelica finished in 7th place in Italy's SerieA regular season but lost in the semifinals of the league tournament.

Ekene Ibekwe played for Mutlu Aku Selcuk Universitesi Konya of Turkey this season. Selcuk finished in 15th place (next to last) in the Turkey's TBL (1st division). He scored 18.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game (28 games). Following the Turkish season, he joined Gigantes de Carolina of Puerto Rico's BSN league, which is currently playing games in the summer.

Sarunas Jasikevicius won both the Euroleague Championship and the Greek League Championship (they finished 2nd in the regular season) with his team Panathinaikos, and his teammate, Drew Nicholas. In Greek League games, he scored 11.4 points and 2.7 assists per game (29 games), and in the Euroleague, he scored 9.4 points and 3.4 assists per game (18 games).

Mike Jonesand his team CSU Asesoft Ploesti won the Romanian League Championship (they also finished 1st in the regular season). He scored 13.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game (37 games). Ploesti also played in the EuroChallenge tournament, but did not get past the opening round. Mike scored 8.8 points per game (4 games) in that tournament.

Chris McCray played for Italy's Lega2 (2nd division) Basket Rimini Crabs, which finished in a 5-way tie for 6th place in the regular season, but lost in the quarterfinals of the league tournament (they lost to Jamar Smith's team). He scored 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds per game (32 games).

Terence Morris and CSKA Moscow had a great season, reaching the championship game of the Euroleague tournament (losing to Jasikevicius and Nicholas's PAO team). Morris scored 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game (20 games) in the tournament. Due to limitations on foreign players on rosters in the Russian Superleague, Terence only played in only a few Russian league games very early in the season, where he scored 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds (5 games). CSKA won the Russian Superleague Championship, but Morris was not on the court.

Drew Nicholas also played for Panathinaikos, helping PAO win both the Euroleague Championship and the Greek League Championship with teammate Sarunas Jasikevicius. Nicholas scored 7.3 points per game in the Greek League (33 games) and 8.3 points per game in Euroleague games (22 games).

Bambale Osby played for Univ Mobitelco Cluj Napoca of the Romanian League, finishing in 5th place in the regular season and losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. He scored 10.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game (31 games). Cluj also played in the opening round of the EuroChallenge tournament, but did not advance. Osby scored 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in their 2 tournament games.

Ryan Randle played for Saint-Etienne B.C. of the French ProB league. Saint-Etienne finished in 8th place in the regular season and lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs to Rodney Elliott's Levallois team. Ryan scored 8.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game (14 games).

Jamar Smith played for Fastweb Junior Casale Monferrato of Italy's Lega2. The team finished in 4th place in the regular season and lost in the semifinals of the league tournament. He scored 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game (37 games).

DJ Strawberry played for GMAC Real Estate Bologna, which finished in 15th place (next to last) in Italy's SerieA. Bologna also played in the Eurocup regular season, but did not advance to the Top 16. DJ scored 11.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game (19 games) in Italian league play. In their Eurocup games, he scored 14.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals (6 games).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2008-09 NBA Season Wrap-Up

Here's how Maryland's Alumni fared in the 2007-08 NBA regular season. Click on the names for expanded stats from

Steve BlakePOR696931.711.02.55.0
Juan DixonWAS50616.
Joe Smith-- 57319.
OKC 36319.
CLE 21019.
Chris Wilcox--- 62616.
OKC 37619.
NYK 25013.

In the playoffs, Joe Smith and Cleveland made it to the Eastern Conference finals, losing to Orlando. Smith scored 5.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.2 assists in 16.8 minutes per game over 13 games. Steve Blake and Portland lost in the first round to the Houston Rockets. Blake scored 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in 38.5 minutes per game over 6 games. Steve Francis sat out the entire season injured (after only playing in 10 games in 2007-08). He was traded from Houston to Memphis during the season, but his contract is expiring and Memphis does not plan to resign him

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Terence Morris Signs with Efes Pilsen

Terence Morris (1997-2001) has signed a new deal (translation) to play for Efes Pilsen in Turkey next season. Efes is fresh off winning the Turkish league championship this season. Morris also drew interest (translation) from top European teams Real Madrid and Spanish champion Barcelona.

Two seasons ago, Morris led his team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, to the Euroleague championship game, but finished as runners-up to champion CSKA Moscow. This season, he came off the bench as his team, CSKA Moscow, made it to the Euroleage championship game again, only to finish as runners-up to Panathinaikos. Next year, Morris will play for Efes Pilsen, which used to have ex-Terp Drew Nicholas on their team from 2006 to 2008. Laron Profit also briefly played for Efes during the 2006-07 season. The last two times Efes made it to the Euroleague quarterfinals, they lost to Panathinaikos in 2005 and CSKA in 2006, so there are team connections all around.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Juan Dixon Reflects on the Season

In this Washington Times article from a few weeks ago, Juan Dixon (1998-2002) reflects on the past season with the Wizards and his uncertain future:
When Juan Dixon returned to the District in September, re-signing with the team that drafted him in 2002 and seizing again the opportunity to play near his native Baltimore, he sought stability and a spark that would revive his career. [...]

"It's been a frustrating year, for all of us," he said. "First of all, not being able to put together a good season, losing our coach early in the year, injuries - it's just been a long, frustrating season. But for the most part, everybody's been real professional, continued to come to work every day and work hard."

Early in the season, Dixon started six games at point guard while filling in for hobbled teammates. Since then, he has endured an uneventful campaign: He has received some opportunities but many more nights when his name isn't called at all. [...]

It hasn't been the triumphant homecoming or springboard season Dixon had hoped for. With his contract expiring after the season, his future remains uncertain, but Dixon said he has no regrets about signing with the Wizards. "It was a good situation. I enjoyed playing in front of the home crowd. I get a lot of support here," Dixon said.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Andre Collins is Big in Italy

Andre Collins (2001-04) is the star player for Carife Ferrara of Italy's top pro league. Italian website TuttoBasket has a long story about Collins (translation), which is fascinating to read, but frustrating to get through the bad auto-translation and messed-up page formatting. Here is a snippet, which I have cleaned up a lot, in which he is being compared to another short Italian league guard, rival Terrell McIntyre:
But the similarities with McIntyre continue: he had tried to play in a major college in America (the Sienna player played at Clemson) at Maryland where he won the NCAA title in 2002 and was teammates with Fortitudo player DJ Strawberry, but after three years spent on the bench fighting the prejudices of coach Gary Williams, who considered him too small to be competitive at that level, Collins chose to move to small Loyola University as a way to have more exposure. Collins scored 26.1 points on average there. Ignored by NBA clubs, he landed in Italy. Ferrara is now a second home in Italy for him. He found his girlfriend, Marilisa, and good companions with which to play poker. Collins also has a sort of fixation on superstitions. Before every game, he follows a complicated stretching routine and his pre-menu never changes: lasagna and homemade salad, rice and chicken. Before each free throw, he touches an image of his grandfather tattooed on his right arm. Collins has a passion for tattoos. He has 19, some dedicated to missing relatives including a cousin who died young, others with phrases such as a motivational words about basketball stamped on his left arm.

In another short interview (translation) I found with Italy's BasketNet, Collins is compared to another Italian rival, former LA Clipper Earl Boykins, whom he dominated in a recent game.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Jasikevicius and Nicholas Win Euroleague Championship

Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) and Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) are Euroleague Champions, as their team Panathinaikos hung on to defeat CSKA Moscow 73-71. Sarunas had 10 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal, while Nicholas chipped in 7 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist. For CSKA Moscow, Terence Morris (1997-2001) played 10 minutes, but did not score or rebound.

The game looked like a Panathinaikos blow-out in the first half, with the Greens leading by 20 at halftime. But they went ice cold in the 3rd period, as CSKA chipped away at the lead to cut it to within 1 point with 8 seconds left in the game. But Jasikevicius hit one of two free throws with 5 seconds left to extend the lead to its final margin of 2.

At the 0:39 mark of this highlight video, watch the assist from Nicholas (#11) to Jasikevicius (#19) in the corner for three. Then, at the 1:05 mark, check out the sweet Jasikevicius behind-the-back assist to Nicholas for the three pointer to end the first half:

This was Sarunas Jasikevicius's fourth Euroleague title in four trips to the Final Four with his third different team. Here is Sarunas's post-game interview:

The replay of the game should be available on ESPN360 for a day or two, if ESPN360 is compatible with your internet provider (the semi-final games are still available for replay as of Monday morning (5/4/09) as well).

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mike Jones Dunking Videos

My site stats tell me that a lot of people are coming here for news about Mike Jones (2003-07), following a message board link. I don't have any new news stories about Jones to link to, but he is still playing for CSU Asesoft of Ploiesti, Romania. His team won the regular season and the Romanian Cup tournament last month, but is currently trailing 1-0 in a best-of-three series in the league tournament semi-finals.

To give the people what they want though, here are two YouTube videos of Mike Jones dunking during warm-ups:

Friday, May 01, 2009

Three Terps Make the Euroleague Final Four

Sarunas JasikeviciusBoth teams with Terps won their Euroleague Final Four semifinal games today in Berlin.

In the first game, CSKA Moscow (with Terence Morris (1997-2001)) defeated Regal FC Barcelona 82-78. Morris did not score, but had 3 rebounds.

In the second game, Panathinaikos (with Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) and Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98)) beat Greek arch-rival Olympiacos 84-82. Nicholas, usually a dangerous 3 point shooter, did not score in the game (1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal), but Jasikevicius had 18 points, 5 assists, and 3 boards.

Both games are still available for viewing on ESPN360, if your broadband provider is partnered with ESPN.

All three Terps now meet each other Sunday afternoon at 2pm Eastern time for the Euroleague Championship. The game will be on NBA TV and ESPN360 in the U.S. and Canada.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nik Caner-Medley Suspended from Team

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) has been suspended from his team (translation), Cajasol of Seville, Spain, for taking part in a fight outside a nightclub.
Cajasol has decided to temporarily suspend U.S. forward Nik Caner-Medley and open disciplinary proceedings after he participated last Sunday in a fight outside a nightclub in Nervión with Senegalese player Diouf. [...]

The forward from the United States had a good season, leaving a fantastic impression with the club, but this complicates his continued play for Cajasol, the club to which he is under contract until the end of this season.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DJ Strawberry and Lonny Baxter's Seasons End with Injury

DJ Strawberry's (2003-07) first season playing in Europe ended last week with DJ injuring his left lateral meniscus (translation). He left his Italian league team, Fortitudo Bologna, to return to the US for surgery after a disappointing season:
DJ Strawberry said farewell to Fortitudo. The American has not left Bologna to escape, but of necessity: his return to the States is due to the need to intervene surgically to heal his wounded left lateral meniscus, which in the last few hours had gone limp. "I am sad," he said. "I wanted to finish the season with the team. It was not easy away for the first time from the United States, but I am convinced that if we had not had many problems with injuries we could have found the balance necessary."

Strawberry's story ended after five months, not meeting expectations: he averaged 11 points in 28 minutes per game, 43% shooting and only 24% from 3 point range. His performance was even more marginal in his final games, with 7 points in 65 minutes total (shooting just 3 / 13) in the last 3 games.

There is much less news I can find about Lonny Baxter (1998-2002), but he also apparently suffered a season ending injury (translation), and has left his Greek league team, Panionios ON Telecoms, to return to the U.S. for surgery.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Euroleague Final Four Coming Up

Drew NicholasThe Euroleague Final Four is coming up this Friday and Sunday in Berlin, Germany, and it features three prominent former Terps. The games will be broadcast in the United States and Canada on NBA TV and ESPN360. Here's the complete worldwide TV Schedule. (Note that the CET time zone is 6 hours behind the U.S.'s Eastern time zone.)

ESPN360 doesn't work with all Internet providers; in Maryland, I know it works for Verizon customers, but Comcast customers are out of luck. But if it works for you, it will let you replay games up to a few days later, so you can watch the Friday afternoon games after you get home Friday evening.

On Friday, May 1, Game 1 at 12 noon Eastern features Terence Morris's (1997-2001) CSKA Moscow taking on Regal FC Barcelona. Morris (#44) is a reserve forward, but look for him to get 15-20 minutes off the bench.

Game 2, at 3pm Eastern, features Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) and Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) of Panathinaikos versus Olympiacos. This game should be good: Panathinaikos (in Athens) and Olympiacos (in nearby Pireaus) are neighbors and archrivals as well as being historically among the top teams in Europe, like a Greek version of UNC vs. Duke. Nicholas (#11) is the starting shooting guard and Jasikevicius (#19) is their 6th man, but is still a star point guard who will share minutes with the starter.

On Sunday, May 3, the two semifinal losers play each other for third place at 11am Eastern, followed by the championship game at 2pm Eastern.

The four teams playing this weekend have a lot of American players (not just our three Terps) and European players with American connections whom you have heard of. The Ball in Europe blog takes a look at the rosters to tell you who to watch for.