Thursday, February 26, 2009

Euroleague Top 16: Part II

Drew Nicholas shoots a 3 pointerWe're now 2/3 of the way through the Euroleague Top 16 round-robin, and CSKA Moscow, featuring Terence Morris (1997-2001), and Panathanaikos, featuring Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) and Drew Nicholas (1999-2003), are both in the driver's seat of their respective groups.

CSKA was 2-0 through their first two games, but in game 3, they dropped their first game of the round, losing 78-56 to Montepaschi Siena on the road. Terence Morris was the only CSKA player to score in double digits, getting 10 points and 8 rebounds. But in the rematch back home in Moscow, CSKA turned things around, beating Siena 95-71. Morris had 10 points (3/4 on 3-pointers), 3 boards, and 3 assists. CSKA is now 3-1 and in first place in group H, with 2 games remaining.

In an interesting side note, I found CSKA's coach's blog, where I learned that Terence only plays in Euroleague games for CSKA, because the Russian Superleague has more stringent rules than Euroleague limiting the number of foreign players on the roster for domestic league games.

Meanwhile in Greece, Panathanaikos blew out Lottomatica Roma 92-67 in game 3 at home. Drew Nicholas led the team with 11 points and 4 steals, while Sarunas Jasikevicius had 9 points and 5 assists. In the game 4 rematch, Panathanaikos went on the road to beat Roma again, 90-71. Nicholas scored 15 points (5/6 on 3-pointers), while Jasikevicius scored 14 points. With the win, Panathanaikos moves to 4-0 in group G, and clinches a berth in the quarterfinals.

Check back in two weeks for the next update at the end of the Top 16 round.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Joe Smith is a Wanted Man has a big story about how Joe Smith (1993-95) is wanted by NBA playoff contenders, but Joe is happy to just finish out the year in Oklahoma City (thanks Testudo Times for finding this). Excerpts:
Smith, likewise, did a pretty good job of making Oklahoma City sound like the best fit for him, difficult as that might be for anyone, never mind a 14-year veteran who was dealt to New Orleans last week only to have the trade rescinded after Tyson Chandler failed his physical. [...]

Going to a serious contender, though, could be an even better thing for Smith. He would be a terrific addition to the Celtics, Cavaliers, Spurs, Lakers or even the Nuggets. He is a fundamentally sound player, an opportunistic scorer, a skilled practicioner of help defense and a wrinkle-free locker-room guy. He has the requisite length to make a difference in the paint, in rationed minutes, for any NBA team. And if P.J. Brown can get off the couch to boost Boston and win himself a ring last spring, Smith could easily go from Thunder to postseason lightning for one of the league's powers. [...]

Now, though, Smith has a chance for something better than a nice fit. He has made a great living, but he has a shot at a tremendous late-career transformation. Until last spring, Smith never had made it out of the first round of the playoffs, playing only 26 games in six trips across his first 12 seasons. Last year, he got to Game 7 of the second round with the Cavaliers.

He could go further, perhaps much further, this time around, if only he would make noise and rock boats. But that's not Joe Smith's style, and it hasn't been his career.

Three Terps make FIBA Women's EuroLeague All-Star Roster

Shay Doron (2003-07) was named as a starter in the FIBA EuroLeague Women's All-Star Game for the "European" team, possibly awkwardly representing her old team, Besiktas, who was forced by FIBA to grant her release to play elsewhere a few weeks ago. Shay was one of the top 5 vote-getters in public voting for the roster.

Laura Harper (2004-08) and Crystal Langhorne (2004-08) are both also on the All-Star roster as reserves for the "Rest of the World" team. The game will be played March 7, in Paris, France.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shay Doron Allowed to Play in Israel

I let this story drop after following it last month, but Shay Doron (2003-07) was eventually cleared to play for Ramat Hen of the Israeli league after FIBA released her from her contract with Besiktas of Turkey:
Shay Doron's long awaited release from Besiktas has arrived. FIBA ruled in favor of the Israeli National Team star, and she'll make her Ramat Hen debut on Monday night against Electra Ramat Hasharon.

FIBA decided Besiktas must give Doron her release from the club, after nearly three weeks of deliberations. FIBA ruled in favor of Doron who claimed the Turkish club broke the terms of her contract prior to her leaving.

Shay Doron fans will want to bookmark her official website for more news updates.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wilcox Heads to New York Instead

After the New Orleans trade fell apart earlier this week, Chris Wilcox (2000-02) has now been traded from Oklahoma City to the New York Knicks. Also, there are rumors that Joe Smith (1993-95) wants out of his contract to sign elsewhere. From
Wilcox was one of the players the Thunder had sent to New Orleans in the trade for Tyson Chandler that was voided by Oklahoma City after Chandler failed a physical. The other was Joe Smith, who would like to be bought out by the Thunder in order to sign as a free agent with the Boston Celtics, a source told late Wednesday night.

From the Knicks' website:
"Chris is a gifted athletic big man that brings toughness and solidifies our interior defense," D'Antoni said.

Wilcox, who is averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds this season, comes to New York after spending over three seasons with the Thunder - formally known as the Seattle Sonics. He became available after Oklahoma City rescinded on a trade that would have sent Wilcox, Joe Smith and the draft rights to DeVon Hardin to New Orleans for Tyson Chandler.

"We had talked about (dealing for Wilcox) before and that actually broke kind of a logjam for us," Walsh said. "It allowed us to do what we wanted to do with the fact that deal went down because getting Wilcox allowed us to make the deal with Chicago."

Wilcox is averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds during his seven-year NBA career with his best season coming in 2005-06 when he posted 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in all 82 games for the Sonics.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Orleans Should Have Called "No-Take-Backs"

It looks like the trade sending Joe Smith (1993-95) and Chris Wilcox (2000-02) is off after Tyson Chandler failed his physical with the Oklahoma City team doctor.
After examining Chandler's left big toe, Dr. Carlan Yates, Oklahoma City's team physician, determined that the risk of re-injury was too great to give Chandler a clean bill of health. He therefore advised the Thunder to rescind Tuesday's trade that landed them Chandler for Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox and the rights to Devon Hardin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wilcox and Smith Traded to New Orleans

In what has become an annual February event for this blog, Joe Smith (1993-95) has been traded. What makes this year special is that he was traded along with fellow Terp and Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Chris Wilcox (2000-02). Both Smith and Wilcox were traded to the New Orleans Hornets:
Although he mostly played power forward with the Thunder, Wilcox is expected to start at center. In his seventh season, Wilcox, 6-10, 235 pounds, averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 36 games that included six starts with the Thunder.

Smith, a 14-year veteran power forward, is expected to come off the bench. He averaged 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 36 games with the Thunder.

Most news stories about the deal are pointing out that the primary motivation for the trade was for New Orleans to dump Tyson Chandler's salary for next season, since both Wilcox and Smith have contracts that expire after the season. In their press release, the Hornets said all the niceties to make it sound like this isn't just salary cap financial maneuvering:
"We were able to get great depth, leadership and experience by making this trade," said Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower. "We felt we needed to increase our overall play of the frontline and Chris Wilcox is a young, athletic player that can score and fit well in our system. We will be able to take advantage of his athleticism and style of play. Joe provides us with much needed depth and someone who can be an integral part of our rotation." points out that Wilcox and Smith were sharing the backup power forward duties in OKC:
Wilcox and Smith have played roughly the same amount of minutes this season. Smith, the former No. 1 overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft, is averaging 19.2 minutes a game in Oklahoma City while Wilcox is at 19.4 minutes a game. The pair served as backups for second-year forward Jeff Green.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ryan Randle Playing in Mexico

Ryan Randle (2001-03) is now playing for Barreteros de Zacatecas of Mexico's LNBP. He was signed to the team in late January to reinforce their roster (translation) going into the playoffs:
Ryan Randle, Zacatecas reinforcement for the playoffs, contributed 14 points and 4 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. Thus, the player of 2.06 meters from Duncanville, Texas, has emerged as a key element to fight with everything in the postseason.

Randle is a graduate of the University of Maryland, has 27 years and has experience in the league of the NBA Development, which has emerged as a good player in the post. During the match [head coach] Alex Rivera took to get used to the different schemes of the team, while allowing the rest of the table to fit the skills of Ryan.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Euroleague Update: Top 16 Games 1-2

Sarunas JasikeviciusIn week 1 of Euroleague Top 16 play, CSKA Moscow won their first game, beating Fenerbahce Ulker 66-48. Terence Morris (1997-2001) had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and a block. Meanwhile, Panathinaikos also won their first game, 81-63 over Partizan Belgrade. Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) only scored 2 points, while Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) scored 6.

In a week 2 game that was a thriller for the first three quarters, Panathinaikos ended up pulling away from Unicaja (of Malaga, Spain) 81-69. Nicholas led the team with 19 points (including four 3-pointers), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Jasikevicius was next on the team with 18 points (three 3-pointers), 3 assists, and 1 steal. It was Unicaja's first home loss in a Euroleague game since 2006. Meanwhile, Morris and CSKA easily got past Cibona 87-61. Morris had 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Sarunas is the featured player on the Euroleague website this week, answering fan mail questions.
Q: What is your biggest achievement with the national team and at the club level in your long basketball career?

"At the club level, there's nothing better than winning the Euroleague, and on the national team, nothing better than winning the bronze at the Olympics or the gold in the European championships. The biggest thing for me is playing for the national team. I love my country and playing for the people there. I'm absolutely crazy about them. There is nothing better than playing preparation or exhibition games for the Olympics or whatever in gyms around Lithuania with 5,000 crazy people loving every minute of it."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Kurtis Shultz Promoted Within Bucs Coaching Staff

Kurtis Shultz (1991-95), who has worked as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a few years, has been promoted to head strength and conditioning coach for the team:
Shultz has coached in the NFL since 2003, with the Cincinnati Bengals (2003), Minnesota Vikings (2004-05) and the Buccaneers (2006-08) as the assistant strength & conditioning coach. Shultz has helped guide six players to eight Pro Bowl appearances since joining the Buccaneers in 2006.