Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ryan Randle in France

Ryan Randle (2001-03) has signed to play (translation) with Saint-Etienne B.C. of the French Pro-B league:

A native of Duncanville, Texas (USA), Ryan Randle comes straight from Mexico where he made the play-offs with Barreteros Zacatecas.

He is familiar with European basketball: after a short stint with ALM Evreux (France Pro-B) in 2003, he played four seasons with Slask Wroclaw (Poland) and AEL Limassol (Cyprus).

During this period he built a solid level of experience by participating in the Euroleague in 2004 and the ULEB Cup in 2005 with Slask Wroclaw, and then played in the FIBA EuroCup in 2007 and 2008 with AEL Limassol.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Euroleague Top 16: Part III

Euroleague LogoThe Euroleague Top 16 round drew to a close, with Terence Morris's (1997-2001) CSKA Moscow and Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) and Drew Nicholas's (1999-2003) Panathinaikos of Athens both finishing 5-1 and in first place in their respective groups. So all three of our former Terps will continue on to the next round. If both teams win out, they would not meet each other until the finals.

When we last left Panathinaikos, they were undefeated in Group G. But that ended in week 5, as they lost on the road to Partizan of Belgrade, Serbia, 63-56. Drew Nicholas did not score (despite starting and playing 18 minutes), finishing with a mere 2 steals, 1 assist, and 1 rebound. Sarunas did little better, scoring 3 points to go with 3 turnovers and 4 fouls. The loss left Panathinaikos and Partizan tied atop the Group G standings. But in week 6, Panathiakos turned things around with a dramatic overtime win at home, 103-95, versus Unicaja, of Malaga, Spain. Panathinaikos blew a 22 point second half lead (sound familiar, Terp fans?), but Nicholas scored 11 points in overtime, including three 3-pointers, to pull out the win. Nicholas finished with 15 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Jasikevicius had 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists. Panathiakos finished 1st in Group G (after Partizan lost their last game), and will have home-court advantage for a best-of-5 series against Montepaschi Siena in the quarterfinals, March 24 - April 8.

After splitting games 3 and 4 with Montepaschi, CSKA Moscow stayed in control of Group H in weeks 5 and 6. In week 5, CSKA defeated Fenerbahce Ulker of Istanbul, Turkey, 77-60 to clinch a quarterfinal berth. Terence Morris had 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. In week 6, CSKA clinched home-court advantage for the quarterfinals by winning on the road, 73-63 over Cibona in Zagreb, Croatia. Morris had 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. CSKA will play their best-of-5 quarterfinal series against Partizan in the quarterfinals.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Joe Smith Returns to Cleveland

As expected, Joe Smith (1993-95) is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the rest of the season. Joe signed a 1 year deal with the Cavs after being released from the Oklahoma City Thunder over the weekend and clearing waivers.
The 6-10, 14-year pro will provide the Cavs with some needed big-man depth. A solid defender who is also an effective midrange shooter, Smith will help fill the hole Ben Wallace left when he broke his leg last week.

When Wallace returns, which could be in as little as three weeks, Smith will give the Cavs more experience in their big-man rotation.

Several teams reportedly showed interest in Smith, including the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets. thinks Smith makes the Cavaliers a dangerous team for the playoffs:

With Anderson Varejao replacing Wallace in the starting lineup, Smith would also give the Cavs' second unit an offensive boost. "The [J.J.] Hickson kid is nice, but he's a rookie," the scout said. "When the playoffs come around, Smith has been there and one thing they didn't have is a guy to bring consistency on offense."

Smith, who can hit the mid-range jumper, could be used much like the Cavs use Zydrunas Ilgauskas to set screens at the top of the key or on the wing in their new motion offense.

"Smith isn't as good as [Antonio] McDyess in Detroit," the scout said, "but you have to box him out and he'll make you pay if you don't rotate on defense. You can't leave him wide open."

Monday, March 02, 2009

Joe Smith Waived, Cleared to Join Contender

Last night, Joe Smith (1993-95) was waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder, which will allow him to be signed by a contending team. The Oklahoman has the story:
For the second consecutive year, Joe Smith might be joining Cleveland at midseason to try and help the Cavaliers make a run at an NBA championship.

The Thunder waived Smith on Sunday — or bought out his contract — hours before the deadline in which teams must have a player on the roster to be eligible for the playoffs. [...]

Cleveland is believed to be the leading candidate to sign Smith, especially after Ben Wallace suffered a broken leg Friday. The injury is expected to sideline Wallace four to six weeks.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer believes that Joe is a lock to play for the Cavs again this year:
With just hours to spare before Sunday's midnight deadline, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Joe Smith reached terms on a buyout agreement. He will be put on waivers Monday morning and is expected to clear them 48 hours later. Several league sources said Smith is then expected to sign with the Cavs for the rest of the season. [...]

Smith averaged 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.2 minutes in 36 games for the Thunder this season. He has not played since Feb. 10 as the Thunder has gone with younger players. He did miss some time this season with a sore knee. [...]

There isn't expected to be any drama as Smith moves through waivers. The only team with the salary-cap space to claim Smith is the Memphis Grizzlies, and that is not expected to happen.