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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Joe Smith: Hip Hop Artist

This item comes via the D.C. Sports Bog, who found it via Mr. Irrelevant, who found it via The Sporting News's First Cuts, who found it via this Cleveland Plain Dealer news story.

Joe Smith (1993-95), as his alter ego Joe Beast, released his first hip hop mixtape called "The Beginning" back in December. You can listen to it for free on Joe's MySpace page. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer story:
And yes, Smith knows what you're thinking, but he thinks you're wrong.

"Another athlete rappin'?" he spits out on "Intro" on his CD. "What?"

"I'm not like the rest though, not like them," Smith raps. "I put my heart in this. I put my soul in this. So before you classify me with the rest -- don't do it. I want you to be open-minded." [...]

DJ Switch, a DJ in Oklahoma City, was a little hesitant to keep such an open mind at first, he admits. He did think Smith was just another athlete rappin', another bored millionaire who thought his talents transcended the basketball court.

Then DJ Switch began working with Smith in the studio during downtime between games and practices with Smith's team earlier this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sometimes, they'd stay in the studio until 4 a.m. working on getting a song just right -- all on the same night he got back from a game in another city and had a practice at noon the next day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Two Terps Selected in WNBA Draft

Marissa Coleman (2005-09) was the second player selected in yesterday's WNBA draft, and will play for the Washington Mystics this summer. From the Mystics' press release:

“We are excited to add a standout player like Marissa Coleman to the Washington Mystics roster with the second overall pick. Marissa was an integral part of building a championship program at Maryland and has consistently demonstrated an ability to elevate her game at crucial times during the course of a game,” said Mystics Vice President and General Manager, Angela Taylor. “Her size, versatility, and ability to score from anywhere on the floor makes her a very special player. Her competitiveness, work ethic, and passion for winning have made her a champion. All of which will certainly will be great complements to the players we have on our roster.”

Coleman, a 6-1 Guard/Forward from the University of Maryland is one of the most prolific scorers in this year’s draft. In 2009, she was named the ACC tournament’s Most Valuable Player and earned a spot on the All-ACC First team for leading Maryland to its first ACC title since 1989. She was recently named to the State Farm All-America team and the Associated Press All-American team. This past year, Coleman averaged 18.1 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game. She is the first player in the ACC to record over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocks.

Minutes later, the Chicago Sky selected Kristi Toliver (2005-09) with the third overall pick. From the Sky's press release:

Toliver ranks second among ACC scorers with 18.1 points per game and leads all conference players in assists per game at 5.1. Toliver ranks second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage and consistently stood out among ACC’s top five free throw shooters with an 86.4 percentage. Toliver’s 1,939 career points rank third on Maryland’s all-time scoring list. Toliver is the first Terp to win the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented to the nation’s top point guard, and broke the ACC’s 30-year-old single-season assist record in 2008. Toliver holds the school records for career free throw percentage and three-point field goals made (209).

“Toliver is a true point guard,” said Sky General Manager and Head Coach Steven Key. “Our point guards in the past have done a great job for us but I think Kristi will make us that much more versatile and allow us to move Dominique Canty over to the shooting guard role as needed. Canty is very good at getting to the basket; adding Kristi and some shooting to the team will help create some space for our inside players in Sylvia and Candice. It’s a great selection for us!”

Friday, April 03, 2009

Morris, Nicholas, and Jasikevicius All Make Euroleague Final Four

Drew NicholasThe Euroleague Quarterfinals are almost finished, and Terence Morris (1997-2001), Drew Nicholas (1999-2003), and Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) are all headed to the Final Four.

The first team to advance was Morris's CSKA Moscow, which won their series 3-0 over Partizan. CSKA is the defending champion, and has now reached 7 consecutive Final Fours.

Terence Morris's Series Stats:
Game 1 W 56-4727010
Game 2 W 77-50116101
Game 3 W 67-5602000

Panathinaikos, with Nicholas and Jasikevicius, advanced by winning their series 3-1 over Montepeschi Siena. Panathiakos has won 3 Euroleague titles in the past decade, in 1996, 2000, and 2002, and is going for their fifth title in the history of the tournament. Sarunas is going for his fourth title, which would make him the first player ever to win Euroleague titles with three different teams.

Drew Nicholas's Series Stats:
Game 1 W 90-85130200
Game 2 L 79-84131100
Game 3 W 72-53133101
Game 4 W 91-84190101

Sarunas Jasikevicius's Series Stats:
Game 1 W 90-8542500
Game 2 L 79-84110502
Game 3 W 72-53102201
Game 4 W 91-84102201

The Final Four will take place May 1-3 in Berlin. In the meantime, you can participate in the fan voting for the All-Euroleague Team. Sarunas Jasikevicius is currently in first place for the point guard position. Terence Morris is also on the ballot. Oddly, Drew Nicholas is not on the ballot. If you read the fine print, fan voting only counts 20%... the media gets the other 80% of the influence in who makes the team.