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.