Saturday, January 30, 2010

John Gilchrist Out for the Year

John Gilchrist (2002-05), playing for the Adelaide 36ers, has torn his ACL and will be out of action for at least the next 12 months.

Before the injury, Gilchrist has been averaging 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game for the 36ers.

We're wishing John a successful surgery and a speedy recovery!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jerrod Mustaf Leading the Street Basketball Association

Jerrod Mustaf (1988-90) is the President and founder of the Street Basketball Association. Here is an excerpt from his bio from their site. He's been quite busy since retiring from playing in the NBA and Europe:
After retiring from basketball, Mr. Mustaf founded the Street Basketball Association and the SBA Sports Management Group. Currently, Mr. Mustaf is the CEO/ President of the Street Basketball Association, Sports Ambassador for the Republic of The Gambia, Vice-president of the Take Charge Juvenile Diversion Program and Director of Jerrod Mustaf Basketball Academy. Mr. Mustaf is the Athletic Director for the Take Charge Basketball Boy's and Girl's Teams and is a head coach for the Bowie Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Mustaf is a consultant for the Nigerian National Basketball League. Mr. Mustaf serves on the Board for numerous foundations. He was the recipient of the NAACP Lifetime Membership Award and was appointed the rank of Officer of the National Order of the Republic of The Gambia.

What is the Street Basketball Association, you might ask? Here's what their site says:
The Street Basketball Association is an independent, professional association of players and teams throughout the U.S. established to promote and showcase their execution of “street ball.” The SBA realizes that street ball is a social phenomenon growing across the globe. Whether played on dirt courts in the backyard or the asphalt of inner city playgrounds this brand of basketball boasts an unmatched passion and creative enthusiasm that crosses over all geographic, cultural, and economic lines. The SBA’s mission is to showcase the best street ball legends and professional ball players’ center stage, in an organized competitive environment to entertain fans and to see what cities have the best talent in the world. We are not creating a new industry with street ball; we are simply legitimizing it so that it can be recognized as the true phenomenon that it has become.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Terps in the Euroleague Tournament

The annual Euroleague tournament has reached the exciting Top 16 stage (which is when I traditionally start paying attention to it on this blog). The Top 16 is a round robin, with four groups of four teams each. The top two in each group advance to the quarterfinals. The first games of the Top 16 round robin are January 27-28. This year's Top 16 features three teams with former Terps on their rosters:

Defending champions Panathinaikos play in Group E, featuring Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) and Drew Nicholas (1999-2003). They'll face Regal FC Barcelona, also in Group E, featuring Terence Morris (1997-2001). Group G features Unicaja, who just recently signed Juan Dixon (1998-2002).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sarunas Jasikevicius is a Euroleague All-Decade Candidate

Sarunas JasikeviciusSarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) is a candidate for the Euroleague All-Decade Team. His resume says it all:
As the first player to win the competition with three different teams, Sarunas Jasikevicius is recognized far and wide as a living Euroleague legend. Known on a first-name basis around Europe, "Saras" is a creative point guard like few others, with unique court vision, incredible basketball IQ and a deadly shot. Just as important as his skills, however, Saras is universally admired for the passion he brings to each game, every moment he's on the floor. Jasikevicius put that passion to perfect use while directing Barcelona to his and the club's first Euroleague trophy in 2003. He found even bigger glory starting the next season as floor general for Maccabi Tel Aviv as it won Europe's first back-to-back titles in a generation in 2004 and 2005. Last but not least, Saras won it all again with Panathinaikos, his current team, in 2009, putting him a short list of four-time continental champions. And he is still far from being done.

You can vote early and often on the Euroleague website, but you will have to find 9 other players you've heard of for your vote to register.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chris Wilcox Re-energizes Detroit

With the season going poorly for the Detroit Pistons, coach John Kuester tried injecting energy into the lineup by making Chris Wilcox (2000-02) a starter. The Detroit Free Press has the story:
Chris Wilcox was the under-the-radar signing of the Pistons in the off-season.

Acquiring Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva early in the free-agency period and the later return of Ben Wallace garnered the headlines last summer.

And after Wilcox, an eight-year veteran power forward, was benched for 13 of the first 26 games, it looked as if he wouldn't have an impact on this season.

But Wilcox has helped the Pistons to a 3-1 record since coach John Kuester put him in the starting lineup.

Naturally, Wilcox hurt his back and saw limited minutes in the next two games after this article came out last week, but hopefully he has played his way into a larger role on the team once he can go full speed again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

J.D. Walsh Spreads Basketball to India

J.D. Walsh teaching basketball in IndiaIf you were a Maryland fan back in the early 1990's, you might remember a back-up forward named John Walsh (1991-93). Now going by J.D., he runs the JD Basketball school in Great Neck, NY and is working to bring basketball to India:
J.D. Walsh, a former Maryland basketball player turned coach, went to Pune, India, in June 2007 to hold a camp. He found local charm—the court was blessed with a coconut—and a willing group of 225 participants, including children who had ridden buses for 20 hours to attend. Since then Walsh has run camps in 14 cities for nearly 9,000 Indian kids. He has observed "small, fervent pockets" of interest.

The Sports Illustrated story linked above is just the appetizer in the story of J.D. Walsh's drive to use basketball for social good and world peace in India and other countries. This story about Walsh in India from Slam Online is the main dish, worth reading from start to finish:
In his years here, JD has conducted clinics for players and coaches in Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore, Midnapore, New Delhi, Srinagar, and in the states of Punjab and Kerala, too. He’s worked with the state basketball associations in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, with educational institutions in various cities, and with several non-profit and non-government organizations. He fondly remembers one of his most extraordinary basketball experiences in India, when he worked with young Muslim women in Chennai who ended up playing veiled behind burkhas.

JD’s efforts to blend basketball with social causes have been well-documented, from the ‘Hoops for Health’ program with an orphanage in Srinagar (Kashmir) to conducting events in Mumbai that will assist in building outdoor basketball courts in the city’s slums. But these are really only just the tip of the iceberg – from Israel, the US, to India, JD’s focus has always been in accommodating social/charity events with basketball.

For lots more info on J.D. Walsh's work in India, including videos and his first hand accounts of his travels, check out J.D.'s blog or Twitter feed. Finally, here is an interview (on YouTube, but audio-only) with J.D. about his career, international basketball, and his organization's work.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dixon Lands in Spain

Dixon signs with UnicajaIt only took two weeks for Juan Dixon (1998-2002) to land with another top European team: Malaga Spain's Unicaja of the ACB league. Here's the team's press release (translation):
This morning, guard Juan Dixon was introduced as a new player of Unicaja in the press room of the Palacio de los Deportes Martín Carpena. The American player, chosen in 2002 at number 17 of the first round of the NBA Draft, played for 7 seasons in the NBA. Dixon in his college days was a star leading the University of Maryland to achieve an NCAA championship in 2002. The Baltimore-born player played until the end of December this season at Aris Thessaloniki, which was his first experience in European basketball.

During his introduction, the American guard said "I feel fortunate to have another chance to play in Europe after my time at Aris Thessaloniki, and have been introduced to the kind of basketball that is played in Europe. Also, I come to a great club, which plays in the two best leagues in Europe, the ACB and the Euroleague." About the team, Dixon said, "I have spoken with the coach and I explained the philosophy of my game on both offense and defense, and I think I can bring energy to the group on both sides of the court. I will try to lead the team by example." In the press conference, Juan Dixon was questioned on the current situation on the team, and said, "While I knew the team was unable to qualify for the Copa del Rey, I think from now on we should think about all that lies ahead in the two competitions we are playing in. In the two workouts that I have had with the team, I have seen people prepared to meet the challenge. "

In the round of questions, he was asked about the differences between European basketball and the NBA, to which Dixon replied, "In Europe, the game, on both defense and offense, is much more collective, while in the NBA the best player on the team creates and decides for himself or for the team. Also, in Europe every game is important and every team can spring a surprise, no time for relaxation. This reminds me of the NCAA, in the need to win every game in order to go to the next phase."

Dixon joins Unicaja just in time to join the team for the Euroleague Top 16 round.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Juan Dixon and Aris Part Ways

Juan Dixon (1998-02) has been released by his Greek team, Aris Thessaloniki. The Hoop blog sums up his departure:
Juan Dixon couldn't conform to the european style of basketball so it was time for him to leave.

Juan Dixon and Aris Thessaloniki mutually parted ways today and it was announced via the official site of Aris. The NBA veteran was brought to Aris to provide a much needed scoring touch to the team but his recklessness was too much for his coach to handle and so the decision was made for Dixon to be replaced.

Dixon was the top scorer of Aris in the last few games averaging 14.3 points 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 7 games in the A1 league and also 11.6 points 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 4 games in the Eurocup but his focus in the game was questionable.

The Eurocup website says that Dixon was leading his team in scoring in their four Eurocup tournament games at the time:
Aris BSA 2003 and guard Juan Dixon parted ways by mutual consent on Wednesday, and the club inked Ivan Paunic as his replacement the next day. [...]

Dixon joined Aris shortly before the start of the Eurocup season, making his European debut with the club. He led the team in the Eurocup in scoring (14.3 points), assists (2.8 apg.) and steals (1 spg.) through four games. In a statement, Aris thanked Dixon for his contributions and wished him success going forward.

One of those two sources has their Greek League and Eurocup League stats backwards, but you get the picture. The Eurocup is a continent-wide tournament played concurrently with the teams' national league schedules, like the Euroleague, but for the second tier of top teams.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Byron Mouton's Weekly Talk Show

Byron Mouton (2000-02) now has a weekly talk show on On the show, Byron answers questions about Maryland Basketball that listeners send in by e-mail.

As previously mentioned, Byron is playing for the Maryland Greenhawks of the PBL this winter.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Osby in Austria

Bambale Osby (2006-08) has signed with his third team of the season, this time with the Gmunden Allianz Swans of the Austrian A Bundesliga (the top pro league in Austria). The team's press release (translation) said this (I'm rewording and paraphrasing for readability of the auto-translation):
Decisive league games and the upcoming Austrian Cup Final Four: these are the tasks that await the Allianz Swans in January. To be well prepared, the team has been looking at the free agent market and has found the answer. What was needed was an athletic forward who can dominate, especially by getting defensive rebounds and improving the team's shot-blocking capability. The answer to these requirements is Bambale Osby. In addition to his stats, which fans can look forward to Gmundener, he brings a lot of athleticism and bounce. Bambale reaches a height of 2.03 meters and weighs 118 kg.

Bambale Osby is a U.S. citizen with African roots (Congo). He comes from the University of Maryland, not just any address in the U.S., but the 2002 NCAA champion. His first professional year in Europe, he played in Cluj, Romania. This year he started at Phoenix Hagen in the German Bundesliga, but his contract was waived after the death of his grandmother. Most recently, he played a for Ironi Ramat Gan in Israel under a short-term contract, replacing an injured player. He will start practice as early as Tuesday and will have a 14-day try-out contract before his future with the team is decided.