Friday, July 30, 2010

Juan Dixon Suspension Finalized: 1 Year Ban

Juan Dixon (1998-2002), who had been suspended indefinitely by FIBA for use of the steroid nandrolone back in February, has now been officially sentenced to a one-year ban (translation), retroactive to his positive test result on February 11, 2010. This means he will be eligible to play again on February 11, 2011.

The one year suspension is a disappointment, since speculation this spring was that the ban could be as short as 6 months, making him eligible to play again when leagues start up again this fall. However, the usual punishment for steroid use is a two year suspension, so FIBA may have recognized that this was a relatively minor offense. But with a one year ban, his former team, Unicaja, will not sign Juan before the start of the season, since February is too far away to await his contributions. Other teams will also probably be reluctant to sign Dixon before the 2010-11 season starts. So, we'll watch for Juan to be picked up by a team in need of a guard in late January or early February of next year.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tahj Holden Promoted to Assistant Coach at Monmouth

After serving as the Director of Basketball Operations at Monmouth University since 2008, Tahj Holden (1999-2003) has been promoted to Assistant Coach. Holden will be heavily involved in game preparation and recruiting, according to the Asbury Park Press (excerpt):
Holden, the Director of Basketball Operations for Monmouth the last two seasons, was recently moved from that limited position to full time assistant and recruiter as part of the revamping of head coach Dave Calloway’s staff.

"Being out on the road recruiting, the time and effort that takes, is a lot different than anything I’ve done as Director of Basketball Operations," Holden said. [...]

Holden said he hopes his NCAA championship pedigree will make an impression on recruits.

"But some of these kids we’re recruiting weren’t even paying attention to basketball at that point," Holden said. "They were seven eight, years old."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Andre Collins Signs In Italy

Andre Collins (2001-04) will continue playing in Italy another year, but will switch teams next season. Andre's new new Serie A team, Scavolini Pesaro (a.k.a., La Vuelle), released a press release (translation) that simply says:
ANDRE COLLINS, 183 cm. Born in Crisfield (USA) August 9, 1982, last season with Virtus Bologna. 1 +1 contract. Career in Italy: Ferrara Carife (2006.2008), Virtus Bologna (2009-2010).
I assume the 1+1 contract means a 1 year contract an option for a second year.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crystal Langhorne Perseveres

Today in the Washington Post, Mike Wise writes about WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month Crystal Langhorne (2004-08), and how she is thriving this season after getting off to a rocky start in the WNBA a few seasons ago:
"One of the first games I coached her, I remember her coming up to me and saying, 'Thanks for not taking me out of the game,' " recalled Julie Plank, the Mystics' second-year coach. "I said, 'What?' She said, 'Thanks for not taking me out of the game.' I couldn't believe it. I said, 'Lang, you're not coming out of the game.' " [...]

If the Mystics without Alana Beard, sidelined for the season after surgery to repair a tendon in her left ankle, have been a summer surprise, so too has the continued emergence of Langhorne as a bona fide force in the post -- the former Terrapin not named Kristi Toliver or Marissa Coleman (her Mystics teammate) who one moment was sent back to the bench by former coach Tree Rollins and now is fresh off her first appearance in a WNBA all-star game.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Final Summer League Wrap-Up

Testudo Times has a detailed NBA Summer League Wrap-Up. Vasquez and Strawberry impressed, Caner-Medley and Gist impressed until they injured their respective hand and wrist, Milbourne and McCray were underwhelming, Hayes got cut before any games were played, and Ibekwe was somewhere in the middle.

Now the wait begins to find out who gets invited back for training camp. We know Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) will be in Memphis's training camp, because as a first round draft pick, he has a guaranteed contract. DJ Strawberry's (2003-07) agent thinks he has a good shot at playing for the Lakers. Did Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) do enough to make a team? Will anyone take a chance with Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) or James Gist (2004-08) after their injuries heal? Will Landon Milbourne (2006-10), Eric Hayes (2006-10), and Chris McCray (2002-06) land in the D-League? Stay tuned to this blog for the answers as they unfold!

(Update, 7/20: Shell Games provides a mediocre assessment.)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Steve Francis Wants to Play in China

Steve Francis (1998-99), last seen injured, traded to Memphis, and then waived in January 2009 and handing out Turkeys in Silver Spring last Thanksgiving, says he is fit to play again, and told China's Xinhua News that he wants to play in China next. Apparently he has a fan base in China as a result of being Yao Ming's teammate in Houston for many years:
Three-time All-Star and former Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis said on Wednesday that he hopes to play basketball in China if the condition is right.

Francis, who is loved and remembered by many Chinese fans as a superb basketball player and the "big brother" to Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, said in an interview with Xinhua that he loves China and his Chinese fans.

The 33-year-old, once known as "Franchise" as the cornerstone of the Rockets', said he cannot afford to sit on the bench while he can play.

He has recovered from the injuries that had plagued the late years of his basketball career and can return to the basketball court, he said.

"I will play in China if the money is good," he said. "Coaching is also an option."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chris Wilcox's Charity Golf Tournament

Chris Wilcox (2000-02) (still playing for the Detroit Pistons) hosted a charity golf tournament in South Carolina last weekend. The tournament in Myrtle Beach, now in its second year, raises money for Lupus research.
For Wilcox, the search to find a cure for Lupus is a personal one—he lost two of his aunts after their respective battles with Lupus and his sister currently suffers from it, according to the release.

“Right now there is no cure, or known cause for Lupus and 90 percent of those affected are women,” Wilcox said through the release.

“After losing my aunts and seeing how my sister is affected by it, finding a cure for Lupus has become a personal crusade for me. I hope the Myrtle Beach community will come out to support this event and have some fun for a good cause,” Wilcox said through the release.
(Via Testudo Times)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Summer League Updates

If you're interested in following the Terps in the NBA Vegas Summer League, Testudo Times has been covering all the action.

Two important updates on rosters: Chris McCray (2002-06) was a late addition to the Memphis Grizzlies summer roster, where he is playing with Greivis Vasquez. Also, Eric Hayes (2006-10) was dropped from the Washington Wizards roster at the last minute.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Caner-Medley, Strawberry Join NBA Summer League

Two more Terps are now on NBA Summer League Rosters, joining Vasquez, Gist, Ibekwe, Hayes, and Milbourne.

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) will play for the Los Angeles Clippers. Nik also played for the Clippers in 2009's summer league and impressed the team, but didn't make the cut. DJ Strawberry (2003-07) will play for the Los Angeles Lakers. DJ last played in the summer league for the Phoenix Suns in 2007 and 2008.

(Also, so you don't get confused looking at rosters, there is a Jamar Smith playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it's not our Jamar Smith (2002-04). It's the Jamar Smith who went to Illinois a few years ago.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Crystal Langhorne Named to WNBA All-Star Team

Crystal Langhorne (2004-08) has been named to the WNBA All-Star Team. From the Washington Post story on her accomplishment:
Washington Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne was named to the WNBA all-star team Tuesday after emerging as one of the league's most consistent post players through the first half of the season. In 17 games, Langhorne has averaged a team-high 17 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. [...]

After winning the WNBA's most improved player award in 2009, Langhorne continued to up the ante in 2010 becoming a more efficient shooter (59.2 percent) from a plethora of ranges and a more aggressive rebounder. Her reliable nature remains one of the biggest reasons why the Mystics enter the all-star break at 12-5 and in second place in the Eastern Conference.

"I'm just going out there to enjoy myself and enjoy the experience," Langhorne said. "I know it's going to be the best players in the entire WNBA. Considering the way I started out in the league and the changes that have happened, to a point I guess it is a little surreal to be going."

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Steve Blake to Sign with LA Lakers

Steve Blake (1999-2003) has a deal in place to sign a 4 year, $16 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.  Free agents cannot officially sign until next week.  The Lakers will sign Blake as insurance in case Derrick Fisher leaves their team as a free agent.

From the LA Times story:
Blake, 30, made $4.25 million last season with the Clippers and Portland. He has averaged 7.5 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 39.3% from three-point range in a seven-year career with Washington, Portland, Denver, Milwaukee and the Clippers.
The Lakers can't comment on the agreement, nor can Blake officially sign with them, until the free-agent moratorium ends next Thursday.

"He's a solid defender on the ball and has an 'Ultimate Fighter' mentality," an NBA personnel scout said. "He enjoys making an assist more than scoring. He does nothing fancy or with flavor, but rather is solid and dependable. He's a serious threat against a zone to shoot it on ball reversal. He's a deadly corner three-point shooter when he has his feet set. He has a strong basketball IQ.

"He has also been a thorn in [ Kobe Bryant's] side when he played against the Trail Blazers."
(Update: the next question is, could Blake be the starter?)