Thursday, August 19, 2010

Langhorne Left Out of Team USA Pool

With the FIBA world championships for both men's and women's basketball right around the corner, ESPN.com columnist Mechelle Voepel blasts Team USA and its coach, UConn's Geno Auriemma, for leaving Crystal Langhorne (2004-08) out of the national team pool this week. How did that happen? It's a very long story, but here's a short excerpt:
In July, USA Basketball had to submit to FIBA a list of potential players for the world championship. And from what I was told by USA Basketball, Langhorne's name wasn't on the list then. Thus, she couldn't have been added this week.

If that's the case, it seems like somebody was asleep at the switch. Was Langhorne's name left off the list in July because there wasn't a timely recognition of how well she was playing?

If so, how did that happen? She was the WNBA's most improved player last season, so there was every reason to keep a close eye on her this summer. As of June 30, Langhorne was averaging 17.7 points and 9.9 rebounds, and WNBA followers were already talking about her as a potential MVP candidate. It would have been hard to have missed her progress.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jamar Smith to Play in France

Jamar Smith (2002-04) has signed a deal to play for Entente Orleans of the French ProA league. From the team's press release (translation):
Entente Orleans Loiret is pleased to announce the arrival of Jamar Smith (2m06, 29, forward) for the next season.

Born December 5, 1980 in Sicklerville, New Jersey, Jamar Smith completed 2 academic years with the Maryland Terrapins in the ACC league. He won the ACC tournament in his 2nd season and was selected for the all-tournament team. After passing through Israel (Maccabi Haifa) and Greece (on Ionikos NFI), he joined the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League where he was named to the D-League second team in 2006. After working a year in Japan, Jamar joined the Lega Duo in Italy, where he accumulated good European experience, making it to the league semi-finals twice with Junior Fastweb Casale Monferrato and Trenkwalder Reggio Emilia (13.4 52% points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1 assist last year).

This versatile interior player can both play the post position (power forward) and center, and has great athletic ability with very good verticality and speed. His tendency to play facing the basket and his very nice touch of the ball also allow him to attack the rim with ease.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ekene Ibekwe Signs in Germany

Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) will play for the Artland Dragons of Quakenbrück, Germany. Here's an excerpt team's press release (translation):
The Artland Dragons have a commitment from Ekenechukwu Ibekwe. The 25-year-old American with a Nigerian passport comes to Quakenbrück from the Turkish TBL2 team Genc Banvitliler and received a one-year contract. "Ekene is an exceptional athlete, a good rebounder and shot blocker. He will be an asset to the Dragons," said Dragons Head Coach Stefan Koch. "He is similar to [teammate] Tyrese Rice. His quality of play will help us now, but his development is still ongoing."
The Artland Dragons play in the Bundesliga, the top professional league in Germany, and finished tied for 8th place last season but missed out on the play-offs on the tie-breaker. Long-time readers of this blog may remember that Nik Caner-Medley also played for the Dragons back in 2007.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Eric Hayes to Play in Spain

Eric Hayes (2006-10) will play next season in Spain's LEB Gold division (the 2nd highest league in Spain) for El Leche Río Breogán (El Leche Rio, or Milk River, is the team's corporate sponsor). Here's an excerpt from the team's press release (translation):
American guard Eric Hayes, educated at the University of Maryland (NCAA), has joined the Milk River Breogán team for the 2010-11 season. The player had two spectacular seasons averaging 10.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 11.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, respectively, and last season shot 45.4% on 3-pointers and helped Maryland reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA. Hayes was invited by Washington Wizards for a workout this summer.
Does anybody else remember reaching the NCAA quarterfinals this season? Me neither. Maybe it's a mistranslation?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Buck Williams is a New Assistant Coach for the Trailblazers

Portland Trailblazers coach Nate McMillan has hired Terp alum Buck Williams (1978-81) as as an assistant coach for the upcoming season. From the team's press release:
Williams, who needs no introduction to Trail Blazers fans, was the team’s power forward from 1989-96 and helped lead Portland to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 as Western Conference Champions. Williams, 50, is the team’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (55.0%), ranks fourth in rebounds (4,861), seventh in games played (557) and ninth in minutes played (17,130). A hard-nosed, physical player, Williams’ streak of 196 consecutive games played is the third longest in franchise history.

One of nine players in NBA history to amass 16,000 points and 13,000 rebounds, the three-time All-Star and 1982 NBA Rookie of the Year also played for New Jersey and New York during his 17-year NBA career.

Local paper, the Gresham Outlook, says Williams belongs there, despite his history with Coach McMillan:
As players, Williams and McMillan battled for seven seasons in the Northwest – Williams for the Blazers, McMillan for the rival Seattle SuperSonics. They shared a warrior mentality and a home state. Williams is from Rocky Mount, N.C., 56 miles from Raleigh, McMillan’s hometown and where he played his college ball at North Carolina State.

“I’ve kidded him so much about how often Maryland has whipped N.C. State, I can’t believe he actually hired me,” Williams says with a laugh.

(Via Testudo Times)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Lonny Baxter Signs in Russia

Lonny Baxter (1998-2002) has signed a new deal with Enisey Krasnoyarsk of the Russian Superleague. From the team's press release (translation):
Enisey added to its team with a forward from the U.S. The Krasnoyarsk team signed a one-year contract with Lonnie Baxter. Last season, the player was with Besiktas of the Turkish league, but left in April 2010 because of their financial situation. In the European Cup, Baxter played 8 games, scoring 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in an average of 23 minutes. In the Turkish championship, he was on the floor for 19 games, scoring 17.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 27 and a half minutes. Baxter was also a member of the Turkish league's All-Star Team.
(via a long chain of links)