Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drew Nicholas Wins 3-Point Contest at Greek All-Star Game

Panathinaikos Logo
Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) won the 3 point shooting contest (translation at the Greek All-Star Game last weekend:
Drew Nicholas repeated last year's achievement in the three point competition, shooting as he does in the official games of Panathinaikos, and was proclaimed to be the leading three-point shooter.

The Panathinaikos guard reached 16 points in the first round of the competition. In the next round, he was in second behind Teontosits Milos (19) of Olympiakos. In the finals, Nicholas was the one who won, improving his performance and coming in with 17 points while his opponent scored 13.

(Is this just an excuse to post Panathinaikos's shamrock logo for St. Patrick's Day? Maybe.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Juan Dixon Comeback Begins

Following the news that Juan Dixon (1998-2002) signed in Turkey last week, BallinEurope has a great story on Dixon and his comeback with Banvit. Excerpt:
Thanks to an injury suffered by Antonio Graves, Turkish side Banvit had been left with a hole in the depth chart at the no. 2 spot plus a free “foreign-born player” spot on the roster – an unfortunate situation for the team, but ultimately a serendipitous chance for Juan Dixon to return to professional basketball in a comeback bid. [...]

Though Dixon continued training during the one-year suspension and he returned to The Continent once the FIBA ban was lifted with seeming interest from Unicaja beckoning, no contract was signed until recently; Banvit officials announced the deal with Dixon on Thursday and the former Terp is expected to play in today’s game against Eurochallenge side Pinar Karşiyaka.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Juan Dixon is Back

With his one-year FIBA suspension for a positive steroid test in the rear view mirror, Juan Dixon (1998-2002) is back playing basketball. Dixon signed this week to play for Banvit Basketbol Kulubu of Turkey's TBL. Banvit is currently tied for 2nd in the TBL, and is making a push to challenge the top team, Fenerbahce Ulker (home to Sarunas Jasikevicius) as the season comes down to the wire. Turkish sports site TajansSpor has as good a story as any on the signing (meaning that they're the only source I found that had more than two sentences copied from the newswire). (Google translation, with my own massaging of the translation below.) Plus, as a bonus, they have an action shot of Juan on a treadmill during his team physical.
An experienced player born in 1978, Dixon won an NCAA championship Maryland. After graduating from college, he played for the Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors, and Detroit Pistons NBA teams. Juan Dixon totaled 436 games during his NBA career and averaged 8.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.

Dixon signed with Greek team Aris for the 2009-2010 season, then went to Unicaja Malaga in Spain. He now continues his career in Europe in the Beko Basketball League with Banvit BK.

BK general manager Turgay Çataloluk, is at Acibadem Hospital in London after the completion of health checks before the agreement could became official. "The inability of Antonio Graves to play shooting guard for a while because of injury hurt our team. At this point in the season, it is difficult to find quality players who can contribute immediately. But looking at Juan Dixon's career as a player, including his European experience, we think we might only need a short period of time to adapt to the regular season and play-off matches, and should quickly be a serious help to our team," he said.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Two Terps Moving On to Euroleague Quarterfinals

The Euroleague Top 16 round ended today, and two of the four former Terps in the tournament will be going on to the quarterfinals.

Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) and his Greek team, Panathinaikos, finished 2nd in Group E with a 4-2 record. Nicholas averaged 12.3 points and 2 assists and shot 42% from 3-point range in the Top 16 stage. He led all scorers with 18 points in their final road game against Unicaja.

Terence Morris (1997-2001) and his Spanish team, Regal FC Barcelona, went undefeated in Group F. Morris averaged 7.5 points and 3 rebounds. Despite playing forward, Morris took only 10 2-point shots (70%) and 23 3-pointers (39%). Morris led his team with 19 points in a game 5 win over Maccabi Electra.

While it's great to see Nicholas and Morris make it on to the quarterfinals, only one of them can make the Final Four because their teams will now play each other in a best of 5 series between March 22 and April 6.

Elsewhere, DJ Strawberry (2003-07) and Lietuvos Rytas from Lithuania went 3-3 and finished 3rd in Group E. Strawberry averaged 6.6 points and 2.8 assists in 5 games.

Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) and Fenerbahce Ulker from Turkey went 3-3 and finished 3rd in Group H. Jasikevicius averaged 4.8 points and 1.5 assists in 6 games.

James Gist (2004-08) and Partizan mt:s from Serbia went 1-5 and finished in 4th place in Group G. Gist averaged 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in 6 games. Those 6.5 rebounds per game was good enough for the 5th best rebounding average out of all players in the Top 16 round.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Joe Smith's Last Shot

Hoopsworld interviewed NBA veteran and former Terp Joe Smith (1993-95) about how he hopes to end his career with an NBA Championship with the Lakers. Smith has played for 12 different NBA teams in 16 seasons (including 7 teams in just the last 4 seasons) and crossed the 1000 game threshold last March.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:
"I'm ready to win a championship, forget just a playoff game or a playoff series," Smith told HOOPSWORLD. "I've won some series in my career, but I've never had the chance to get to that final series. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting there and getting crowned champs." [...]

"It's much different," Smith said about his experience in L.A. "I'm not teaching young kids how to play and what to do out there because we've got enough veterans on this team that have been through a lot of wars. They know what it takes to win, and that mindset is totally different. [...]

Smith has never won a championship or even played in an NBA Finals, and with his time running out this could be his last shot at it. He might not be the contributor he once was, but it seems like every postseason there's a veteran that helps win a game for his team. That could be Smith's role. He just hopes that game comes in the Finals.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Nik Caner-Medley is the Spanish MVP for February

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) has been named the Spanish ACB league's MVP (translation) for the month of February. During last month, Caner-Medley averaged 20 points and 7.6 rebounds per game to lead Madrid's Asefa Estudiantes, which won all 3 ACB league games in February. (They also played games in the Eurocup tournament during the month, just so you don't think they're slacking off only playing 3 games in four weeks.)

Quotes from the story:
"I think we're playing very well as a team both in Eurocup and ACB. And I think our defense is getting stronger. The team is very focused," said American power forward.

In addition, Nik Caner-Medley prefers to play down his nomination for best player of the month of February, getting recognition for the second time in his ACB career, including May of last season. "Being 'MVP' is only important if the team wins," he said.

European teams compute a player rating for every game that takes a players complete stats into account (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, fouls, etc.). When the story says that Nik averaged 26.7, that's his rating they're talking about. Anything over 20 is a very high rating for a player to achieve in a game.