Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cliff Tucker's First Reception

You might recall that after graduating from Maryland last spring, Cliff Tucker (2007-11) took his talents back to his hometown of El Paso, TX to join the UTEP football team as a wide receiver.  After seeing no action through the first six games of the season, Tucker caught a 10 yard pass (and picked up a first down) for his first career reception in the 3rd quarter last Saturday in UTEP's 31-17 win over Colorado State. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jamar Smith in Japan

Jamar Smith (2002-04) will play the upcoming season for the Hitachi Sunrockers of Japan's JBL league. The team briefly announced his signing (translation), and his roster profile (translation) simply has this to say:
Utilizing the speed and weapons to play with big man to contribute to the team in rebounding and defense.

"We look forward to and start a new season with Hitachi. To win the championship, I would like to play hard. Thank you."

This is Smith's second time playing in Japan.  Back in 2007-08, he played for the Toshiba Brave Thunder.  He played in France last season and in Italy the two seasons prior to that.

Friday, October 14, 2011

John Gilchrist Playing Again in Slovakia

John Gilchrist (2002-05) hasn't played since tearing his ACL back in January 2010.  But he's been working hard on his rehab ever since then, and he's finally back playing professionally this season.  Gilchrist is now in Slovakia playing for SKP Banska Bystrica.  The team doesn't have much of a press release about Gilchrist joining the team (just a mention in a news item about signing three overseas players which I can't link directly to, other than sending you to the team's homepage above), so I'll let John tell you about it himself, from his Facebook page:
To inform all that want to know. I'm currently at Banska Bystrica in Slovakia at the moment. I arrived yesterday & I'll be here training until the end of the season or if I'm doing well enough & get an offered from a bigger club. It's all about stepping stones in this business. I thank God for this opportunity.

During his rehab, Gilchrist developed one of the best on-line presences of any player I follow. He's active on Twitter (@jgovereasy), he has a Facebook page (John Gilchrist Hoops), he has a website, he posts lots of YouTube videos of his training, and he debuted a new blog last month.  So go follow, like, bookmark, etc.!

Monday, October 10, 2011

We're Gettin' the Band Back Together

It was ten seasons ago that the Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team won the National Championship. To celebrate the anniversary, this Friday at Maryland Madness, members of the 2002 team are getting back together for the annual alumni game. Four starters, Chris Wilcox, Steve Blake, Juan Dixon, and Byron Mouton, will be back for the game, along with older and newer alumni. At last! Something positive has come out of the NBA lockout!

Key players missing the game from the 2002 team will be starter Lonny Baxter, who is playing in the Ukraine, and key reserve Drew Nicholas, who is playing in Italy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Vasquez Turns Down Contract in Israel, Stays Home to Help Community in Venezuela

If you follow the news on American players heading to Europe to play basketball during the NBA lockout, you may have seen conflicting reports in the past few days about former Terp and current Memphis Grizzlies player Greivis Vasquez (2006-10). Two teams from Israel were vying for his services, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem. In fact, Hapoel Jerusalem, where DJ Strawberry will be playing this season, believed it had reached a financial agreement through Vasquez's agent. Slight problem: the guy "representing" Grevis was a friend of his, not his actual agent. Vasquez was contacted by Eurobasket.com to get the whole story set straight:
'I recently finished playing intense basketball for a few good months with the Venezuelan national team and was looking to do something other than basketball. I gave Israel a huge thought and talked to people who spoke highly of the place, however, the situation in my country isn't easy and once the opportunity of giving back to the community and working with kids during the NBA lockout came up, I couldnt say no.'

The 24-year-old Terrapins' second all-time leading scorer is undoubtedly recognized as Venezuela's biggest, most hyped athlete, knowing that along with glory and fame come great resposibilitis. 'I've decided not to play basketball abroad during the lockout so that I could run a social community basketball project. It has nothing to do with politics despite being sponsored by the private companies and the government. It's not a done deal yet, but the details of this new journey include going on tour to every city in Venezuela holding a basketball clinic for kids,' said Vasquez.
One of Vasquez's projects during the lockout is blogging for ESPNdeportes. In his first blog entry, he describes the work he's undertaking (translation) in his home country, putting on youth basketball clinics around Venezuela and raising support for better sports facilities for the nation. A public/private partnership is paying for the campaign.