Sunday, December 30, 2012

Berend Weijs Playing in Amsterdam

After graduating last spring, Berend Weijs (2010-12) returned home to the Netherlands, where he was picked up by Dutch pro team BC Apollo Amsterdam. Weijs is having a fine season, averaging 9.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks in over 27 minutes per game for Apollo. The team, however, is currently 1-16 and stuck in last place in the Netherlands' top pro league, the "Eredivisie".

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sean Mosley Playing in Poland

Sean Mosley (2008-12) is now playing in Poland for Kotwica Kolobrzeg. Mosley is averaging 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists so far in nearly 30 minutes per game over 13 games so far this season. Kotwica is currently in 8th place out of 12 in the Polish TBL (the top pro league in that country) with a record of 4-9.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Terrell Stoglin Playing in Greece

Terrell Stoglin (2010-12) signed a deal to play for Ilysiakos Athens in Greece's top pro league last month. Here's a translation of the team's press release:
H KAE HLYSIAKOS announces the signing of Terrel Stoglin. The American guard signed a contract with Ilisiakos until the end of the season. Stoglin was born on March 11, 1991 and is 1.85m in height, playing the position of guard.

He graduated from the University of Maryland and in his final year (2001-12) he averaged 21.6 points, 2.6 assists, and 2.4 rebounds.

This is a great scorer, who can direct the game very well for his team.

The new American will arrive with Ilisiakos in Greece next Friday (Nov. 30) and after the match with Apollon Patras, will be made available by [head coach] George Zevgoli.
Either the team's public relations writer or Google Translate is confused about the translation of the word "graduated"; not sure which one is at fault.

So far, in two games, Stoglin is filling up the stat sheet with 25.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists as a starter playing 36 minutes per game. Ilysiakos is currently mired in last place in the league, having won their first game back in October and then losing the last 9 straight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Terps in the Euroleague: 2012-2013

The Euroleague is an annual basketball event in Europe, in which the top pro teams from across the continent are invited to play in a huge tournament in addition to their regular national league schedules.

Here's the format of the competition: The season starts off with 24 teams, divided into four groups (Groups A-D), which play a home-and-home round robin with the top 4 teams in each group advancing. The next stage, the most exciting (or at least, the stage where I wake up and start paying attention), is the Top 16. This year, the top 16 teams are divided into two pools of 8 teams (Groups E-F), and will play a home-and-home round robin with the top 4 teams in each group advancing to the quarterfinals. (If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you may remember that in past years, the Top 16 round was 4 groups of 4 teams; this year they are trying a new format.) It all culminates with a Final Four, which will be held in London, May 10-12, this year.

The Top 16 stage starts today. There are always former Terps spread out among the Euroleague teams, and this year is no different.

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) is playing for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, which has been the dominant team in Israel for decades. In the ten game regular season (the opening round robin), Nik averaged 2.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Maccabi went 8-2 and finished atop Group B to advance to Group F of the Top 16. Unfortunately, Caner-Medley will miss the next month of play with a thigh muscle injury.

Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) is playing for Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona Regal. Sarunas averaged 2.7 points and 1.5 assists in the first 10 games. FCB went 9-1 to finish in first in Group D and now also advances to Group F.

James Gist (2004-08) played the opening regular season round with Spanish team Unicaja Malaga, where he averaged 8.6 points and 4.8 rebounds to help Unicaja go 8-2 and finish in second place in Group B (surrendering first place to Maccabi on a tie-breaker). But, as I posted yesterday, prior to the start of the Top 16, Gist was traded to Panathinaikos Athens. PAO finished 6-4 and in third place in Group A, and will now advance to Group E in the Top 16 round.

Additionally, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) played four games of the Euroleague season with CSKA Moscow, but left the team in November and will not compete in the Top 16, even though CSKA advanced to the Top 16 after going 9-1 finishing in second place in group D (losing the first place tie breaker to FCB Regal). Nicholas scored only 2 points in four games and saw his minutes decline sharply. Nicholas is currently a free agent.

The Top 16 round got underway today, and as in past years, I will keep you updated every few weeks about how our Terps are progressing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

James Gist Traded to Greece's Panathinaikos

It's rare for European teams to trade players mid-season, and even rarer that the two teams involved would be at the top echelons of the Euroleague. But last week, James Gist (2004-08) was traded from one Euroleague team to another, leaving Spain's Unicaja for perennial Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos. The two teams, incidentally, are in the same Euroleague Top 16 group.
Forward James Gist, a regular on Turkish Airlines Euroleague highlights, has joined Panathinaikos Athens in an exchange of players whose teams will face each other in the upcoming Top 16. Gist (2.06 meters, 26 years old) arrives to Panathinaikos from Unicaja Malaga, while forward Andy Panko heads in the opposite direction to Spain. Gist averaged 8.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 10 regular season games in helping Unicaja finish second in its regular season group. Panathinaikos becomes his fourth Euroleague team since he debuted in the competition in 2010. [...]

This season, Gist had mostly come off the bench for Unicaja, but continued to thrill crowds with his dunks and blocks, being chosen for the weekly top plays on several occasions.

And here's a highlight reel of some of those many exciting dunks and blocks from Gist's pro career:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tucker Survives Cuts, Makes the D-League

I posted here two weeks ago that Cliff Tucker (2007-2011) had been picked in the NBA D-League Draft and invited to the training camp of the Springfield Armor (coincidentally the same D-League team that Jordan Williams briefly played for last year). Training camp is now over and many players were cut, but Tucker is on the final roster of 11 players.

Also, the D-League has a new partnership with YouTube this season, and you can stream this season's games live on the YouTube D-League Channel, including the Armor's season opener tonight at 7:30pm.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eric Hayes Settling In to Coaching Role

Eric Hayes (2006-10) is settling in as a graduate assistant coach at Maryland, and the Washington Times' always awesome Patrick Stevens has an in depth story about Hayes this week:
Two years after graduating, he introduced himself to new coach Mark Turgeon and asked what Turgeon thought of him getting into coaching. Turgeon, who has made it a point of emphasis to connect with former players in his 18 months on the job, immediately explored a graduate assistant role.

Turgeon described the decision to add Hayes to his staff as “no-brainer,” even if it does cost the program some money to help pay for Hayes to pursue a graduate degree in minority and urban education. In turn, Hayes gets two years to figure out where he would like to go with his career.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chris Wilcox is Re-establishing Himself in Boston

You may remember that Chris Wilcox (2000-02) had season-ending heart surgery last spring, but was cleared to play again by doctors over the summer. The Boston Globe wrote before the season that Wilcox is having a fresh start with the Celtics this season:
This will be a fresh start for both Wilcox and the Celtics. Only four current Celtics competed in the team’s Game 7 loss to the Heat June 9 in the Eastern Conference finals. And Wilcox has not played in a game since March 7. [...]

“I’m just trying to fit in,” Wilcox said. “Just try and get in and see what I need to do and where I need to be on the floor. Come in and do what I did last year, run the floor, box out, rebound, bring energy.”

Now that the NBA season is in full swing, Bleacher Report says that Wilcox is finding his place as the perfect reserve for the Celtics:
No one knew if we would ever see him finish an alley-oop again. Yet, here we are, less than a year later, watching Wilcox play like he did in that Bulls game—only with a surgically repaired heart and presumably nothing more to hold him back.

On the court, at least, there is nothing holding him back from providing the Celtics with the exact kind of frontcourt depth they need.

For the past seven games, Wilcox has come off the bench for around 15 minutes and scored six points or more while grabbing a few boards.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Juan Dixon Eyes a Comeback

Juan Dixon (1998-2002) is eying a comeback after having a rough couple years with a steriod suspension in Europe followed by a knee injury while playing in Turkey.

First up, Westminster Patch, who caught up with Dixon at Comcast Center last month and spoke to him about his past, present, and future:

After an eight-year NBA career and a European voyage that spanned three professional teams, Dixon has returned to College Park humbled and motivated. He is training daily with the Terps’ staff in hopes of restarting his NBA career, using the untapped potential he believes is still remaining in his 6-foot-3 frame. [...]

When he regained his eligibility in February 2011, his agent’s phone rang again. It was a Turkish team. It had just lost its starting off guard to an injury and wanted to finish out the season with Dixon manning the backcourt.

Then “the nightmare,” as Dixon loathingly calls it, began. When the couple arrived in their new apartment in Bandirma, Turkey, a city of 100,000 in the country’s northwest corner, Dixon sat on the couch and broke down. “This is not where I’m supposed to be in my career,” Dixon told Sanchez as tears streamed down his face. “This is not where I belong.”
Next, the SBN network's Ridiculous Upside follows up on the Westminster Patch story by delving into how Dixon might try to get back in the NBA by going through the NBA D-League:
Now 34 years old, the Maryland product is reportedly eyeing another chance in the NBA after stepping away in 2009.

But exactly just how he'll get there remains a question. Though many players venture overseas to get their basketball careers back on track, Dixon is well past attempting something like that. The guard is said to be eyeing a stateside opportunity after already donning uniforms in Spain, Greece, and Turkey. A return to Europe is not in the cards. [...]

All signs logically point towards a stint in the NBA D-League, where Dixon could once again strut his stuff and prove he's got something left in his basketball tank.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Cliff Tucker Picked in NBA D-League Draft

In last week's NBA D-League Draft, Cliff Tucker (2007-2011) was selected in the third round (#46 overall) by the Springfield Armor. Tucker spent last year as a graduate student playing football at UTEP after graduating from Maryland in 2011. He was the only Maryland player entered in the draft pool, and as far as I can tell, the only Maryland player on any D-League roster so far this year. Training camp opens November 12.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Juan Dixon Joining the Maryland Hall of Fame

I mentioned this earlier in the summer, but today is the day that Juan Dixon (1998-2002) joins the Maryland Hall of Fame. The Washington Post caught up with Juan to reflect on his career. Here's an excerpt:
Ten years since he held a pair of silver scissors and snipped the white strings of the Georgia Dome net, life looks very different for former Maryland star Juan Dixon. He’s been humbled by attempted comebacks and failed drug tests, injuries and divorce, trips through Europe and fans who still approach him daily to let him know just how much he still matters in College Park.

Dixon will be inducted Friday into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame, a decade after he led the Terps to the NCAA national title. Much has changed since then. He played for four NBA teams, including two separate stints with the Washington Wizards. He played in Greece and Spain, before a positive steroids test got him indefinitely suspended by FIBA. So he went to Turkey and played there, too.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Sad News for Maryland Basketball: Earl Badu Dies at Age 33

Sadly for the Maryland Basketball family, former Terp Earl Badu (1998-2002) died last week at age 33. Badu was a walk-on on the Terps' 2000-01 Final Four team and the 2001-02 National Championship team. He played 33 minutes in 18 games during his four year career, and scored four points.

Washington Post: Former Maryland walk-on Earl Badu dead at 33

Baltimore Sun: Earl Badu, former Maryland basketball player, jumps to his death onto I-695

Testudo Times: Natty winning walk-on Earl Badu Passes Away at Age 33

CSN Washington: Financial cloud over former Terp's death

Friday, August 31, 2012

Laron Profit is an Assistant Coach for the Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic's new head coach, Denton Vaughn, announced his staff of assistant coaches yesterday, and among them is Laron Profit (1995-99), who will serve as a player development coach for the team. The Magic's press release:
The staff around new Orlando Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn started taking shape on Thursday when three assistants, two player development coaches and a special consultant were officially named by the team.

James Borrego, Wes Unseld Jr. and Brett Gunning were hired as assistant coaches under Vaughn, who was named head coach by the Magic on July 28. Luke Stuckey and former Magic draft pick Laron Profit have been named assistant coaches/player development coaches, while veteran NBA assistant coach Gordon Chiesa was tabbed as a special consultant to the head coach. [...]

Profit, a second-round pick by the Magic in 1999, played in 135 regular-season games for the Wizards and Lakers while averaging 3.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He was traded to Washington prior to the 1999-2000 season and never played for the Magic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eric Hayes Returns to Maryland Basketball as a Graduate Assistant

Eric Hayes (2006-10) is returning to work at the University of Maryland as a graduate assistant coach on Mark Turgeon's staff this season.

From InsideNOVA:
Hayes said he met with Maryland head men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon earlier this summer to discuss the possibility of joining the staff. Turgeon was in favor of bringing Hayes on board. Hayes is the only former Terrapin on Turgeon’s staff. [...]

After graduating from Maryland, Hayes went overseas and played for two different teams.

With no offers to join an overseas team this past season, Hayes signed with the Canton Charge (Ohio) of the NBA Development League. Hayes played sparingly in six games with Canton before being waived in March.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Juan Dixon to be Inducted into Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame

Juan Dixon (1998-2002) will be inducted into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame at a ceremony in October. Here's the Maryland Press Release:
Men's basketball player Juan Dixon, former coaches Tom Bradley (baseball) and Cindy Timchal (women's lacrosse), football player Paul Vellano, field hockey player Carla Tagliente and women's lacrosse players Jen Adams and Sarah Forbes will be inducted on Friday, Oct. 5 at a ceremony at Riggs Alumni Center. Longtime `M' Club fundraiser Leonard Rodman will be inducted for meritorious service. [...]

Juan Dixon (Men's Basketball, Class of '02)
Maryland's all-time leading scorer with 2,269 points... Led the Terrapins to their 2002 NCAA national championship in his senior season... Consensus first team All-American in 2002... Also winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award... Named Most Outstanding Player in the 2002 NCAA Tournament... ACC men's basketball player of the year and ACC male athlete of the year in 2002... Third team All-American in 2001... Three-time first team All-ACC player... One of only eight Terps selected to the ACC's 50th Anniversary Team... School-record holder in career 3-pointers... Picked 17th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2002 NBA Draft... Played in parts of nine seasons in the NBA for Washington, Portland, Toronto and Detroit... Also playedprofessionally overseas in Greece, Spain and Turkey.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

One More Terp Played in the NBA Summer League: Jordan Williams

Two weeks ago, I had said that there were two Terps playing in the NBA Summer League in July (Ibekwe and Stoglin). Someone in the comments pointed out that Jordan Williams (2009-11) was a late addition to the NBA Summer League, joining the Atlanta Hawks roster after his trade from the Nets became official at the start of the free agent signing season.

Here is the SB Nation roster summary for the Hawks:
Jordan Williams - F/C - 6-foot-9, 247

Acquired from the Brooklyn Nets as part of the Joe Johnson trade and is expected to be added to the summer league roster at some point. Was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Nets after a two-year stay at Maryland. Williams averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds in his final year with the Terps. The Nets assigned him for a six-game stint in the D-League at Springfield where he averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 boards in 2012. He also appeared in 43 games for the Nets averaging 14.8 minutes a night. Will be one of the most experienced players on the Hawks roster.

(That's one of the most experienced players on the Hawks' summer league roster.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Update on Terps in the London Olympics

As of this afternoon, both of our Terps playing in the Olympics basketball tournament are done.

Sarunas Jasikevicius and Lithuania fell to Russia in the quarterfinals. Lithuania went 2-3 in group play to advance as the #4 seed out of Group A. In the tournament, Jasikevicius averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 assists per game. (Complete Stats)

Ekene Ibekwe was lightly used by Nigeria, which bowed out after the round robin and did not advance to the second stage. Nigeria went 1-5 in group play, finishing #5 in Group A. Ebekwe averaged only 1 point and 0.7 rebounds in a total of 13 minutes over 3 games. (Complete Stats)

Two former Terps played for the USA women's field hockey team, Katie O'Donnell and Keli Smith-Puzo. The US team finished in last place in their group and did not advance to the tournament stage. The lone win was a surprise upset of group winner Argentina. They still have one game left to play versus Belgium on Friday to determine whether they will finish in 11th or 12th place in the tournament.

One other Terp played for the Colombia women's soccer team, Nataly Arias. Colombia finished in last place in their opening group round, and did not advance to the second stage.

One final Terp connection: Maryland Track and Field coach Andrew Valmon is serving as the head coach of the USA Track & Field contingent. Here's a nice Baltimore Sun story about him. Valmon was himself a two-time Olympic gold medal winner in the 4x400 relay in 1988 and 1992.

The Maryland Athletics Department is running a Terps in London blog during the Olympics with occasional stories about all the Terps competing in the Olympics.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Greivis Vasquez to be Honored at White House

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) will be honored at the White House tomorrow for his work with the US State Department's sports diplomacy program in Venezuela. From the New Orleans Hornets' press release:
On Friday, July 27th, the White House, along with the U.S. State Department and U.S. AID, will honor leaders who have exemplified extraordinary successes and efforts toward the development of – and diplomacy with – their countries or communities of origin. [...]

Greivis Vasquez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela is a professional basketball player for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets. [...] Greivis devoted much of his free time over the years to youth sports camps in Venezuela and was invited to partner with the US State Department in their “Sports Diplomacy” program to help foster improved relations between the two countries.

The event at the White House will be streamed live on Friday, July 27, 2012, at 10:30am Eastern Time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another Terp in the NBA Summer League: Ekene Ibekwe

Add one more Terp to the NBA Summer League roster. In addition to playing for Nigeria in the Olympics this summer, Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) is also playing for the Portland Trail Blazers' summer league team.

Here's the Bleacher Report's outlook on Ibekwe:
Statistically, Ibekwe was the second biggest point producer for his German team, BBC Bayreuth, with 11.7 points per game. Ibekwe is too small to be a NBA-caliber center, but could excel as a forward if his game were a bit more well rounded.

Local blog THEDCDIME fills us in on how Ibekwe is playing so far:
Ekene is playing for the Portland Trailblazers this summer, and he has appeared in two games thus far (playing 10 minutes in both). [...] He has collected 7 rebounds so far (4 against Miami, 3 against Houston), playing hard and trying to show his value as an offensive board cleaner. Ibekwe’s shot hasn’t gone down a lot, as evidenced by his 2-of-7 shooting in two games thus far, but the fact that he’s looking to score and getting quality chances is something, right?

One Terp in the NBA Summer League: Terrell Stoglin

Looks like I was wrong yesterday. Though he isn't listed on the initial roster that the team released, it appears that Terrell Stoglin (2010-12), the newest member of our Where-Are-They-Now family, is playing for the Toronto Raptors' summer league team after being passed over in the NBA Draft.

Here's the Bleacher Report's outlook on Stoglin:
There is no doubt the man can score from anywhere on the court. But beyond his blaring off-court red flags (engaging in a Twitter war with your coach never solves anything), Stoglin's main impediment to his success in the NBA is that he is undersized.

He can put the ball on the floor and create shots for himself, but will too often be overwhelmed by more athletic and physical NBA defenders. Stoglin has the talent, but it looks like he is a candidate to take his attitude and his game overseas.

The Diamondback's Terrapin Trail blog also followed up with a story about Stoglin's struggles this summer:
Stoglin has been given that opportunity. His game, though, has done very little talking.

Through four games with the Toronto Raptors in the Las Vegas Summer League, Stoglin has totaled just 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers. His 24 minutes played are the lowest of any member of the team by more than 2o minutes. [...]

And with a roster already loaded with guards, Stoglin will have to show a marked improvement if he wants to see his pro career begin with the Raptors.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

No Terps in the NBA Summer League?

Since I started this blog a few years ago, every summer around mid-July I post a story listing which Terps are playing on which NBA Summer League teams. Except this year, I went to write the story and found nothing to write about. No Terps are listed on any teams' rosters. Oh well, maybe next year?

Update 7/19: I learned from the comments that Terrell Stoglin is playing with the Toronto Raptors, and also discovered that Ekene Ibekwe is playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. Full blog posts to come on both of them. Anyone else I missed?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jasikevicius and Ibekwe Will Play in the Olympics

Two former Terps will be playing basketball in the Olympics in London starting in two weeks.

Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) will be playing for Lithuania once again. His performance against the USA in the 2004 Olympics in Greece earned him a two-year stint in the NBA with Indiana and Golden State in 2005-2007. In 2008, his status as one of Lithuania's most internationally famous athletes (remember, he's a huge star in Europe) led to him serving as Lithuania's flag bearer in the opening ceremonies at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Also, watch for Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) playing for Nigeria. Nigeria had a tough road to qualify for the Olympics, losing to Venezuela and Greivis Vasquez in the opening round-robin game of the final qualifying tournament. But they clawed their way back to advance, then upset Greece in the quarterfinals, lost to Russia in the semifinals, and finally eliminated the Dominican Republic in the third-place game of the tournament to earn the final spot in the Olympics draw, and Nigerian basketball's first ever berth in the Olympics.

Both Nigeria and Lithuania play in Group A with the USA. The opening basketball games of the Olympics tip off on July 29, with Nigeria vs. Tunisia and Lithuania vs. Argentina (rounding out Group A, USA plays France on the opening day).

Also in the Olympics, the USA Field Hockey team features former Terps Katie O'Donnell ('11) and Keli Smith-Puzo ('01). If you know of any other Terps competing in other events in London, post it in the comments!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chris Wilcox Receives Medical Clearance to Play

Chris Wilcox (2000-02) was having a great, productive season coming off the bench for the Boston Celtics this season when a routine medical test revealed a heart abnormality, requiring season ending heart surgery in March. Wilcox has been cleared to play again next season, and is already back in the gym:
Wilcox’s cardiologist, Dr. Matt Hook, of the Wake Heart and Vascular Associates in Raleigh, N.C., cleared Wilcox for full contact in the last few days. Wilcox has been working out in North Carolina the last few weeks, lifting weights and doing cardio work, and is planning to go to Houston to continue his workouts with player development guru John Lucas. Wilcox shot 59 percent from the floor last season for the Celtics, averaging 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in a little more than 17 minutes per game.
Wilcox is a free agent this off-season, and the Celtics are considering re-signing him, though it's far from certain:
The Boston Celtics will consider re-signing Wilcox, Danny Ainge said during a press conference to introduce the team's rookies on Monday. [...] After re-signing Kevin Garnett and drafting Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, the Celtics are considerably less desperate to sign big men than they were at the beginning of the NBA offseason.
In the meantime this summer, if you're in the area of Myrtle Beach, SC, Chris Wilcox is hosting his annual charity golf tournament to support Lupus research on Friday, August 3rd. Click the link for registration or sponsorship information, or to just make a PayPal donation to his foundation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nik Caner-Medley Signs with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) has signed a new two-year deal to play for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv after wrapping up the past season playing for Valencia in Spain.

This season, Caner-Medley led Valencia to the finals of the Eurocup tournament and was named to the First All-Eurocup Team. Caner-Medley scored a game-high 23 points in the championship game, but lost to BC Khimki. Valencia also finished fourth in the Spanish ACB league and reached the semi-finals of the playoffs, losing to eventual champion FC Barcelona Regal.

Here's part of the Maccabi Tel Aviv press release:
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv is pleased to announce that American forward Nik Caner-Medley (29, 6' 8") has signed for two years with the club.

Since 2007, Caner-Medley has played in the Spanish League – the strongest in Europe. He has a solid left-handed shot from three point range, plays a tough and extremely active game, creates opportunities with muscular drives to the basket and is one of the leading rebounders in Europe in his position. He plays with a lot of passion and enthusiasm, and always develops a strong connection with the local fans. [...]

Last season, 2011 – 2012, the talented American moved to Valencia for his fifth straight season in Spain. He led the team to the Eurocup Final against Khimki Moscow, where he finished with a very impressive double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, scoring 11 for 11 from the foul line and making 3 blocks; all of which added up to an index score of 38 points. Still, Khimki ended up taking the title with a 77 – 68 victory over Valencia.

Caner-Medley finished the season with Eurocup averages of 13.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and an index of 16.9 (third in the league), stats which earned him a spot on the All-Eurocup First Team. He was ranked ninth in the Spanish League with an average index of 15.6; he also claimed ninth place for points averaged (13.2) and seventh place for rebounds (6.8), while leading Valencia to the league's semi-final playoffs.

Maccabi Tel Aviv is the dominant team in Israel, winners of almost every Israeli Superleague championship going back to 1970 with the exception of three seasons (1993, 2008, and 2010), and 50 titles since the league formed in 1953-54. They are also a perennial powerhouse in the Euroleague tournament, making it to the quarterfinals this past season. Maccabi won the Euroleague back-to-back in 2004 and 2005 (Sarunas Jasikevicius was on those two teams) and have lost in the finals three times since then.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Jordan Williams Traded to the Atlanta Hawks

Reports today say that Jordan Williams (2009-11) has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks from the Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets. Williams is being dealt along with four other Nets players plus draft picks in exchange for the Hawks' all-star Joe Johnson.
Williams, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound forward, played in 43 games for the Nets this past season, averaging 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game.

The Nets would send guards Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and DeShawn Stevenson and forwards Williams and Johan Petro to the Hawks, along with a draft pick Brooklyn received from Houston. The selection only belongs to the Nets if it is not a lottery pick. notes that the deal will not be official until the free agent signing period begins on July 11, because it includes a sign-and-trade deal for DeShawn Stevenson. Also, whether or not Jordan Williams ends up playing for the Hawks remains to be seen. His contract is expiring, so we will have to wait to see if Atlanta will re-sign him.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Williams and Francis Giving Back to the Community

Today I have two stories about two stars from two eras, but the common thread is that they are working to give back to the community here in Maryland.

First, Steve Francis (1998-99), through his charitable foundation, donated $70,000 towards renovating a park in Takoma Park near where he grew up. Excerpts from Montgomery County's Gazette newspaper:
Behind him was a new basketball court with glass backboards, padded stanchions and his signature, painted between the half-court and 3-point lines, part of the $70,000 donation the Steve Francis Foundation made to Montgomery County Parks to renovate Takoma-Piney Branch Local Park. [...]

The skinny, trash-talking kid from the Park Ritchie apartments on Maple Avenue stood in front of a crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday, and spoke about what he hoped the rebuilt park would mean to the hometown that meant so much to him. [...]

Francis now lives in the Houston area with his wife and children. He toured the park, which also has a pavilion dedicated to his mother, a skateboard park, volleyball court and playground, for the first time on May 31.

Next, Walt Williams (1988-1992) is training for the Catoctin Challenge, a 100-mile charity bike ride through the Catoctin Mountains to raise money for Camp Greentop, a summer camp that serves disabled children and adults near Thurmont, MD. Excerpts from the Baltimore Sun:

So when Williams, 42, recently learned about the Catoctin Challenge, a 100-mile charity bike ride through the Catoctin Mountains, it didn't take him long to make his move.

"Honestly, about 10 seconds into talking, he's like, 'Oh, yeah, I'd love to do it,'" said Phil Heffler, the chair and founder of the Catoctin Challenge. "He hadn't ridden a bike in years, but he wanted to raise money. He thought it was a great idea to raise money for a good cause."

Williams hopes to raise $50,000 from friends and supporters for Camp Greentop, a summer camp in Catoctin National Park that serves about 300 disabled children and adults annually. The money will help send low-income individuals to the camp.

For Williams, the Challenge seemed like a good opportunity to get more involved in one of his favorite organizations. The financial adviser has served as a member of the board of directors for the League for People with Disabilities — the agency that runs Camp Greentop — for more than a year, and he was interested in ways to further support its mission.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Steve Blake's NBA Playoff Ups and Downs

The NBA season is now over for Steve Blake (1999-2003), but the playoffs had dramatic highs and lows for the former Terp. In the first round, against the Denver Nuggets, Blake was the hero, helping the Los Angeles Lakers advance to the second round with a series of clutch baskets.
Blake, who struggled mightily in his first year (and Phil Jackson’s last) in Los Angeles and seemed to be one of the scapegoats at times this season under Mike Brown, helped the Lakers avoid a first-round collapse against the Denver Nuggets.

Actually, you can make a strong case that Blake was the reason the Lakers will be opening their second-round series in Oklahoma City on Monday night. He came up big in three of the four wins against the Nuggets, none bigger than what he did Saturday night.

In helping the Lakers avoid blowing a 3-1 lead with a 96-87 win, Blake had the best playoff performance by a Los Angeles bench player in 25 years. He hit his first five 3-point shots and made a couple of huge 3s after the Nuggets erased a 13-point deficit to take a 4-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Blake’s career-playoff-high 19 points were the most by a Lakers reserve since Michael Cooper scored 21 in Game 2 of the 1987 Finals against the Boston Celtics.

ESPN LA said that Blake was a Laker Legend for one night:
He was amazingly, improbably, the Lakers' ace in the hole all series long. When L.A. won Game 1 after building a 13-point first quarter lead, it was Blake who had all nine of his points in that quarter off of three 3-pointers. When the Lakers stole Game 4 on the road to go up 3-1 in the series, it was Blake who scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter including a triple that doubled his team's lead from three to six with less than a minute remaining. And when the Lakers needed to play as if their lives depended on it in Game 7, Blake jump-started them coming off the bench.

But the second round was another story. After missing a last second three-pointer in a Game 3 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Blake and his wife received hate-tweets from a multitude of angry Lakers fans:
Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake was the unsung hero of his team's first-round series victory over the Denver Nuggets, scoring 19 points in Game 7.

But he learned quickly how a town can turn on him after he missed a potential game-winning 3 in the Lakers' 77-75 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

After the game, both the Twitter feeds of Blake and his wife, Kristen, were inundated with criticism ranging from curse word-laden rants to threats.

"I hope your family gets murdered," read one tweet that Kristen Blake re-tweeted along with a single comment: "Wow."

In the end, Blake is still looking for a ring:
As Blake explained, two seasons in purple and gold without a ring to his name is killing him.

"It's tough," admitted Blake. "I mean, that's definitely one of the factors that came into why I came here. Because I wanted to win. I've won a championship on every level except the NBA. It's frustrating to have not gotten that in the first two years. But I still believe with this group of guys, we can still get it. That's gonna be our goal coming into next year. Proving it. And getting that championship."

Monday, May 07, 2012

Jasikevicius Preparing for Euroleague Final Four This Weekend

The Euroleague Final Four is coming up in a few days, on May 11 and 13 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Terps are represented in the Final Four again this year by Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98), who plays for the defending champions, Panathinaikos of Athens, Greece. Jasikevicius has already won four Euroleague crowns with three different teams, and is vying to become only the fifth player ever to win five Euroleague championships:
At 36 years old, Sarunas Jasikevicius already has a resume and a highlight reel to rank among the all-time greats, but the player known across Europe by his nickname, “Saras”, is far from finished. Already the only player ever to take the Euroleague title with three different teams, Jasikevicius is now trying to become just the fifth player ever to win five crowns.

To get yourself ready for the big games this weekend, check out BallinEurope's video preview page: about halfway down the page there are three Sarunas videos to watch. Here's their preview for Panathinaikos:
For PAO, it’s all about the tight nucleus that’s already helped the team to three EL titles in the previous five seasons. Dimitris Diamantidis and Mike Batiste have three green-colored rings – and the former enjoyed yet another MVP-level season – while Romain Sato, Nick Calathes and Aleks Maric (among others) contributed to last year’s Euroleague title. And as though Panathinaikos didn’t have enough experience heading into the 2011-12 season, the Greens went out and scored one of Europe’s greatest playoff performers of all-time in Sarunas Jasikevicius: based on clutch time, a truly key free-agent signing in the off-season.

If you want to watch, the games are usually on here in the US. Panathinaikos plays CSKA Moscow at 18:00 EEST (11:00am EDT) on Friday, May 11.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jasikevicius in the Euroleague Final Four

The Euroleague, an annual continent-wide basketball tournament featuring the best pro teams from across Europe, is down to its Final Four, to be played May 11-13 in Istanbul, Turkey. And the last team to qualify for the Final Four was Panathinaikos, from Athens, Greece, and former Terp Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98). It took a one-point win in game five of their five-game series with Maccabi Electra to advance, and Jasikevicius scored 13 points in the decisive 86-85 victory. For the five-game series, he averaged 10 points and 3.6 assists per game. The series was a rematch of last year's Euroleague Championship game in Barcelona, which Panathinaikos also won.

Up next for the Panathinaikos Greens: CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague Semifinals on May 11. These two teams previously met in the 2009 championship game in Berlin, where Panathinaikos defeated CSKA. So, if you're keeping tally here, Panathinaikos has won two of the past three Championships. The intervening 2010 title was won by FC Barcelona (then featuring Ricky Rubio and Terrence Morris), who defeated CSKA for the crown in Paris. CSKA Moscow last won the Euroleague Title in 2008 in Madrid. FC Barcelona is back in the Final Four this year as well, along with Panathinaikos's arch-rival from the Greek league, Olympiacos Piraeus; the Reds last won a Euroleague title in 1997 and were supposed to be in rebuilding mode this season.

If you were thinking about heading over to Turkey for the games, they're sold out. But the Final Four is usually shown on here in the United States, so watch for it there.

Barrett and Kizer Selected in WNBA Draft

Two Terps, Anjale Barrett (2007-12) and Lynetta Kizer (2008-12) were selected in the WNBA Draft yesterday: Barrett by Washington and Kizer by Tulsa, both in the third round of the draft:
Point guard Anjale Barrett and center Lynetta Kizer of the Maryland women's basketball team were both selected in the Top 30 of the WNBA Draft Monday afternoon.

Barrett was selected 26th overall and went to the Washington Mystics and will join former teammate Crystal Langhorne in Washington. Kizer went to the Tulsa Shock two picks later.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Juan Dixon

As we finally end the college basketball season tonight with the 2012 National Championship game, the Baltimore Sun wraps up its "Where Are They Now?" coverage of the 2002 National Championship team with the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Juan Dixon (1998-2002), who is currently rehabilitating a knee injury and hoping to get back into the NBA. An excerpt:
At age 33, a decade after leading the Terps to the NCAA men's championship, three years removed from his last NBA game and now rehabilitating an injured left knee, Juan Dixon is plotting his comeback.

"Don't count me out," Dixon said Thursday in his first extensive interview since being banned in February 2010 from playing in Europe after failing a drug test the previous season.

In short, Dixon is trying to rewrite the last chapter of his basketball legacy.

"My goal in the next year is to get back into the NBA," said Dixon, who played seven years in the league after being a first-round draft choice (17th overall) of the Washington Wizards in 2002. "I'm going to get back to the NBA. My kids and basketball are my passions, and I want them to see me play in the NBA. I want to go out on my own terms. … I know I'm still an NBA player."
In case you missed an installment of this series, the Baltimore Sun has all of their profiles together in a special Where Are They Now? section of their website.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Chris Wilcox Has Season-Ending Heart Surgery

Chris Wilcox's (2000-02) season with the Boston Celtics has come to an abrupt end. After routine heart tests detected an abnormality, Wilcox underwent season-ending heart surgery this week. An excerpt from the Boston Globe:
The Celtics received another stunning injury blow Wednesday afternoon when they learned that forward Chris Wilcox will not return this season because of surgery to repair an enlarged aorta determined during his monthly heart examination.

Wilcox, who last played March 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers, underwent a series of tests and the team received those results Wednesday as it prepared to play the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics announced late Wednesday afternoon that Wilcox will undergo surgery March 29 at the Cleveland Clinic, and doctors have said he can resume his NBA career next season. The team said Wilcox, 29, has a previous condition that had been “stable,’’ but recent tests showed an enlargement of the aorta that requires surgery.
And, from ESPN:
For the second time in this abbreviated NBA season, the Boston Celtics have lost a player to a heart ailment. Chris Wilcox, a forward/center, will undergo aortic surgery on March 29 and miss the remainder of the season, the team announced Wednesday.

The cardiac irregularity was first detected last week during a routine screening. Wilcox has had a known heart abnormality that previously had remained stable, but followup tests confirmed Wilcox's aorta has thickened recently. Doctors are hopeful Wilcox will be able to resume his basketball career next season.
(It's a sad note to hit a milestone on, but Blogger's stats inform me that this is post #500 for this blog, so cue the balloon and confetti drop! It took a little over 6 years to get to 500, so I hope to still be around for post #1000 in 2018!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Lonny Baxter

When the expense reports are turned in for the Baltimore Sun's "Where Are They Now?" series about the 2002 National Championship team, I bet the phone bill will be interesting. That's because in today's installment, they interview Lonny Baxter (1998-2002), who is playing in Siberia this season. Here's your excerpt; now go read the whole thing.
The past six years have seen Baxter play for five different teams in five European countries. He played on a championship team in Greece, as well as in Italy, Spain and Turkey, and is now in his second season in the Russian League. His team is located in Kraysnovarsk, a city of a little less than a million people in Siberia.

It is a place that author Anton Checkov once called "the most beautiful city in Siberia." Baxter said that he has grown accustomed to the long road trips to play other Russian teams, as well as to the culture that is far different than any country he has played in since leaving the United States.

"When I heard that the team was in Siberia, I thought, 'What the ...'" Baxter said in a telephone interview this week. "Once you get there, it’s not so bad. It’s different. It’s in the middle of nowhere. But it’s not as bad as it seems."

Also, the Sun finally has a page bringing together the entire "Where Are They Now?" project, with links to all of the stories in the series.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Mike Grinnon

Mike Grinnon (2001-05) is the only Terp in school history to win both NCAA and ACC titles in men's basketball. And Grinnon's profile is next up for the Baltimore Sun's 2002 National Championship team "Where Are They Now?" series. Here's a preview; go read the full story.
Grinnon was a little-used freshman during the 2001-2002 season that culminated with Maryland’s NCAA men’s basketball title. Though his playing time increased marginally over the next three years, Grinnon is remembered for the free throws he hit to help beat Duke in Greensboro, N.C., as a junior.

What Grinnon recalls more is the defense he played in overtime against Duke guard J.J. Redick.

"The personal highlight of my career was absolutely that game, but contrary to belief, the more exciting moment for me was that I had to guard their leading scorer for every second of overtime and he did not get one shot off," Grinnon said. "Personally that was more of an accomplishment than hitting the free throws."

Mike Grinnon now works in Tyson's Corner where he manages a financial planning group for New York Life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sarunas Jasikevicius Advances in Euroleague

It's been a while since I posted an update about the annual Euroleague tournament. When we last left off, three Terps had advanced to the Top 16 round, all on teams in the same Group G. Of those three, Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) and his team, Panathinaikos Athens, was the only one to advance, with a 4-2 record in the group. In the six games in the Top 16 round-robin, Jasikevicius averaged 4.7 points and 2.7 assists. Panathinaikos now moves on the a best-of-five quarterfinal series against Tel Aviv Isreal's Maccabi Electra, where Sarunas will have the opportunity to end the playoff run of Euroleague rookie Jon Scheyer. Panathinaikos already won the first game of that series at home. (Scheyer did not play in Game 1 for undisclosed personal reasons.)

Back to the Top 16, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) was released from Milan's EA7 Emporio Armani midway through the round. Armani finished in a tie for second place in the group, but dropped to third on the tie-breaker and failed to advance (only the top two move on to the quarterfinals). In the four games he played in, Nicholas averaged 6.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.

James Gist, with Turkey's Fenerbahce Ulker, finished 2-4 and in 4th place in the group. Gist averaged 4.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in the 6 Top 16 games.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Dave Dickerson

The Baltimore Sun's "Where Are They Now?" celebration of the 2002 National Championship team rolls on with a profile of Dave Dickerson (1985-89), who I knew was an assistant coach on that team, but never realized he was also a player for Lefty Driesell and Bob Wade. After several years as the head coach at Tulane, Dickerson is now an assistant coach at Ohio State, where he will be coaching in the Sweet 16 next weekend. Here's an excerpt about becoming the head coach at Tulane in 2005; go read the whole story:
Ironically, the first year Maryland didn't make the tournament after Dickerson's return to his alma mater, he got his first head coaching job at Tulane. A program that had once been shut down because of point-shaving and later had some success under Perry Clark, Dickerson’s predecessor, the former Maryland assistant thought the opportunity in New Orleans was promising.

Until Aug. 29, 2005, the day Hurricane Katrina hit the Big Easy.

"It was a tough job when I took it on a lot of fronts," Dickerson recalled recently. "Three years before that there was some talk within the university of going Division III. On the heels of that, there was a lot of skepticism about Tulane basketball and Tulane athletics. Then Katrina hits, which made it an almost impossible job."

Dickerson and his team – not to mention his wife Laurette and then 4-year-son David III – were displaced to College Station, Texas. The team went to school, practiced and played on the campus of Texas A&M.

"Within my first six months of a job, which is a crucial time in a job, we had no campus," he said. "We couldn’t bring recruits in on an official visit before the first signing day. The recruiting class that we were working on and had put a lot of effort into just washed away – literally."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Drew Nicholas

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) is a huge star in Europe. If you missed out on following his exploits over the past few years by reading my blog, (a) don't let it happen again, and (b) let the Baltimore Sun catch you up on Drew Nicholas's career with their latest "Where Are They Now?" story on the 2002 National Championship team. An excerpt:
It was a departure met with major media coverage and ample blog and message-board discussion. Typically the parting of ways between a pro basketball team and a player scoring seven points a game wouldn’t be dissected at such an intense level. Drew Nicholas, however, is not your typical overseas player.

In the nine years since Nicholas finished his Maryland career, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard has won multiple championships and scoring titles for some of the premier franchises in the Euro League. So when Nicholas and Olimpia Milano decided last month that it would be mutually beneficial to go their separate ways, the former Terp admitted “it was a pretty big story.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Steve Blake

The Baltimore Sun continues to tax my abilities to write snarky jokes about them stealing my job. In the next "Where Are They Now?" story about the 2002 National Championship team, they visit Steve Blake (1999-2003). Here's a small piece of the story; click the link for the rest:
Steve Blake has carved together what is now a nine-year NBA career by feeding the ball to a list of All-Stars – from Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas in Washington, to Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony in Denver, to LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland and, for the past two seasons, to Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.

Though the lights are much brighter now and Blake, as a steady and much sought-after point guard, has parlayed his skills into his current four-year, $16 million contract with the Lakers, it is not much different than the role he played during his four seasons at Maryland.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Andre Collins

Ten years ago, Maryland won the National Championship. If only there were some sort of blog to let you know whatever happened to those players? Oh well. The Baltimore Sun is filling that void with their ongoing "Where Are They Now?" series about the 2002 championship players. In this edition, they catch up with Italian league star, Andre Collins (2001-04). Here's a small excerpt; go read the whole story:
Today Collins is 22 games into his sixth professional season, and for the first time in three years, the Eastern Shore native is back to his normal self. Injuries with Bologna and Pesaro limited him significantly, but Collins is 100 percent healthy and thriving on a team that fits him to a T. [...]

Collins, who averages 14.5 points and 5.7 assists, is enjoying his time with Otto Caserta – currently the 10th-place team in Serie A out of 17. While soccer remains the sport of kings in Europe, Italian League basketball has a fairly rabid following. Collins said “it’s impossible to go to a restaurant” and not be noticed by fans and autograph seekers.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Byron Mouton

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Maryland's 2002 National Championship, the Baltimore Sun is trying to steal my job with their own "Where Are They Now?" series. In the next story of their ongoing series today, they catch up with Byron Mouton (2000-02). Here's an excerpt; go read the whole story:
After finishing his professional career with the Maryland Greenhawks, Mouton thought of going to work for his brother's insurance company in Washington, but wanted to be able to have a job that gave himself a little more freedom "and kept me in the gym." Securing donations from State Farm Insurance as well as Choice Hotels, Mouton's 6th Man Skills Development organization began.

"I love it, to be able to do something I love, get up when I want, motivate them academically, have a chance to help kids and still be able to be in the gym," Mouton said. "I wouldn’t want to do anything else - unless somebody wanted to hired me to be a head coach at a university or an NBA scout."

(Yeah, I know I skipped one accidentally... I'll go back and get it tomorrow.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Baltimore Sun's 10 Year Anniversary Series: Tahj Holden

As we gear up to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Maryland's 2002 National Championship, the Baltimore Sun is determined to make my blogging hobby incredibly easy this spring. Today, they launched a new "Where Are They Now?" series catching up with the players, starting with Tahj Holden (1999-2003). Go read it. Here's an excerpt:
Staying involved with basketball was Holden’s No. 1 priority after finishing his Terps career, and the abrupt end to his coaching career was a definite shock to his system. But armed with his Maryland degree -- and a connection from his basketball past -- Holden rebounded in a hurry. Ten years after winning a national title, Holden has embarked on a new career as an analyst for a global financial services company in Jersey City, not far from where he grew up. And Holden has stayed involved with the game he loves as a coach for his former youth team.
Tahj is one of my favorite players from that team, partly because he's one of the only players who has ever e-mailed me about this blog and provided his own update for me to post. Go follow him on Twitter: @tahjholden.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Vasquez > Lin

After checking in on Steve Blake and Chris Wilcox over the weekend, I hadn't planned on writing anything about Greivis Vasquez (2006-10), whom I have already written about a lot recently. (Well, two stories in one month is a lot by this blog's intermittent posting standards.)

But I can't resist linking to this piece saying that Vasquez will be better than Jeremy Lin in the long run (Rant Sports):
New York is “the” market, especially for sports. Therefore, Vasquez has received no love as he plays in the lowly state of Louisiana, not typically revered as a basketball haven. Regardless, slowly and surely the young Maryland product is making a name for himself in the league. If it wasn’t for Jeremy Lin taking over the league on February 4, there is no doubt that Vasquez’ recent accomplishments would be higher on the nation’s radar. [...]

In 12 games since Vasquez has begun starting for the Hornets, he is averaging 13 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Even when Jack returned to the team, Vasquez has remained a starting guard. The most telling sign that Vasquez will be better than Lin over time is the turnovers, in which Greivis is averaging only three per night, opposed to Lin and his 7.5 turnovers a game (most in the league).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Checking Up On Chris Wilcox

Yesterday, I checked in on how Steve Blake's season was progressing. Today, we return to the East Coast to look at Chris Wilcox (2000-02).

Wilcox has had some nagging injury trouble too this season, but he's taken advantage of other injuries on the Boston Celtics to get more playing time and raise the level of his game (Taunton Gazette):
After signing a one-year deal with the Celtics for the mid-level exception of $3 million in December, Wilcox missed nine of the first 16 games with injuries and was ineffective when he did get on the court. [...]

Since that shaky start, though, Wilcox has given the Celtics consistency off the bench and in the two games that he started. In nine February games, the 6-foot-10 center/forward is averaging 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds while making 28 of 44 shots. [...]

Wilcox has scored in double figures three times this month and had back-to-back nine-rebound outings against the Chicago Bulls and the Pistons last week.

Where Wilcox, who is shooting 63 percent, has been effective on offense is in the fast-break game. On an aging team, he has given speedy point guard Rajon Rondo an option in transition.

It's also helping Wilcox mentally to be on a team with a winning attitude (Detroit News):
Since landing in Boston, Wilcox is playing on a team with championship aspirations for the first time in his career. He will play in the playoffs for the first time. He noticed a difference from the moment he landed in Bean town.

"Everything's totally different, especially the expectations," Wilcox said. "All it's about is winning. I mean, the history of the franchise is all over the building. Every time you go somewhere you have a reminder of what you're doing."

(Of course, having said that, Wilcox was sidelined again this week with a right adductor strain.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Checking Up On Steve Blake

This season, I have written a few times about Greivis Vasquez and Jordan Williams, but I wanted to catch up with the other two Terps in the NBA this weekend, starting today with Steve Blake (1999-2003). (Come back tomorrow for Chris Wilcox.)

Blake has had some injury troubles this month, missing 13 games for the Los Angeles Lakers. But now he's back, and now that he's able to get back into his conditioning routine, he's starting to lift his team with better shooting and ball movement (LA Times):
"When we knock down three-point shots, we're a completely different team," Kobe Bryant said. "It makes us a very dangerous team. [Blake's] a great shooter and floor general. We missed him tremendously since he was out."

Now that he's back, Blake can thank his improved rhythm and conditioning for restoring his shooting stroke.

"It's made a big difference," he said. "You're able to shoot when you're tired and make passes and react. It's hard to do that when your legs are gone. All that stuff starts to come back to you and you're able to pick it up as you go.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eric Hayes Signs with NBA D-League's Canton Charge

Eric Hayes (2006-10) has been signed by the NBA D-League's Canton Charge. Here's an excerpt from the team's press release:
The Canton Charge announced that they have claimed guard Eric Hayes (6-4, 180, Maryland) via the available player pool. Hayes was a four-year letterman at the University of Maryland who most recently was with Leche Rio Breogan Lugo of the Spanish league.

In 23 games with Leche Rio Breogan Lugo in 2010-2011, Hayes averaged 8.9 points on .458 shooting with 1.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 22.3 minutes per game. He also had a stint in the NBA Summer League with the Washington Wizards in 2010.

(Thanks to @FakeKvinAndrson and @Ekhayes5 himself for breaking the news to Terp fans on Twitter. Go follow them both.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Drew Nicholas and Milan Part Ways

In the midst of the Italian and Euroleague seasons, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) and his team, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, are parting ways. Here's the Euroleague press release:
EA7 Emporio Armani has reached an agreement with shooting guard Drew Nicholas to terminate his contract, the club announced Tuesday. Nicholas, a two-time Euroleague champion and a former Alphonso Ford Top Scoring trophy winner with Benetton Treviso, averaged 7.4 points and 1.7 assists in 14 Euroleague games this season, hitting just 36 of 119 shots. Nicholas left the club in the same week that his team will travel to Athens, Greece, to face his former team Panathinaikos, with whom he won the Euroleague title in 2009 and 2011. Milano has thanked Nicholas for his work in the months he spent with the club and wished him luck in the rest of his basketball career. Milan won its first Top 16 game in Week 4, but retains mathematical chances to reach the playoffs if it can win its last two games. Nicholas was tied for fifth in three-pointers in the Top 16 with 8 made in 20 attempts through four games. He ranks seventh all-time with 276 three-pointers made in his seven-season Euroleague career with Benetton, Efes Pilsen, Panathinaikos and Milan.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Johnny Rhodes Honored at Comcast Center

Tonight before the Miami game, Johnny Rhodes (1992-96) had his #15 banner unfurled in the Comcast Center rafters (joining Ernie Graham, honored last week). In his halftime interview, he called it one of the greatest honors of his life. Here's the Baltimore Sun's Don Markus writing about Rhodes' career:
If [Ernie] Graham was known for his ability to score, Rhodes was known for doing just about everything. Aside from his school record of 344 steals that still stands, Rhodes is now 10th in scoring (1,743 points) and assists (344). He is also an impressive 15th in rebounding (704), the best ever for a Maryland guard. [...]

Having received his undergraduate degree in art a couple of years ago, Rhodes owns his own local construction company. Though he never made the NBA – held back mostly by an inconsistent outside shot - Rhodes said that not reaching that dream “strengthened me in other areas in my life.”
Rhodes was also named to the 2012 ACC Tournament Legends Team (an annual line-up honoring one player from each ACC school during the ACC tournament). Rhodes 344 steals are not just a Maryland record, but also the ACC career record. He also has the ACC record for steals per game for his career (2.82), steals in a single season (110 in 1995-96), and steals per game for a single season (3.7 in 1995-96).

I'm particularly happy to see his number up there, since I also went to Maryland the same four years (1992-96) and he was one of my favorite players during my tour of duty in the Cole Field House student section.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Greivis Vasquez Ends "Lin-sanity"

The New York Knicks' streak of wins since the dawn of the Jeremy Lin era ended last night, with the New Orleans Hornets, and Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) played a big role in the victory. From the Baltimore Sun:
Nobody is saying Vasquez was the reason the heretofore woeful but suddenly hot Hornets beat a Knicks team that had won seven straight games with Lin as its newfound star, but Vasquez certainly played his part. Along with a 15-point, 11-assist performance in his team’s 89-85 win at Madison Square Garden, Vasquez’s defense was a big factor in Lin’s nine turnovers -- the most by any player in the NBA this season. [...]

For the first month, he was playing about 20 minutes a game and averaging about six points and three assists, but when Jack was injured last month, Vasquez took over a team in the midst of a horrendous season and played admirably. In the past nine games, he is averaging nearly 13 points and a little more than eight assists. He has three double doubles and missed two others by an assist.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Greivis Vasquez Picking Up the Slack in New Orleans

With injuries to the backcourt ravaging the New Orleans Hornets' roster, the beneficiary has been Greivis Vasquez (2006-10), and he's making the most of his extra playing time. Here's what Sports Illustrated has to say about Vasquez:
With Eric Gordon's timetable for return just keeps getting pushed out further and further. With New Orleans at the bottom of the Western Conference, there's no real rush to get Gordon back on the court. He's the future of the franchise, so in the meantime, Vasquez has been given the chance to show what he can do. He's responded to his starting role and 30-plus minutes per game with double-digit scoring, big assists and pretty decent rebounding for a guard. It doesn't hurt that he's also making almost a three a game while getting more than one steal. Perhaps he has four arms like his nickname-sake, General Grievous.

[Jarrett] Jack is injured, [...] He'll be back in the starting lineup when he comes back (currently day-to-day), but Vasquez is playing well enough that he might be able to fill Gordon's vacation SG position.

In the last five games, Vasquez is averaging 16 points and 8 assists in 32 minutes per game, while starting the last three games. In the Hornets' most recent game, Vasquez played 40 minutes and led the team with 20 points and 9 assists.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Jordan Williams Back With the Nets

Jordan Williams (2009-11) is back in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets after his two week stint in the NBA D-League with the Springfield Armor. From InsideHoops:
The New Jersey Nets have recalled rookie forward Jordan Williams from the Springfield Armor, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

Williams appeared in six games with the Armor, all starts, and averaged 10.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 32 minutes. He shot .451 (23-51) from the field and .531 (17-32) from the line. He tallied three double-doubles.
In his first game back with the team, Jordan scored 9 points and 8 rebounds in a win over the Pistons for Team Williams... err.. the Nets, who dressed only 8 players for the game due to injuries and illnesses. Four players named Williams combined for 55 of New Jersey's 99 points.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

John Gilchrist Joins Kosovo's Sigal Prishtina

John Gilchrist (2002-05) is now playing for Sigal Prishtina in Kosovo's Superleague. From the Eurobasket website:
Gerald Inman (208-F-87, college: Rutgers) and John Gilchrist (187-G-84, college: Maryland) are two players that will strengthen champions until the end of the season. They have arrived in Kosovo capital, Prishtina, and they have begun to train with the team.[...]

John Gilchrist is a guard and during his career had played in different continents also. Except Norfolk (USA), which was his last team he played also for Banjska Bystrica (Slovakia), 36ers (Australia), Ironi Nahariya (Israel), Texas (USA) and Ventspils (Latvia). Gilchrist is a 187cm guard and 27 years old.

Gilchrist even posted a photo of his first game's stats on Facebook: 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists in 31 minutes, though the team lost on the road.

John Gilchrist had also briefly played in Slovakia last fall, but that stint was over before I knew about it, so I passed on posting about it. Gilchrist wrote a blog post about his short, frustrating experience there that says a lot about what life is like as an American playing for small market European teams.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jordan Williams Assigned to Nets' D-League Affiliate

The New Jersey Nets have assigned Jordan Williams (2009-11) to their NBA D-League affiliate, the Springfield Armor. The New York Post says this should help Williams' development:
After forward Jordan Williams has barely gotten off the bench early in his rookie season, the Nets have decided to send him to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Springfield Armor.

The move makes perfect sense. Williams, 21, has played a total of 37 minutes over six games in the early going for the Nets, and after leaving Maryland after his sophomore season, will get a chance to play – and play a lot – for the Armor. And, because of the Nets' partnership with the Armor, Williams won't just be getting to play a lot for the Armor. He'll both be playing a lot and running the Nets' sets on offense and defense, as the Armor are using the same systems as their parent club.
New Jersey news site says that the move was prompted by other roster needs to replace injured players, but Williams' season wasn't going well, hampered by a lack of practice time after he missed training camp and the first five games of the season:
Williams, 21, was a second round pick out of Maryland in the June draft, but he showed up overweight and out of shape when training camp began Dec. 9. The 6-9 power forward did lose weight and played his way back into shape and got into six games for the Nets, averaging 1.0 points and 1.5 rebounds. He scored his first points (four) in a loss to Boston Jan. 4, and played a career high 10 minutes in the next game, Jan. 6 in Toronto, but playing time was scarce for him otherwise. And with the Nets unable to practice much (they have practiced just twice since the season started) sending him down to Springfield of the D-League offers him a chance to practice and play some games.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Braxton Dupree Now Playing in Canada

Braxton Dupree (2007-09, then transferred to Towson) is now playing in Ontario, Canada for the London Lightning. The Canadian National Basketball League (NBL) is in its founding season, taking three former Premier Basketball League (PBL) teams which were in Canada and adding four new expansion teams to go with them.

So far in three games (all wins), Dupree is averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds (2.7 offensive, 1.0 defensive). The team is 16-4 and in first place in the 7 team league. The team's press release has this to say about Dupree's signing:
The first place London Lightning are pleased to announce the addition of Braxton Dupree to their NBL Canada roster, effective immediately. Dupree is a 6'8" forward from Towson University, who adds a dimension of rebounding and defense to the Lightning.

Lightning General Manager, Taylor Brown, had this to say about the acquisition. “We were lucky to get Braxton as he was coveted by many other teams after coming from Israel. Hopefully he fits in with our team this late in the season.”

As mentioned, Dupree played Division I NCAA basketball during his collegiate career. Most recently, he was playing in Israel first for Maccabi Ashdod and then was loaned to Ironi Nes-Ziona.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Nik Caner-Medley in the Eurocup Top 16

Yesterday, we talked about the Terps in the 2012 Euroleague tournament. But there's another tournament going on in Europe too, the Eurocup. It's sort of the NIT to the Euroleague's NCAA Tournament, but with the added twist that the Eurocup champion gets an automatic qualification for next year's Euroleague, so there's really something for these smaller, second tier teams to play for.

This year, one Terp has made it into the Eurocup's Top 16 round: Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) and Valencia Basket of Valencia, Spain. In the first round, Valencia tied for first place in group D with a 4-2 record (but lost the point differential tiebreaker), and Caner-Medley scored 17 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in four starts and was the tournament's Week 3 MVP:
One of the road winners was Valencia Basket as forward Nik Caner-Medley led the performance of the team at Lukoil Academic for the win and an index rating performance of 29, that earned him the weekly MVP honors among those players in winning teams. Caner-Medley scored 27 points including 8 of 10 two-pointers and 3 of 5 threes, pulled 4 boards, had 2 steals and 1 block.

The opening round of the tournament also featured DJ Strawberry (2003-07) and Hapoel Jerusalem, but they went 2-4 in group A and failed to advance. Strawberry started 5 games and averaged 14 points per game.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Three Terps in the Euroleague Top 16

It's that time of year again: time to start paying attention to the Euroleague, Europe's annual tournament featuring the best pro teams from across the continent. Every year, there are a few Terps playing for the championship, and this year is no different. The Top 16 draw for 2012 has been announced, and Terps fans will want to pay close attention to Group G, where all three Terps in the tournament find themselves playing against each other.

First, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) and his team, EA7 Emporio Armani from Milan, Italy. Nicholas is averaging 7.8 points per game while starting for his team in 8 of the first 10 games in the opening round of the tournament.

Next, Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) and his team, Panathinaikos from Athens, Greece. Sarunas averaged 6 points in 9 opening round games for the Greens. (Regular readers of this blog will note that this was Drew Nicholas's team too for the past several years before he left as a free agent over the summer.)

Finally, James Gist (2004-08) and his team, Fenerbahce Ulker from Istanbul, Turkey. Gist started all 10 of Fenerbahce's opening round games, averaging 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. (Regular readers of this blog will also note that this was Jasikevicius's team last season, taking a one year free agent break from his long-time home on the Panathinaikos roster.)

The Euroleague site has some first impression analysis about the teams in Group G. Fenerbahce Ulker (Gist) is the top seed in the group, getting there with a 6-4 record in a tough opening round group A. Now their starting point guard will be sidelined for at least two games with a broken finger. Panathinaikos (Jasikevicius) and the fourth team in the group, Unics Kazan of Russia, actually had better records, going 7-3 each to place 2nd in group B and 3rd in group D, respectively. EA7 Emporio Armani (Nicholas) reached the Top 16 by going 4-6 and winning a point differential tie-breaker for 4th place in group C. Armani also faces an uphill battle with their leading scorer out for at least 4 weeks after undergoing Achilles tendon surgery.

As always, I'll try to provide progress reports for the teams as the next rounds of the tournament progress. Good luck to all three Terps, even though we know only two of them at most can move on to the quarterfinals.