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 NJ.com 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.