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.
SI.com 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.