Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tom McMillen Inducted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

Last weekend, former Terp Tom McMillen (1970-74) was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Baltimore Sun reported:
On Sunday, McMillen — a Rhodes Scholar who went on to play in the NBA and serve in the U.S. House of Representatives — will be among the new inductees into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Mo.

"I'm really proud of him," said Driesell. "Tom said he wanted to be a Rhodes scholar and an All-American basketball player. I said, ‘Tom, you can't do both.' And he did. He should have been there [in the Hall of Fame] a long time ago."

McMillen, now 61, helped lead Maryland to a 73-17 record. He was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team that lost to the Soviet Union in the gold-medal game with a memorably controversial finish.

At the Washington Post, Lefty Driesell called up to talk about the Hall Of Fame Induction and pointed out that another former Terrapin assistant coach, George Raveling, will be inducted too:
“I’ve been trying to get him in there for years,” Driesell said. “Hey, how many Rhodes Scholars they got here?”

Before McMillen? Just one: three-time all-American, NBA star and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley.

Driesell has another connection in the class of 2013, too. George Raveling, the first assistant coach hire he made upon arriving in College Park, will also be inducted as a “contributor,” for his work as Nike’s director of international basketball.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Juan Dixon Hired as Maryland Assistant Coach

The University of Maryland has hired former Terp Juan Dixon (1998-2002) as a special assistant for the men's basketball team, coinciding with the resignation of assistant coach Dalonte Hill. Current Director of Basketball Operations, Dustin Clark, will formally assume Hill's assistant coach position (Clark has been doing that job since October anyway). Here's the school's press release, though I haven't been able to read it since the news seems to have swamped their server this afternoon.

Instead, here's the Washington Post story with details about the hiring:
And in a semi-related move, legendary Terrapins guard Juan Dixon has been hired as a special assistant to Coach Mark Turgeon. The program’s all-time leading scorer will primarily serve as a mentor to the team’s players, advising current players on athletics and academics, breaking down film and scouting future opponents, and other administrative duties. He cannot recruit on the road, but can meet recruits who visit campus. [...]

Dixon also returned to school at Maryland to obtain his undergraduate degree in family sciences and, according to another individual with knowledge of the situation, his hiring was conditional on its completion. He is currently on course to graduate, and this move marks the first step in Dixon pursuing a coaching career, with the hopes of eventually advancing up the ranks.

Also, here's the Baltimore Sun's story, where Dixon talks about his goal of becoming a coach:
In a subsequent teleconference, Dixon said he has been talking to Turgeon for "a couple months" about joining the staff, and he has thought about coaching for a long time.

"As far as coaching, this process began many years ago while playing," Dixon said. "When I was even here at the University of Maryland with coach [Gary] Williams and moving on to the NBA, I realized that after my basketball career I wanted to be a coach someday. Today, Coach Turgeon has given me an opportunity to be part of his staff, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Alex Len Prepares for his Rookie Season

Bright Side of the Sun, a Phoenix Suns blog, has a two part interview this week with rookie Alex Len (2011-13): Part 1; Part 2.

Excerpts:

Q: Are you back to 100% and totally cleared to play?
A: Not 100% yet. When I play pick-up games, I start every game but they pull me off to the side after a couple minutes because they don't want me to overdo it before the season, you know? I haven't played for about 5 months so I'm out of shape. Training camp is going to be a lot of running just to get in shape, get my wind back.

Q: A lot of people don't know exactly what to expect from you this year. [...] So what can you tell fans to expect to see from you in your rookie campaign?
A: Rookie year will be a bit different for me because I'm coming off two surgeries on my ankles. It's going to be really tough for me but I'm just going to play as hard as I can and bring a positive energy to do whatever I can for the team. [...]

[...]

Q: I know you started playing again recently but has the coaching staff been telling you what to work on in terms of any specific skills?

A: Right now, I've been working a lot on defense, like team defense. Just trying to learn little things to help the team overall. I've been working a little bit with coaches on my post moves and stuff like that but I think for me, it's going to be about just helping the team on defense and being a presence at the rim - block shots, rebound, run the floor. Things like that are going to be big.


(Thanks Testudo Times!)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory in Germany This Season

Braxton Dupree (2007-09) is headed to Germany this season to play for the German ProA league Heidelberg Academics (a frightening mascot if there ever was one. Translating (and editing for clarity) from the team's press release:

Braxton Dupree completes the roster of MLP Academics. The center comes from the Bulgarian Association team Rilski Sportist Samokov to Heidelberg.

Although putting the finishing touches on the squad took some time, the last piece puzzle fits perfectly in the squad. The 24-year-old American is a good choice; while his 2.03 meter height is not the greatest, he comes with excellent physical abilities and has all the skills to compete in the ProA league.

After his college transfer from Maryland to Towson, he was required to sit out a year according to NCAA transfer rules. However, the following year he was in the starting five. He paid back his coach's confidence with an average of 12 points and 8 rebounds per game. He was one of the best rebounders of his conference. The attention of European scouts was secured. In Israel in 2011, Dupree signed a three-year contract with Maccabi Ashdod. However, his time in the Israeli Premier League was not satisfactory, so he moved to Canada in January 2012. There he won the championship with the London Lightning.

For the 2012-13 season, Dupree's journey took him to Bulgaria. He had a successful season playing center in the Bulgaria-NBL - semi-finals in the league, cup and Balkan League title - one of the top players in the categories of rebounds and blocks. In the national championship he grabbed 8 rebounds per game. In the Balkan League, he was named to the "All Imports Team." His new home will be on the court in Heidelberg OSP.



He will have Terrapin company in the German League: Dino Gregory (2007-11) had his contract with Phoenix Hagen renewed at the end of the last season.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Steve Blake Takes NBPA Position

Steve Blake (1999-2003) will serve as a new leader in the NBA Players Association this year. From the LA Times:

Lakers guard Steve Blake has been named as a vice president on the National Basketball Players Assn. Executive Committee. [...]

When healthy, Blake averaged 7.3 points a game while shooting 42.1% from three-point range -- but he missed 37 regular-season games to injury.

Blake is in the final year of his deal with the Lakers, at $4 million for the 2013-14 season

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Grevis Vasquez Surgery Recovery On Pace for NBA Season

Greivis Vasquez had surgery on his ankle following the end of the NBA season last spring, but he's on pace to recover in time to play for his new team, the Sacramento Kings, when the NBA preseason opens next month. In the meantime, he was there in spirit for the Venezuelan national team this summer, but forced to watch from the sidelines. ESPN had a story about Vasquez this week. A short excerpt:

Vasquez isn't limping after the operation and he's on schedule for the start of the NBA season. Since the start of the rehab process on the ankle, the Venezuelan never doubted that he would be there for the first preseason game with his new team, the Sacramento Kings.

"I find myself to be much better," he said. "The progress has been really good and really productive but I need a month and half to get my physical condition at 100 percent again."

There's an unconditional motivation in his new adventure and Vasquez is conscious that he will be one of the key components to a renewed Kings team paddling in the direction of the playoffs, something the franchise hasn't done since the 2005-06 season. He arrives after a tough season in New Orleans but a satisfactory one on a personal note after averaging 13.9 points, 9 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 78 games. Overall, Vasquez had 704 assists which led the league. He was also third in the NBA in assists per game, right after Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Laura Harper Accepts Loyola Coaching Job

Laura Harper (2004-08) will join the Loyola University (Maryland) Greyhounds as an assistant women's basketball coach this fall. From the team's press release:

Laura Harper, a former University of Maryland standout and WBNA post player, has joined the Loyola University Maryland women's basketball coaching staff as an assistant, Head Coach Joe Logan announced today. Harper replaces another former Terrapins player whose jersey now resides in the Comcast Center rafters, Keith Booth. [...]

Harper, who played four seasons at the University of Maryland, graduated from the school in 2008 and was picked 10th overall in the WNBA draft to the Sacramento Monarchs. The power forward averaged five points and 3.7 rebounds in her first two seasons as a pro. [...]

Most recently, Harper played overseas in Russia for the Dynamo Moscow. During the 2011-12 season, she also played for Antakya Turkey, averaging 13.3 points and 9.9 rebounds.

As the story references, Keith Booth moved this spring from being an assistant on the Loyola women's team to join the staff of the school's men's team.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Chris Wilcox Still Looking for a Team

Chris Wilcox (2000-09) is still a free agent this summer, with little time to go until the NBA season begins again. Resigning with the Boston Celtics seems unlikely:

Last season in Boston he was solid in a limited role — 4.2 points and 3 rebounds a game in about 13.6 minutes a night. He has a PER of 15.3, which is pretty good for a guy in that role.

But he is still looking for a landing spot, reports the Boston Globe.

"August is a difficult time for lower-tier free agents because teams are still trying to figure out roster space and flexibility. Also on the market is former Celtic Chris Wilcox, who said he would like to return to Boston, but that’s highly unlikely with the new regime. Wilcox said that recovering from aorta surgery affected him last season and he promised to be in better shape this season."

Wilcox also revealed last month that he played much of last season with a torn thumb ligament:

Wilcox suffered from back spasms during training camp when he tried too much, too soon after heart surgery, and he later missed 19 games around midseason because of what the Boston Celtics called a sprained ligament in his thumb.

But the center, now a free agent, told the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn he never really suffered a sprain. The injury was actually worse than the team let on and still bothers Wilcox to this day.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Nik Caner-Medley Returns to Spain with Unicaja Malaga

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) is returning to Spain's ACB league this year, now playing for Unicaja Malaga. Translated excerpt:

Unicaja yesterday confirmed the arrival of Nik Caner-Medley to Malaga for next season. The player himself, previously had announced his signing on Twitter. "I just signed my contract to play this season for Unicaja. Excited to get back to work and the fans proud to fight I say to you," he wrote from Miami, where he spent his summer.

Unicaja's new power forward is 29 years old and 2.03 meters. [...] The American (with Azerbaijan passport, so he is not counted as a non-European player) terminated his contract with Maccabi, with whom he had one more year.

Caner-Medley has a long history of playing in Spain before:

A year in Gran Canaria, one in Seville, two with Estudiantes, and one in Valencia make up an illustrious career that the American power forward has played in the ACB, a history valued by Joan Plaza and the team's management in the composition of the current squad.

In Tel Aviv, Caner-Medley signed a two-year, 750,000 euros a year deal. His salary in Malaga will be lower, but he will also receive compensation from the Israeli team for ending the contract.

He has 147 games of experience in the Spanish top flight, with averages of 27 minutes, 11.9 points (71% free throws, 52% in field goals and 34% from three), 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals; these stats were mostly earned playing at the highest level of competition. He played only one year with Valencia, helped Estudiantes make the playoffs and earned a second place finish in the Eurocup tournament.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Walt Williams and Tony Massenburg are Writing a Len Bias Book Together

Walt Williams (1988-1992) recently told Dan Steinberg's DC Sports Bog (the best part of the Washington Post sports section) that he is in the final stages of writing a book about Len Bias along with Tony Massenburg (1986-90):
“We’re still making edits; we’re in the finishing stages,” the former Maryland great said. “As we get closer to the final stages, I’ll be able to elaborate on it a little bit more. As of now, you can just say we do have something in the works, and we took a different direction than most have. It’s not so much the [Bias] story, but the effect of the story.”

The project is a collaboration between Williams, fellow Terp Tony Massenburg and a writer. Williams said they hope to have a finished product before the end of 2013, so that it could be released during the Maryland basketball season.

Williams is participating in a charity bike ride, the Catoctin Challenge, next weekend in Frederick County. He hopes to raise $50,000 for two charity foundations he supports. There's more on that in the Sports Bog story linked above too, and I wrote about it last year as well.

(Also, if you're looking for a Len Bias book and can't wait until next winter for the Williams/Massenburg collaboration, check out Dave Ungrady's Born Ready.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interviews with Landon Milbourne and Adrian Bowie

The writers over at Testudo Times recently had the chance to interview Landon Milbourne (2006-10) and Adrian Bowie (2007-11) on their playing careers over in Europe:

First up, the interview with Landon Milbourne, who spent last season with Panionios in Greek's top division:
It's just different, because, you know, different cultures, different ways of living. As far as basketball is concerned, there's not too much different, you've just got a new group of teammates every year, another coach and you have to adjust to him. But for the most part, you know, you just try to make the best out of it and come home with some wins. [...]

In Greece the basketball culture is real strong, stronger than it was in France. [Panionios] had a real good history in basketball, the people knew a lot about basketball, so they were really, really supportive and it was a real fun year.

Next, Adrian Bowie talks about his season in Germany with the Herten Lions:
My experience playing in Europe was a lot of fun and learning at the same time. Different role then playing at Maryland. I was the scorer on the team and I enjoyed the role. [...]

I am not returning to the Lions next year. Looking to move up to higher league in another country. Just trying to play against the best.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Alex Len Undergoes Another Ankle Surgery

When he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns, everyone knew that Alex Len (2011-13) was recovering from surgery to repair stress fractures in his left ankle. But now, Len has also had surgery on his right ankle too.

The story from NBC Sports:
Alex Len was selected with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft by the Phoenix Suns, even though he was recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left ankle.

Len told reporters on draft night that he expected to resume basketball activities in August, which would have put him on pace to be ready for full participation in October’s training camp.

But another surgery turned out to be required — on the right ankle this time — that may put that timetable in jeopardy.

SB Nation says that despite the second surgery, Len should still be ready to play by training camp:
Despite the pair of surgeries, it's expected that Len will be ready for the beginning of the 2013-14 season. The timetable for his initial injury was set at four to six months, and this procedure isn't expected to significantly alter that projection.

While some may express concern that Len needs so much work done before even stepping on an NBA court, it's worth remembering the Suns have arguably the best medical staff in the league. If any team deserves the benefit of the doubt with player injuries, it's Phoenix. So it'll be interesting to see how Len recovers in the coming months.

USA Today asks if the Suns made a mistake drafting Len:
When a 20-year-old, 7-foot-1 man has surgeries on both ankles within a little more than two months, the sofa and armchair doctors throw their ankles off their ottomans in disbelief.

Did the Phoenix Suns draft damaged goods at No. 5 last month by choosing Alex Len? Is this another big man with chronic health issues barely above the hardwood? [...]

There certainly is reason for concern, because Len is a critical element to the Suns' turnaround. But the ankle issues do not alarm the Suns. They checked out the left ankle before drafting him and were confident that the partial stress fracture would not be a future issue.

But Len himself assured his fans on Twitter that he'll be back in around 4 weeks:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Five Terps in the WNBA This Season

Five former Terps are playing in the WNBA this season, and the Diamondback has been following along with weekly updates on their seasons (check back there weekly for updates).


Marissa Coleman (2005-09) is playing for the Los Angeles Sparks (player profile). Here's Coleman answering questions in the Sparks MVP Lounge.

Tianna Hawkins (2009-13) is playing for the Seattle Storm (player profile). The Washington Post recently featured Hawkins in a story about her rookie season.

Lynetta Kizer (2008-12) is playing for the Phoenix Mercury (player profile). Kizer, the back-up center behind Brittney Griner, has missed games recently with an injury.

Crystal Langhorne (2004-08) is playing for the Washington Mystics (player profile). Believe it or not, Langhorne is now the Washington area's longest-tenured athlete (counting college plus her pro career with the Mystics).

Kristi Toliver (2005-09) is also playing for the Los Angeles Sparks (player profile). Toliver is one of LA's leaders on the court this season, according to ESPN.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Logan Aronhalt to Play for Assigeco Casalpusterlengo in Italy

Logan Aronhalt (2012-13), making his first appearance in this blog, has signed to play next season with Italian team Assigeco Casalpusterlengo. Casalpusterlengo plays in the Nazionale A league, the third division of pro basketball in Italy. Naturally, there were lots of local stories about the signing:

UMTerps.com with the Announcement:
Former Maryland guard Logan Aronhalt has signed a 10-month contract to play basketball with Assigeco Casalpusterlengo in Italy.

Aronhalt, who averaged 6.0 points per game as an off-the-bench 3-point threat in his lone season with the Terrapins, signed a contract last Friday while playing in a Las Vegas showcase and will leave for Italy on August 15.

The Washington Post's Terrapin Insider:
With Casalpusterlengo, Aronhalt enters an eerily similar situation to the one he found in College Park. The Italian squad, which finished fourth in its division last year, fields five players born in the 1990s, included two born in 1995 or later.

“I’m going to be one of the older guys on the team, but I think anytime they bring in imports they expect to score and be one of the better players. I’ll be doing a lot more scoring than I’ll be doing at Maryland,” Aronhalt said. “Then again I’ll have to be an older guy, an elder statesmen of sorts.”

The Baltimore Sun:
As a high school player in Ohio, Logan Aronhalt twice went with teams to Italy to play basketball. Aronhalt, who played as a graduate student last season at Maryland after playing three years at Albany, will now be going to Italy to start what he hopes to be a long professional career.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard signed last week with Assigeco Casalpusterlengo, a third-division team near Milan. Aronhalt said his agent sent tapes out to a number of European teams and had a connection to another agent in Italy, who helped close the deal.

The Diamondback:
In Italy, incoming players often start in the third-tier league, like Aronhalt will with Assigeco Casalpusterlengo. Players are able to move up into the higher divisions, as Aronhalt hopes to do by performing well this season.

“I’ll be playing in the lower league, but the top division is very good,” Aronhalt said. “This gives me a chance to get my foot in the door over there, and hopefully I can work my way up.”


Friday, July 19, 2013

Greivis Vasquez Traded to the Sacramento Kings

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) was traded from the New Orleans Hornets Pelicans to the Sacramento Kings. The Sacramento Bee says:
Vasquez comes to the Kings from New Orleans, who received Tyreke Evans from Sacramento in a sign-and-trade. Portland sent the draft rights to center Jeff Withey to New Orleans and two second-round draft choices to Sacramento. Center Robin Lopez and guard Terrel Harris were dealt to Portland from New Orleans as part of the trade, too.

Vasquez averaged career highs of 13.9 points and nine assists last season.

Also, they're excited in Sacramento:
Vasquez's passing skills give the Kings an opportunity to improve ball movement, which was often minimal last season as players resorted to one-on-one play.

The Kings want unselfish players who will be accountable, and Vasquez fits the bill.

"I think I can showcase my leadership skills, my talent and things that people haven't seen yet," Vasquez said. "I want to be the leader. I want to be the guy people follow. I didn't come here to score 40 points. I came here to make my teammates better."

Vasquez is currently injured, but he expects to be ready for training camp:
TThe Greivis Vasquez-Tyreke Evans deal was made official on Thursday, and Vasquez was able to talk to the local media on Friday. The usual platitudes were volleyed about -- his enthusiasm sounds great in print -- but there's also a bit of news: he expects to be medically cleared to resume basketball activities in eight weeks, putting him healthy in time for training camp, which typically begins in the last days of September.

Vasquez had surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle at the end of the Hornets' 2012-13 season.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Alex Len Selected by the Phoenix Suns with the #5 Pick in the NBA Draft



As predicted by nearly everyone, Alex Len (2011-13), making his first appearance in this blog, was a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The only mystery was how high he would be selected. And the answer was fifth overall by the Phoenix Suns. Here's a round-up of coverage:

The Phoenix Suns announce their pick with an unusually bad pun in the headline:
“When Anthony Bennett went first, I think everybody in the room was excited to think that the guy we had rated the highest on our board may end up (reaching us), and that’s exactly what happened with Alex,” Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek said. “So when the fourth pick came, and we saw it wasn’t Alex, it was a no-brainer for us.” [...]

“Obviously when you want to be a fast-breaking team, the best way to get out on the break is to play good defense and take off with it,” Hornacek said. “Big guys are not usually that mobile, and he’s a very mobile guy. And especially in our system where you want to get out running, he can fill the lane. Several times you saw him go down the middle of the lane, get a pass just inside that free throw line, take one long stride and he’s dunking it. I think being a gymnast is going to bode well for footwork and everything else.”

Also from the Suns' website, here's a video of Len's introductory press conference with the Suns, and an interview with Mark Turgeon about how Len will continue to develop and evolve in the NBA.

The Arizona Republic:
The Suns did not just think Len was the best center in this year’s draft. They thought he was the best player in the draft. The Suns did not win the draft lottery on May 21, but they felt like they won it Thursday when they were stunned that Len was available at No. 5.

The Suns started salivating once Cleveland dropped jaws by taking UNLV’s Anthony Bennett first. They discussed trading up with each of the four teams ahead of them to get Len.

“How often do you get a chance to get a 7-1 skilled guy who is a great person on the court, who is long, has got a nice touch, finishes well around the basket with good body control?,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said. “We feel like he’s just scratching the surface of his basketball ability.”

Testudo Times:
"With the pick 5th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select Alex Len, Antratsyt, Ukraine and the University of Maryland."

They were the words Alex Len had always hoped he’d hear, the ones his mother believed could become reality if she gave her son the opportunity to achieve his dream of playing in the NBA. In a matter of seconds, years of work, stress, sacrifices and struggles became a distant memory, as NBA Commissioner David Stern handed Len his Suns hat, marking the unofficial start of his lifelong dream to play in the NBA.

The Baltimore Sun:
The selection of the 7-foot-1, 255-pound Ukrainian marks the highest of a Maryland player since Steve Francis was picked No. 2 by the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999. He is the first former Terp taken in the lottery picks (top 14) since Chris Wilcox was selected eighth by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2002.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who accompanied Len, his mother and sister to the draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., said he was “thrilled” with the selection of Len by the Suns, a rebuilding franchise coming off its worst season in more than 40 years.

The Washington Post:
Once thought to be in the running for the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, former Maryland center Alex Len dropped to fifth, where the Phoenix Suns selected him Thursday night in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Suns chose Len over Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and Kansas guard Ben McLemore, who were both still available.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tianna Hawkins Drafted #6 Overall in WNBA Draft; Tchatchouang #20

The Terrapins' Tianna Hawkins (2009-13) was drafted sixth overall in the WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm. Later in the draft, former Terp Diandra Tchatchouang (2009-11) was drafted twentieth overall by the San Antonio Silver Stars.

From the Seattle Storm's press release:
The Seattle Storm wanted more than just size when they went to the board in the WNBA Draft. Coach and general manager Brian Agler also wanted versatility.

He found both in Tianna Hawkins and made the 6-3 forward from Maryland the Storm’s first-round choice on Monday night. [...]

“She has a great work ethic and she gives us some size,” Agler said. “We like versatile post players and we feel like she’s the best one in the draft this year and even in next year’s draft in regards to her versatility.”

From the Seattle Times:
Tears streamed down Tianna Hawkins' face.

The forward out of Maryland spent nearly a week on ESPN's campus in Connecticut as part of the WNBA's predraft festivities, knowing she'd be among the 36 players selected. Yet she couldn't withhold her emotions when she heard her name as the sixth overall pick to the Seattle Storm.

"It's surreal," Hawkins said. "It really didn't hit me that I'm a real rookie until they called my name."

From the San Antonio Silver Stars press release:
A 6-2 forward from La Courneuve, France, Tchatchouang played one season at the University of Maryland in 2010, earning ACC All-Freshman Team recognition before being sidelined by a knee injury. She has since played professionally in France, most recently with Perpignan Basket, where she averaged 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game through 27 French League games in 2012-13. She was named to the French National Team following the 2012 Olympics.

From the University of Maryland Press Release:
"We are absolutely thrilled for Tianna for being drafted tonight," Terps head coach Brenda Frese said. "I've said all season long that Tianna is the most improved player I've ever coached and that comes from her hard work. I know she will have a great career because of her work ethic and passion for whatever she does."

Hawkins earned AP All-America Honorable Mention honors and made the All-ACC First Team this year. She finished her career No. 11 on Maryland's all-time scoring list with 1,595 points and No. 3 in rebounds with 1,086. [...]

Nine of head coach Brenda Frese's players at Maryland have been drafted by the WNBA and five were first round picks. Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver went second and third overall in 2009, while Crystal Langhorne went sixth and Laura Harper was the 10th pick in the 2008 draft.

Former Terrapin Diandra Tchatchouang was drafted 20th overall (second round) by the San Antonio Silver Stars. Tchatchouang played at Maryland for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. She was named to the ACC All-Freshmen Team in 2010. The 6-3 forward from La Courneuve, France started in all 66 games in her two years in College Park and averaged 10.1 points per game and 5.2 boards per game. She tore her ACL in the Terps' NCAA Second Round loss to Georgetown in 2011 and returned home to France to recover.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Keith Booth Joins Loyola Men's Basketball Staff

After serving as an assistant for Loyola University's women's team for the past two seasons, Keith Booth (1993-97) has been named to the men's coaching staff for the upcoming season. The Baltimore Sun has the story:
Former Maryland basketball star and assistant coach Keith Booth, who has spent the past two years as an assistant women’s coach at Loyola, was added Tuesday to the men’s staff by newly named men’s head coach G.G. Smith. [...]

"Keith brings a broad understanding of not only Baltimore basketball and recruiting, but his experience as a player and coach at Maryland and player in the NBA will be huge benefits to our program.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gist, Stoglin, and Milbourne Come Together for Greek League All-Star Game

The Greek League held their All-Star festivities this month, and three Terps were on the court. James Gist (2004-08), Terrell Stoglin (2010-12), and Landon Milbourne (2006-10) all played for the "Rest of the World" team against a team of Greece's home-grown stars.

Stoglin (who plays for Ilysiakos) also competed in the three point contest, while Gist (playing for Panathinaikos) and Milbourne (playing for Panionios) were in the dunk contest.

Gist and Stoglin both scored 12 points each in the All-Star Game itself, while Milbourne scored 10. The "Rest of the World" team won the game, 131-125.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Drew Nicholas Joins Total College Sports as a Basketball Analyst

Ten years ago, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) was "that guy who hit that shot". After the ensuing decade of playing in Europe, Nicholas has now returned to the United States and started working as a college basketball analyst for Total College Sports. The Baltimore Sun has the story:
“Only a couple days after I got home [from Russia], I was playing with one of my ex-high school teammates [Tim Doyle]. He played at Northwestern and is actually a college basketball analyst now,” Nicholas said. “I was talking to him, and his company had an opening. Even though I didn’t have any experience, they said I should fly out and interview. I flew out to Chicago, talked about the position, and it fell into my lap.”

The opening was with Total College Sports, which provides college basketball and football video analysis to companies like SportingNews.com, SI.com and newspaper websites, plus university-run athletic websites. For Nicholas, who majored in government and politics at Maryland, the transition from playing basketball to talking about it on-camera was a quick one. [...]

Nicholas enjoys his work with TCS and hopes to do more color commentary in future seasons. He called a Miami vs. Boston College women’s game for ESPN3 earlier this year, and has made several radio appearances throughout the country.
Having spent the season analyzing college basketball teams around the country, you wouldn't be surprised that he's leading all entries in the Washington Post's Bracket Challenge.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Greivis Vasquez Gets a Triple Double

Last week, Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) recorded his first NBA triple-double, scoring 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists in a 111-100 New Orleans Hornets victory over the Atlanta Hawks.  Quotes from the linked story:
"It was a great team effort; I thought we played extremely hard defensively in the second half," Vasquez said. "I wanted to get a triple-double tonight, with a win. The ones in the past I was close, we lost those games. This feels special because it's my first one with a win."

"We've just got to keep growing, keep getting better as a team and I've got to keep doing it night-in and night-out. I'm not satisfied. I want more. And I want to have this team win games. You see, we played tough. When we play tough, with this mindset that we've got to fight, we've got to bump people, we've got to be physical, we're a better team."

In further commentary over on Yahoo, Vasquez may be a Most Improved Player candidate:
In a season that could see him win the NBA Most Improved Player Award, Greivis Vasquez earned a major accomplishment Friday night for the New Orleans Hornets. Vasquez scored 21 points, tallied 12 assists, and grabbed 11 rebounds to record his first NBA triple-double. [...]

Vasquez has come close to achieving a triple-double several times this season for the Hornets. Usually, he has usually missed out due to his rebounds being in the single digits. However, the scouting report on the Hornets is to attempt lots of perimeter shots. But long jump shots create long rebounding opportunities. The Hawks missed 11 three-point shots Friday night, which helped Vasquez get the rebounding part of his triple-double.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Travis Garrison and Terrell Stoglin are New Teammates

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Terrell Stoglin playing in Greece this season. And now, Stoglin has a new Terp teammate playing for Ilysiakos Athens: Travis Garrison (2002-06). Here's Ilysiakos's press release:
The OEM ILYSIAKOS announces agreements with Travis Garrison and Brandon Reilly. Garrison was born on 20 April 1984, has a height of 2.03m., and covers mainly the "4" position. In the 2011-12 season, he played 11 games for Kavala, while this year until recently he competed for Atletik Kornton Uruguay where he was averaging 12.3 points and 8.6 rebounds. [...]
Eurobasket has the same news, but also added Garrison's career history, in case you haven't kept up with the long list of teams he has played for since turning pro 7 years ago. Since my update about Stoglin in late December, Ilysiakos has pulled itself out of the Greek A1 league's cellar with two straight wins, and is now in 12th place (of 14) with a 3-9 record.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dino Gregory and Adrian Bowie Playing in Germany

Two former Terps are playing in Germany this season.

First up, Dino Gregory (2007-11) is playing for Phoenix Hagen in Germany's BBL (the top pro league in the country). Hagen is currently 10th in the league, with a record of 8-9. Gregory is averaging 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds off the bench in a little over 20 minutes per game. Gregory was initially signed for a try-out, then was later signed for the full season after training camp. Here's Dino's player profile, and a story about him from earlier this season to introduce him to the fans.
Gregory's first professional stop was with the Swedish team, Sundsvall. "That was the greatest thing for me. It was the confirmation that I have a future in the sport. This has given me a lot of strength." After a season in Sweden, Germany was a target of choice for many teams. And with a contract with the Firebirds, this dream has come true for Dino. "I have some friends and acquaintances who have already played in Germany, and they were all very impressed by the atmosphere and the land. I was just curious. And then came the offer. I've been very happy." And if someday he can go no further with basketball? "Then I would like to build some kind of recreation center for children where they can play football, basketball, foosball. Just all the things you want to do as a child. I want to give children a chance."

Next, Dino's classmate Adrian Bowie (2007-11), who is playing for the Hertener Lions in Germany's ProB league. Bowie was signed early, all the way back in May. Hertener is currently in second place in the league at 10-3. Bowie is averaging 19.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game and is the team's leader in scoring and minutes played. Bowie's play has been notable; here's how his coach describes him:
""He is a rather silent representative. But when it comes down to it, he can change a game for us. [...] He shows that he is a true team player," Lions coach Dirk Altenbeck said of his player.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Blake and Wilcox Injury Updates

Yesterday's post was all about Greivis Vasquez; today we're catching up with the other two Terps in the NBA: Steve Blake and Chris Wilcox, both of whom are currently injured.

Steve Blake (1999-2003), playing for the Lakers again this year, has been out since November 11, when he strained an abdominal muscle in a game against the Kings. He subsequently had surgery on December 5, and is expected to be out until mid-to-late January. Team officials say his recovery is progressing well, though:
After almost every practice, Lakers guard Steve Blake works on his jumper, trying to keep his touch while waiting to rejoin the team in full.

Blake has been sidelined with an abdominal strain since Nov. 11, when he couldn't push through a Lakers win over the Sacramento Kings. After rest didn't fix the problem, he had surgery Dec. 5, which was expected to keep him out an additional six to eight weeks. [...]

[Coach Mike] D'Antoni isn't concerned about the time Blake has missed, even though all he can do is cheer for his teammates during practice.

" 'Way to go guys', that's where he is right now," said D'Antoni. "He knows how to play. I'm not worried about him stepping back in and playing. He's going to have to go through a process getting himself back into shape and ready, but that's still a few weeks off."

Meanwhile on the east coast, the Celtics' Chris Wilcox (2000-02) is out indefinitely since spraining his thumb on December 18. He will not need surgery, but still cannot play:
Wilcox said he was hurt when he fell in a game vs. Chicago Dec. 18 but didn't realize how bad the injury was until he tried to palm the ball a few days later.

"I tried to catch myself," said Wilcox. "I thought I just jammed it. I just taped it up. When I came here, it was killing me."

A doctor told Wilcox he needs to take some time off to let the injury heal. Wilcox said he won't need surgery, and for now he's wearing a plastic brace on his thumb that prevents him from doing any kind of rehab.

Fortunately, his other fingers still work fine.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Greivis Vasquez Named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for the week of December 24-30. Vasquez is the full time starter at point guard for the New Orleans Hornets this season (his third season in the NBA), and he currently tied for 3rd in the league in assists with 9.0 per game.

From the NBA's press release:
Vasquez, who averaged a double-double with 21.0 points and a league leading 10.0 assists, led the Hornets to a 2-1 week which included wins over the Orlando Magic on Dec. 26 and the Charlotte Bobcats on Dec. 29. He also led the Western Conference in minutes per game, playing 41.7 per contest. In New Orleans' lone loss, 104-97 to the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 28, Vasquez fell one rebound shy of a triple-double, finishing the game with 20 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.

Dec. 26 @ Orlando: Posted 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a 97-94 win over the Magic.

Dec. 28 vs. Toronto: Tallied 20 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in a 104-97 loss to the Raptors.

Dec. 29 @ Charlotte: Recorded 16 points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals during a 98-95 win over the Bobcats.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune notes that this is the first time Vasquez has ever won a Player of the Week honor:
The New Orleans Hornets finally got some national recognition of a positive nature on Monday when point guard Greivis Vasquez was named the Western Conference player of the week.

It's the first time this season that any Hornets' player has been afforded any such honors, as well as the first time in Vasquez's career he has won the award. [...]


The NBA honor lead to this longer feature about Vasquez in the New Orleans paper, and how he's getting back to work after the brief celebration:
"It is (a nice honor) for the organization and Greivis. I'm sure they threw a parade for Greivis somewhere in Venezuela – he's such a hero down there," Monty Williams said Tuesday. [...]

"I was shocked; I wasn't really thinking about getting player of the week," Vasquez said of the honor. "But it's a good thing for me and for the team. This means the hard work pays off. We've been working hard and I'm not going to change anything. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, approaching this the way I'm approaching it.

"I want to help the team win and I want to be the starting point guard for this team for a long time."



Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Strawberry, Milbourne, and Osby Playing on Eurocup Teams

Last week, I covered the three Terps playing for Euroleague teams. Today, let's talk about the Euroleague's little brother, the Eurocup.

The Eurocup is similar to the Euroleague, but it serves as sort of an NIT to the Euroleague's big dance. The Eurocup invites up-and-coming pro teams from across Europe; teams that aren't elite enough to play in the Euroleague, but that had success in the previous year. It follows nearly the same format as the Euroleague: an opening round "regular season" round-robin, followed by a Top 16 round-robin, followed by home-and-home cumulative score series for the quarter and semifinals, and then a final championship game in April. The Eurocup champion wins an automatic qualification for the following season's Euroleague, so there's a lot on the line for the mid-majors of Europe.

This season, I found three former Terps on Eurocup teams, though none made it to the Top 16 round which begins next week:

DJ Strawberry (2003-07) is playing for KK Cibona of Zagreb, Croatia. Strawberry is a starter for the team, and averaged 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in the six games of the opening round. Unfortunately, the team went 0-6 in Group G and was eliminated from the tournament. Because of their participation in the Eurocup, Cibona is not competing in the overlapping Croatian A1 league this year, but they are playing in the larger Adriatic League, where they are currently 6-9 and in 10th place.

Landon Milbourne (2006-10) is playing for Panionios BC of Athens, Greece. Milbourne played in 5 out of Panionios's opening six games, starting all five, and averaged 11 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. However, the team went 2-4 and finished in last place in Group F. Still, they're 8-2 and in a tie for second place in the highly competitive Greek A1 League. Playing for a high-level team like Panionios is a huge step up for Milbourne, who played in the French ProB league the past two years.

Finally, Bambale Osby (2006-08) played for Orleans Loriet Basket of Orleans, France. Osby played in three games, averaging 9 points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench. Osby parted ways with Orleans in early December (none of the news sources give details), and Orleans went 2-4 to finish at the bottom of Group H. Osby had also scored 8.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in seven French ProA League games prior to his departure. He is currently a free agent.