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.