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.