OJ Mayo and Taj Gibson are the players garnering all of the attention at USC, but there's one other player with tremendous upside worth watching closely, in Freshman Davon Jefferson.
At 6’9 Jefferson is a freak athlete with the length, quickness and speed to dominate the opposition. He plays with an explosive style, always attacking the rim and trying to dunk on anyone in sight. Jefferson is still very raw and needs to work on his mid range jumper, but with some schooling from the USC coaching staff, Davon Jefferson has the potential to be a name that you hear for many years to come.
Gerald Henderson and Russell Westbrook
It’s pretty clear thus far this season, who was working on their games over the summer. Two players that have made tremendous strides and will soon begin to receive the recognition they deserve are Gerald Henderson (Duke) and Russell Westbrook (UCLA).
Both players are among the most athletically gifted in college basketball and are major reasons why their teams are having early season success.
Henderson still needs to expand his range and improve his handle, while Westbrook’s biggest challenge will be transitioning to a true point guard, rather than just a scorer. With that being said, both players should be early 1st round selections in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Led by first year Head Coach Kenny Anderson, the Atlanta Krunk are becoming quite an attraction in the CBA. Among the notables: Former URI point guard and brother of the most beloved NYC ball player, Zach Marbury; Former UConn Huskie Taliek Brown; Grayson Boucher AKA ‘The Professor’ and the GM is Vincent Smith (Kenny’s brother).
The team is owned by former rap stars Freedom Williams and Spyder D. (No clue who they are)
In case you were wondering, the Krunk are 3-2 on the season…
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Steve Nash is one of the most remarkable athletes in the world. He is consistently praised for all of his abilities on the basketball court, but like all of the greats, it is his preparation that has vaulted Nash to the current level he is at today:
When the discussion comes up about who is currently living the American dream, you would be hard pressed to exclude Lil Romeo from that conversation. Everybody loves to talk about Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, Leonardo DiCaprio etc (for good reason), but life really doesn’t get much better than that of Master P’s son.
At only 18 years old, Romeo has quite a resume. Among the accomplishments: Rapper, CEO of a clothing line, actor and a feature on MTV cribs. It’s now time to add to one more feat to that list: college basketball player. Yesterday, Romeo signed a national letter of intent to attend USC in the fall, on a full ride.
The 5’9 point guard (although he’s listed at 6’0) averaged 13.9 points and 5.6 assists as a Junior at Beverly Hills High School, not exactly a basketball powerhouse.
Having seen him play on multiple occasions, we are talking about a legitimate Division 2 or 3 prospect, certainly not USC worthy. Romeo is set to join close friend Demar Derozan who also committed to USC and is one of the top 5 prospects in the Sr. class.
If they added Romeo as a package deal to get DeRozan, it’s worth the scholarship.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Clearly everything has worked out quite nicely for Josh Smith, since becoming the 17th pick of his hometown Atlanta Hawks straight from High School. But could you imagine if he had gone to Indiana for a year? Instead of riding pine in the league, Smith would have dominated the Big Ten for one season and been a top 5 pick. Not to mention the amount of action Smith would have got as "the man" in Bloomington.
Smith’s athletic ability is off the charts. When he finally expands his offensive arsenal and develops an outside jumper, Smith is going to be a force in the league.
The frontline for the Atlanta Celtics HS AAU team: Josh Smith, Dwight Howard and Randolph Morris. Not many high school teams can compete with that.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Bypassing his senior season, El-Amin was hoping to sneak into the first round of the 2000 NBA Draft, but unfortunately that never panned out. As the last of 3 powerhouse 2nd round selections (the other two - AJ Guyton, Jake Voskuhl), the Chicago Bulls drafted El-Amin 34th overall (Michael Redd was still on the draft board).
El-Amin played just one season with the Bulls, before signing on with the Dallas Mavericks in 2001. His stay in Dallas didn’t last long, as he never even made it through the pre-season. El-Amin ended up playing the 2001 season in the CBA for the Dakota Wizards and Gary Steelheads.
2002 (Jan.) – Strasbourg, France: SIG - 12.8 points and 4.9 assist
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Following another embarrassing loss, this time to the Charlotte Bobcats, Pat Riley talked about a potential new lineup that includes:
"Me? Play. I guarantee you I should suit up. I'd play better than some of them right now," Riley said Tuesday night. "I guarantee it. I swear to God. With an old hip and 62-years-old and I can't see, I'll play better than some of my guys tonight. Come on, they were pretty bad."
Everyone saw a slow start coming with Dwayne Wade still recovering from shoulder and knee surgeries, but 1-6. Good thing, they had the Knicks in the early part of the schedule.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The New York Daily News is reporting that Knicks management is discussing ways to either reduce the role of Stephon Marbury, or severe ties with him completely. With Steph set to earn $42M over the next two years and his trade value at an all time low (not that it was ever high), the options for the Knicks are limited.
Following his trade to NY, I don’t think anybody envisioned Steph’s tenure with the Knicks would go as poorly as it has. Having grown up in Coney Island and followed by many New Yorkers since a very young age, Steph’s return home was a perfect match. This was supposed to not only resurrect Steph’s career, but return the buzz back to the Garden. Unfortunately, the past four years have been brutal and it appears the Knicks have had enough of this failed experiment.
One would have hoped that after 10 years of playing in the league, Steph would finally get it. Blessed with every skill a basketball player could dream of, the one major problem has always resided inside the enormous dome above Steph’s neck.
It’s become especially draining for Steph’s most loyal supporters, as his immature antics never seem to end. From the towel on the head, to the decision not to shoot during certain games and the insane interviews, it’s one thing after the next.
There isn’t a player in this league that has played alongside Steph that would be sad to see him go. In fact, there probably isn’t a coach or fan either.
It looks like this Italy experiment could be coming sooner than Steph expected…
Friday, November 9, 2007
MSNBC released their list of the Top 10 most marketable NBA players and as expected King James was #1. In order:
2) Dwayne Wade
3) Kevin Garnett
4) Shaquille O’Neal
5) Kobe Bryant
6) Yao Ming
7) Tony Parker
8) Kevin Durant
9) Yi Jianlian
10) Eduardo Najera
Thursday, November 8, 2007
If you don’t know everyone on this cover, you will very soon.
Featured on the new issue of Punks (Slam) magazine are the four best high school guards in the nation. From the left: Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Lance Stephenson.
All four participated in this summer’s Elite 24 and none of them disappointed. Jennings and Holiday will continue their battles next season, with both of them heading to the Pac-10 at Arizona and UCLA respectively. Evans hasn’t declared his college intentions, but he has narrowed his choices down to Louisville, Texas, Memphis, Seton Hall and UConn. Stephenson still has another two years left of high school ball and hasn’t given any real indications of where he will be playing in college. The one thing that we do know about Lance’s recruitment process is that it is being handled by his father; Lance Stephenson Sr. The approach is rather unconventional, yet equally effective: If they are interested, they will call you…
For more in-depth coverage on:
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
He’s yet to lace up on the court this season, but that doesn’t mean Lamar Odom isn’t having a good time. Last night, LO was out celebrating his 28th birthday at club Ritual in LA and the bubbly was flowing:
What’s up with the New Orleans Hornets?
Franchise records were being shattered last night in LA, as Peja Stojakovich connected on 10 3’s and Chris Paul dished out 21 assists. The N.O. Hornets haven’t exactly been around for all that long, but they are throwing up some big numbers on their way to a 4 – 0 start. With Peja finally showing up and CP continuing to emerge as the best young point guard in the NBA, the Hornets could be a team worth keeping on eye out for.
Warriors Falls to 0-4
I’m sure Golden State management is real happy that they met Don Nelson’s pay raise demands.
Congratulations to Jason Collins
I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Jason Collins on finally scoring his first bucket of the season. It took roughly 82 minutes, spanning 4 games, but after a ferocious put back in the 3rd quarter Collins was able to get in the stat sheet. Great job Twin.
Do the Chicago Bulls realize the season started?
The Bulls haven’t exactly come out guns blazing to start this season, with last night being no different. Once again, Chicago looked atrocious, as the Brand-less Clippers tore them up. With Kobe reportedly checking out MJ’s Chicago crib, it might not be long before John Paxson realizes that any package is worth the best player in the NBA.
My Favorite New Stat
Much like they’ve been doing in Hockey for many years, the NBA added the +/- stat to the box score (nba.com). This is the best way to measure a player’s true value on the court by checking out how the team compares when he’s on the floor vs. sitting on the bench. My Bad Kevin Durant!
Raptor Fans Need to Take It Easy
Fans from Toronto have been all over me because I left the Raptors on the outside of my playoff predictions for this season. Perhaps after getting throttled last night in Milwaukee, they’ve realized that their beloved Raptors are still a few years away and Bryan Colangelo didn’t make the necessary moves this off-season.
Desmond Mason – 32 minutes, 10-10 FG, +20, and 21 points.
Chris Bosh – 16 minutes, 0-4 FG, -11, and 1 point.
It’s been a while in NY
If the Knicks win against Orlando on Friday, they’ll improve to 2 games over .500 for the first time since January, 1st 2005.
If you don’t know about the Kansas State Wildcats basketball program, you will very soon. Kansas State rolled the dice last year when they gave Bob Huggins another head coaching opportunity, following his tumultuous tenure in Cincinnati. At the time KSU needed to make a splash, so they decided to bring in one of the games’ best recruiters.
In April, when Huggins hometown West Virginia Mountaineers came calling, he was on the first flight out of Manhattan, Kansas. Even though Huggins lasted just one season with the Wildcats, he left behind two studs that are going to tear it up this season in Bill Walker and Michael Beasley.
Despite playing in the shadow of the more heralded OJ Mayo in high school, Bill Walker was just as dominant. After enrolling at Kansas State last year, Walker played in just 6 games before suffering a season ending ACL injury. Prior to the injury, Walker was able to dominate ball games because of his off the charts athleticism. As a 3-time MVP of the ABCD Camp All-Star Game, Walker was feared by opponents because of his attacking, in your face style of play.
Beasley is already being talked about as this season’s Kevin Durant. If high school players were still able to skip college and go directly to the NBA, this article would not be written. Beasley is an inside/outside scoring machine that presents a match-up nightmare. He has always excelled against the best competition as evidenced by his McDonald’s All American MVP award.
In Kansas State’s first game, the dynamic duo combined for 54 points and 20 rebounds in just 53 minutes. Granted it was an exhibition against Division II Fort Hayes State, but this should be a sign of things to come. Beasley also went off for 42 and 12 against Marquette in a scrimmage just a week ago.
With a healthy Bill Walker and Michael Beasley, it doesn’t take Bob Huggins to lead this talented team.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Since unveiling the From Courtside High School All-American Team, I received quite a few emails asking about Ronnie Fields. After surfing through youtube highlights for the “Throw It Back” player of the week, I came across this documentary.
For those that don’t know:
As high school teammates Kevin Garnett and Ronnie Fields dominated the Chicago hoops circuit. It was only a matter of time before they were lacing up in the NBA, but unfortunately only one story went according to plan.
As a high school senior, Fields was a man among boys averaging 32.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 4.5 blocked shots, four steals and 4.5 dunks. But it was his 48-inch vertical and unreal dunks that helped Fields become a Chicago basketball legend.
During his senior year, Fields had a bad car accident that left him with a broken neck. Then he failed to qualify academically, derailing his college career at DePaul. The story never got any better and instead of earning millions of dollars in the NBA, Fields has collected $1,000 checks from the CBA and USBL. He’s also spent time overseas in Venezuela, Turkey, Lebanon and Greece. It’s a far cry from what many people envisioned.
Dim the lights and turn the volume up, it’s quite a piece (2 parts):
Could you imagine watching this in high school?
With a full slate of games around the league, let's breakdown Friday night's action:
- The Electricity in Boston – With the World Series just wrapping up and the Patriots-Colts showdown set for Sunday, I was worried the Celtics might be overshadowed. Absolutely Not.
- Chris Kaman Dominating – 26 and 18 in the win. Just a thought, but could you imagine Kaman rolling up to Rucker Park?
- Atlanta’s Big 3 – Young, Athletic, and Talented. The Celtics aren’t the only team in the league with a Big 3. Keep a close eye on Marvin Williams, Joe Johnson, and Josh Smith.
- D-Wade commercials – Does anyone else get chills from the new D-Wade Converse commercial?
- Andrew Bynum’s double-double – After lobbying to have Bynum shipped out of town, do you think Kobe roots for him to play well?
- From Courtside’s 5 “Ready To Break Out Players”
- Kevin Garnett’s First Shot - I think it clipped the bottom of the backboard.
- LeBron’s mouthpiece – I’m not sure if LeBron’s rocking a mouthpiece to prevent biting his nails, but watching him dangle a clear mouthpiece all night is painful.
- Arenas backing up his predictions – In case you don’t follow hoops as closely as some of us, here’s an excerpt from Arenas’s blog:
"On November 2nd, we're going to go into that building, we're opening up Boston. Right now I'm telling the Boston fans: You guys are going to lose. It's not going to be a victory for Boston."
Boston won by 20…
- Wizards from deep – 0 – 16 from 3... Perhaps part of the reason for the lopsided loss.
- The Bulls home opener – At 0-2, someone might want to tell John Paxon that a Luol Deng package might be worth Kobe Bryant.
- Sacramento Kings first half – Is Orien Greene really your starting point guard? I guess that explains 23 first half points.
- Stephon Marbury riding pine in crunch time – It appears Steph has a new role for the Knicks and it consists of rooting his teammates on down the stretch. Impressive.
Friday, November 2, 2007
There are two trends developing in the NBA and they went head on this morning:
- Gilbert Arenas has a comment for everything. I’m not sure when it happened, but something clearly triggered inside of “Agent Zero” that has given him confidence to say whatever pops into his head.
- Every other NBA conversation is going to surround Kobe Bryant getting traded.
Sports Illustrated sat down with Gilbert Arenas and as always Arenas didn’t hold back...
When asked about Bryant’s decision to demand a trade out of LA, Arenas said:
"One, you want to get traded because you don't like your team, you don't think your team's good enough. But any team you go to, they're going to have to get rid of a whole bunch of players for you, which basically puts you back in the same situation -- just in a different city. I don't know how a player doesn't see that.”
"I've never seen [Michael] Jordan act like that. I didn't even see AI [Allen Iverson], when he was going through them bad days, you know? They were always talking about trading him, and he was like, 'If they trade me, they trade me; if they don't, they don't; but this is my city.' And I don't understand how Kobe doesn't feel that about L.A. -- it's his city.''
You know when you start blasting Kobe by mentioning MJ; you’re hitting him where it hurts. This should set the stage for an interesting match up when the teams go head-to-head February 3rd.
Arenas didn’t stop there. He went on to toot his own horn a few times, the most amusing of which: "Nobody realizes how valuable I really am to teams.”
It’s an interview that is certainly worth the read…
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Down 3, 7 seconds on the clock, no problem. Coach Eddie Jordan gave the team a pretty simple strategy. Clear the court and let Agent Zero go to work. That’s exactly how it went down last night in the final seconds of regulation against the Pacers:
Indiana went on to win the game, but it had me thinking about something. Does Gilbert Arenas ever look tired? Does the guy even sweat?
Try putting a Wizards game on in the 4th quarter and ask one of your friends to guess what quarter the game is in, judging from looking at Gilbert Arenas. I bet 9 out of 10 times, they would assume the game had just begun. He has a unique way of making everything look so effortless, so smooth.