Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Westbrook, Love survive USA Basketball cut

2010 USA Men’s World Championship Roster Trimmed To 15

-- USA To Resume Training In New York City August 10 --

Colorado Springs, Colo. • July 28, 2010

Following four days of training and an intra-squad exhibition game that were held July 19-24 in Las Vegas, Nev., USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo today announced that 15 players had been selected as finalists for the 2010 USA World Championship Team.

Named as finalists for the USA World Championship Team were Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers); Jeff Green (Oklahoma City Thunder); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

The 2010-12 USA National Team coaching staff is led by Duke University’s Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, and features as USA assistant coaches Syracuse University’s Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head mentor Mike D'Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.

The 15 finalists will reassemble Aug. 9 in New York City and train there Aug. 10-16. The official 12-man USA roster that will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship must be submitted to FIBA at the technical meeting that normally is held the day prior to the start of the competition.

“We had an outstanding week of training camp in Las Vegas and it is apparent we have a group of guys that are very focused, committed, and desirous of playing for USA Basketball. The identity of the team is still evolving, but it is pretty obvious we’re going to be very athletic; we’re going to be very strong in the back court; we think our shooting ability is underestimated, we think we’ve got a number of people who can shoot the ball; and so we’re pleased with our progress to date,” stated Colangelo.

“We have much more to do in New York and in our upcoming exhibition games as we proceed toward Turkey, but we’re excited and enthusiastic about our chances.” added Colangelo. “We’re really pleased with the week we had in Vegas. There’s such a great spirit to be on the team and to bring these 15 players to New York, they’ve all earned the opportunity to be there. We have an unconventional team that we’re forming, but it’s still one that is built with great spirit, athleticism and a little bit more guard oriented than most U.S. teams have been,” commented Krzyzewski.

“I like their attitude. They all want to be on the USA team. They want to learn and they’re willing to sacrifice for what’s best for the whole. There’s a great, great spirit of cooperation, an unbelievable spirit of cooperation,” Krzyzewski added. USA Basketball opened its 2010 National Team training with a July 19-24 training camp in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas camp was concluded July 24 with the 2010 USA Basketball Showcase, an intra-squad exhibition that saw the USA White Team defeat the USA Blue Team 114-96. Following a short break, the selected USA finalists will reassemble in New York City to resume training and to take part in the first-ever World Basketball Festival, a four-day celebration of the game’s performance and culture hosted by NIKE, Inc. and USA Basketball in New York City. The USA World Championship Team hopefuls will begin their training Aug. 10 with a 12 -3 p.m. (EDT) practice at John Jay College. The World Championship Festival tips off Aug. 12 in Radio City Music Hall with a special showcase featuring the USA Basketball World Championship team finalists and moves uptown to Harlem’s legendary Rucker Park basketball courts on Aug. 13 and 14.

The Festival concludes Sunday, Aug. 15, when the USA squad takes on France at Madison Square Garden, 1 p.m. (EDT), in the first game of an exhibition doubleheader. China will meet Puerto Rico at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) in the second contest. Tickets for the exhibition doubleheader, which start at $15, are available on the Web via and, by phone at 1-800-4-NBA-TIX, and at the box office at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to the game against France at Madison Square Garden, the USA will play three world basketball powers in exhibition games, or “friendlies,” in preparation for the 2010 FIBA World Championship. In advance of that tournament, the Americans will meet Lithuania on Aug. 21 and Spain on Aug. 22 in Madrid, Spain, and play Greece in Athens on Aug. 25.

All of these friendlies are part of the new Global Community Cup, which will include all USA Basketball exhibition games played outside of formal international competitions. Along with the games, the Global Community Cup features a social responsibility element that will highlight USA Basketball’s commitment to giving back to communities in the U.S. and abroad.

2010 FIBA World Championship
The 2010 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Championship for Men will be held Aug. 28-Sept. 12 in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri, Turkey. Twenty-four teams will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Men and those teams were divided into four preliminary round groups consisting of six teams each. The United States was drawn on Dec. 15 into preliminary round Group B, and is joined by Brazil, Croatia, Iran, Slovenia and Tunisia.

The U.S. will open the ‘10 Worlds on Aug. 28 against Croatia, a team it has never faced in World Championship play, but a squad the USA is 3-0 versus in Olympic action. Facing its second European team in as many days, the Americans on Aug. 29 will meet Slovenia, a team it defeated 114-95 in 2006 World Championship preliminary play in their only prior World Championship meeting. FIBA Americas Zone champion Brazil will challenge the U.S. on Aug. 29. The USA-Brazil World Championship series stands at 6-5 in favor of the United States with the two teams’ last meeting in the 1998 World Championship.

Following a day off on Aug. 31, the USA resumes play Sept. 1 against Asia Zone champ Iran, a team it has not faced previously in World Championship play, then closes out preliminary play with a contest versus Tunisia on Sept. 2, another team that the Americans have not met in World Championship action.

Held every four years and considered international basketball’s diamond event, the U.S. has had mixed results in World Championship play.

Claiming the bronze medal with an 8-1 record in 2006 when the championship was held in Japan, the U.S. last claimed gold at the 1994 World Championship in Toronto, Canada, with a team comprised of NBA stars.

All told, the USA has won 10 medals in World Championship play - three gold medals
(1954, 1986 and 1994), three silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and four bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006). USA teams have compiled an overall 105-27 win-loss record in the World Championships for a 79.5 winning percentage.

The winner of the 2010 FIBA World Championship automatically earns a berth in the 2012 London Olympics.

USA Basketball Teleconference: 15 Finalists Named for USA Men's World Championship Team
July 28, 2010

After naming the 15 finalists for the 2010 USA Men's World Championship Team, USA Basketball today hosted a teleconference featuring USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and 2009-12 USA Basketball Men's National Team and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Opening Comments:

JERRY COLANGELO: Very quickly I would just state that we felt we had a great week in Las Vegas. We lost a couple of players due to injury and lack of insurance, but once we got beyond that, our group of 19 did a terrific job, and we really did have some very difficult decisions. Let's start with that.

We've made a decision that we would have a final determination and disposition after the game on Saturday night. We did, and the plan was to make contact with each player just to reconfirm commitment, dedication going forward, because when we announced the team we wanted to make sure each individual was in all the way, and that did take place Monday and Tuesday with personal calls.

Calls obviously were made to the players who were not selected and explained in terms of why the decision was made, and I will tell you that each and every one of them handled that with dignity and with class.

So the 15-man roster heading to New York with the openness regarding how many people we would then take on to Europe, be it an extra player or two, remains to be seen. Certain players were told that they're right on the bubble and that New York is really very critical and important to them in terms of making the final roster.

So without further ado, in alphabetical order: Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook.

The four players who will not be with us are O.J. Mayo, Tyreke Evans, Gerald Wallace and JaVale McGee.

I just wanted to point out a couple of things on the roster and turn it over to Coach.

Brook Lopez, we were not aware, was coming off of mono when he came into camp and certainly struggled throughout camp, and giving him the benefit of the doubt, he knows he has an awful lot to show in New York to be under consideration to make this team but wanted very much to have that shot and opportunity, and we're willing to do that for him.

I'm going to turn it over to Coach.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Thanks, Jerry. First of all, I want to thank all the guys who made the commitment to being there and make a point that although the players who were not selected are still in the pool of players, it doesn't eliminate them from our pool of players.

I was really pleased with the attitude and spirit of cooperation that everyone showed. I thought it was not just a selection process but was the initial steps in us developing a team, not just having individuals out there, and the guys were very, very good. They've all been given instructions on how to be in shape to shoot the ball. It's a different ball. Jerry even told them to shoot more free throws because we didn't hit a good percentage while we were in Las Vegas.

But we're excited about it, and I want to thank the collegiate community. We had 20 collegiate players in Las Vegas. It was a select group, and having them there under the direction of Jay Wright and Lorenzo Romar, they did a great job in helping us prepare. We also have for four days in New York, the USA Basketball selection committee will choose ten collegiate players to practice against our 15 while we're in New York.

A little bit different team than the one we anticipated without Stoudemire and Lee being on it, so we had to improvise during the week. But I think we're making steps towards finding a system that will be personally good for this group.

I'm just wondering, who are the players that are on the bubble?
COLANGELO: Well, that's for us to keep within our own system and locker room. Some people have some work to do, and it's been outlined for each of them. In other words, there are still a few spots that are open in our minds, and therefore there will be some real competition for those last spots.

Mike, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about Steph Curry's ability, long-range shooting and his ability to deal with zones, if that was a particular factor in him making the cut?
KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, he's also very good. I thought his on-ball defense was very good and just his knowledge of the game. He's an outstanding passer and stretches the defense. He's probably our longest range shooter that we have in the group. Just his knowledge of the game. I mean, he's still a young guy. It's a very young team, but we think that our guards are our strength. We have outstanding guards, and Stephen is certainly one of them, whether it's against zone or man. If it's man, we'll have good spacing, and the 3-point shot will be used quite a bit by our team, no question about that. He's obviously one of the best shooters in the NBA.

I wonder if you could talk about your experience with Chauncey in Las Vegas and what you envision as his role with the team.
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, this is my -- I don't know how many years now we've been -- I've known him now and worked with him for about four years. Chauncey and I have a very, very good relationship. He, I think, is going to be one of the leaders of the team and has helped me during this first week tremendously. His ability to play -- I mean, he's one of the top point guards, but also he can play off the ball because he can shoot the ball and defend off the ball. On Denver's team when Lawson comes in, Chauncey then moves over, and that's how it will be on our Olympic team. But he'll be one of the key guys that we'll be counting on not only for play but for leadership.

You mentioned the 3-point shooting. Is that a function of losing David Lee and Stoudemire, or was that a plan going into this? And how concerned are you about the size you have?
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we are concerned about the size. It's one of those things that the first day we lost three guys who were big guys; Robin Lopez, also. So we had to adjust a little bit. But we are going to use the 3-point shot a lot. It's much closer than the NBA three, and we have a number of very good shooters. If we had Stoudemire and Lee, you'd get a little bit more inside action, which could help open up the perimeter guys. But we're going to try to rely on speed, penetration, spacing, and really take advantage of the athleticism we have on the perimeter to defend.

Back to the size a little bit, I mean, obviously you guys went with some smaller line-ups in scrimmages against a select team and then again on Saturday with guys like Lamar and Kevin Love at the five or even Jeff Green. Do you feel like your ability to use those kind of line-ups will depend on your opponent, say with a team like Brazil with a bigger front line that you're going to have to go more traditional, or do you think you can force them to sort of adjust to you guys?
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we're just not going to produce big guys from -- we don't have big guys, I mean, a lot of them. We have a lot of perimeter guys. It's our responsibility to -- I mean, we're not going to pick someone up on a trade or anything like that. These are our guys, and we feel good about them. That means Durant and Gay will play a lot at the four, which isn't bad. I mean, we had Carmelo and LeBron playing the four all the time and Bosh being our center for a lot of the Olympics when Dwight wasn't in, and Bosh played a lot. He was our leading rebounder.

So we're just trying to personalize a system to fit the strengths of this group. We're going to have to rely on really good perimeter defense to make sure that we don't get hurt inside. But I was pleased with Chandler's showing the last two days. Tyson did a great job for us when we qualified in 2007, so we know him. And Odom, you know, he's an NBA champion and an Olympian, so he knows the national game. To begin with, those two guys would be at the five. But it won't be a traditional five for us the way we play.

I just wonder about Andre Iguodala. You talk about perimeter defense and that's ideally his game, but what other things have you seen from him and what type of improvement have you seen from him through the years you've been working with him?
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, Andre is one of those guys, every summer he's been with a select team. He wants to be on this team. We're impressed with that. He had a great week. I mean, I thought he had as good a week as any player in Las Vegas. He was really efficient offensively. He shot -- he took easy shots, was a very good outside shooter. We think he can really drive the ball.

But Andre's athleticism on the defensive end is -- he's one of the best in the NBA. We see him more at the three or wing position and being able to shut down people at that position.

You kind of mentioned, Coach, the style that you were going to play, so it kind of takes part of my question away, but Rajon Rondo, a lot has been written about him not being your conventional international player with an unreliable jump shot. How will he fit into the style of play? Seems like an unconventional international style of play that you guys are putting together right now.
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's unconventionally become an NBA champion and a triple-double guy in this league. I think he's an adequate shooter for us. I mean, he did well shooting the ball in the camp.

The thing that Rondo does is he plays with a will to win, and he just finds ways to have a positive impact on the game. You know, I really like that about him. I've kind of developed -- I thought I developed a really good relationship with him during the week, and his pressure on the ball, defense. But his will to win is something that I truly admire, and we need that. Plus he's a little bit older with the -- not in age as much, but with experience, because the Celtics have gone so deep and have won one of the recent NBA Championships. So I think we're very fortunate to have him.

Going back to what you said about Brook Lopez, if he was not a center, would he not be here coming to New York?
COLANGELO: Well, that's hard to say. You know, looking at him in his situation, big or small, we were not aware of the mono, and it was a little -- caught us a little bit off guard. And so giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, we thought we would do so. Is it an advantage being a big? Probably so. But I would tend to think we would do that regardless of size.

And how many of the 12 do you really think are up for grabs in New York? Obviously we know Durant is probably on the team. Is it 11 spots open after that, or is it maybe a little less?
COLANGELO: I think it's fair to say that the staff and myself could probably come up with a solid eight or nine, and that's really been the case all week. Maybe names have changed a little bit, but we knew it would be a close call. And that's why New York is so important to us before we make our final decisions, and also the probability and possibility that we'll take more than 12 with us.

KRZYZEWSKI: The other thing with that is we came into the camp thinking we were going to have Stoudemire and Lee, and we were kind of going to put in a system that would use their talents. I mean, they're two All-Star players. And when they left, you know, we're looking at developing a system with these guys.

And so it's not a matter of who's better, one guy better than another, it's how we kind of fit it in. Like I wouldn't have seen Durant at the four with those two guys there. Maybe somewhat but not like he is going to be right now. So there's some changes that occurred, and we have to give it a little bit more time to see how we can get 12 guys to fit a system.

You have six guards. What are you looking for in New York that will make you decide to reduce that number? Or are you looking to take them all?
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, just how the chemistry of what we're trying to do, because the six guys that are so-called guards -- Iguodala is a guard, too -- I'd rather call them perimeter players, are all good, I mean, really good. So it's not about one guy being a little bit better than the others. It's more like trying to get a fit.

And like Jerry said, we could come out of New York with more than 12 because we really don't need to turn in a roster until we get to Turkey of our final 12, and we do play exhibition games, one in New York and then three -- two in Spain and one in Greece. So it's a lot of time before you have to turn in 12, and if we continue to get the spirit of cooperation, we might postpone a decision and give it -- give as many guys an opportunity as possible and a little bit more insurance that we'll have 12 healthy guys once we get to Istanbul.

Questions for Jerry. First one, talk a little bit about the decision to bring just two traditional centers to New York and not keep McGee. That's number one. And then number two, about bringing extra players to Europe possibly, will you talk to the guys if you do that and make sure there's not a repeat of Japan in '06 when a couple people who went overseas and were sent home were disgruntled?
COLANGELO: Well, I've already had that conversation with a few players, and I know the commitment from those players is that they would be -- they'd give anything just to stay with us as long as possible and be part of it. So the attitude is fantastic.

As far as the number of bigs, you know, at this point we don't know how many bigs we'll end up with. Is it one, is it two? We don't know. We'll just have to wait and see.

But we do want to see how Brook Lopez looks after two weeks of getting himself in shape. He knows he struggled. He's disappointed in his performance, but he wants this opportunity. And when someone has that kind of an attitude, you're going to give him a little bit of rope.

Obviously there's been a lot of dialogue on this call about the reality of the limited number of big men you have. Does that put a particular premium on Tyson's ability to guard the basket?
KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, definitely, there's no question about it. Again, I've known Tyson -- I coached him in 2007, so he's been out with injuries and that and started the camp rusty. But the last two days, and especially in the inter-squad scrimmage, one, he's bigger. He's much stronger than he was in 2007. And I thought he played really well.

He has a very important role on the team right now because he is a shot blocker. He doesn't need the ball much and is a great teammate. He can ball screen well, and he does the things -- he does all the things necessary to complement the outstanding perimeter players that we have. So he has a chance to be a very important player for us.

What was your message to JaVale McGee just in terms of how far he's come and sort of how quickly he burst into the scene this week, last couple weeks?
COLANGELO: Well, we've both -- in fact, the entire staff has been very supportive and very encouraging to him because he's very raw, he's very young. He's still a babe in terms of the game is concerned, and he has a real future. So that's really how we left it with him, to keep working on your game and you may get a call sooner rather than later, we don't know. We're playing it by ear, but he put in a good effort for us last week.

Coach, without O.J. Mayo, that leaves you guys kind of short on NBA shooting guards. Does that mean you guys are leaning towards playing with two point guards at the same time?
KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, I think we have guards that can shoot. Again, they're not going to be in traditional ones, twos and threes; like Chauncey is a guard, Derrick Rose more of a point, Curry and Gordon can shoot the ball very well. So two of them and sometimes three of them may be on the court at the same time. We just look at them as guards. Westbrook and Rose can be in the game at the same time. I don't see any of the players being in there for longer than five-minute stretches because of how hard we would want to have them play defensively.

Coach, with Jeff Green's versatility, is he a guy that you think could actually maybe help you out down low?
KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, that's one of the reasons he's still part of the 15 is his versatility. He did a good job in the scrimmage even playing at the five. Jeff is another one, another player -- the Oklahoma City players, almost every summer -- Durant started with us and Westbrook and -- I mean, Green has been there every summer. They're just good guys who work hard, want to win. His attitude is tremendous.

Just wanted to get your thoughts on what you saw from Eric Gordon and Danny Granger and why you decided to keep those two guys.
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, in Granger you have a solid pro; in the NBA a three or a four, and for us a three or a four, but somebody who really stretches the defense. He's an outstanding shooter and a really good guy. You know, he's an easy guy to play with. He doesn't need the ball for long periods of time.

He was hurt during the camp, missed actually one of the days of camp, and we thought we wouldn't have a chance to evaluate him, but he played with a little bit of an injury the last couple days and performed actually very well.

And Gordon, the more comfortable he became, the better. In the open court he's so strong going to the basket, but in the half court he's an outstanding shooter in addition to being a driver. I think he hit four threes in our scrimmage. And defensively he can guard a bigger perimeter player.

Both of them are really, are in the mix, and they give us some really positive things, both offensively and defensively, and they're two of our shooters. I mean, Granger can really shoot the ball.

And as you move forward, how many guys on this World Championship team do you think will have a chance at the Olympic team moving forward?
COLANGELO: That's something we're going to wait on and focus only on the World Championships and take care of that business. 2012 is a long way down the road. That would be an interesting situation, to have a lot of people vying to play. That's the way it is right now, and we're appreciative of the fact that we have so many players who want to participate.

Mike, I just want to know how has Derrick Rose looked this week, and how well has he played defensively this summer for you?
KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I thought he had a great week. You know, I love Derrick, both from -- Jerry, myself and Derrick from all from Chicago, and that's not why he made the final 15. I thought he had an absolutely incredible performance in the scrimmage on Saturday. His ability to move the ball down the court and penetrate, he had eight assists, and it was very, very good. And defensively I thought he took it up a notch this week. There's a spirit of defense with the guards now with Rondo, Westbrook. Derrick really pressured the ball very, very well.

I just want to know how you thought Kevin Love played this week and also what makes him an attractive piece of this U.S. roster.
KRZYZEWSKI: Well, Kevin is very consistent. He pretty much -- what he does, he does every day, and that is he's easy to play with, he stretches the defense. He actually has become a very good outside shooter, and with the international line, a very good 3-point threat at the four or the five.

But I think the thing that he does best, though, is rebound. He was on a day-to-day basis the best rebounder that we had in the camp. I mean, he did very, very well. He's a little bit undersized, but it has not stopped him from being a very, very good rebounder.

U.S. Trims Roster; 3 Cuts Remain Before Worlds

Off The Dribble
The NY Times NBA blog
July 28, 2010, 10:57 pm

The United States men’s basketball team reduced its roster on Wednesday, leaving 15 players vying for 12 spots to participate at the world championships in Turkey.

The four players cut were guards O.J. Mayo and Tyreke Evans, last year’s N.B.A. rookie of the year for the Sacramento Kings; forward Gerald Wallace; and center JaVale McGee.

McGee, who plays for the Washington Wizards, was a late addition to the squad after the team found itself with an unexpected lack of interior depth: Robin Lopez chose to continue his rehabilitation for a back injury, David Lee sustained a finger injury in practice, and the Knicks requested that Amar’e Stoudemire not play because of insurance concerns with his newly signed contract.

The national team is expected to have a surplus of talented wingmen and guards who will have to overcome a lack of interior players. The finalists for the roster are guards Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook; forwards Kevin Durant, Danny Granger, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love and Lamar Odom; and centers Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez.

“There’s such a great spirit to be on the team and to bring these 15 players to New York — they’ve all earned the opportunity to be there,” Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We have an unconventional team that we’re forming, but it’s still one that is built with great spirit, athleticism and a little bit more guard-oriented than most U.S. teams have been.”

No players from the United States squad that captured the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing will compete in Turkey.

The cuts were made after a recent minicamp in Las Vegas. The team resumes training in New York on Aug. 10 before a scrimmage against France on Aug. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

The 12-man roster must be submitted by Aug. 26, two days before the team’s opening game, against Croatia.

An earlier post. Still worth a read.

For U.S., Versatility Is a Key in Roster Selection
July 22, 2010, 2:24 pm
Off The Dribble
The NY Times NBA blog

No player from the team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics will play for USA Basketball when it heads to Turkey in August for the FIBA world championship, and David Lee, Amar’e Stoudemire and Robin Lopez announced this week that they would not play.

LAS VEGAS – While none of the 2008 Olympians are playing in the FIBA world championship this summer, there is much to be learned from how that roster was constructed.

In 2008 the United States had three point guards (Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and Deron Williams), four wings (Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Michael Redd), four forwards (Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh and Tayshaun Prince) and one pure center (Dwight Howard).

But those positions are merely suggestions; Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that on his guard-heavy roster, position flexibility will be key. More than the numbers, the key to piecing together that roster is versatility and specialists.

Deron Williams, for example, spent time at two-guard (think Russell Westbrook). James spent a lot of time at center in China (think Lamar Odom) and Anthony’s versatility made him a matchup nightmare as a power forward (cue Kevin Durant).

Redd obviously was chosen for 3-point shooting (hello, Stephen Curry), Boozer for post muscle (here’s your shot, Kevin Love) and Prince as a defensive stopper.

The USA Basketball assistant coach Jim Boeheim said the team needed to decide this week on the core eight or nine players who will play the majority of the minutes, then fill the final spots with specialists. Here is my projection of what the roster could look like.

The thought here is that the core will be Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Odom, Brook Lopez, Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Andre Iguodala and Tyson Chandler. The specialists could be Curry for spot shooting against zone defenses and Love for his rebounding knack and beef. Green could be selected over Love for his versatility, and perhaps Gay will nab one of the final slots for his scoring.

Here is a breakdown of what the roster may look like.

Derrick Rose: Future USA Basketball cornerstone should log a lot of minutes.
Chauncey Billups: Jason Kidd-like veteran who knows how to win; a rarity on this roster.
Russell Westbrook: Versatility to play off the ball allows him to play at the No. 1 or 2 spot.
Rajon Rondo: Coach Mike Krzyzewski likes his ability to pressure the ball.

Andre Iguodala: Longtime Krzyzewski favorite brings great athleticism.
Stephen Curry: Designated zone buster, and there will be plenty of zones.
Rudy Gay: A versatile shooter and veteran presence.

Kevin Durant: Time for Durant’s global star turn.
Lamar Odom: A veteran presence, with championship pedigree.
Kevin Love: Could fit the Carlos Boozer rebounder role, but a defensive liability.

Tyson Chandler: His shot blocking and rebounding will be needed.
Brook Lopez: With size and muscle a priority, he could see lots of minutes.

Projected Cuts
Tyreke Evans: If he gets the nod over Mayo, it will be for his versatility.
Eric Gordon: Versatility helps, but Westbrook is better.
Gerald Wallace: Loses out to Iguodala and Gay.
Danny Granger: Game more suited for N.B.A. than international play.
Jeff Green: Team-oriented guy, but Love offers more beef. Likely the final cut.
JaVale McGee: Bright young player just scratching his potential, but not ready yet.
O.J. Mayo: A great scorer, but team will likely go with more experience.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook compete in USA Basketball Showcase, Concluding 2010 Men’s National Team Training Camp In Las Vegas

Kevin Love scores one of his 8 pts. Love also had 7 rbds for USA Blue as Russell Westbrook looks on. Andrew D. Bernstein /NBAE/Getty Images

USA White’s 114-96 Victory Over USA Blue In USA Basketball Showcase Concludes 2010 Men’s National Team Training Camp In Las Vegas

from the USA BASKETBALL website

Las Vegas, Nev.

July 24, 2010

-- Kevin Durant Named Player of the Game With a Game-Best 28 Points --

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (July 24, 2010) –Even though a pair of forwards led each team in scoring, depth and talent at the guard position, just as it had been throughout the USA Men’s National Team’s week-long training camp in Las Vegas, was on display in the USA White’s 114-96 win over the USA Blue in the 2010 USA Basketball Showcase at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

Both teams, playing in the intra-squad scrimmage that concluded the USA National Team’s 2010 Las Vegas training camp that opened July 20, combined to shoot 29-of-51 from 3-point range, and the White’s 14-of-29 (48.3 percent) mark from behind the arc helped lead it to a 114-96 win in front of a crowd of 11,635 and an ESPN2 national broadcast.

“We had a terrific week,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said. “We had a great response from our players. They really worked hard. They were aggressive, and we really got a lot out of this week. (There’s) tough decisions for us going forward for us.”

The White’s Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) led all scorers with 28 points, and was named the player of the game. But five more players scored in double figures for the White squad, including Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers) with 17, Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers) had 16, Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) scored 15 and Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks) was credited with 13 points (6-of-6 FGs) while raking in a game best nine rebounds.

Russell "Wild Wild" Westbrook dons another mohawk for USA Basketball. Westbrook tallied 14 pts, 3 assists, 4 turnovers and 3 steals. Westbrook is hoping to make the final 12-man cut competing with the likes of Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups (lock), Derrick Rose (potential lock), and Eric Gordon for pg duties. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein /NBAE/Getty Images

Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) led the Blue with 23 points, while O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies) scored 18, Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) added 14 and Jeff Green (Oklahoma City Thunder) tossed in 11 points and grabbed a team best eight rebounds.

Durant shot 10-of-17 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3 for the White, which shot 55.3 percent from the field. The Blue, meanwhile, hit only 45.3 percent of its fieldgoals, and out-rebounded the White, 39-37.

In addition to his 15 points, Rose led the White with eight assists, while Iguodala added five. Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics), who scored seven points, led the Blue with six assists.

Kevin Love spots up for one of his 3 of 4 free throws. Andrew D. Bernstein /NBAE/Getty Images

“As a coaching staff, we thought it was a really good week,” aid USA Men’s National Team and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “As always, coming to Las Vegas for USA Basketball was terrific. We want to thank the fans, so many people coming out for an intra-squad game, and it being on ESPN. It was a good showcase event for these guys. They’ve done a really good job this week and we’re getting to have a personality for our basketball team right now and anxious to get down to 15 and go to New York and try and personalize the team a little bit more.”

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) previewed the kind of game it would be when Rose found him for an open 3-pointer 40 seconds in. That started the White on a 16-7 run to open the game, a run during which Iguodala and Gordon also knocked down 3s.

The White led 22-12 after Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers) hit a 3-pointer of his own midway through the first quarter, but the Blue charged back with 3s from Gay and Mayo to pull within 29-23 at the end of the first.

The Blue would fight back to tie it at 29, though, thanks to six straight points from 7-foot forward JaVale McGee (Washington Wizards) to start the second quarter. After falling slightly behind, the Blue again deadlocked the score at 38 with 4:30 to play in the second quarter after Gay hit his third 3 of the game.

Gordon, Durant and Iguodala, though, led the White on a 18-6 run to close out the first half, giving the White a 56-44 lead at the break.

Durant perhaps sealed his player of the game honor in the first four minutes of the third quarter, scoring 10 points in that span. When Granger hit a bucket with 4:35 left in the third, the White’s lead had expanded to 74-59, and they appeared to have the game well in hand.

“We have so many great guys on this team,” Durant said. “We have three or four point guards, two or three wings and couple of bigs, so you can play hard for three minutes straight, and then somebody is going to come in and get you and play the same way. I think that’s what unique about this team.”

The Blue, however, refused to surrender.

Gay and Mayo scored on back-to-back possessions to end the third quarter, then Mayo hit a 3 and Westbrook cruised to a fast-break layup off a steal to start the fourth and the Blue had closed within nine points, 83-74, with nine minutes still to play.

“I think this game was definitely a test for us,” Gay said. “That’s what we scrimmage for. We came out here and we tested to see exactly where we need to be. Personally, I think – I can always get better – but I think I did pretty good out there.”

Chandler, though, scored eight of his points in a five-minute stretch in the fourth to buffer the Blue’s lead 99-84 and the White never threatened the outcome again.
Four of the White squad’s players made at least two 3-pointers, including Curry, who shot 3-of-7, Iguodala (3-of-3), Durant (2-of-3), and Gordon (4-of-7). Meanwhile, Gay shot 3-of-4 from 3-point range to lead the Blue, while Mayo made 3-of-6 tries.

Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings) did not play after suffering a right ankle injury during training camp.

The 2010 Showcase ended a week of training in Las Vegas for the Men’s National Team, which will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12. While 19 players participated in the Las Vegas training, the USA official roster for Turkey will number 12. After a short break, finalists for the USA team will reconvene for training in New York City from Aug. 9-16.


Kevin Durant Dazzles, Tough Cuts Loom for Team USA Basketball

by Chris Tomasson
Senior NBA Writer
The Fan House
7/25/2010 3:15 AM ET

Kevin Durant won the player of the game award in the USA Basketball Showcase.
LAS VEGAS -- If Andre Iguodala had returned a compliment to coach Mike Krzyzewski, perhaps he really would be a lock for Team USA.

Then again, it looks as if the Philadelphia swingman is a lock anyhow. His stellar play in the USA Basketball Showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday night caused the Team USA coach to get a bit giddy after the White beat the Blue 114-96 in the intrasquad game that concluded a five-day training camp.

"Andre just had a great week,'' Krzyzewski said of his play on the team preparing for next month's World Championship in Turkey. "I told him right after (Saturday's) game out on the court I thought he was beautifully efficient. I'm not sure anybody's called him beautiful. I know nobody has ever called me beautiful. So I was looking actually for a return on him, saying, 'Coach, you look beautiful.' ... Andre, he can defend. You need guys out there who don't have to touch the ball. ... (Iguodala is) one of the key guys for our basketball team.''

Iguodala's filling up of the box score was indeed a thing of beauty for the White. He shot 5 of 6 from the field and totaled 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in 24 minutes.

Yes, the leading scorer for the White and for the game was Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, who had 28 points. But Durant, named the game's Most Valuable Player, already was a lock for the team regardless of whether he returns compliments to Krzyzewski.

Kevin Love takes photo with "real" USA heroes. Andrew D. Bernstein /NBAE/Getty Images

Saturday's game was about guys on the bubble. There were 19 players in camp competing to make the final 12-man roster, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said the number will be cut to 15 by Monday in preparation for the Aug. 10-16 camp in New York.

Colangelo told FanHouse after the game that Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans being cut is "pretty obvious.'' Evans, who missed the final three practices and Saturday's game due to a sprained left ankle, had told FanHouse on Friday he didn't expect to survive the cut, and Colangelo had pretty much agreed with that.

"It was a bad break for him,'' Colangelo said. "He's a terrific kid. He's certainly part of our group and our team. We'll be looking at him down the road (in future summers) in all probability.''

So that brings it down to 18, with three more players still to be axed. In addition to Iguodala, it was perimeter guys who really helped themselves Saturday.

Memphis forward Rudy Gay, who pretty much was a lock anyway, led the Blue with 23 points. His Grizzlies teammate, guard O.J. Mayo, who needed to show more, did that with 18 points and seven rebounds for the Blue.

On the White, Chicago's Derrick Rose showed he might be the starting point guard on this outfit, having a magnificent outing for the White with 15 points, eight assists, five steals and no turnovers. Denver's Chauncey Billups, already a lock, started at shooting guard for the Blue and might actually end up playing more there.

"I thought Derrick played a beautiful game,'' said Krzyzewski, showing that Iguodala wasn't the only guy worthy of that description.

Also playing well for the White was the Clippers' Eric Gordon, who has been on the bubble due to the glut at point guard and being undersized for a shooting guard at 6-foot-3. But Gordon sure shot it well Saturday, going 4-of-7 on three-pointers and scoring 16 points.

"He played extremely well and shot the ball well,'' Colangelo said. "He's a terrific young guard.''

Still, Gordon is by no means a lock. It's doubtful both he and Golden State guard Stephen Curry (14 points for the White) both end up making the team since they duplicate each other, being shooters who aren't true point guards.

Some other players who might now be in trouble to be cut include Indiana forward Danny Granger (five points and five fouls for the White), Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace (four points and no rebounds for the White), Oklahoma City forward Jeff Green (11 points and eight rebounds but just 5-of-13 shooting for the Blue) and either Washington center JaVale McGee or New Jersey center Brook Lopez.

Colangelo said on Friday he expected to take all three centers to New York, but backed off that prediction Saturday.

"It's not necessarily the case (anymore),'' Colangelo said.

Charlotte center Tyson Chandler has secured a berth, likely all the way to Turkey. He shot 6-of-6 for 13 points and had nine rebounds and four blocks in just 20 minutes for the White.

"I'm absolutely pleased with Tyson,'' said Krzyzewski, who actually didn't call his play beautiful. "He hadn't played for a while (due to injuries the past couple of seasons to his ankle). ... To see him respond in a short period of time like that was very, very encouraging to me.''

But it appears there is an argument that taking all three centers could keep somebody else from getting a longer look. In the biggest jeopardy among centers is McGee, even if he said, "I think I've got a good chance'' to make it to New York. McGee, who had seven points and three rebounds in nine minutes for the Blue, is still very raw.

"We have to try to project who fits and who doesn't. ... We'll talk (late Saturday night) and we'll continue (Sunday). By Monday, we'll have (cuts) done."
-- Jerry Colangelo Lopez was brutal Saturday, totaling two points and no rebounds for the Blue, but he would provide insurance in the low post if Chandler gets hurt, and Team USA officials are aware he's still working himself back in shape after a recent bout with mono.

"We have to try to project who fits and who doesn't,'' said Colangelo, who sat at midcourt during the game with Krzyzewski and assistant Jim Boeheim. "(Deliberations) are ongoing. We were talking during the game -- Jimmy, Coach K and myself. We were talking after the game. We'll talk (late Saturday night) and we'll continue (Sunday). By Monday, we'll have (cuts) done.''

The Americans are trying to put together a team on the fly after all the 2008 Olympians bowed out earlier this summer. One of those Olympians, Utah guard Deron Williams, watched from a courtside seat. He's confident Team USA can get it done in Turkey.

"It's good to be here,'' Williams said. "I like it here. It's a good team once again. We got a lot of young talent.''

Heading the youngsters is Durant.

"We did as much as we can,'' Durant said of the week of camp. "It's all up to the coaches. I think that everybody did a really good job of showing what they can do and making the coaches make a tough decision.''

At least Durant doesn't have to sweat it out until Monday. Krzyzewski has known for a while his play is beautiful.

For more on USA BASKETBALL, visit the official site, link.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kevin loves the USA

Team USA: Love A Great Fit
By: Jason Fleming
Hoops World
Last Updated: 7/21/10 5:13 PM ET | 2700 times read

There is something about putting on a red, white, and blue jersey, representing your country on an international stage, that is a great equalizer among players. Just about everyone, regardless of NBA status, would love to represent the United States at any kind of international event. Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love is no different.

"It's an honor to get selected to be one of the 22 players to try out for Team USA. Obviously you get to where 'USA' across your chest, three letters that mean a lot to everybody here. It's a tremendous honor, but I think all of us are coming out here to compete for the big picture, the World Championships in August, and then hopefully in 2012 playing in London."

Love is currently taking part in Team USA's mini-camp in Las Vegas. From those 22 players USA Basketball will choose 12 to play in the 2010 World Championships next month in Turkey.

When asked about his competition for making the team, Love played a little coy.

"I'm not exactly sure, you'd have to ask the people that are putting together the team," Love said with a grin. "But I see people like David Lee (Golden State), I see Brook Lopez (New Jersey), JaVale McGee (Washington), Lamar Odom (L.A. Lakers) – players like that. And there's going to be some three men as well who are going to have to step up and play the four. That's probably going to be my toughest competition from here on out."

Lee, of course, has hurt his hand and could very well be out of the mix, so that helps Love out. Robin Lopez was also one of the 22, but decided not to compete for precautionary reasons (he had back issues last season). Jeff Green (Oklahoma City) and Tyson Chandler (Dallas) are other players Love is competing against among big men, and Rudy Gay (Memphis), Danny Granger (Indiana), Gerald Wallace (Charlotte), and even Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) are all three players who at least have played the four in spots in the past, so that's the group he's talking about there.

Still, it's hard to believe would not make this team. The international game is much more predicated on high efficiency and the passing of big men than the NBA game, two aspects of the game where Love excels. He is the king of the outlet pass in addition to being an excellent rebounder, plus he has the ability to step out on the wing and hit a three-pointer.

Really, there may be no more perfect power forward for USA Basketball. Love admitted the prospect of playing for the USA colors had been a dream of his for a long time.

"I've always said that after the Timberwolves - after, really, my job – I think my first priority is Team USA. I'm hoping I have a good showing this week, hopefully I make it to New York, and I'll be playing through August, ending on September 12th at the world championship game."

Speaking of the day job, Love's Timberwolves have been quite busy this offseason. General Manager David Kahn talked about some of the things the Wolves have done with HOOPSWORLD from the Vegas Summer League, but here's a quick rundown:

•Re-signed center Darko Milicic (four years, $20 million)

•Agreed to terms with point guard Luke Ridnour (four years, $16 million)

•Agreed to terms with former second-round pick Nikola Pekovic (three years, $13 million)

•Traded forward/center Al Jefferson to Utah for center Kosta Koufos

•Acquired forward Michael Beasley from Miami

•Acquired swingman Martell Webster from Portland

•Drafted swingmen Wesley Johnson and Lazar Hayward

That is quite the busy summer. They are also reportedly about to trade point guard Ramon Sessions to the Cleveland Cavaliers for point guard Delonte West, whose non-guaranteed contract they will likely waive. And they also would like to trade Koufos. Oh, and they have the rights to point guard Ricky Rubio, whose name is always a topic of conversation though Kahn indicated Rubio is in their plans for 2011-12.

There is no more old guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. At 21 years old (22 in September), Love as much as anyone else on the team qualifies as a veteran and a leader. He thinks the team only has good things ahead.

"I think we'll definitely have the youngest team in the NBA, but if you look at teams like Oklahoma City, you look at a team like the Memphis Grizzlies, they were both very young. As far as salary I think the highest-paid player we have is $5 million (Beasley, at $4.96 million) and the league average is $6-7 million, so we have a lot of cap space and a lot of moving we can do in the next couple years.

"We're looking forward to it. I think we have a very bright future ahead of us, we just have to be able to play together a little bit and get that chemistry going."

Look for Kevin Love to be a big part of Team USA going forward and who knows, maybe the Timberwolves can build something quicker than most expect.

Jordan Farmar hits rock bottom

Jordan Farmar going from NBA champion to 12-win team? Huh?
Dave D'Alessandro/The Star-Ledger
Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 9:25 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010, 10:21 AM

So you’re 23 years old, you own two rings with the Lakers, you played in your hometown in front of your family and friends for four years, and then one day you decide to chuck it all for a chance to play with a 12-70 train wreck.

Jordan Farmar, please explain yourself.

“We talked about it, and it wasn’t really how I wanted to spend my whole career, being a backup in a triangle (offense),” the Nets’ new backup point guard explained yesterday.

“I didn’t know if Phil (Jackson) was coming back, didn’t know what direction they were going to go in. So that uncertainty led us to go different ways.”

This is, sure enough, a guy who likes to make his own path.

Farmar said he only went to UCLA because the program was a disaster and he wanted to rebuild it.

He said he has come to Jersey because he wants to prove to the rest of the league that he’s not just a spot-up shooter on the weak side, he’s a starting-quality point. He said he’s leaving his beloved L.A. because it’s time to escape the cocoon.

But ... the Nets?

“We’ve got a new owner, a new coach, and we’re working on a new arena,” Farmar said. “There are some big things with this organization — it’s committed to winning, and that’s what I’m all about. I’ve had my fair share of that, and I’m trying to help this organization move in that direction.”

He added, it was about “playing time.”

“It was a chance to be part of something special,” Farmar said. “It was a lot of Avery Johnson — being able to play for a point guard, someone who will appreciate the little things I do. He’ll help me grow as a player in this league, (and that) was really closer to my decision.”

• The other three free agents — small forward Travis Outlaw, wing Anthony Morrow and center Johan Petro — all agreed the coach’s vitality was a major factor in their decision to come here.

The 12-70 meltdown last season was a non-factor, as Outlaw put it.

“I hit Portland when it was bad,” said the seven-year pro, now the longest-tenured NBA player on Johnson’s team. “And I looked here and I think it was just missing some things. They can make up for it in free agency. Other than that, it didn’t look too bad.”

• With 12 guaranteed contracts and two others expected to survive training camp (Brian Zoubek, Ben Uzoh), the Nets still have room for a starting power forward, and the coach seeks to find him before the first preseason game.

“We’re not sure it’s going to happen in the next day or two — it may take a little longer with the route we’ll take,” said Johnson, alluding to how the Nets’ cap space ($14.9 million) is sacrosanct, unless there’s a home-run deal to be made.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is not easy. It could be very difficult. So I’m not necessarily confident it will happen before training camp. I’d like for it to happen before we get on a plane for China.”

To keep up with Jordan, check out The Hoop Farm.

Matt Barnes going back to Cali

Lakers add Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff

Barnes, a former UCLA Bruin and noted defender, turns down more money from Cleveland to join the two-time defending champions.

By Broderick Turner and Mike Bresnahan
The LA Times
July 22, 2010

The Lakers were unable to sign Raja Bell, but another antagonist is on the way.

Free-agent forward Matt Barnes decided to sign a two-year deal with the Lakers, choosing the chance at a championship over a more lucrative offer from Cleveland on the same day Theo Ratliff agreed to a one-year, $1.35-million contract with the Lakers, adding a veteran shot-blocking center to the second unit.

Photo: In this television screen capture from an Laker-Magic game back in March, Matt Barnes pretends to throw an inbounds pass at Kobe Bryant’s face. Bank! Credit: ABC/ESPN.

As the Lakers found out last season, Barnes, 30, can pester shooting guards and small forwards alike. He and Kobe Bryant engaged in a trash-talking session in Orlando's 96-94 victory last March that included Barnes pretending to throw an inbounds pass directly at Bryant's face. Bryant didn't even flinch.

The most the Lakers could pay Barnes next season is $1.77 million, about half of what Cleveland was offering, and Barnes has a player option in 2011-12 for almost $2 million that would allow him to test the market again in a year if he wished.

Miami was a possibility for Barnes, and Boston made a late run, but the Lakers had the extra allure of being two-time defending champions.

"It's official," Barnes wrote on his Twitter account Thursday night. "I am a Los Angles (sic) Laker. This is a dream come true!!!"

Barnes averaged 8.8 points and 25.9 minutes a game last season for Orlando, his seventh team since leaving UCLA in 2002. Earlier this week, he appeared to be headed to Toronto for two years and $9 million as part of a sign-and-trade transaction, but the deal fell through.

The Lakers now have 11 players under contract next season, not including second-round draft picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, who played relatively well this month on the Lakers' summer league team and could round out the roster. NBA teams must carry at least 13 players.

Barnes and Bryant are believed to be on good terms these days, but it wasn't that way when they played each other a few weeks after the All-Star break. Bryant missed a last-second 20-footer that would have sent the game to overtime and then chuckled three times in a 10-second span afterward when asked about Barnes' in-game behavior. "It's entertaining," he said.

As reporters asked Ron Artest what he thought of Barnes, Lamar Odom yelled out from across the locker room that Barnes was "a monkey" who "picked the right game to act tough." Odom then compared Barnes to pro wrestling's Ric Flair, known for whipping up crowds with his antics.

More on Matt's attempted bank shot off of Kobe's grill...

Lakers' Kobe Bryant unfazed by Matt Barnes' ball movement
by Mark Medina
The LA Times
March 8, 2010 | 7:33 pm

The ball approached Kobe Bryant. Bryant stared right back at it. The ball went away.

That's the simple "See Spot Run" explanation when describing Bryant's outward indifference to Orlando's Matt Barnes pretending to throw an inbounds pass to his face in what eventually resulted in a Lakers' 96-94 loss Sunday to the Magic. But how is that utterly possible, given just normal human reflexes? It's long been established that Bryant is far from normal, but the latest example raised the ante just a little bit.

As for Bryant's explanation? Well, it seems that whether it's regarding his poor shooting or Barnes' antics, Bryant can't resist saying something that won't require muting his audio or bracketing out his quotes.

"I knew he wasn't going to do [anything]," Bryant said. "What would I flinch for?"

That certainly wasn't the case in the video below. Though Bryant mostly maintained a stoic and curt tone with reporters after Monday's practice, he let out a laugh after acknowledging he saw the video featuring the inbounds play. Bryant also expressed some annoyance when a reporter wondered how it was possible he didn't flinch with the ball so close to his face.

Thanks to a salary cap technicality, Lakers snatch Barnes, also grab Ratliff
July 23, 6:45 PM
Los Angeles Lakers Hater Examiner
Justin Jervinis

The Los Angeles Lakers signed veterans Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff yesterday. Barnes signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract and signed Ratliff to a one-year deal. Barnes is the more useful player between the two while Ratliff is just another body on the bench.

Barnes, 30, who played for the Orlando Magic last season, was primed to sign with the Toronto Raptors on Monday, but the Magic had limited options on completing a sign-and-trade with Barnes in order to join the Raptors.

He was supposed to receive a two-year, $9 million contract from the Raptors, but the salary cap rules prevented the Magic to do a sign-and-trade since the contract would have been over $1.9 million year. Also, the Magic signing Barnes would have gotten the team over the salary cap since the Larry Bird exception does not apply because Barnes was on the team for one season.

Barnes brings some solid talent and length on both ends at the wing position. He is fully capable of starting and coming off the bench, but has mostly been a reserve for the majority of his career.

Barnes has played seven season in the NBA and has played for the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and the Magic.

Ratliff, 37, is a 15-year veteran and has played for The Detroit Pistons, 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trailblazers, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Bobcats.

The Lakers got lucky when it comes to signing Barnes. Of course a technicality in the salary cap rule had to come into effect, giving the Lakers a chance to snatch Barnes. The Raptors probably would not have been much better with Barnes anyway, but he surely benefits the two-time defending champions greatly.

It didn't look like Barnes was on the top of the Lakers list until the financial gaffe between the Raptors and the Magic took place earlier this week. Barnes literally fell on the Lakers' lap and it is very unfair. Barnes was dumb to want to sign with the Raptors in the first place. It's not like the Raptors are going anywhere in the near future since they unloaded Chris Bosh, their only good player.

Now that the Lakers have Barnes, they finally have depth in their front line complimenting Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. Now when the Lakers starting big men Gasol and Andrew Bynum need a breather, they have two good players coming off the bench instead of just one like the last two seasons.

The Lakers continue to convince quality players to join their franchise. They have already signed Steve Blake to a four-year contract and have re-signed Derrek Fisher to a multi-year deal for less money. As long as the Lakers are the defending champions, good players will want to go to them for less money, which makes the team. To say the very least, this Barnes transaction was just unfair.

Ron Artest asks fans via Twitter to describe Matt Barnes' toughness
by Mark Medina
The LA Times
July 23, 2010 | 11:00 am

For those wondering how the Lakers feel about acquiring Matt Barnes, well, you can always count on Ron Artest to give his opinion. From one tough guy to the other, Artest asked fans via Twitter to submit comments to him describing what makes Barnes so tough. Artest would know, seeing how the pesky Barnes tried to intimidate Kobe Bryant last season and even pretended to inbound the ball toward his face.

Among the fan feedback:

"Matt is tougher than nails Tougher than a penguin on steroids Tougher than richard Simmons trying to take off his spandex" -- RONARTESTCOM

“@AR_Fresh16: @RONARTESTCOM @Matt_Barnes22 is tougher than Chuck Norris and that's a tough dude lol”

"“@NickJunior: @RONARTESTCOM Matt Barnes is tough like elephant taint”

“@CELTICSin2011: @RONARTESTCOM matt barnes is so tough that he doesnt cry so his tears get donated to kobe cause he needs more tears”

“@IvanRott: @RONARTESTCOM Matt Barnes is tougher than Run-D.M.C.'s Tougher Than Leather.”

“@folllowthesun: @RONARTESTCOM tougher than trying to beat the Lakers?”

“@SBekovic: @RONARTESTCOM Matt Barnes is tougher that (sp) Kimbo Slice's beard.”

“@moongrim: @RONARTESTCOM Barnes is so tough I saw him dunk with no hands”

“@WBandoy: @RonArtestCOM Yo, @Matt_Barnes22 is tougher than doing Chinese calculus in your head!”

“@FabioLLanes: @RONARTESTCOM matt barnes is tougher than sodoku”

“@ziadaljamaan: @RONARTESTCOM matt barnes so tough he doesn't sleep he just waits”

“@koronanlime: @RONARTESTCOM Matt Barnes is tougher than using the restroom after eating jalapeno tabasco sauce”


Matt Barnes a perfect fit for the Lakers
by Mark Medina
The LA Times
July 22, 2010 | 10:11 pm

The chippiness and physical play last season became so overwhelming that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Orlando Magic guard Matt Barnes had to be separated. Now, with the Lakers signing Barnes on Thursday, the two probably will be embracing a lot more. If that sounds like something that's happened before, well, something similar took place last season.

In the 2009 playoffs, Ron Artest ran across the court and got into Bryant's face after he thought he was elbowed in the throat. With the two helping the Lakers win the 2010 championship, each oozed enthusiasm when speaking about the other's work ethic. Barnes tried to test Bryant last season in a regular-season matchup so much that he pretended to inbound the ball at Bryant's face, and the Black Mamba refused to flinch. With Barnes joining the Lakers to bolster the backcourt defense, don't expect Bryant to flinch next season when he talks about how much Barnes brings to the team.

It's an interesting situation we're in these days. There's been much debate recently about whether past generations of NBA players would have joined forces in a fashion similar to what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have done in Miami. Besides Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird already having solid supporting casts around them, many point to the reputation that all three carried in being obsessive about beating their opponents. Barnes now crosses into friendly territory, but the circumstances are different. As shown in that game last season, Bryant and Barnes couldn't stand each other.

But similar to the Bryant-Artest dynamic, the very same reason the two nearly came to blows on opposite teams serves as the very same reason that they will bond together on the same team. Artest might have often appeared lost in the triangle offense, but Bryant knew he'd give it his all every game. Barnes may need to keep his emotions in check, but Bryant likely recognizes that passion can easily help spark a team that's often gotten beaten defensively.

The Lakers' acquisition of Barnes also neatly fits into their off-season storyline, in which General Manager Mitch Kupchak has added tiny wrinkles to make the two-time defending champions even more dangerous. With Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher returning, the entire corps remains intact. In acquiring Steve Blake, the Lakers added an immediate offensive punch to the backcourt reserves. With Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter and Theo Ratliff, the Lakers have dependable options to back up the loaded and talented front line. And after acquiring Barnes, the team brings in another Bryant adversary who will soon become another worshiper.

And when a player is in Bryant's good graces, that usually spells success.

The 1st Jrue Holiday Summer Basketball Camp at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, CA

Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday talks to children during his basketball... (Hans Gutknecht)

Former UCLA standout Holiday finds himself a happy camper
By Vincent Bonsignore, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/22/2010 11:43:42 PM PDT

Jrue Holiday looked very much at home this week as he stood outside the basketball gym at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch.

This makes sense, considering the Philadelphia 76ers guard has been a member of Shepherd of the Hills for as long as he can remember.

"I grew up in this church," Holiday said.

Inside the gym, the sound of youngsters dribbling basketballs and shooting hoops clearly could be heard, and if there was any confusion what they were there for and who they were waiting on, the image of Holiday emanating from a huge screen on one side of the gym cleared it all up.

The first Jrue Holiday summer basketball camp was underway, and in a few minutes a bunch of wide-eyed kids would hang on every Holiday word, his every movement, as the former Campbell Hall High and UCLA standout taught them the finer points of basketball.

"That's a pretty cool feeling," Holiday said. "To see their faces light up, to see how happy they are running around and having fun is pretty awesome. For me it's just one of the great joys in the world."

The kids were having a blast, but it's doubtful they were enjoying the moment more than Holiday.

This was Holiday giving back to a church and community that helped rear him, the ones that watched proudly as he led Campbell Hall to three state titles before accepting a scholarship to play at UCLA, and the ones that helped him get through a sometimes-trying rookie season with the 76ers last year.

Just as important, this was Holiday remembering what it was like to be a kid, laying awake at night thinking about meeting one of his heroes the next day.

"Because I was that little kid," Holiday said, smiling. "I was the kid who wanted to go to Kobe Bryant's camp or LeBron James' camp. I know what that feeling is, so to be able to provide a place where kids can come and see me, where they can hang out and meet me and learn a little bit about basketball isn't just pretty cool, it's actually a dream come true."

These are good times for Holiday, fresh off a solid showing in the Orlando Summer League and just a few months away from beginning his second year in the NBA.

As trying and frustrating as his first year was - he was the youngest player in the league, he didn't play much early in the season, the team was losing and he was 3,000 miles away from home - his sophomore season is shaping up to be a coming-out party for the former first-round pick.

Holiday averaged 19.6 points per game in three games in Orlando, earned first-team All-Summer Team honors and flashed the all-around skills that prompted the 76ers to select him 17th overall last year.

In doing so, he made an immediate impression on new 76ers coach Doug Collins, who couldn't hide his excitement over Holiday after getting his first up-close look at him this summer.

"Jrue is so good, he is so good," Collins said. "This is a point-guard-driven league and when you get a young kid like that, that has that kind of confidence, and he has a real great demeanor about himself."

Collins was especially impressed with Holiday's interaction with teammates and the way he explained his decision-making process with them. On several instances Holiday would pull a player aside and outline why he didn't make a certain pass to them or why he felt a play wasn't there.

Little things like that - in addition to the obvious skills - convinced Collins his young point guard has a bright future.

"He could be really special," Collins said.

Holiday's impressive summer was night and day compared to his rookie season, one he spent observing more than playing under then-Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan.

It was a frustrating experience, a young player not used to sitting and watching, especially when the team was struggling and he felt there were things he could do to help.

It was just part of the experience of transitioning from college to the NBA, however, an adjustment more dramatic in Holiday's case after spending just one season at UCLA.

Holiday's freshman year with the Bruins was spent at shooting guard rather than the point, with UCLA preferring senior Darren Collison to run the offense.

It was supposed to be just a one-year deal, with Holiday assuming point guard duties as a sophomore. That plan was abandoned when Holiday surprised people by declaring for the NBA Draft.

He arrived in Philadelphia as a 19-year-old with just one season of college basketball under his belt, then spent the first half of the season fighting for an opportunity to start. It was a trying time, but he got through it with the help of his family and the Bible.

"My faith became a source of strength for me," Holiday said. "I read my Bible, I talked quite a bit to my mom and she'd send me Scriptures. That was extremely helpful in getting me through last season."

Holiday averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 assists and 1.1 steals, but his numbers spiked after the All-Star break when his minutes increased from 18 to 32 per game - he went from 5.4 points per game to 11.9 points and 5.5 assists.

"The more playing time I got, the more comfortable and confident I got," Holiday said. "More importantly, I felt my teammates got more comfortable with me."

Still, it was a difficult situation.

"Being on the East Coast, a place I'd never been, and basically being alone for the first time in my life while traveling every other day, that is an adjustment you can't really prepare for," Holiday said. "It's just something you have to experience."

Holiday is glad he went through it, and feels he's better off after surviving it.

The focus now is on the future. Holiday is prepared to be a focal point for the 76ers this year, operating in Collins' up-tempo offense.

"There are a lot of positives going on right now and I can't wait to get started," he said.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hobbled Coach Howland speaks UCLA Basketball

Hobbled Howland working to get UCLA program back on its feet
July 19, 2010
By Gary Parrish Senior Writer

Ben Howland continues to have a little trouble walking five weeks after surgery to repair that torn Achilles' tendon, and he keeps the crutches laying around just in case he must turn to them on a bad day. Still, the UCLA coach said this weekend that, all things considered, he actually feels pretty good heading into the second half of the July evaluation period.

"It's not painful," Howland joked. "It's just a pain in the butt."

In other words, the worst from a mid-June surgery now seems behind Howland as he prepares to scoot gingerly around Las Vegas and various other cities hosting sanctioned recruiting events from July 22-31. Thus, the question isn't whether Howland's mobility will soon return to normal as much as it's whether his team will soon return to normal. What happened last season, you might remember, wasn't normal.

UCLA finished 14-18 overall, 8-10 in the Pac-10 after making three of the previous four Final Fours. The subpar effort didn't make the Bruins the nation's biggest disappointment -- that title went to North Carolina with Connecticut, Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas also receiving votes -- but it did make them one of the more surprising stories in college basketball. Howland had spent years developing a reputation that made losing at that (or this) point in his career seem improbable despite an unusual amount of early losses to the NBA Draft. Watching a Howland-coached team A) Struggle to defend in a man-to-man setting; and B) Struggle to win in a below-average Pac-10 was as stunning as watching Tiger Woods spray the ball all over Augusta National, as strange as watching LeBron James, the two-time and reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, opt to be somebody's sidekick in a take-it-or-leave-it sports city like Miami.

None of it makes any sense to me.

And yet it all happened.

And now Howland has to turn around his part of the never-saw-it-coming trifecta with only 10 scholarship players -- and four (Malcolm Lee, Jeremime Anderson, Brendan Lane and Tyler Lamb) are dealing with offseason surgeries.

"An injury-riddled summer is better than an injury-riddled season," Howland said, and you must admit he has a point. "We just need to stay healthy once we get into September."

If so, expect the Bruins to rebound.

That's my official prediction.

No, I don't think they'll make the Final Four for the fourth time in six seasons. But a year-older core of Lee, Reeves, Nelson and Anderson should be enough to make UCLA a factor in the Pac-10, though I would feel better about things if I knew how freshman Josh Smith would perform, or at least knew how much he would weigh for the opener.

"He's had a major conditioning problem," Howland acknowledged.

Smith has long been considered an elite center for his class, and his high school career was capped with a 10-point effort in the McDonald's All-America Game. He's a super-talented kid, just one with the kind of weight problem that could limit how effective he can be and how many minutes he can play.

So where's Smith now?

Howland didn't want to get into specifics about Smith's weight or body fat percentage, saying only what we all already know -- that there has been a conditioning problem -- before opting to focus on the positive. Howland said Smith isn't where he needs to be now, but that he's getting closer, and that he's going to be counted on to contribute immediately.

"I expect him to play a very important role," Howland said. "That's why this summer is so important for him, and he's working his butt off. He's working three times a day. He comes in at 8 a.m. every day and rides the bike or runs on the treadmill for an hour. Then he comes back at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., too. He's doing good. He's really looking to get into good physical condition."

Assuming that happens, the Bruins will be in good shape. Meanwhile, Howland will be bouncing around the rest of the month trying to gain commitments from Class of 2011 prospects who will join David and Travis Wear (transfers from North Carolina) for the 2011-12 season. Assuming that also happens, the worst will indeed be behind the man who established the Pittsburgh program before rebuilding UCLA's, the worst both in terms of that mid-June surgery and basketball in general.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Arron Afflalo's summer workout

Afflalo back at it.
By Chris Dempsey
The Denver Post
Posted: 07/13/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

Hoping the result will be a newer, better player, Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo said he is changing his normal offseason workout routine in order to build strength and stamina.

Afflalo watched the first few Nuggets summer league games in Las Vegas and said he has begun working out for the 2010-11 season with the idea of being on the court longer. His goal is to be able to play suffocating defense and still have the energy to be effective on offense.

"I'm just trying to get a little more defined, because I want my conditioning better," Afflalo said. "I've always been strong and things like that, but I want to be able to play both ends of the court at a high level."

Afflalo averaged 8.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season and was one of the NBA's best 3-point shooters at 43.4 percent.

Darren Collison leaves NOH...

... for summer school.

New Orleans Hornets point guard Darren Collison granted permission to leave summer league team

Published: Monday, July 12, 2010, 9:54 AM
Updated: Monday, July 12, 2010, 12:30 PM
John Reid, The Times Picayune

LAS VEGAS --New Orleans Hornets point guard Darren Collison was granted permission by Coach Monty Williams on Monday morning to leave the summer league team so he can enroll in summer school at UCLA.

Collison said he is one class from earning his bachelor degree in history. He sat out Sunday night’s game against the Miami Heat because of a bruised right knee. At 0-2, the Hornets have three summer league games remaining and they play the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

“Darren soaked up everything, and it’s exciting because I know once we get into the season he’s going to soak it up even more,’’ Williams said. “I think he has the ability to run a team right now. I’m happy with his work ethic and we’ll see how it goes as the summer progresses.’’

In his only summer league game on Friday night against the Golden State Warriors, Collison had nine points and seven assists. But during the fourth quarter, Collison bumped into Warriors forward Brandan Wright on a pick-and-roll play and injured his right knee.

Meanwhile, Collison continues to acknowledge that he remains on the trading block, though he appears to be in the Hornets’ plans for this upcoming season.

“The trade talks definitely motivates and fuels me,’’ Collison said. “No matter where I got to play, I’m going to help that team win.’’

Hornets allow Collison to leave summer league
AP, USA Today

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Hornets have granted second-year guard Darren Collison permission to leave the club's Las Vegas summer league squad.
Hornets spokesman Dennis Rogers says Collison wants to enroll in a summer class at UCLA.

Collison bruised his right knee in the Hornets' opening summer league game against Golden State on Friday, but played through it before sitting out the Hornets' next game against Miami on Sunday.

Rogers says Collison's departure is unrelated to his knee and stems only from his desire to take the last class he needs for his degree.

Collison spent a week with the team in Las Vegas, participating fully in four days of practices with new coach Monty Williams' staff before Friday's opening game.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jordan Farmar joins Brook Lopez, Nets

Nets agree to terms with Lakers G Jordan Farmar
on USA Today

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Guard Jordan Farmar (FSY) of the NBA champion Lakers has agreed to join the Nets.

New Jersey added another low-profile free agent Sunday after the NBA's worst team last season, with more than $30 million to spend, struck out in its bid to lure LeBron James (FSY), Chris Bosh (FSY) or Dwyane Wade (FSY).

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Farmar averaged 6.9 points and 2.1 assists in 18.1 minutes in four years with the Lakers.

The agreement is contingent on Farmar passing a physical.

The Nets also have reached deals with center Johan Petro (FSY) and forward Travis Outlaw (FSY).

A good Nets investment: The case for Jordan Farmar
Dave D'Alessandro/The Star-Ledger
Published: Monday, July 12, 2010, 2:35 PM
Updated: Monday, July 12, 2010, 5:51 PM

We’re going to throw this out there just so the five of you can groan: The Jordan Farmer signing was absolutely crucial and will prove to be more cost-efficient than, say, bringing back Keyon Dooling.

And maybe four of you will agree with that premise as soon as Devin Harris has one of his one-week hurts.

Realistically, you cannot rely on Terrence Williams to fill that job – though it’s not inconceivable he won’t grow into it faster than his coaches believe – so somebody had to be brought in. Farmar was the best guy available to step in as a short-term starter if Harris crash-lands himself into a five-game stint on the inactive list.

The things that are overlooked, as we see it, are these factors:

1. Farmar will be running a conventional pro offense for the first time in his career, something far better suited for his style and strength.

2. He can be far more aggressive than he was in L.A., because he’ll get more minutes, more shots, and his coach will allow him to take more risks because this team isn’t playing for a championship.

3. He'll push Devin Harris.

4. There's something to be said for a guy with rings -- he earned them, and he earned some cachet.

Don’t bother looking at the numbers with this kid – especially the numbers from 08-09, when he missed time with knee surgery. He now has the opportunity to take a big step forward with a screen-roll oriented offense, because that’s what he grew up in, and that’s what he does best.

Farmar signs with Nets
Posted By: Justin Black

Free agent Jordan Farmar has agreed to a three-year, $12-million contract with the New Jersey Nets. Farmar, 23, was a part of the 2009 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers championship squad, averaging 6.9 points and 2.1 assists. He was also the no. 26 pick of 2006, drafted by the LA Lakers, which was acquired in a trade with Shaquille O’Neal going to the Miami Heat.

The wiry 6’2”, 180-lb. guard now joins Nets’ star guard Devin Harris and Keyon Dooling in the Nets lineup, setting-up an excellent backcourt game. The agreement is contingent on Farmar passing a medical.

Farmar was named to the all Pac-10 team and the all Pac-10 Tournament team, being one of the elite point guards from UCLA, where he played two seasons.

Farmar earned $1.2 million per year with Los Angeles for four years, and seeing his earnings triple will more than likely increase his on-court confidence, in the hopes of transforming him into a New Jersey key player, in which he clearly has the potential to achieve. With the Nets performing a young blood transfusion into their team, don't expect Farmar to be traded anytime soon, or at least be in the starting lineup for a while. Farmar, of Jewish descent, will be one of only two Jewish players in the NBA (the other being Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings). His father, Damon, played Baseball and Football in the minor leagues. Although he will be leaving his hometown of Los Angeles, he will still enjoy living in New York, with a bigger and heftier bank account. Whichever way it goes, it will surely be a better choice for him.

Farmar is an excellent addition to the already steep New Jersey roster, providing youth, athleticism and most of all, championship experience. He will definitely have more quality playing minutes, so expect an increase in his stats. Farmar as a back up point guard is a great option for the Nets, who seem to have lost its luster in the eastern conference.

Farmar is a gifted athlete who can be reliable in crunch time. He is an aggressive guard who likes to take it to the paint, which will be crucial if New Jersey wants to revive its status as a title contender in the future. He has the right build to become a defensive key player in the New Jersey lineup.

The New Jersey Nets also acquired French forward-centre Johan Petro and Travis Outlaw, which will further add depth to their lineup. Petro is needed to bulk up and solidify the Nets’ low-post game, an area the Frenchman can definitely handle. On the other hand, Outlaw is an athletic forward with decent playmaking skills that can boost New Jersey’s offence considerably.

Petro and Travis fill two holes in the Nets lineup, but they still come up short in the low-post game, an area that prospects such as Udonis Haslem or Argentinian Forward Luis Scola can take up with no problem. If they do acquire these players, the new Nets lineup will be a team to watch for in the future.

Nets head coach Avery Johnson will definitely have an edge in coming up with his backcourt game plan, with Farmar being a solid back-up point guard for key plays in both offense and defense. It is only necessary that Johnson realizes how much experience Farmar brings to the table, a crucial turning-point in a make or break situations. The championship-tested guard is expected to be the proverbial bench leader of the Nets in desperate situations. Undoubtedly, with Farmar’s arrival, the Nets are really rearing for a great performance next season.

UCLA summer rumblings at Bruin Gold

Jones, Honeycutt and Nelson.
Posted on Bruin Gold: Sun, Jul 11 7:43 pm

"I just returned from the HAX in Hawthorn this afternoon.

What a top notch organization and tournament.

Lazeric Jones: He is a physically strong athlete with a well rounded all around game.
He is not going to make mistakes and is committed to defense. He reminds me of Cameron Dollar.

Reeves Nelson: He looks stronger more confident with his shooting and he has added a few new tattoos.

Tyler Honeycutt: He is healthy with added muscle and his all around game was dominant, under control. If he stays healthy and has a solid year, he will be a lottery pick next draft.

They said Josh Smith was scheduled to play, but instead is on an intense weight management program to lose the pounds he added after his injuries. He should be lighter, Healthy and good to go for the season.

Go Bruins"

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RE: Jones, Honeycutt and Nelson.
Posted on Bruin Gold: Mon, Jul 12 10:49 pm
Posted by UCLAspencer44

"I just spoke with one of the team managers and he said a few interesting things. Some may have already been mentioned.

- Jerime Anderson's jump shot is drastically improving. He said right now he is by far the best three point shooter on the team. He is working on his ball handling and is the most improved player so far this offseason. He did just recently have a freak injury and broke his nose.

- Tyler Honeycutt is gaining weight and a lot of strength. The coaches want him around 205-210. He is up to about 197 right now.

- Josh Smith came in at 388 lbs. They have him on a strict diet plan and workout program and he's now around 340.

- "Lazeric Jones is as fast as Darren Collison."

- Anthony Stover is really developing some good post moves. Also, his timing is very good defensively. He just needs to keep getting stronger. The coaches were "very,very close" to burning his redshirt after Reeves got hurt against Kansas but their happy they didn't.

- Reeves' new tattoos are colorful. His whole right arm from the elbow up is colored. His short jumper is also improving.

That's all I got."

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