BOSTON – June 22, 2018 – PUMA and The Basketball Tournament (TBT) – the $2 million, winner-take-all summer basketball event broadcast live on ESPN – announced today a new multi-year partnership making PUMA the exclusive footwear and apparel partner of TBT. PUMA will receive promotional rights to all TBT games, including a significant presence on-site as well during all ESPN broadcasts.

In a unique move and as part of the partnership, PUMA is offering an official endorsement deal to any player who competes in TBT and then signs on with an NBA team the following season. Following last year’s tournament, 16 players signed deals with NBA teams during the 2017-18 season.

Now entering its fifth season, TBT just released its 72-team bracket consisting of college alumni teams, international basketball stars, ex-NBA players, future NBA players and more competing in the 2018 edition of the single-elimination 5-on-5 tournament. All games will be broadcast live on ESPN networks beginning Friday, June 29, at Spokane Hoopfest and culminating with the $2 million championship game on Friday, August 3 at Morgan State University in Baltimore. This year, 21 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.

“Partnering with an iconic brand like PUMA is a game changer,” said Jon Mugar, founder and CEO of TBT. “Not only do they have a massive global footprint, but they also value creativity, risk-taking and the idea of challenging the status quo. This partnership is perfect in so many ways, and will result in an even more memorable and unique experience for basketball fans and players alike.”

“TBT is a unique concept and a perfect tournament for us to get involved with as we kick off our re-entry into basketball,” said Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing for PUMA. “We want to shake things up within the sport, and this tournament does that and more by providing opportunities for previously unrecognized talent, and giving fans new ways to experience the game.”

In all, 68 players with NBA experience and 27 college alumni teams are set to be involved in the 2018 tournament, as well as multiple former lottery picks and All-Stars with 11 NBA championships between them. In addition, 26 players competing in this year’s tournament competed in NCAA basketball this past season.

Overseas Elite, a team of American stars currently playing in top leagues around the world, won for the third consecutive year in 2017, amassing a 19-0 record, and have taken home an astounding $5 million over three years.

Fans win 10%, or $200,000, of the $2 million prize. Tickets for all TBT game days and events are on sale now. For more information, visit www.thetournament.com.

To learn more about PUMA Basketball follow @pumahoops on social media.

The East Coast Basketball League has announced the 2018 All-Star Rosters as they head into their conference playoff championships this weekend.

Southern Conference

Chris Moore – Prime Time Players
Terell Smith – Prime Time Players
PJ Heath – Prime Time Players
Anton Grier – Carolina Crusaders
Sam Dotson – Carolina Crusaders
Trey James – Carolina Thunder
James Richardson – Carolina Thunder
Alex Brown – Carolina Thunder
Mike Couvson – Augusta Eagles
Daniel Quarles – Augusta Eagles
Octreyvius Roebuck – SC All-Stars
James Murray – Charlotte Tribe

Northern Conference

DeShaune Greene – Hampton Roads Warriors
Caleb Henderson – Hampton Roads Warriors
Robert Pinkston – Petersburg Cavaliers
Kenard Moore – Winston-Salem Certified
Marsharee Neely – Winston-Salem Certified
Jamarr Hardy – East Carolina Cardinals
Kendall Ham – East Carolina Cardinals
Will Griffin – NC Coyotes
Corey Evans – NC Coyotes
Danny Sanders – Hickory Hoyas
Justin Glover – Hickory Hoyas
Avery Patterson – Rowan County Bulls

The ECBL All-Star Game for 2018 will be live streamed on NetCast Sports on June 30, 2018.

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Well, you really couldn’t ask for a better opening day for the BCBA Summer League – at 6:30pm, Greensboro Day will tip off against High Point Christian Academy, two national level basketball programs who are already loading up for a solid 2018-19 season.

In a double header, NetCastSports.com will live stream today’s games, including not only the GDS/HPCA match up, but also Calvary Day vs the BCBA All-Stars at approximately 7:30 pm. The live streaming sports network will also live stream several games from the league on June 19. Games for this year’s summer league are played at Calvary Day. There are games played over the next two weeks on multiple days with area high schools.

By Alex West

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is over, but some of the 64 seniors who came out to play made a big impression on NBA and international scouts over the four days.

Most NBA people I talked to said that this was the most talented field they had ever seen in Portsmouth, which is quite a feat considering six players from last year’s tournament were selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. Naturally, the success of last year’s field was an encouraging sign for many players who were hoping to snag an invite to the Combine next month. So it stands to reason, if this the best field, more of these players would play in the NBA than in any previous tournament.

But who will make NBA rosters next season? Here are seven players who have the skills and the resumes to do just that:

Jaylen Barford, Guard, Arkansas

Jaylen Barford was a revelation for me. I had seen the Arkansas Razorback senior play a few times during the season and his physicality had always stuck with me, but seeing him in person took that to another level. Barford is built like a halfback and uses his athleticism and strength to get to the rim, even through contact. He is a great shooter who can knock down NBA-range threes, even off the dribble. Most teams are no doubt aware of what the 6’3 202-pound point guard will bring to the table, but after averaging 19.3 points per game and bringing home the tournament MVP, he is likely getting a second evaluation from many teams who need a strong, high-energy scoring guard to bolster their bench.

Kendrick Nunn, Guard, Oakland

Kendrick Nunn had one goal in mind for the PIT, show scouts he was a scorer who lived up to his reputation. And after averaging a tournament-high 20.7 points per game, he seems to have done just that. Nunn’s performance had everyone in Portsmouth buzzing and a few scouts I talked to even said Nunn might be worthy of a mid- to late-second round selection, and would 100% be on a Summer League roster this July. One of the big weaknesses in his game was his defensive effort (which could be downright lackadaisical at times during his senior season in Oakland), but he was locked in and showed some nice perimeter defense, even creating a few steals. He will likely receive a Combine invite, which will only strengthen his stock heading into the draft.

Kenrich Williams, Wing, TCU

Prior to coming to Portsmouth, Kenrich Williams was already making appearances as a second-round selection on a lot of mock draft boards. After a bit of a slow start in his first game, he played well averaging seven points and eight rebounds, although he was probably a lock to attend the combine no matter what his showing was at the PIT. He is a tweener who can guard two to four (he registered two steals per game during the tournament) and will be a potent rebounder and three-point shooter, as well as a threat in transition.With a strong combine showing, it is entirely possible that he can play his way into the early second round.   

Jeffrey Carroll, Wing, Oklahoma St.

Jeffrey Carroll knows how to play basketball; he has a high IQ and always puts himself in good position on both sides of the ball. This knack for being in the right place at the right time was really on display this week as Carroll proved himself to be a potent transition scorer, filling the lanes and knocking down threes for his team. He is a solid team defender with an NBA ready body who has shown he can play well as a part of a system and is a reliable shooter who moves well without the basketball. Seniors like Damyean Dotson and Josh Hart earned their playing time for similar reasons and there is no major hurdle for Carrol to clear to find himself in the same successful situation.   

Gary Clark, Forward, Cincinnati

Gary Clark is in a similar boat to Kenrich Williams in that he has already shown up in a number of mock drafts. While his PIT showing wasn’t spectacular, the former Cincinnati Bearcat forward and AAC Player of the Year has a substantial resume as a quality player, leading the NCAA in Box Plus/Minus and Win Shares per 40 minutes. He is a proven shot blocker, although his length may prove to be a weakness in the NBA and a hard-nosed rebounder who can serve as a rim protector and small ball defensive workhorse.

Justin Tillman, Forward, VCU

Justin Tillman is a throwback center who LOVES to show his toughness around the basket, both as a scorer and rebounder, averaging 18.3 points and 13 rebounds per game at the PIT. He showed a nice touch with both hands (particularly a very nice righty baby hook, which was his go-to move) as well as an advanced understanding of using his frame to create space. He isn’t an overwhelming athlete and at only 6’7 he might struggle to function as a fulltime five, making it hard to nail down where he will fit best. But his high motor and general grittiness will be hard to overlook for teams who are looking for a forward who can play in the low post.

Kyle Washington, Forward, Cincinnati

Like his Cincinnati teammate Gary Clark, Kyle Washington is a quality defender who is a threat to block shots all over the court. While he picked up a few early fouls in games this past week, he was still was effective in getting a hand on several attempts as well as altering several more. He also showed an impressive offensive game, averaging 16.7 points per game and knocking down three triples to go along with his 10.7 rebound per game, making him an enticing combo forward who can protect the rim in small lineups. But Washington is EXTREMELY left-hand-dominant and will need to develop even a rudimentary ability to score with his right or opponents will force him away from his dominant hand.

 

Loaded Portsmouth Invitational Field Kicks Off 2018 NBA Draft Process

By Alex West

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is just around the corner. Over the past few seasons, players such as Robert Covington, Pat Connaughton, Royce O’Neal, Josh Huestis, Bryn Forbes (which is to say, players who will be contributing significant minutes during the playoffs) have all cut their teeth in Southeast Virginia.

The tournament, with invitations extended to seniors only, gives scouts an opportunity to have a final look at some prospects before the draft process begins in earnest with the NBA Combine next month. A few players from this year’s list have already crept onto Mock Drafts the web over, and are looking to cement a higher selection; others hope to show they have the skill to make it onto a Big Board. Here’s who to watch for, when the tournament kicks off next Wednesday:

Keenan Evans, G, Texas Tech

The Red Raiders made a deep postseason run this year and Evans was a huge reason why, averaging 18.5 points on 43.5 percent shooting (38.5 percent from three-point range). He is a shot-maker who isn’t afraid of the big stage, perfect for a team looking for a spark plug for their second unit. He is extremely adept at drawing fouls, getting to the line 241 times this season (6.7 attempts per game, 18th in the NCAA) and is a maestro scoring out of the pick-and-roll (1.134 points per possession, 97th percentile).

Despite running the offense for most of his junior and senior seasons, he only averages 3.2 assists per game, prefering to get the job done himself in most situations. He will need to show his ability to control the flow of the game and set the table for others to truly catch on in the NBA. He also had an injury toe that plagued him for much of Big 12 conference play. The full extent of the injury is unknown, but sources close to the situation revealed after the tournament loss the toe was broken (https://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2018/3/25/17162360/keenan-evans-injury-broken-big-toe-ncaa-tournament-texas-tech-march-madness). The accident injury help from an expert from Mike G Law was needed. While the situation might be well in hand, lower body injury concerns are always red flags for NBA teams. And they try to hire best Ithaca Lawyers, to make all necessary procedures to protect themselves form some bad career effects.

Jaylen Adams, G, St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams might not be a household name for casual college basketball watchers, but the Atlantic 10 co-Player of the Year made fans sit up and take notice with his scoring barrage during conference play this season. The point guard poured in 21.2 points per game and posted an impressive 123.9 offensive rating while shooting an impressive 43.6 percent from three on 6.1 attempts per game. He is an elite tier spot-up shooter (1.333ppp 98th percentile) and is proficient pushing the ball in transition (ranking in the 91st percentile in points plus assists at 1.553), both skills that can make him a valuable contributor at the next level.

But Adams has a high hurdle to overcome, or perhaps I should say a height hurdle. Standing only 6’1” and lacking elite athleticism will make NBA life tough for the Bonnies’ star. He will need to showcase his ability to defend larger players as well as run a pick-roll-offense with lengthy defenders in his face to find a coveted backup point guard role.

Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati

The 2018 AAC Player of the Year, Gary Clark has an NBA-ready skill set. He can shoot threes, play defense, protect the rim, and run the floor making him an ideal small ball four (or super small ball five). This season, he averaged 12.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assist to go with 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks and lead the Bearcats to a two-seed before their unceremonious Round of 32 exit against a frisky Nevada squad. Clark is incredibly effective in transition (1.388 ppp, 93rd percentile) and can give his team a boost in second-chance buckets (1.34 ppp, 85th percentile), two underrated areas for bench players to contribute. He is also an advanced stats darling, leading the nation in defensive rating (81.6), defensive win shares (3.5), and box plus/minus (15.5).

The real issue for Clark is his lack of a defined position. He has the body of an NBA three and the skill set of a four or five, making it difficult for the 6’7” forward to make a strong case for a high draft position. However, with the success of players like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (another 6’7” hustler for the Brooklyn Nets) playing both forward positions, he may find a successful niche because of his high-energy play style and defensive versatility.

Zach Smith, F, Texas Tech

Another Red Raider making the list, Zach Smith might be best known for his insane, SportsCenter-leading dunks:

And with good reason. The 6’8” power forward can jump out of the gym and is a legitimate threat to put opposing players on a poster both in transition and in the halfcourt. A broken foot cost Smith much of his senior season, but he was an effective defender, allowing only 98 points on 125 possessions (0.784 ppp, 76th percentile) this year. If he can continue to defend this well, especially in isolations against other forwards, and can continue to run the floor as a threat in transition, he will find a place as a rim-runner.

The obvious concern with Smith stems from the foot injury which sidelined him for a good portion of January and February. He is an incredible leaper and foot concerns have robbed highlight real dunkers of their lift since time immemorial. He looked fine for Texas Tech to finish out the season and a strong showing at the PIT might give NBA teams a lot of hope for the future.

Kenrich Williams, F, TCU

In his senior season at Texas Christian, something unlocked for Kenrich Williams: his passing vision. He was always a decent passer for a wing, but this season he has made that a central part of his resume, tallying an impressive 3.9 per game. He spent a lot of time initiating the offense at the top of the key and created looks the way a point guard would, by dragging defenders toward him using the dribble. He has a very high IQ, finding cutters and shooters all over the floor, and can even run a pick-and-roll as the ball handler. On top of his ability to initiate, he is also a tenacious rebounder at a 15.7 percent rate, better than probably top five selection, Jaren Jackson Jr.

While he can do a great many of things on the basketball court, Williams is not a great scorer in his own right. He will have to rely on his spot up shooting ability (39.5 percent from three on 3.6 attempts) and his offensive rebounding (2.8 per game) to get points. He is also one of the older prospects in this draft, turning 24 early in his rookie season. Teams might shy away from his unique skill set in favor of a younger, more malleable prospect.

Zion Williamson is the No. 2 overall recruit in the country according to ESPN聽and everyone has been waiting for his commitment. He went on ESPN to make the announcement and he is headed to Duke. Zion Williamson is headed to Duke https://t.co/4w3PaI0dTD — Benjamin Bornstein (@THE_BOOMSTEIN) January 21, 2018 ESPN recruiting guru Jeff Borzello spoke with Williamson last week and it was down to a handful of schools including the in-state schools. Continue reading “Nation’s No. 2 recruit Zion Williamson officially makes his college decision”

In an effort to expand on last summer’s popular USA Basketball 14U National Tournament, USA Basketball today announced the launch of the 2018 U.S. Open
Basketball Championships. This youth initiative is intended to add opportunity, standards and quality to the
youth basketball environment.

Offered through USA Basketball’s Youth Development division, the U.S. Open Basketball
Championships is an inclusive tournament structure in which existing basketball tournaments meeting USA
Basketball approved youth development standards will serve as qualifying events for the 2018 U.S. Open
Basketball Championships. The qualifying process will require teams to compete in one of the USA Basketball
certified tournaments throughout the United States. Leading up to the U.S. Open Basketball Championships, it
is expected that approximately 3,000 teams, 36,000 players and 6,000 coaches will take part in the selected
qualifying tournaments across the country.

In addition to following established development standards, the U.S. Open Basketball Championships
will require all coaches to possess a valid USA Basketball Coach License.
The top two finishing teams from each group and division of a qualifying tournament will earn a bid to
enter the U.S. Open Basketball Championships. For information on player eligibility or to register a team for
pre-approved qualifying events, visit www.usab.com/usopenbasketball

The 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships will consist of six groups of play: eighth grade boys,
eighth grade girls, 13 and under boys, 13 and under girls, 12 and under boys and 12 and under girls.
Additionally, each age or grade category will offer two divisions to provide for varying levels of
competition and ability. The Stars division will be offered for established and competitive club teams that
regularly compete regionally and/or nationally. The Stripes division is offered for newer and/or locally based
recreational teams seeking compatible competition.

“The game of basketball continues to grow in popularity both here in the United States and globally. As
the national governing body for basketball in the United States, USA Basketball is fulfilling its responsibility to
promote and develop the game, to provide opportunities for competition, and to set standards for youth
basketball. The U.S. Open Basketball Championships, and other complementary initiatives, are based on
common standards so that we can continue to enhance the integrity, safety, and enjoyment of the game,” said
USA Basketball chairman, retired General Martin Dempsey. “The U.S. Open Basketball Championships’
competition structure is designed to be inclusive and impart proper youth playing standards throughout the
United States. By providing boys and girls and their coaches with quality playing options, USA Basketball can
help ensure that young players and their coaches will experience the game in fun, safe and developmentally
appropriate environments.”

The 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships for qualified boys teams will be held June 30-July 3,
and the girls championships will take place July 19-22. Both the boys and girls championships will be hosted at
the Pacers Athletic Center at Grand Park located in Westfield, Indiana.

USA Basketball is accepting applications from event operators interested in hosting a 2018 U.S. Open
Basketball Championships qualifying tournament at: www.usab.com/hostofficialqualifier.
The U.S. Open Basketball Championships will incorporate youth basketball guidelines established by
joint working groups developed by USA Basketball and the NBA, which can be found at
www.youthguidelines.com. In 2016, USA Basketball and the NBA partnered to established three expert
working groups focused on health and wellness, playing standards, and curriculum. The joint working groups
developed the first-ever youth basketball guidelines aimed at improving the way children, parents and coaches
experience the game, with a specific emphasis on promoting player health and wellness.

Nike is an official partner of USA Basketball’s Youth Development division, which is tasked with
developing youth basketball initiatives that promote, grow and elevate the game.

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The bigger story coming out of Monday night’s game between the Duke Blue Devils and Miami Hurricanes concerns the health of freshman Marvin Bagley. However, let the issue with his shoulder not cloud the fact that the super-freshman set yet another program record. Continue reading “Marvin Bagley breaks yet another Duke record with his latest outstanding effort”