Archive for the ‘ sports business ’ Category

Armani Extends Euroleague Partnership

Armani has been involved with European professional basketball for quite some time, and this week reached an agreement with Euroleague to extend that relationship:

Euroleague Basketball is proud to announce that Giorgio Armani S.P.A., the iconic Italian fashion house, has renewed its global partnership with the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.

The partnership includes deals which integrate with the Euroleague Game of the Week, as well as the Euroleague Final Four properties.

“The whole world recognizes Giorgio Armani S.P.A. as a symbol of excellence in the fashion and cultural fields,” Roser Queralto, Chief Business Development Officer, said. “We at Euroleague Basketball know there is more than Armani’s elegance to admire after having shared in Milan important moments that touched the lives of children and needy people of that community. To have the Armani name associated again with our Final Four and Game of the Week is just an honor.”

Anta Basketball Shoes NBA Partnership

Chinese sportswear company Anta has reached an agreement with the NBA to become an official marketing and merchandising partner of its NBA China division.

Under the wide-ranging deal, Anta will launch a line of co-branded NBA league and team footwear and accessories across its network of more than 2,000 Chinese stores and online retailers Tmall and JingDong.

Additionally, Anta will collaborate with NBA China at a number of official events designed to boost the profile of basketball in the country including NBA Nation, NBA All-Star Balloting, and the title-sponsored Anta Power Is Priceless Intramural League.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: “The NBA and Anta share a common goal to grow the game of basketball and inspire a healthy, active lifestyle. This partnership will provide our fans in China with NBA branded footwear and accessories and more ways to connect with their favourite teams.”

More than 300 million people are said to play basketball in China, making it the most popular team sport in the country.

Anta Sports chairman and chief executive Ding Shizhong added: “This partnership will give us a chance to elevate our brand awareness and increase consumer confidence in the competitive athletic footwear market. We will also be able to fully utilise our extensive experience to accelerate the growth of basketball throughout China.”

Terms of the deal between Anta and the NBA were not disclosed.

ESPNU College Basketball Coverage

Five Specials; Live from American, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC Media Days; Three-Hour ACC and American Program

ESPNU will cover six college basketball conferences’ media days, over the course of two weeks and five specials, in advance of the upcoming 2014-15 season. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special programs will begin with four one-hour episodes (3 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET) around the Big 12 (October 15), Big Ten (October 16), SEC (October 22) and Pac-12 (October 23).  ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special will expand to three hours (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.) when it hosts the ACC coaches and players at the ESPNU studios in Charlotte, N.C. and covers the American media day (October 29).

ESPN college basketball analysts will be on-location as the conferences hold their annual tip-off events, providing interviews and insight for each ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special.  Fran Fraschilla and Miles Simon will travel to Kansas City (Big 12), Seth Greenberg and Jeff Goodman will be in Chicago (Big Ten), Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams will report from San Francisco (Pac-12), and Tim Welsh will head to New York City (American).  Coverage from Charlotte (SEC) will include hosting men’s coaches and student-athletes from all 14 schools in-studio, with select content during ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special and more expansive programming on SEC Network.

Andy Katz (Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12) and Brendan Fitzgerald (Big 12) will anchor the studio coverage.

The three-hour ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special will include analysts Shane Battier, Jay Bilas, Greenberg and Jay Williams in-studio with Welsh reporting from the American media day.  Matt Schick, Cory Alexander and Dino Gaudio will also be in-studio.  Highlights include:

  • Deep Discussion: Bilas will hold a roundtable with ACC head coaches
  • Insight: Interviews with various head coaches
  • On the Court:  ACC student-athletes will join former players turned ESPN analysts Battier and Williams on the court
  • Coaches Clicker: ACC head coaches will watch and break down game film with Greenberg and Gaudio providing an insight into the X’s and O’s of the game
  • Live from New York City: Welsh provides reports and interviews from the American Conference media day


ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special Plans:

Date Time (ET) Conference Special Conference and Commentators
Wed, Oct 15 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (Big 12)  Studio: Brendan Fitzgerald & Dino Gaudio
From Kansas City:
 Fran Fraschilla & Miles Simon
Thu, Oct 16 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (Big Ten)  Studio: Andy Katz & Dino Gaudio
From Chicago: Seth Greenberg & Jeff Goodman
Wed, Oct 22 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (SEC)  Studio: Andy Katz & Dino Gaudio
From Charlotte: Jay Bilas, Sean Farnham, Darrin Horn & Kara Lawson
Thu, Oct 23 3 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (Pac-12)  Studio: Andy Katz & Dino Gaudio
From San Francisco: Roxy Bernstein & Corey Williams
Wed, Oct 29 1 p.m. ESPNU College Basketball Media Day Special (ACC & American)  Studio:  Matt Schick, Dino Gaudio & Cory Alexander, along with Jay Bilas, Shane Battier, Seth Greenberg & Jay Williams
From New York City: Tim Welsh


Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

By James Blackburn

The 62nd annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament recently concluded this past Easter weekend in beautiful Portsmouth, VA. Dozens of European scouts, agents, and teams were on hand to watch the some of the top collegiate seniors in the nation compete in a 3 game tournament. In addition to overseas representatives, nearly every NBA and NBDL had at least one scout and other front office personnel in attendance to scout the talent represented. The event took place at Churchland HS and was open daily to the public. 64 players were split up between 8 teams, whose names were based on local businesses who help sponsor the event. Rosters can be found here

Measurements were once again taken measuring players heights, weights, vertical, and wingspan, these results can be found here.

Here are reports on some of the top performers at the event split up by positions.


Tim Frazier (PG, 6’1”, Penn State)

Smart PG who uses ball screens exceptionally well. Showcased a solid floater once he reached lane area. Is excellent in transition and kept dribble alive until he had passing angle or a shot to score. Stronger then he looks and has a nice change of speed. One of the top PG’s here.


Travis Bader (SG, 6’5”, Oakland)

Undoubtedly the top shooter at the event, the NCAA All-Time leader in threes made for a career (504) put on a show throughout the 3 games, knocking down triple after triple. Terrific form and release and got good elevation as well. Moved well without the ball but struggled to score with pressure. Limited on the defensive end but showed a willingness to give 100% hustle and energy on this end. Played his way onto an NBA Summer League roster spot in my mind.


David Stockton (PG, 5’11”, Gonzaga)

One of the top pure PG’s at the event and was able to run his team very well. Excellent passer in both half-court and in transition. Found his teammates and was able to create easy shots for others. Size is a major issue as he is vulnerable to the post up and struggled to finish inside. Didn’t even look to score half the time instead opting out for the pass. Did show some craftiness finishing with the off hand on several drives and moved his feet well on the perimeter. Needs to improve shooting, especially from the NBA 3 pt line. The HOF John Stockton was in attendance to watch his son the entire event. Should carve out a nice career in Europe.


Tyler Johnson (G, 6’4”, Fresno State)

This was the first time seeing Johnson and I came away impressed. In the running’s for top overall athlete in the tournament. Plays hard and does numerous things well on the court. Understands defensive rotations and is unafraid.


Markel Starks (PG, 6’1”, Georgetown)

Big time shot maker and shot taker who possess great confidence in his abilities. Great ball handler who was able to get to the paint at will. Can hit the NBA 3 and has a good floater in the lane. Got a little ahead of himself at times but I left impressed with his ability to both score and get teammates involved.


Patrick Miller (PG, 6’0”, Tennessee State)

The 5th leading scorer in the nation (23.7 ppg) showed the ability to run a team and be a playmaker for not only himself but also his teammates. Built like an NFL running back, Miller fought his way through screens and contact did not seem to faze him even at the PIT, where the officials let the players play more physical. Explosive athlete who can turn the corner on the P/R. Needs to improve NBA 3 point shooting and ability to go left. Excellent on-ball defender and attacked the rim hard. Should of earned himself a spot in Chicago.


Jake Odum (G, 6’4”, Indiana State)

One of the most consistent players here. Fundamentally sound and skilled. Doesn’t hurt you really in any way on either side of the floor. Underrated quickness. Good shooter who can hit shots with feet set and off the dribble.





Taylor Braun (SF, 6’7”, North Dakota State)

The Summit League Player of the Year showed solid fundamentals and some underrated athleticism all week. High IQ smooth player who can score at the rim with either hand. Solid ball handler who can create his own shot and hit the 3. Took some questionable shots at times and needs to improve quickness off the dribble. Put in good effort on defensive end but lost track of his man off the ball. Definitely earned himself a spot in Chicago and most likely will be on an NBA Summer League roster.


Fuquan Edwin (G/F, 6’6”, Seton Hall)

One of the best perimeter defenders here. Showed the ability to guard several positions, moved his feet well, and was in good defensive position. Showed the ability to create his own shot, but struggled with his shooting after game 1. Aggressive wing with a quick first step.


Josh Huestis (F, 6’7”, Stanford)

One of the best athletes at the event. Played both the 3 and the 4 this week, but at this point is more of an undersized 4 but has the tools to develop into more of a 3. Excellent rebounder and shot blocker who showed how he became Stanford All-Time leader in blocks. Showed a nice 1-dribble pull-up but shooting was inconsistent. Struggled to keep SG’s in front of him, but showed he could defend in the paint.


Shawn Glover (F, 6’7”, Oral Roberts)

Terrific overall scorer who can score both at the basket and on the perimeter. Solid athlete who did the little things well. Shot is a little slow and his midrange is better than his 3 at this point.


Drew Crawford (W, 6’5”, Northwestern)

Versatile player who defends and scorers. Shot release and form reminds me a little of Harrison Barnes. Can score in bunches. 3 pointer is streaky.



Javon McCrea (F, 6’7”, Buffalo)

One of the most physically dominant players in attendance. McCrea is a bit undersized height wise for the PF position but he showed the ability to rebound at a high rate and embraced the physical play inside that the P.I.T allows. Defended and protected the paint. Showed the ability to put ball on floor for one dribble in a straight line drive. Hit multiple elbow jumpers throughout the 3 games but shot has hitch, gets little elevation, and shooting motion is at side of the head, which lead to major inconsistencies. Needs to continue to improve perimeter skills so he can make move to the SF, but overall the Mid-American POY had an excellent showing.


Isaiah Armwood (F, 6’9”, George Washington)

I thought Armwood was the best player on his team and one of the top rebounders at the event. Big time athlete who needs to add more strength in lower body. Struggled shooting the 3 but hit a couple of midrange jumpers in game 3.


Akil Mitchell (F, 6’8”, Virginia)

One of my favorite players at the event. Excellent defender who not only showed that he can block shots and play physical and tough inside but also showed he could defend guards adequately at the end of the shot clock on the perimeter. Gives 100% effort and energy on the floor and plays with passion. Tremendous rebounder. Showed he could face up and score the ball. Did some things that we did not see him do at UVA in the post. Love his demeanor and attitude. Struggles to go left and needs to continue to get stronger but his play this week may have garnered him an NBA roster spot.


Richard Solomon (C, 6’10”, California)

Big time rebounder on both ends who uses both his excellent wingspan and athleticism to keep the ball alive. Had numerous rim shaking dunks- tries to dunk everything. Runs the floor very well. Needs to get stronger especially in lower body. Is a tweener between the 4 and the 5 position. Rushed his shot a bit from 15’ but form looked solid. Showed the ability to hedge screens but is foul prone down low in paint. Loved his motor and activity throughout. The D- League should definitely be an option.


Shawn Jones (PF, 6’8”, Middle Tenn)

The Conference USA POY was one of the top shot blockers this year using excellent timing, solid athleticism, and activity from the weak side to protect the rim. The lefty showed the ability to knock down the trailing 15’ and was all over the boards. Is he willing to come out on perimeter to guard Pick and Pop? One of the more impressive bigs this week.


Davante Gardner (F, 6’8”, Marquette)

Was consistent all week on the glass and getting clean up points. Fluid and moves very well for size (290 lbs). Showed he could hit the midrange set shot and also showed patience and the ability to score in the post. Uses size and strength to his advantage- gets deep inside position and gets excellent rebounding position. Needs to improve positioning and he is a tweener. Body reminds me of Herb Pope who played at the PIT a couple of years ago and offensively he is similar to Zach Randolph. Go to move in post is spin move. His play this week earned him the MVP at the event.


Shayne Whittington (C, 6’11”, Western Michigan)

Showed the ability all week to stretch the floor out to the NBA 3-point line. Excellent movement- does not move like he is 6’11”. Settled for too many perimeter shots even though he hit a decent amount and lacks a true post move. Defended well and had a good overall showing.


Okaro White (F, 6’9”, Florida State)

Terrific athlete who is active and has a high motor. Runs the floor like a deer and did an excellent job on the defensive end. Needs to continue to add strength. Scrappy player who is quick on his feet. Shot is slow and he struggled to hit NBA 3 but stroke looked decent. I could see him playing in the D-League this year and getting a call up at some point.


Ronald Roberts (SF/PF, 6’8”, Saint Josephs)

An undersized 4 man who played both the 3 and the 4 at the PIT. Big time explosive athlete. Was aggressive scoring the basketball. Defends and rebounds well but needs to improve skill level.

Want more basketball scouting insight? Follow James Blackburn on Twitter, right now!

Jabari Parker to the NBA

Jabari Parker Duke NBA

Jabari Parker made it official today by announcing his intention to enter the 2014 NBA draft, surprising…well, no one, really. Parker is expected to be a top 5 pick in the draft and could even be considered a number one possibility. Parker seems to have the most mature game of any of the early entries although that likely means he’s about as good as he’s going to get, which is still good enough to make an NBA team better.

UConn Women's Basketball NCAA Champions 2014

In a promotion connected to the NCAA Women’s national title game, Moe’s Southwest Grill ended up selling 20,000 $1 burritos to fans of the UConn Huskies after the women’s team won their ninth NCAA national title:

In a “If UConn wins, you win,” promotion, the 17 Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants in the state lowered the price of burritos as the men’s and women’s teams advanced in the NCAA tournaments.

It is estimated that due to the promotion, Moe’s gave up about $500,000 of sales, but considering they had 20,000 burritos going out the door, there’s a good chance they’ll make that money back pretty quickly if they were able to bring in some new fans.

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Adam Silver NBA basketball

One thing is for certain; the debate over whether college athletes at high-revenue college programs should be paid is not going away. This, despite the NCAA’s best efforts to frame the conversation with rhetoric about ‘student-athletes’, a term they coined decades ago to justify not paying the players in their employ.

Now the NBA has decides to wade into the fray a bit more, with newly minted commissioner Adam Silver mulling over what they might be able to do for those athletes:

“Rather than focusing on a salary and thinking of them as employees, I would go to their basic necessities,” Silver said. “I think if [Connecticut Huskies guard] Shabazz Napier is saying he is going hungry, my God, it seems hard to believe, but there should be ample food for the players.”

To be clear, the NBA isn’t talking about outright payment of salaries to players but rather a subsidization of any gaps in college attendance. On one hand, it’s good the NBA is paying attention…while on the other, it’s hard to see these comments and wonder why the NBA owners were claiming massive losses during the recent labor agreements if they can offer possible subsidies for thousands of college players. The truth has to lie somewhere in the middle; either the NBA is talking about a limited program, or it’s just more rhetoric designed to give lip service to the issue.

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Joel Embiid Kansas basketball NBA draft

In a move that most expected after his solid year, Kansas’ Joel Embiid has declared for the NBA draft. At his news conference on Wednesday, Embiid shared his reasons for turning pro: “Looking at different scenarios and gathering info of what was best for me … either way was best for me. Talking to my mentor, it was best the choice.”

There was quite a bit of speculation leading up to this announcement that Embiid might have had a change of heart after it seemed a near certainty that he would make this move earlier in the season. Embiid suffered nagging injuries this season but still managed to average almost a double-double as a freshman. Many consider Embiid the number one pro prospect in this year’s draft with this announcement.

Want more basketball insight? You can follow Basketball Elite on Twitter, right now.

Shabazz Napier Going Hungry?

Shabazz Napier basketball hungry

The Twitter universe erupted in last minute controversy just before the NCAA national title game, and one of the more incendiary stories came from guard Shabazz Napier, who was quoted as saying “There are hungry nights that I go to bed…starving…I’m not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities”.

This of course created a reaction but Napier’s comments were taken a bit out of context from the original story.

“We as student athletes get utilized for what we do so well. We are definitely blessed to get a scholarship to our universities, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t cover everything. We do have hungry nights that we don’t have enough money to get food and sometimes money is needed,” the senior told reporters. “I think, you know, Northwestern has an idea, and we’ll see where it goes.”

So Napier’s comments were more along the lines that as a basketball player at a high revenue program, he and other players feel as though their talents are making some people rich while they get none of the money. This is an ongoing debate, and many UConn students jumped on Reddit to comment about the sensationalist headline, such as whether it’s actually true that college athletes at Connecticut are going hungry. Some students state that due to the athletes’ schedule, there isn’t anywhere for them to get the food from their meal plans. Other students claim that the athletes should be able to get as much food as they want, but they have better student housing located farther from where the food is available. You can read the whole debate here.

This comes on the back of comments by NCAA president Mark Emmert, who claimed that ‘converting’ student-athletes to unionized employees was something that nobody wanted (In reality, they are already employees, using the word ‘convert’ does not change the law. But that’s for another time).

However, Emmert and the NCAA can’t be happy that Napier was able to use the platform of the national title game to draw even more attention and sympathy to the issue surrounding paying the athletes that bring in billions of dollars to their coffers.

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