Archive for December, 2010

By Marcus Shockley

NC State head coach Sidney Lowe has proven that he is an adept recruiter, pulling in high profile talent to play in the top notch ACC.

One of Lowe’s recruits this year is Tyler Harris, a versatile wing player with great size (SF, 6’8″, 2011) who had several high major offers before committing to play with the WolfPack. Even at 6’8″, Tyler is a true wing who is adept with the ball, can shoot and has all of the tools to transition to the next level.

Tyler Harris
Courtesy SNY.TV

Today we offer our 7 Questions with the future ACC player and get his thoughts after commitment and on what he’s working on in his game.

1. What was the biggest factor in your decision to commit to NC State?

The biggest factor on my commit to NC State was the style of play. Being able to fit into NC State style of play I know I could add something to the team to make them better.

2. What do you feel is the strongest part of your game right now?

The strongest part of my game is my shooting. But I have been working on other parts of my game to become more of an all around player. I have been playing the 4 and 5 a lot this year to improve my post game.

3. What part of your game are you working on?

I have been mostly just been getting stronger with my trainer Britton Kelly, working on my inside game and my handle. It has been improving a lot and I will continue to work on it.

4. You’re headed into some serious basketball country,
between NC State, UNC and Duke all within a few miles of each other.
Do you expect to play in Jerry Stackhouse’s summer pro-am (in the area) next summer?

Yes, I think it would be great if I played in it next year. It would be a great opportunity.

5. Are the NC State coaches giving you feedback on your game, and if so,
what are they telling you they want to see?

The coaches tell me that they want me to play the 3 and 4. I am not yet done growing I should be about 6’10 so knowing that the coaches wanted me to play these positions I knew I need to work on my inside game since I can already play the 3.

6. Can you name a current or past player or a coach (at any level)
that you may admire and why you admire them?

Tayshaun Prince, because we both have a lot of similarities in our game.

7. If you could tell people one thing about you that you wish they knew,
what would it be?

I can be a clown a lot. I just like to have fun when I’m with my friends.

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The final day of the Frank Spencer saw some athletic match ups as each bracket crowned a champion. In the Journal bracket, Lexington’s ability to get to the rim allowed them to open up an early lead over East Forsyth, taking the title. Lexington had entered the tournament as the eighth seed. In the Pepsi bracket, Ronald W. Reagan HS repeated as champion, knocking off Mount Tabor in a game between two previously undefeated teams.

Tyler Lewis was recognized during the final games for his scoring prowess in the tournament, scoring 30, 34 and then 40 in subsequent games, breaking the tournament scoring record previously held by Chris Paul. Lewis held up the Wolfpack symbol as he accepted his award, as he has committed to NC State.

Final title game scores:

Ronald W. Reagan 58
Mount Tabor 52
Lexington 65
East Forsyth 50

Some of the standouts on the final day of play:

Tyler Lewis, PG, 5’11”, 2012, Forsyth Country Day

Randy Morrison, SG, 6’2″, 2011, East Forsyth

Chris Harris, C, 6’9″, 2010, East Forsyth

Trey Ervin, PG, 6’0″, Mount Tabor

Tyler Jones, PF, 6’5″, Mount Tabor

Curt Myers, PG, 6’1″, Ronald W. Reagan

Matt Madigan, SG, 6’4″, Ronald W. Reagan

Braeshaun Dozier, SG, 6’0″, Ronald W. Reagan

Al Challenger, PG/SG, 6’2″, Lexington

Quandarius Crump, SF/PF, 6’4″ Lexington

CJ Woodberry, SF, 6’5″, Lexington

Jarrett McCown, SF/PF, 6’6″, Lexington

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By James Blackburn

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard celebrates with guard J.J. Redick (front) after beating the Boston Celtics during NBA basketball action in Orlando, Florida December 25, 2010. The Magic beat the Celtics. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Christmas Day Game

Magic Win 86-78

Box Score

Note: Rajon Rondo did not play due to injury.

Game Recap/Thoughts

First Half

  • Celtics are definitely better playing Half-court basketball and the Magic are better in transition.
  • Magic came out and punched Boston in the mouth, going on an 11-0 run. Boston took the Magic’s best shot and ended the quarter ahead 20-19.
  • The Magic took control early dictating the tempo and forcing Boston to run and getting out on the break. Boston then started to slow the game down and ran their offense to get back into the game.
  • The Magic took and made good shots when they got out in transition. When Boston forced them to play half-court basketball, they look uncomfortable and out of sync.
  • Boston started off playing very poor transition defense. They were giving the Magic wide out shots and did a poor job of finding the shooters such as Redick and Turkoglu.
  • Boston really misses Rondo. They were without a PG who could get to the lane and create.
  • Paul Pierce played the PG when Robinson was on the bench.
  • Boston is a very good passing team. All their players are good passers, including their bigs ( they are even better w/ Rondo). Boston loves to down screen on both blocks and curl shooters like Pierce and Allen. Both of those players do a great job of recognizing if the defense traps off the screen or if they are late rotating on the screener. When there is space, they will make you pay if the midrange J. If you cheat it and come high, they both can throw smooth and quick passes to KG or any other big for easy buckets.

Second Half

  • Orlando looks a lot more comfortable in the half court and is starting to knock down open looks that they were missing in the first half.
  • Boston’s defense still allowed shooters for Orlando to get open looks. They needed to make their shooters go to the rim, where shot blockers were there to protect the rim.
  • Boston lost the game partly because of their shot selection. Pierce, Robinson, and Allen settled for poor shots. They went away from what was working for them in the first half and resorted to one-on-one offense. They did not pass the ball nearly as well.
  • Boston did a poor job of pick and roll defense in 2nd half allowing Nelson to get his rhythm.

Scouting Reports

Magic

Dwight Howard (33 min, 1-4 FG, 4-10 FT, 11 reb, 5 fouls, 5 blks, 6 TP)

Strengths- Showed his power and strength on the defensive end early, showing the ability to guard Shaq one on one in the low post. He was able to keep Shaq from doing what he wanted down low. Showed some improved footwork in low post, but his best offense is still a rebound and dunk. Good shot blocker. Does a good job of drawing fouls.

Weaknesses- Inconsistent FT shooter, gets frustrated too much with the officials calls.

Overview- One of the poorest offensive performances of the year for Howard. Was scoreless until the 2nd half. Was in foul trouble most of the game. Did a good job on the defensive side of the ball, but was non existent on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see how Howard performs in the rest of the Magic meetings with Boston. When Perkins returns, the Celtics will have plenty of bigs to throw at Howard in Perkins, Shaq, Jermain O’Neal, and Davis.

Hedo Turkoglu (32 min, 6-10 FG, 4-8 3pt, 4 ass, 4 reb, 16 TP)

Strengths- Great shooter who is deadly when his feet are set. Does a good job of finding his spots in transition. Has the ability to create his own shot when needed, but is more effective on the catch and shoot.

Weaknesses- Not a great defensive player, slow feet.

Overview- Hedo started off strong hitting several 3’s in the Magic’s 11-0 run to start the game. Hedo should continue to look more and more comfortable as he gets reestablished with his former team.

Jameer Nelson ( 28 min, 3- 9 FG, 4-4 FT, 3 ass, 6 TO, 12 TP)

Stengths- Good shooter, although he struggled with his shot today. Decent defender. Has a good floater in his arsenal as well.

Weaknesses- Poor P/R player, needs to do a better job of turning the corner. Can’t get to the lane and create. More of an undersized 2G, than a true PG, which the team needs.

Overview- Nelson struggled early in this game, but recovered nicely in the second half, finding his rhythm and hitting some big shots down the stretch to help put the Celtics away. The Magic need a PG like Chris Paul and Rondo, who with their speed can get into the lane at will and kick to the Magic shooters or throw the lob to Howard. The Magic have been looking for the pieces to put them over the top and to keep them competitive in the East. I don’t think they will be able to really compete for a championship until they get a new PG.

Boston

Shaquille O’Neal (12 min, 1-3 FG, 1 reb, 1 blk, 2 TP)

Strengths- Can still hold his own on the defensive side of the floor. Is a presence down low. Howard did a good job on him today and kept him from scoring and getting comfortable offensively.

Weaknesses- Foul prone. He is just not the same on the low block anymore. Just a couple of years ago, every time Shaq caught the ball in good position under the goal, it was either a dunk or a foul. But today Howard was able to block or intimidate Shaq’s shot even when he got deep position.

Overview- His age is starting to show, but he is still force. Howard might be able to push him around, but there are still very few centers in the NBA who can do that to O’Neal.

Paul Pierce (40 min, 6-14 FG, 5 ass, 8 reb, 18 TP)

Strengths- Creative offensive game. Good P/R player, who makes good decisions w/ the ball in these situations. Is a duel threat offensively who can take it to the rim and finish w/ contact and can shoot the 3. Loves to go right but can go left as well. Not the fastest or most athletic player, but has a smooth and creative offensive game. Very strong player with good upper body strength.

Weaknesses- slow release on jumper and has unusual footwork putting 1 foot far in front of the other. Sometimes settles for the jumper.

Overview- Pierce will go into the HOF as one of the best all-around offensive players to ever play the game. He always looks like he is slow and is just coasting but is well conditioned and is not afraid to take the big shot.

Nate Robinson (42 min, 2-15 FG, 6 reb, 4 ass, 7 TP)

Strengths- Athletic, strong rebounder for a guard. Solid defensive player. Scores in bunches and is a good spark for the second unit normally, but is very inconsistent. Decent 3pt. shooter who can create his own shot.

Weaknesses- Over dribbles, not a good shooter ( decent 3 pt. shooter, but not a good pull up or mid range shooter. and takes a lot of bad shots. Does not have a high basketball IQ. Is at his best in the open court, but is in the wrong system because the Celtics are a half-court team. Does a poor job of setting up the offense. At times it looks like he does not want the ball and is timid and then at other times as soon as he touches in he lets it go, which is 90% of the time. Has poor shooting mechanics. Rondo is even a better shooter in my mind and will become one if he becomes moor confident in his mid range jumper.

Overview- Not a PG, more of a combo guard who normally comes off the bench to ignite the offense and the crowd. Started and played a lot of minutes due to Rondo being injured.

Avery Bradley (5 min, 0-0 FG, 1 reb, 0 TP)

Overview- Solid showing today for the rookie PG out of Texas. Although he did not fill up the box score, I think the coaches liked what they saw today from Bradley. He is a very good defensive player with quick hands and feet. He pressures the ball from baseline to baseline. Reminds me of Sean Singletary because of his size and defense. He did a good job of orchestrating the offense and not trying to do too much. Hopefully now with the injury to Rondo, he can find his way into the rotation more, especially with the erratic and inconsistent play of Robinson.

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The Frank Spencer Holiday Classic saw teams advance in the second round who knew how to execute their offense. East Forsyth, led by Randy Morrison (SG, 6’4″, 2011), edged out West Forsyth, and will play Lexington in the Journal bracket championship on Dec 29 at 7:30 PM at LJVM in Winston-Salem. In the Pepsi bracket, Mount Tabor frustrated Tyler Lewis (PG, 5’11”, 2012) and Forsyth Country Day, and advanced to play Ronald W. Reagan in that bracket’s title game. Lewis scored 34 in the loss. The Reagan-Mount Tabor game will begin at 8:45 pm, also in LJVM.

Some of the standout players in the tournament thus far:

Tyler Lewis, PG, 5’11”, 2012, Forsyth Country Day
Antonio Robinson, PG, 6’4″, 2011, Parkland
Sven Malus, SF, 6’5″, 2011, Forsyth Country Day
Miles Bowman, Jr., SF/PF, 6’6″, 2011, Parkland
Jarren Foster, PG, 5’10”, 2011, Winston-Salem Prep
Randy Morrison, SG, 6’4″, 2011, East Forsyth
Braeshaun Dozier, SG, 6’0″, 2012, Ronald W. Reagan
Curt Myers, PG, 6’1″, 2011, Ronald W. Reagan
Matt Madigan, SG/SF, 6’4″, 2013, Ronald W. Reagan
Deion Robinson, SF, 6’4″, Mount Tabor
Trey Ervin, PG, 6’0″, Mount Tabor

There will be a full scouting report available at the end of the tournament.

By Marcus Shockley

The first round games of the 2010 Frank Spencer tournament took place at two different locations, but the goal is the same for all teams: win, and you get to play in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Coliseum the next day. For several teams, it took tough wins to advance. For the others, they will have to play their consolation games at East Forsyth and Mount Tabor.

Winners & Scores on day one include:

Pepsi Bracket

Mount Tabor 49, West Stokes 45

Reagan 88, Glenn 66

Parkland 72, North Forsyth 67

FCD 79, W-S Prep 74

Journal Bracket

East Forsyth 74, Atkins 63

Lexington 80, Ashe County 69

R.J. Reynolds 59, Carver 57 (OT)

West Forsyth 67, North Wilkes 62 (OT)

By Marcus Shockley

Chris Walker (6’8″, SF/PF, 2013) isn’t a household name yet, even in recruiting circles. That will probably change in the very near future, as the current 2011 class moves on and the ever-present need for big men in the college ranks means that Chris and his fellow 2013 recruits will be even more highly sought after targets. That doesn’t mean college coaches aren’t aware of him; he’s already garnered a bevy of D1 offers and has extensive interest from major programs across the country.

Chris is mobile, a shot blocker, quick to the rim, with hops and athleticism. But he can also shoot, which makes him the type of player who can be dangerous at any level. In this installment of 7 Questions, we caught up with Chris and got the latest on his thoughts on his future college choice, and what he’s working in his game. Chris currently has several offers on the table from quite a few schools.

Note: this chat was over Twitter’s messaging system, so we were limited to how much space we could put in each message. I’ve edited this slightly in some places to reflect the entire conversation without Twitter’s abbreviation.

1. What’s your school list, and who’s offered that you are looking at?

Florida
Florida State (offer)
Alabama offer
Kentucky
Ohio State
Georgia Tech
Baylor
Tennessee (offer)
Memphis
Syracuse
Connecticut
UCF (offer)
Louiville
Texas

2. Do you have a timetable for a decision?

I’ll make a decision pretty soon or this summer [and] if I don’t by then I know my junior year!!

3. What parts of your game do you feel are the strongest?

Strongest part is me being able to dominate in transition and me being
able to take a big man out and blow past and finish, [getting an] “And 1″

4. What parts of your game are you currently working on?

I’m workin on: my foot work, my jump shot, my range, my handles, my jumping ability, my
speed, post moves, outside moves […] Gotta get right before this summer

5. Do you see yourself as a pure post player, and what position would you like to
play in college? PF, or something else?

Naw, I’m a combo forward a 3 [and] 4 in college, I don’t know yet, depends on how my body develops.

6. Do you have a favorite player who’s game you like?

High School: Love Quincy Miller’s [because] we play alike game and Austin Rivers’ game
College: Perry Jones [because] we play alike [and] Terrance [Jones] from Kentucky
NBA: Lebron, Kevin Durant

7. If you could tell people one thing they don’t know about [you], what would it be?

I would tell them I’m the youngtruth, and I’m [going to be] one and done, and I work harder than the average human being, and I am [one of] the best in [the class of] 2013.

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OKC Thunder Thump Nuggets

A courtside interview with Kevin Durant, following the Christmas Day win over the Denver Nuggets:

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ABA To Expand In 2011

Heartland Prowl

The American Basketball Association (ABA) today announced that it will add a team in Cleveland, Texas beginning in the 2011 season. “We are very pleased to add another excellent organization to our Gulf Coast Division,” stated Joe Newman, ABA CEO. “The two owners, Kevin Franklin and Leonard Eythell have excellent sports and business backgrounds. They know what it takes to operate a successful sports organization and have already begun the process getting ready for next season.”

The co-owner and head coach of TEAM HAVOC will be Kevin Franklin. Prior to beginning his career in coaching, Kevin was a well rounded athlete and has working in coaching at Boston College, Northeastern University, Salem State College and University of Mass at Salen. He was also a highschool basketball coach and AAU coach in Massachusetts, Indianapolis IN and Houston TX and a collegeiate player in basketball/baseball at LeMoyne-Owen College. He was assistant coach/recruiter for Endicott College baseball and assistant coach/recruiter at Newbury Jr. Colldge where they were ranked #3 in the nation. He was also head coach/offensive coordinator of the semi-pro Indianapolis Panthers football team….”and now, with all the blessings of hard work and help along the way, I’m now the new co-owner/head coach of the professional ABA basketball Team Havok. I couldn’t have asked for more,” stated Frankline. “I’d like to give special thanks to my wife Alberta, who is from Cleveland TX and my son KIhristian.”

The other co-owner is Leonard Eythell, a native of Houston TX who moved to Huntsville TX where he played for the Huntsville Hornets basketball team. Leonard will also serve as Asst Coach. After attending Sam Houston State University for two years, he joined the US Navy and became a Dental Technician. While stationed in Sigonella Sicily, he was a shooting guard on the US Navy basketball team. Upon his return to the US, Leonard was stationed in San Diego before returning to Houston and started his own business. “As co-owner and assistant coach of Team Havok, I look forward to many wonderful seasons in the ABA,” stated Leonard. “I would like to thank my family for supporting me during this wonderful opportunity and may this be the start of a great future with the ABA.” For more information, contact Kevin Franklin at 832 767 9000 or email eyewirshut@yahoo.com or contact Eythell Leonard at eythell1@yahoo.com or call 832 724 8937 or visit www.abalive.com.

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The Frank Spencer Holiday Classic basketball tournament is one of the top tournaments for the Triad (North Carolina) area, with several D1 players and a couple of NBA players having played in past seasons, including Chris Paul and Josh Howard. This year features a big field with local area teams competing with regional teams over the course of three days and three venues, culminating in the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC. Featured players this year to look for are Greg McClinton (SG/SF, 6’6″, 2013) of Winston-Salem Prep (video) and Tyler Lewis (5’9″, PG, 2012), both of whom have D1 schools in their future, with Lewis committed to NC State and McClinton with offers from Virginia Tech, Miami, Xavier and others. McClinton is recovering from a concussion and may not play.

Others to watch: Alex McAlister (SF/PF, 6’7″, 2012) of R.J. Reynolds, a rebounder with good strength and athleticism; Randy Morrison (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2011), a strong scoring guard from East Forsyth; Trey Ervin (PG, 6’0″, 2011), a point guard from Mt. Tabor; Miles Bowman, a 6’6″ forward for Parkland; Antonio Robinson, a 6’4″ guard who also plays for Parkland, and several others.

Here’s this year’s schedule of games:

Frank Spencer Holiday Classic Dec. 27th, 28th, 29th

At Mount Tabor High School

First Round Dec. 27th

Game 1: (1) Mount Tabor vs. (8) West Stokes, 2pm
Game 2: (2) Reagan vs. (7) Glenn, 3:45pm
Game 3: (6) North Forsyth vs. (3) Parkland, 5:30pm
Game 4: (5) W-S Prep vs. (4) Forysth Country Day, 7:15pm

Consolations Dec. 28th (at Mount Tabor)

Game 5: Losers Games 2-3, 11am
Game 6: Losers Games 1-4, 12:45pm

Semifinals Dec. 28th (at Joel Coliseum)

Game 7: Winners Games 1-4, 7pm
Game 8: Winners Games 2-3, 8:30pm

Consolations Dec. 29th (at Mount Tabor)

7th place: Losers Games 5-6, 1pm
5th place: Winners Games 5-6, 2:45pm
3rd place: Semifinal losers, 4:30pm

Championship Dec. 29th (at Joel Coliseum)

Semifinal winners, 8:45pm

At East Forsyth High School

First Round Dec. 27th

Game 1: (1) Ashe County vs. (8) Lexington, 2pm
Game 2: (2) East Forsyth vs. (7) Atkins, 3:45pm
Game 3: (3) West Forsyth vs. (6) North Wilkes, 5:30pm
Game 4: (4) Reynolds vs. (5) Carver, 7:15pm

Consolations Dec. 28th (at East Forsyth)

Game 5: Losers Games 2-3, 11am
Game 6: Losers Games 1-4, 12:45pm

Semifinals Dec. 28th (at Joel Coliseum)

Game 7: Winners Games 1-2, 4pm
Game 8: Winners Games 2-3, 5:30pm

Consolations Dec. 29th (at East Forsyth)

7th place: Losers Games 5-6, 1pm
5th place: Winners Games 5-6, 2:45pm
3rd place: Semifinal losers, 4:30pm

Championship Dec. 29th (at Joel Coliseum)

Semifinal winners, 7pm

By Marcus Shockley

Sioux Falls SkyForce
Image Via NBA

Team Overview

The Skyforce currently have an infusion of size in Dexter Pittman, the 6’11” rookie who is under contract with the Miami Heat and was assigned to Sioux Falls on November 26, 2010. Pittman has quickly become the leading scorer on the SkyForce, and becoming their top scoring option. Anthony Harris, a 6’2″ guard out of Miami is handling the starting point guard duties. When playing against opponents who have bigs that can shoot outside, coach Tony Fritz will go with a smaller lineup to try and keep up, as the SkyForce don’t have those kinds of bigs.

The issue for the SkyForce is that they don’t have consistent scoring and are not much of a threat from the outside. Only Anthony Harris and Keaton Grant are effective outside shooters, and Harris rarely looks for his shot from the perimeter. The entire offense of the SkyForce is predicated on their ability to slash into the teeth of the defense, but are not able to consistently rely on that strategy to score, and they rarely use the defensive collapsing to kick out to a perimeter shooter.

Scouting Reports

Dexter Pittman, 6’11”, C

Pittman is currently assigned to Sioux Falls from the Miami Heat. A big post player with bulk, not quick but solid in the lane and strong. Needs to work on catching the ball in traffic and on the move. Right handed. Not a strong free throw shooter, only averaging just over 50% during his D-League stint. Not a high flyer, tries to get both feet in the paint to have the best chance for a power move to score. A bit flat-footed around the rim, but at 6-11 is still a lane clogger and can score. Has a right handed hook that works well over the shoulder, from about 10 feet away.

Note: Pittman was recalled to the Miami Heat on December 20, after these games were scouted.

Anthony Mason, Jr., 6’7″, SF

Slashing small forward with a fluid finish. Quick with the ball and has a knack for getting around his defender, definitely has the speed and size to play the small forward spot even at the NBA level. Most of his offense comes from slashing moves to the hoop. Right handed. Plays the power forward spot when the SkyForce go with a smaller lineup. Looks to score. Right now, Mason is a player who looks like he should be on an NBA roster, but he’s still working on putting it all together; he gets a step on his man, but needlessly hooks him on the way to the basket; needs to show a little more range as well. Definitely a player that other pro teams should be interested in, especially if he can continue to show improvement.

Mason did have some involvement with the Heat this season, but I could not find a record of him being assigned to Sioux Falls. He originally was reported to be closing a deal with the Heat in September.

Anthony Harris, 6’2″, PG

Sure handed pure point guard with good quickness and can shoot from outside, but a pass-first player. Faster than his teammates, he has a tendency to deliver the ball to them too close to the basket which puts the big men in trouble. Can slash into the defense to cause issues, but does not look for a mid range jumper. Effective on the break, can change speed on the move to put the defense out of position.

Raymond Sykes, 6’9″, PF

Sykes is a high-energy, highly active player in the paint who isn’t overly strong but works hard to get loose balls and putbacks. Moves well without the ball, does not have the size and bulk to defend big centers but is quick for the PF spot. Sykes is having to play a lot of the center position for the SkyForce due to a lack of size and has started multiple times this season.

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