China’s Zhou Peng (C) drives the ball against Memphis Grizzlies left Hasheem Thabeet (L) and his teammates during the Yao Foundation Charity Game initiated by Houston Rockets left Yao Ming, in Beijing July 24, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Some tidbits from around the world of basketball today…

The Wall Street Journal muses about the possibility of NBA players going overseas to play in China during the NBA lockout:

A number of players have said that playing in China – home to at least 300 million basketball fans, according to NBA estimates — is a tempting alternative to sitting around at home if NBA arenas are dark.

Back in the United States, UConn sophomore Shabazz Napier has been selected to try out for the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games team:

Napier, a point guard from Randolph, Mass., will be one of 21 players competing for a spot on the 12-man roster. Last season he helped the Huskies win a national championship, averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals while making the All-Big East rookie team.

Also in college basketball, University of Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith told reporters that “Every Basketball Coach, Player and Fan Needs to Read This Book”, referring to The Season Never Ends by Don Shelby:

Ostensibly, these charming stories are about basketball, but readers will quickly see The Season Never Ends is about much more. They are life lessons that come from a broadcaster who has covered notable and historic events, a journalist whose career has brought him around the world and a man who traces all of his success back to the basketball hoop in his parent’s driveway in Muncie, Indiana.

By James Blackburn

Dwight Coleman basketball

Note: James had a chance to see Dwight play at a recent overseas evaluation camp, and he currently plays in the Korisliiga for the Salon Vilpas Vipers (Finnland). Dwight is a 6’6″ forward who played college basketball in the United States.

What parts of your game do you feel are your strongest and what areas are you working on this off-season to improve on?

I would have to say my strongest point of my game right now is my ability to score the basketball. This off-season my coach is really focusing on defense that I may put together a complete game. Also getting stronger that I may futher my dominance on both ends of the floor.

Talk about your journey going from a D-II school to overseas playing in China and then returning to the States to play in the ABA. Which step/transition was the hardest to make?

Being andrafted and out of a Division II school, I was in a position were I was not getting any better or any notoriety. When I played in the UBL my coach Bobcat Kirby (a local playground legend) took me under his wing and trained me to close the gap in the market between myself and the best of the best. Coming back from China only presented the opportunity to get back in the gym with Coach Kirby and we used the ABA to gauge my progress, where I shot over 70% from 3 point range and around 75% from the floor.

What is the biggest difference between basketball here and playing internationally?

My 8 month contract I signed in Finland will probably shape my International experience because I am a different player now than I was when i went to China, in every facet of the game. Its always exciting to be in a position to experience different cultures with the game of basketball. However, my coach is training me to be the BEST IN THE WORLD and I dream to do just that. Therefore, as a result, the National Basketball Association is what I’m working toward.

Who are some of the guys you are working out with this summer and what do your workouts consists of?

Sidney Moncrief has taken a special interest in my game its always a pleasure to workout with the local pros when they come home. But my rapid advancement comes from local legends like Bobcat who I believe can lead any league in scoring at 40.

What are your thoughts on all the talk of NBA guys may be going overseas to play? Having experienced playing over the water yourself, how well do feel NBA guys will cope in their new surroundings in another country?

Many of my peers feel as though its a business decision they try not to look at any other aesthetics besides business. Our window to play professional basketball is short. Though the lockout is causing a rift in the world market it opens the door for a better brand of basketball on a world stage. I think the NBA players will cope very well in foriegn countries because they will be in markets were they can maintain their standard of living if not exceed it.

Having playing at Dallas Baptist University, a DII school, and then playing in China, the ABA, and just recently you been invited the veteran’s camp for NBDL Bakersfield Jam, what advice would you give to other players out there who play at smaller schools (DII and DIII) that aspire to play professional basketball after college?

My advice is standard:

1) Put God 1st
2) Outwork your opponent
3) Be a student of the game
4) And never give up on your dream

Nothing beats a failure but a try. I feel blessed to be in my situation coming ot of a small school, and I am blessed to have a team to help me with my progression. Seek wisdom from your immediate resources for me it was a Jeff Fudge or a Bobcat, for you it may be another master of the game.

By Marcus Shockley

Clark County Courthouse
Photo: Time_Anchor/Flikr

The recent case of David Salinas, an AAU organizer and financial adviser who bilked several college coaches through a Ponzi scheme before committing suicide, sounds like several recent similar cases of NCAA infractions, payouts, player funneling and cheating.

But there is an important demarcation between the NCAA investigations of North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio State and Connecticut in that the Salinas case involved lawyers and real crimes, not just NCAA rules. Why is this important? Because so many times the line is blurred, through PR by the NCAA or by the sports media who report on NCAA infractions behave as though the institutions are breaking the law.

Most of the time, when college are investigated by the NCAA, and when sanctions or suspensions are handed out, it should always be noted that this rarely involved actual crimes. When a true crime occurs, the NCAA steps out of the way while the authorities handle it. It’s not just the NCAA playing nice; the NCAA has no authority where crimes are involved. The case of Ohio State players selling memorabilia was an NCAA rules issue, but the things being sold were owned by the players. It’s actually interesting that the NCAA can prevent players from selling their own property, but that’s a discussion for another day.

NBA 2K has become the top dog among basketball video games, solidified by last year’s Jordan cover. Now they’ve released a trio of snazzy new covers for 2K12 with legends Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

NBA 2K12 Cover

It’s pretty cool, and a little telling, that the three biggest NBA stars are still Jordan, Bird and Magic. The NBA has been trying to recreate the superstar model ever since, with moderate success, and through years of trying.

For larger images and more, check out the rest at this link.

Marcus Bryan (SF/PF, 6’7″, 2013) is a name that should be more known in recruiting circles, especially after he showed at the CP3 elite guard camp that he definitely looks to have the ability to make the move to the small forward position in college. We caught up with Marcus at the camp to get his thoughts on his recruitment and his impression of his first ever CP3 event.

Atlanta Hawks left Zaza Pachulia (27) and Atlanta Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich (6) double-team Orlando Magic left Dwight Howard (12) in the first half of their NBA playoff basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia April 28, 2011. REUTERS/David Tulis (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


This NBA lockout has already broken new ground.

During the last lockout, players were seemingly limited in their ability to earn money while they could not play in the NBA. With the exception of players whose contracts were marginal, many top NBA players are looking to maintain some level of income by playing professionally overseas. With former NBA players having paved the way into Europe, Turkey and China, this option is much more attractive to current players.

The latest player who has mentioned the possibility of playing overseas is Dwight Howard, who said recently he would consider playing in China or Europe. Someone of Howard’s star power could make a significant amount of money playing in either of those places. It should be noted that the options available to Howard are not equal for all NBA players, but any current NBA player would have at least some options for playing elsewhere. Leagues around the world consider the talent level in the NBA to be the best, and jump at the chance to sign players with even a minor amount of NBA playing time. Open Gym Tour

With so many high school players who are looking to improve during the off season and can’t always travel or attend AAU Tournaments and showcases, Basketball Elite has launched the Open Gym Tour, which is intended to give players more exposure. Open to all high school age players, the Open Gym will be held at locations in the community, close to where players already play their pick up games.

Scouts from Basketball Elite will be on hand to check out the games, and the cost to play will be minimal. Dates and more information will be coming soon; for now, the best way to keep up with the Tour is to add it on Facebook, click this link to check it out: Facebook: Open Gym Tour

By James Blackburn

Eddie Ford's Kentucky Hoopfest

Day 1

Louisville Storm

Miles Rice (PG/SG, 5’10”, 2013)

Trinity HS, KY

Good Defender- active hands, talks, cuts off driving lanes, gets a hand up in shooters face. Boxes out and rebounds well for a guard. Hit a 3 early in the game showing off his range. Good and willing passer. Has a good pull-up. Had an And 1 finish over a 7 footer in 2nd half. Somewhat passive on the offensive end. Northwestern has expressed interest in him.

Minnesota Select

Carson Shanks (C, 7’1”, 2013)

Prior Lake HS, MN

Soft touch, long, Good shooter out to about 18’. Good passer out of post. Needs to be more active. Slow getting up and down the court. Wisconsin, Arizona, and Cal have taken notice in Carson.

Southwest Illinois Jets Blue

Justin Thomas (SG, 6’3”, 2013)

Whitfield School, MO

Long and lanky. Good shooter with 3pt range. Gets good elevation on jump shot. Needs to improve dribbling drills, but once he gets to the lane he gets to the FT line and converts at a high rate. Has an effective floater in his arsenal. His AAU coach said that several schools have already taken notice.

Day 2

Indiana Elite

Mark Donnal ( PF, 6’9”, 2013)

Anthony Wayne HS, OH

Rebounds the ball well and chins/protects it. Can extend the court with his 3 point shooting ability. An opposing teams matchup nightmare because of his size, strength, athleticism, shooting and dribbling abilities. On way particular play, he rebounded the ball, dribbled the length of the floor and dunked the ball going right with his left hand. He has a verbal commitment to Michigan.

Common Bond

Reece Dills (PG, 5’11”, 2013)

Saline HS, MI

Poised, under control, and a leader on the floor. Can create for himself and for others around him. Good P/R player- If you go under the screen he will hit the jump shot, if you go over he will turn the corner and either score or find the open guy. Great shooter off the catch and off the bounce. Capable of putting up big numbers on the offensive end. Good defender. Several schools have started to take notice. Made over 50 3 pointers this past season for his school while he averaged over 13 ppg.

Camp Crossover Flyer 2011

Finding a solid basketball camp during the summer is important for players looking to improve during the off season, especially for players who might not be in AAU tournaments. Camp Crossover 2011 is coming to Greensboro, NC July 11-15 and offers solid instruction for basketball players, boys and girls, in all levels of play. Allowed age range is 7-17 and former NBA star Allen Iverson is expected to be on hand to spend some time with attending campers.

Cost for attending the camp is $150 per player, and the event will be held at the Greensboro Sportsplex.

For more information on the camp, visit