The Money Men, The NBA, and Overseas Ball

August 30, 2008

A great article by Slam Magazine covers some of the new ground involving NBA players jumping to overseas teams. To be fair, a lot of the media has discussed this as a mass defection, but in reality only two middle tier players have recently gone to Europe, and those guys were, quite frankly, somewhat replaceable.

However, this is still a good discussion for long ranging business, and the two agents interviewed by Slam were the negotiators for Josh Childress’s move to Greece:

[…]Olympiacos contacted us. We got a call from the owner, and I think he was the one who identified Josh to the coaches and general manager, and I think the first reaction was they didn’t expect that Josh would leave the NBA to come to Europe.

The agents would not take credit for the idea, but they openly admit that they pushed Josh to consider the move. And why not? Josh Childress would never command that amount of money in the NBA, unless he became the beneficiary of some infamous GM blunder like the Jon Koncak debacle in 1989 (interestingly enough, also involving the Hawks).

Overall these events are great for basketball players, because they create more options. Basketball players have a lot of leagues all over the world, unlike football, and although it makes it more difficult for college recruiters and pro teams in the United States, those organizations will have to adapt.

Cody Shuffler Gets More Looks

August 29, 2008

We mentioned Cody Shuffler (SF/PF, 6’7″, 2009), a player with interest from NC State a few weeks ago, and now it seems Shuffler also has interest from Virginia Tech as well. A bevy of schools are recruiting Shuffler, including Davidson, Cornell, and West Virginia.

Shuffler apparently is high on Davidson’s list, and it would not be surprising to see him end up there.

The same article mentions that Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009), a high school teammate of Wake Forest commit C.J. Harris (SG,6’3″,2009) has received an offer from Penn.

Meanwhile, Tobias Harris (PF, 6’8″, 2010) recently visited Virginia with his family to see what the school has to offer:

“Coach Leitao and his coaching staff broke down Virginia’s offense and defense on film. Tobias had the opportunity to watch the team practice while coach Leitao was able to show how effective his offense works when done correctly. Coach Leitao stressed the importance of strong team, individual defense and positions on defense.

Harris reportedly also visited Maryland and Georgetown as well.

Derrick Favors Update

August 27, 2008

Alex caught up with big man Derrick Favors (PF, 6’10”, 2009), where he talks about the current thinking that he might stay in the state of Georgia, and whether he will be one-and-done:

NB: How long do you plan on going to college for?
DF: Hopefully for a year, for one year, but if I have to do two, three, [or] four [years], I’ll do it.

Favors is echoing the common idea now that if you can blow up enough in your freshman year, or your sophomore year, you make the leap. Florida State, NC State and Georgia Tech are all still being listed by Derrick, and it looks like even though Duke attempted to get involved, that seems not to have materialized…although it’s important to note that Duke’s Coach K and much of the Duke assistant coaching staff have been focused on the Olympics over the summer period.

Doron Lamb Dominates

August 26, 2008

Doron Lamb (SG,6’4″,2010) is impressive for not only being a good basketball player, he’s playing great basketball against players a year older than he is and holding his own. Despite the ragged nature of a Rucker Park event, Lamb looked like he could hang with the mostly older players at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 and he also dominated at the Nike Tournament of Champions.

Duke is in the mix for Lamb, who will be leaving the Big East dominated New York area to play his junior season for Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, which is solidly in ACC country. Right now it seems that Lamb is leaning towards the big East, but perhaps some of the ACC teams will get a shot after he spends some time away from the Big East. Miami has also been mentioned as having interest in Lamb, and the list is only likely to grow after more schools get a look at him.

The Army of Confidants

August 25, 2008

What’s the difference between a coach, a trainer, and a ‘hanger-on’?

During the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, as the hundreds of athletes paraded into the Bird’s Nest, announcer Bob Costas referred to the crowds of people as ‘athletes, coaches, trainers and the other various hangers-on’. As if the coaches and trainers were somehow simply there through no effort, knowledge or skill of their own. I’m not sure if Costas was simply trying to keep talking during the five-hour presentation, but it’s a statement that I wanted to open for discussion regarding when a person is actually involved with a sport/ahtlete in a mutually beneficial relationship and when a person is simply a ‘hanger on’.

Getting into coaching is both extremely difficult and extremely easy (relatively). Texas head coach Rick Barnes broke into coaching by reportedly waiting eight hours to be interviewed after a head coach forgot he was waiting. It’s hard from the perspective that Barnes had to be smart enough to coach well, willing to work long hours for little pay, but it’s ‘easy’ from the perspective that Barnes only needed to put himself in the right place at the right time to get his start. One eight-hour wait for an interview isn’t equal to the years required just to be an entry level medical doctor.

Rick Barnes is certainly not a ‘hanger-on’, and I consider him to be an excellent coach (who I wish had stayed in the ACC) but given that all it often takes to secure a position in coaching is to show up and know the right person, often people in positions of sporting authority are hardly qualified to do so. USA Today reports that there is some thinking that coaches should have at the very least some psychosocial training in dealing with kids:

“So many coaches come from outside of the school system — as much as 60-75% — and in many cases the age of coaches is getting younger,” said Chris Stankovich of Columbus. “Yet they have in many cases, zero training to work with kids. As a result, there have been a spike in the number of inappropriate relationships.”

In other words, daycare workers usually need more credentials than coaches. While on one hand, this is acceptable – many youth coaches simply are volunteers who are willing to help kids – many others are the very definition of ‘hangers-on’, and this is extremely prevalent in basketball. Many kids are not only being recruited by top level universities, but they also have dozens of people whispering in their ears about their decisions. Those people whispering are looking for some kind of benefit.

John Henson already a ‘local’

August 21, 2008

When a five star, big time ACC commit moves to your city, you can immediately claim him as a ‘local’ ball player to add to your city’s sports history. This is the case as Tampa embraces UNC commit John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009) as one of their own, already comparing him to ‘past local legends’ mere days after his arrival.

Scroll to the end and you’ll see some Henson video from the GBOA South in Atlanta a few weeks back. One thing I notice with Henson is his similarity to Rasheed Wallace on his alley oop dunks. Not to put to much pressure on him, or anything.

Michael Snaer waits, and Boost Mobile Elite 24 on ESPN

August 21, 2008

Florida State target Michael Snaer (SG/SF, 6’5″, 2009) was originally intending to announce his college destination in the middle of August, but now has decided to wait until a few more visits. UCLA is still in the mix for Snaer despite reports that it was down to Missouri and FSU.

Boost Mobile Elite 24 on ESPN2

UNC commit Dexter Strickland (SG, 6’3″, 2009) and several ACC targets will be participating in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event, which will be at fabled Rucker Park.

You can catch the action Live on ESPNU at 8 p.m. EDT, Friday August 22
*Re-air on ESPN2 late night Monday, August 25 at midnight EDT.

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