The NBA Lays Off

October 14, 2008

In anticipation of lower ticket sales, the NBA has announced that it is laying off 9% of it’s workforce.

Nine percent is such an exact number (“about 80 jobs”), it seems odd, but what’s more interesting is that the NBA is supposedly laying off people before they even know sales will be down. Businesses that lay people off as soon as they experience a bad quarter are poorly run ( and I know that includes a big chunk of the Fortune 500), but businesses that are run so poorly they have to lay off before they hit a financial bump?

It means either the NBA is run so poorly that they are nervous about folding in the face of any financial hardship and have no cash reserves OR…the NBA hasn’t been doing financially well for a while. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that over the past fifteen years, the NBA has stocked their rosters with early entries and high school players, suffering worse and worse ratings, declining revenues and now…one the eve of the possibility of lower ticket sales (which doesn’t include, ahem…the tv deal, which is the big revenue generator)…they are running to cut expenses.

I think the NBA is in trouble. It might be time for them to think about deeper changes than just having the players wear suits on the bench.

Sprite Dunk Contest Video

September 30, 2008

Thanks again to James Blackburn for pointing me to this video, for those of us who weren’t able to make it to Atlanta over the weekend. Can somebody from the league send a scout to watch T-Dub? Seriously!

John Henson talks about his change in schools

September 12, 2008

Recently, John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009), a UNC commit and rising superstar, relocated to the Tampa area to play basketball for Sickles High School, bringing his big time game and a level of notoriety to the school.

In this interview with Henson by Tampa Bay Online, he talks about the move and what it’s been like going from a 6’4″ guard to a 6’10” big time prospect in such a short time:

When you grew 6 inches in 18 months, what was that experience like?

It was tough, because when I first shot up, my knees were hurting, I couldn’t run and it hurt to jump. It was tough, but once my body adjusted, my knees stopped hurting and my feet stopped hurting. My game improved so much after everything settled in.

One of the reasons I think Henson will be playing the wing at UNC is because he’s got guard skills, and not just ‘big man’ guard skills, but actual guard skills.

Lakeem Jackson: headed to South Carolina?

July 3, 2008

Lakeem Jackson (SF, 6’5″, 2009), a Charlotte player who has offers from Georgia Tech, Clemson and South Carolina, appears to be leaning toward the Gamecocks and the SEC.

“I know South Carolina’s No. 1 on his list right now,” said Rico Jackson, the player’s oldest brother and mentor. “I think he’ll go ahead and make his decision, if not within the next week, probably when the summer’s out, on his way back to school.”

Here’s a short clip from December showing off Jackon’s high rising dunking ability:

Dunkasaurus Rex at the Pangos

July 3, 2008

I don’t want everyone to think we’re all just about stats, shooting technique and lock down D. Here some dunkaholic throwdown from the Pangos All-American Camp a few weeks back:

Some of the players in the video: John Wall, Michael Snaer, JT Terrell, Roger Franklin, and a whole lot of other stars.

Meanwhile, Alex has an awesome, down to earth interview with Lance Stephenson’s father.

Lastly, let’s talk about a movie that probably only matters to us basketball junkies: Gunnin’ For #1, created by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. Here’s a clip from the Tribeca Film Festival:

Lorenzo Brown, Wolfpack bound?

June 16, 2008

Trying to read the tea leaves in recruiting is about as accurate as trying to guess which Hollywood star is going to enter the Betty Ford center in two years. But I thought I’d take a moment to point out that Lorenzo Brown (6’4″, PG, 2009) has visited the state of North Carolina three times in the past month; once for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions (which was unscheduled AND he had to tag along with another AAU team), the Chris Paul skills camp in Winston-Salem and now the NC State elite camp. I know Wolfpackers are really hoping Sidney Lowe can close the deal on Brown, and he certainly seems to like things in North Carolina, or at the very least is doing a very good job of learning as much as he can about the area and NC State.

Even though Brown is a top player who will see significant minutes and has gotten offers from schools like Florida and Memphis, the ACC hasn’t really poured out offers for Brown. I have not read of a single ACC school with a confirmed offer except the Pack. So it stands to reason that Brown’s visits to NC are related to the Wolfpack offer.

Brown certainly fits the profile of recent Lowe recruits, versatile decision makers with a strong mid range game. It was pretty obvious last season that the Wolfpack had issues with poise and running the offense, and their best floor general was a big man. Lowe’s recruits in 2008 should help, and if he secures Brown it will further the cause.

ACC pays off for the NBA; More DeRozan Rumors

May 23, 2008

Hey, high school basketball recruits! You want to make the NBA? Come an play in the ACC, which has 51 current NBA players, including players you’ve been watching this month like Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, and Rasheed Wallace.

DeMar DeRozan rumor follow up

In the closest thing I’ve seen regarding fact-fiding regarding DeMar DeRozan’s potential opting out of his LOI to USC, comes in this note from Nike’s

ESPN’s four-month investigation of O.J. Mayo’s relationship with Rodney Guillory, Bill Duffy Associates and USC might have a domino affect that touches the Trojans ‘08 Class. Tim Floyd’s star recruit DeMar DeRozan is supposedly going to opt out of his letter of intent if USC is punished for the Mayo fiasco.

One of the most interesting developments brought to light by this little tidbit , is how DeRozan’s dad apparently kept his high profile superstar son away from any kind of money game previously:

To add another wrinkle to the story, Guillory supposedly contacted DeRozan a few years back to get him to play on his AAU team. But DeRozan’s dad Frank had no part of it.

So, if this is to be believed (and only time will tell), IF USC gets disciplinary action for OJ Mayo, there is a good chance that DeRozan would bolt. Of course, that means that someone has to prove that USC knew that OJ Mayo was taking money. Of course, a lot of people knew. It was pretty obvious. But proving that with hard evidence might not be so simple.

Video: UNC Recruit Dexter Strickland

April 16, 2008

Possibly the highest rated player to sign with any ACC school thus far is Dexter Strickland, a 6’3” combo guard who looks like he might fit in well with the fast paced style that Roy Williams likes to employ.

It is unclear if Strickland will play much point at UNC, and his lanky shooting style reminds me some of current Tar Heel Wayne Ellington, with a better handle. His movements are very fluid, not quite as slick as Spanish wonder kid Ricky Rubio, but cut from similar cloth. Strickland probably has better hops than Rubio, and both are deceptively fast, streaking down the court, lulling their opponents to sleep before slashing to the rim.

UCLA’s Package Deal?

BruinReportOnline is reporting that top recruit Lance Stephenson might be a package deal with Renardo Sidney. I have not heard of any ACC schools involved with Sidney, so if that’s true Stephenson might be out of the ACC mix as well.

Georgia saving room for Derrick Favors

Georgia has signed a shooting guard for the 2008 class, and many from the Bulldogs fanbase believe they are saving room for Derrick Favors.

Duke Pursuing Derrick Favors

April 14, 2008 is reporting that Duke is now actively recruiting 6’9″ C Derrick Favors [membership required]. I wondered when Taylor King decided to transfer from Duke if it wasn’t somehow to allow Duke to recruit more bigs.

However, I wonder if Duke can even get into the mix now? Favors already had high profile schools after him.

Favors is currently considered the #1 prospect of the 2009 class by most recruiting services.

Video: Larry Drew

April 13, 2008

This is a pretty lengthy video of incoming UNC PG Larry Drew (Class of 2008).

Drew has been named as a 2008 McDonald’s All-American.