Corey Fisher Leading Way For Wildcats

In the late 90′s it Arizona was Guard U, but over the past few years, Villanova has taken the title. Corey Fisher is the latest in the lineage.

“You know, a lot of young people just want to come in and play right away, but I waited my turn, I worked hard, I played since day one, and now all my hard work is paying off.”

Taking the torch from Scottie Reynolds has been a smooth pass of the baton. Earlier this year, Fisher joined Reynolds, becoming just the second Wildcat to notch 1,500 points and 450 assists.

“I do whatever my team needs. My team needed me to score in the second half and that’s what I did,” said Fisher after scoring a career-high 34 points against DePaul. “When they were sending two at me, I was dimin’ ‘em, gettin’ dimes. Just doing whatever my team needs. If they need defense, I’ma [play] D, if they need scoring, I’ma do scoring. I’m just trying to do everything.”

See the rest over at SLAM.

Who’s No. 1? A Case For CP3 & Rondo

If the season ended today, Derrick Rose would be the MVP. The things he’s done, putting that team — and the city — on his back, have been nothing short of spectacular. As predicted in the preseason, the jumper he’s added to his arsenal has rendered him completely unguardable.

That being said, in the argument “Who’s the Best Point Guard in the League”, Chris Paul and/or Rajon Rondo,cover men of SLAM 145, continue to get my vote.

Before you spaz like Pharrell, I’m using the term “point guard” in the truest, most technical sense of the position. As a synonym for floor general and extension of the coach. Utilitarian and efficient to the utmost. The unquestioned, democratic leader who makes his teammates better. One who deftly picks his own spots and finds others where they operate best.

Not that Rose fails at any of these, but Paul and Rondo appear to have mastered them. So, while Rose is the best player playing point, the best point guard — and yes, there is a difference — is playing in New Orleans or Boston.

Read the rest on SLAM.

Juice Sees Glass Half-Full

Northwestern’s NCAA Tournament drought has been well-documented. Entering this season, with an expanded field of 68, some thought this may be the year they finally start dancing and stop being wallflowers; it still can be. If it is, it will largely be because of point guard Michael Thompson. If not, it won’t be for lack of effort on his part.

When “Juice” — as everyone calls him — arrived in Evanston in 2007, the Wildcats were coming off of a 10-18 season, including a 2-14 record in Big Ten play. While things did not turn around immediately, dedication and hard work have helped Thompson and the Wildcats get things rolling in the right direction.

Hit SLAM for the rest.

All In The Family

The Ray McCallum Jr story is a unique one, no doubt. One that you’ve surely heard before, even if it wasn’t in great detail, but just a thumbnail version: McCallum, a 2010 McDonald’s All-American, chose to attendDetroit Mercy, opting to play for his father, Ray McCallum Sr, neglecting offers from Arizona, Florida, UCLA and others in the process.

How he and his team are faring in his first season is what may now be more obscure.

It’s not that sons don’t opt to play for their fathers all of the time — because they do (Pat Knight, Bryce Drew, Steven Pearl, etc.) – but the rarely, if ever, is the progeny a consensus top-50 player in the nation.

Considered one of the top point guards in his class, McCallum’s name was mentioned in the same breath as Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, Josh Selby and Corey Joseph. A list of guys who have certainly all had their moments this year. Obviously, however, their bigger stages have provided more exposure.

McCallum, at UDM, a Horizon League school who’s last Tournament appearance came in 1999, has not had access to that same spotlight; that doesn’t mean he’s not doing his thing nonetheless, though.

See the full story on SLAM.

Staying Patient

The Illinois high school Class of 2007 was considered one of the best.

Remembering the damage that Derrick Rose did three years ago, and the phenomenal run Evan Turner put together last season, it is now time for Demetri McCamey — who teamed with Turner at St. Joseph’s High School in Illinois — to represent.

Coming off a quality junior season in which he earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors, leading his team in scoring and assists (his 7.1 dimes per game ranked second in the country), McCamey (who friends and fans call Meechi) and the Fighting Illini entered the ‘10-11 season with steep expectations.

Those expectations surely wouldn’t be so high had McCamey opted to make the jump to the League. After his junior season, McCamey entered his name in the NBA Draft before withdrawing in April….

This year, a pre-season Wooden Award candidate, McCamey has worked to do his part in validating his nomination, and continuing to move up the lottery draft board. Heeding the advice, he’s again leading his squad in points (15.7) and assists (7.1), averaging personal career-high numbers in the process.

See the rest of the story over on SLAM.

Hampton Looks To Validate Preseason Honors

Playing alongside five fifth year seniors, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. While Keisha Hampton’s experience may pale in comparison, and her influence understated because of her humble manners, her game speaks for itself.

This year that especially rings true as Hampton, a junior, was selected to the Pre-season All-Big East team.

“It’s definitely an honor to be picked All-Big East because it is, to me, you know, the best conference in the nation,” said the Blue Demon’s leading scorer from last season.

“I feel like I do still have to prove myself to prove that I am an All-Big East player, but I think I won’t have too much of a problem this year.”

Such accolades could certainly mount pressure, but Hampton is handling it cooly.

“I don’t think it’s added pressure because I know what I have to do as a player and I know what I want as a player and a team. I know what my goals are,” she stated. “No added pressure for me I just gotta do what I’ve been doing.”

All Hampton’s been doing is starting every game since she was a freshman. On a team that has admittedly had its battles with injuries, Hampton has been an iron-woman thus far, playing — and starting — in 66 consecutive games entering the season.

See the rest on WeAreDePaul.

Peterson’s Top 25 Rankings

Ha! Yeah, I did my own Top 25 rankings, and dropped some nice sleepers in there, too. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory:

1. Duke

— Best team ins the country — hands down. The defending national champs bring back two of their top three scorers from last year in guard Nolan Smith and forward Kyle Singler. Also returning are 6-foot-10 brothers Miles and Mason Plumlee, both of whom much is expected from, as well as guard sophomore guard Andre Dawkins, who should be improved with a year of experience under his belt. That alone would make Duke a formidable contender. Now throw in freshman guard Kyrie Irving — who’s drawn Jay Williams comparisons and could possibly the best PG in the country —  and junior Seth Curry, brother of Steph Curry — who’s now eligible after sitting out a year after transferring from Liberty — and you’re looking at a team that is, on paper, far and away the best team in the nation.

See the rest of my rankings over at Court Cred.

DePaul Freshmen Hungry To Get Underway

While some freshmen have the luxury of sitting and watching their older teammates before jumping right into the action, DePaul will be counting on each member of their freshmen class to contribute in head coach Oliver Purnell’s inaugural season.

Having just finished practice at All State Arena, their first time on the floor they’ll be playing on for the next four years, the Blue Demon freshmen — 6-8 forward Cleveland Melvin, 6-5 swingman Moses Morgan and 6-4 PG Brandon Young — were anxious to begin tackling the admirable task of helping rejuvenate the DePaul program.

“As soon as I got out there, I just started feeling it,” said Young. “Like we were in season already. It was a good feeling, getting used to the court. I had fun out there.

“When we walked out there, it gave me the chills,” said Morgan. “Just knowing that’s where we’re gonna play at, imagining the fans being out there.”

“It was big, huge. It was cool, man,” added Melvin.

One week earlier, the three got a chance to make their first impression on the DePaul community and the fans they’ll be playing in front of all year at DePaul’s Blue Madness.

See the full story on WeAreDePaul.com.

Changing Of The Guard

At the beginning of century (odd as it sounds, we’re only talking about 2000), the league was run by big men.

The 90s was abound with talent all around. At every position. Arguably the best big man era of all time (Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Malone, Charles Barkely), there was a plethora of legendary guards and forwards in the league, as well (i.e. Mike, John Stockton, Reggie Miller, etc.).

The list of best and dominant players was fairly balanced.

In the 1999-2000 season, all that changed. There was a power gorging. Bigs, specifically power forwards, ran the league. Think about it.

Namely Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace. Of course, there was Shaq, along with Kobe, AI, and a handful of other guards were doing their thing, too, but on the whole, it was those 4-men setting the tone for the league. All had, at some point, the best team in the league, and carried their respective squads through deep playoff runs, in several cases claiming the title.

…But this season marks a clear shift. A changing of the guard, if you will.

With many of those aforementioned power forwards on their last legs — if not out of the league already — the NBA will now be under the guidance of guards for the foreseeable future. Yes, LeBron, D. Wade, Durant (qualifies as a 2-man, too), Brandon Roy, are pretty damn good two-guards, but this is about the 1s.

Chris Paul and Deron Williams we know. But there’s plenty more young studs on the scene also. Highlighted especially by this year’s national team, point guards in the league will have their hands full night in and night out on the defensive end.

Peep the full story over at Court Cred.

*Note: I forgot to mention Brandon Jennings. My bad!*

SLAMonline Top 50: Derrick Rose, No. 12

For whatever reason, three is a funny number. A special number.

While Derrick Rose rocks number “1,” and comes in at No. 12 on the SLAMonline Top 50, this will be his third year in the L. And as the saying goes, “The third time’s the charm.”

When you do something the first time, you’re just feeling things out, getting accustomed to them. By the second time, you’ve begun to make adjustments. But by the third time, you develop a sense of comfort, making a few minor tweaks to ensure that a fine-tuned product runs as smoothly as possible.

That’s where DRose is right now.

Full story over at SLAM.

#Shoutout To Team USA

Typically, the summer sport’s world is dominated by baseball, pre-season football talk, and major tennis and golf outings, leaving hoopheads longing for something to watch. But this year (with the help of Nike and the ESPN family of networks), we were given the opportunity to see something great.

The Game in one of its purest forms. Guys playing not for the money, but for pride, driven by their passion for the game.

But as Team USA prepared for the FIBA World Championships, the hate was about as heavy as Shawn Kemp. The “B Team,” some called them. Granted, these weren’t the creamiest of the crop, but the “B Team”? Really?

Personally, watching them win left me a proud American, telling myself, “I Love This Game.” Seeing them play since early August, we were able to witness the entire ride. We got to watch them grow up and come together as a team, the final game being the fulfilling culmination of it all.

When they lost in ‘02 (which was made up of “second-tier” guys just like the current team) and ‘06, Americans were disgraced. Astonished. Ready to banish George Karl, Paul Pierce and the like from the country, forget the League. But the team that finally righted the ship, bringing home World Championship gold for the first time since 1994, hasn’t been met with the same enthusiasm.

Given all the hate, I think it’s time to show some love:

1. First and foremost, shout out to Kevin Durant. From day one, it was clear: He had to be the guy. Coach K had to ask him to be more selfish. With all the pressure on him, he stepped up. Big time. And when it counted most, is when he was at his best. Dropping 33, 38 and 28 in the final three games, setting all kinds of records for Americans in international play. Even when Team USA’s offense, or lack thereof, seemed to come to a standstill, Durant carried them singlehandedly, and was the lone Team USA member to average double figures, putting up just under 23 points per game.

See the full story over at SLAM.

Team USA Wins Gold!

For weeks, many have doubted Team USA. Much was made of the fact that the “B-Team” would be without any members of the 2008 “Redeem Team”. But Team USA put all those haters to rest on Sunday, saving their most impressive performance of the tournament for last, beating Turkey in Turkey, 81-64.

See the full story over at Court Cred.

Team USA 89, Lithuania 74

A few weeks ago, Team USA faced Lithuania in their second exhibition game, and struggled heavily early on, opening up 3-21 from the field. Saturday, they played Lithuania again, but this time it counted and this was a different Team USA. With a chance to play for the gold medal on the line, Team USA didn’t disappoint, topping Lithuania 89-74 to advance to the championship game.

See the rest over at Court Cred.

Pic Via: USA Basketball

Team USA 121, Angola 66

September 7, 2010

Despite making it through the preliminary rounds unscathed, going 5-0, thee was still reason to worry about the long-term well-being of Team USA. Especially on offense, they hadn’t been impressive, or even consistent for that matter. With elimination on the line, however, Team USA handled their business accordingly, crushing Angola 121-66.

See the rest over at Court Cred.

Big Kid On The Block

September 3, 2010

It’s a mixup that happens far too often. Same size, same initials, same field. One played at Syracuse, the other calls it his hometown. And, especially upon first glance, there’s a striking resemblance.

But Derrick Coleman is not DaJuan Coleman’s father.

“There will be tournaments and stuff and people are always asking me, is that my father? Naw, that’s not my father,” said DaJuan.

Though the two aren’t related, they could certainly be on the same path. Derrick Coleman, of course, was a high school legend in Detroit, All-American at Syracuse, and eventual No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. Likewise, DaJuan Coleman, is one of the top players high school players in the country, looking to take his talents to college and hopefully the League soon after.

He’s been hard at work this summer to make that a possibility.

“It’s been real good,” he said about his summer. This year, Coleman has played at the adidas Nations Global Experience in Chicago, the LeBron James Skills Academy and made his rounds on the AAU circuit, playing with the Westchester (NY) Hawks. Most recently, he was patrolling the paint in Venice Beach at Boost Mobile Elite 24.

See the full story over at SLAM.

Team USA 92, Tunisia 57

September 2, 2010

With the top seed already wrapped FIBA Championship, a bit of a letdown, though obviously unwanted, wouldn’t be completely unforgivable. Especially as Team USA was facing lowly Tunisia, who, entering Thursday’s game, was 0-4. While they came out sluggish, Team USA would eventually pull away, winning 92-57.

See the full recap over at Court Cred.

Team USA 88, Iran 51

September 1, 2010

Coming into the FIBA World Championship, the expectations were that Team USA would have three tough games to get through in pool play, and then to breeze through the last two games. So far, everything is going to according to plan.

Team USA handled their first three opponents — Croatia, Slovenia and Brazil — then demolished Iran on Wednesday, winning 88-51.

See the rest over at Court Cred.

Team USA 70, Brazil 68

August 30, 2010

Coming off of what was by far their most impressive performance, against Slovenia, Team USA reverted back to some of their old ways in their bout against Brazil on Monday. Poor play on both sides of the ball led to a 40 minute struggle for the Americans, though they would eventually — luckily — pull it out, winning 70-68.

See the rest over at Court Cred.

Team USA Cruises Past Croatia

August 28, 2010

Despite all the publicity Team USA has gotten in recent weeks, one might be surprised to know that none of it actually counted for anything — until today. After a handful of intra-squad scrimmages and international friendlies, the FIBA World Championship officially began today in Istanbul. Team USA would get things started on the right foot, demolishing Croatia, 106-78.

See the whole story over at Court Cred.

Hope Is Alive In Indy

August 18, 2010

To be completely honest, this is the one of the last articles I ever expected to be writing — especially this soon.

As a Pacers fan (one of the only ones I know of living outside of Indy), I saw myself writing something about how Ron Artest is the reason my favorite franchise will never be relevant again, or how Larry Bird should be on the hot seat for his hand in driving the Pacers into oblivion.

But in fact, the case is just the opposite. A couple solid draft picks and one quality trade later, and the Pacers are moving the right direction like they’re Robert Randolph’s family band.

Peep the rest over at SLAM. (My first joint on my favorite team!! #Pacersfool.)

USA 2011 PG’s Stand Tall at adidas Nations

August 14, 2010

The USA 2011 team took home the title at this years adidas Nations camp and tournament in Chicago, beating USA 2012 in the championship 82-68, finishing the week 5-1. Leading the way were not the biggest, tallest guys on the team, but rather, the smallest.

For much of the week, it was the play of stellar point guards Ryan Boatright and Quinn Cook that would help propel the USA to dominating wins, and eventually, the title. While Quincy Miller and LeBryan Nash led the way for 2011 in the points category, Boatright and Cook set the tone for the team, as well, running the show and applying pressure on both ends of the floor.

Boatright, a lighting quick 5-foot-8 point guard from Aurora, IL (East Aurora High School), wowed spectators all weekend penetrating at will and doing damage, finishing and finding teammates. Before the games he could be found in the lay-up line throwing down windmills with ease.

Cook, 6-foot-1 from Bowie, MD (Oak Hill Academy), is a more conventional PG, picking his spots, showing off his skills and instincts. He knocked down shots from all areas of the floor, used his savvy to set up his teammates, and displayed the qualities of a true floor general.

See the full story over at Court Cred.

Bulls May Have Finally Gotten It Right

July 21, 2010

I’m not writing this article as some die-hard Bulls fan who’s had his heart broken time after time since the end of the Jordan era. But rather, I’m writing this as merely a fan of the game. Having been in and around the City of Wind for the past couple decades, getting a chance to observe the Bulls pretty closely, it’s safe to say that when it comes to the roster, they have finally gotten it right.

It’s been a long time coming, too. Since His Airness departed, the Bulls may not have always had the worst record, but their rebuilding process has left much to be desired year after year — until this season.

See, since 1999, the Bulls have been that one team. The one that just always manages to botch something up — in a handful of ways: In some instances, they’ve been the team that simply makes senseless decisions; in others, they, for whatever reason, fall in love with guys who are mediocre at best; and yet, in different times, they’re that one squad that is rumored to be in the running for every big name player on the market, but always come up empty.

The first case began immediately following Jordan’s second retirement, as the Bulls hired Tim Floyd as head coach. A year later, with the No. 4 pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, the Bulls selected …. Marcus Fizer? Yeah. 2001 may have actually been the worst year, however, trading Elton Brand — co-ROY and an automatic 20 and 10 — for Brian Skinner and the draft rights to Tyson Chandler, drafting Eddy Curry, and signing the great Eddie Robinson. And this is only the beginning.

Peep the rest over at SLAMonline.

Advertisements