Category Archives: NBA Jerseys

Metta World Peace Jersey Signed

Metta World Peace certainly had one of the more colorful careers in the NBA. While the player formerly known as Ron Artest will likely always be remembered for his role in the “Malice at the Palace” brawl in 2004, his story is one of redemption. World Peace actually befriended the fan that threw a water bottle at him and later won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. After retiring, he appeared in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball challenge and works with the Lakers as a player development coach.

Now, World Peace is setting his sights on a new challenge: being an entrepreneur through his Artest Management Group company. His first product is XvsX Sports, which can best be described as the Airbnb of pickup basketball games. World Peace created the platform alongside a slew of tech entrepreneurs and fellow NBA players Al Harrington, Nick Young, Chris Copeland, Jermaine O’Neal, and Stephen Jackson.

Using a subscription model, XvsX Sports offers on-demand, competitive open runs for all levels of players, including professionals, semi-pros, competitive, and recreational players. That last demographic may prove to be the most important of all — with 23 million Americans fitting the “recreational” bill, it’s a great opportunity for growth.

The initial early access beta launch will roll out in the Los Angeles area, with additional cities throughout the United States joining the game after that. Players can meet others at their skill level, build up points, and participate in showcase games.

“There’s so many ways to get basketball to the consumer. Playing in the NBA for so many years, I’m used to playing a certain way — in front of people, getting paid, branding, endorsing,” World Peace says. “When the NBA’s gone, you don’t have that system, the people, or the machine in place. You become irrelevant. With XvsX Sports, I’m trying to revolutionize the game for people like myself. We love basketball and still want to play at a high level.”

It’s not World Peace’s first foray into business; he’s also an adviser for Butter Cloth, a men’s clothing company. In six months, the brand did $500,000 in sales. After an appearance on Shark Tank last October, which saw the company secure a deal with Robert Herjavec, Butter Cloth has now made more than $4.5 million.

As he moves into his second career, World Peace has learned three key lessons along the way.

Build a strong team and culture

The need to develop a strong culture is paramount for World Peace. He acknowledges building that culture can take time, and it can be frustrating to invest so much in overhead, particularly if you don’t have a lot of excess capital. But getting that foundation in place — especially when that team knows how the business should operate because they’re so heavily invested — will pay off in the long run.

“Culture and teamwork are the biggest things. You need to have a place where you trust your co-founders. Some people try to do everything on their own,” he says. “There are so many different types of entrepreneurs. Some have the background to operate or design, others are more focused on business. Building that team around you is super important.”

NBA player Metta World Peace speaks at the BET NEWS CONVERSATION: Mental Health in the Black Community panel
Jerod Harris/BET/Getty Images for BET

Creating XvsX Sports has presented several challenges, too. World Peace and his team have worked on obstacles like gaining market share, the logistics of setting up games across gyms, and developing customer personas while identifying which ones to target first.

“It’s a lot. I’ve been doing this for about four years, and you need a lot,” he says. “You need data scientists, chief revenue officers to figure out where the best locations will be at. You need digital marketing, you need to acquire players — you have to tell them why they should play on your platform. It’s not as easy as you would think it is to find games for people. There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s challenging but it’s also fun.”

World Peace credits the strength of his team with keeping things running smoothly. And developing a basketball product is the right move for him, as he’s following his passion.

Invest in what you know and believe in

With a pro career spanning nearly 20 years, World Peace knows the game of basketball inside and out. He’s identified a problem area within the sport — an overabundance of players and unused courts, plus a strong desire for people to find quality competition. World Peace believes XvsX Sports can change how we view and play basketball.

“This will be like how fantasy sports revolutionized things,” he says. “We’re hoping to create a marketplace in the next year or two that will offer people a new type of playing experience. Whether you want to just have fun, or in case you’ve never played in college or professionally, we want to be the platform.”

Similarly, World Peace’s involvement with Butter Cloth stemmed from a chance fashion show while he was studying new trends in the advertising space. And once again, the passion for the product shone through.

“I was at (Los Angeles ad agency) MuteSix, learning about integrated and programmatic marketing,” World Peace says. “They told me, ‘Hey, put this shirt on.’ I put the shirt on and I melted from the love.”

It was love at first sight (or wear, in this case). And World Peace saw an opportunity because of how the shirt fit into his day-to-day schedule. He believes in products that he can actually use and benefit from.

“Business attire is not comfortable. I’d be at an investment meeting and be too hot, sweating under my armpits. This shirt made me feel different because I could actually add a business suit and be very comfortable.”

World Peace’s involvement with Butter Cloth has also enlightened him on running his own business.

Butter Cloth

Learn from your experiences

When Butter Cloth founder Danh Tran appeared on Shark Tank to pitch his company, he had an assist from World Peace, who made a cameo as the “in-house long-fiber cotton scientist.” A dunk while wearing a Butter Cloth shirt may have been a selling point for investor Robert Herjavec, but World Peace took the whole experience as a learning opportunity.

“The whole process taught me a lot about business and running a company. There’s a lot of number crunching, a lot that goes into it,” he says. “We went on the show and got a lot of returning customers. They don’t buy just one shirt. They buy 15 different shirts, which is amazing.”

Perhaps World Peace sees some of himself in Tran, as well. The Butter Cloth founder has also had a colorful career, with an ultimate tale of perseverance.

Tran grew up working in his family’s small tailor shop in Vietnam and was designing clothes by age 10. His family emigrated to the U.S., where he took fashion classes at a California college and landed a job at Mattel, designing clothes for Barbie.

He eventually enrolled at the Otis College of Art and Design, his dream school. Tran was recruited by several companies, landing at Affliction Clothing. He served as the company’s head designer for ten years before making a huge decision: He quit his job, sold his house, and cashed in his 401(k) to start Butter Cloth, going all-in on following his dream.

Tran’s story was instrumental for World Peace and is part of the reason he’s involved with the company. If World Peace has his way, his business book will follow a similar arc of success.

“Danh built Butter Cloth up from nothing, and it shows the confidence he has in his abilities. I want to be somebody like that as an entrepreneur.”

Ray Allen Jersey Signed

Ray Allen is a key part of the NBA’s evolution to what we see today. Alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Allen would form one of the first orchestrated Big Three in the NBA. This would set the stage for LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and others to attempt to replicate the same formula the Boston Celtics provided for the NBA landscape.

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While the Celtics had much success with their Big Three, their ending didn’t go amicably. Ray Allen went down south to their rivals, the Miami Heat and ended up winning a second NBA title in 2013. This entire exchange would drive a wrench between Allen, Garnett and Pierce’s brotherhood.

The wrench is still there, according to Allen. In an interview with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, & Fauria show, Allen spoke out on how he felt the Celtics took his lack of being verbal for granted.

“Well, I’ll tell you what. It’s nothing personal, but it was disheartening when I left. I would speak when I needed to speak, but I didn’t speak up enough to where people listened and paid attention to me, and it took me for granted.

I often felt like I was taken for granted in this situation. When I left it was a shame of what was said about me, and it almost seemed like people were speaking out of anger, and I didn’t have any anger or animosity towards anybody.

It seemed like the team didn’t want to continue with the way I was helping and contributing. We’re still brothers let’s move forward from this. But unfortunately those guys had other agendas. The interesting thing about Big Baby and Kendrick Perkins making comments on the show is that they weren’t even on the team in 2011.”

While there will always be three sides to any story, it’s sad that the Celtics Big Three ended the way it did. Maybe one day the three of them can patch up their differences and be cordial.

Tod Murphy Jersey Signed

SALEM — Gordon College senior guard Eric Demers entered Tuesday’s game against Salem State with a scoring average of over 28 points per game.

After his Fighting Scots dispatched the Vikings, 95-78, that number increased by nearly three full points.

Demers went off for a season-high 41 on an efficient 13-of-23 from the field and 8-for-15 from deep, helping his squad pull away from the hosts in the second half and move above .500 the year.

“Salem’s always really good and they always give us a hard time. I know it wasn’t a pretty win, but we did what we had to do,” said Gordon head coach Tod Murphy, his team now 3-2.

“When you have Eric Demers in there scoring 41 points it makes it a lot easier. He hit shots from everywhere tonight and I know he takes some shots that ordinarily I probably wouldn’t allow other players to take, but he makes them.”

Demers got going early and often, closing out the first half with 20 points as Gordon took a slight 47-41 edge into the locker room. As referenced by his coach, the 6-foot-1 sharpshooter did his damage in a myriad of ways: mid-range pull-ups with defenders draped in his shirt, slithery layups in traffic and of course, 3-point bombs.

Piling up the buckets is nothing new for the fifth-year standout, as he averaged exactly 23.4 points in each of the last two seasons. But without running mate Garrison Duvivier, who graduated following last year’s successful campaign, Demers has taken an even more prominent role in the offense.

In five games thus far, he’s scored 24, 30, 28, 32 and 41, respectively, with a shooting split of .464/.400/.853. He seems to have taken his game to the next level in his farewell collegiate campaign, and Murphy has certainly taken note of that.

“He actually worked out with an NBA trainer this summer and that’s why his release I think has actually gotten quicker,” said Murphy. “Unless you foul him it doesn’t really have much of an effect on his shot. He’s a pretty special player at any level but at the D3 level he’s pretty incredible.”

While Demers was undeniably spectacular Tuesday night, things would have been exponentially more difficult had he had to defend Vikings’ senior guard Sean Bryan on the other end. Bryan — who had been averaging 23.6 points, eight rebounds and four assists over his first five — missed the contest due to an ankle injury, and the Vikings certainly suffered from his absence.

Without a reliable ball handler to run the offense (junior guard Alex de La Rosa was also out with an injury), Salem State were forced to work the ball inside a bit more. Hakeem Animashaun was once again a force on the block, finishing with 27 points and 14 rebounds while going 11-for-18 from the charity stripe, while Gloucester native Evan Mason finished with an efficient 14 points and seven boards.

But the Vikings’ offense looked stagnant and out of sorts at times without two of their top playmakers, and Gordon was able to take full advantage. Salem managed to connect on just three of their 17 3-point attempts on the night. With that being said, Murphy felt his group could’ve done a better job on defense and on the glass, as Salem managed to out-rebound the Scots’, 45-43.

“Without Sean out there I wasn’t real pleased with the effort. They would’ve scored 90-plus easily if Sean was in there so it wasn’t one of our best efforts,” said Murphy. “If we can get the defense in order with the offense that we have then we can beat a lot of teams. It’s just that right now we’re going to end up in a lot of 95-94 type games and that’s going to end my life way too soon if we do that too often.”

Ben North turned in a strong effort for the Scots off the bench, contributing 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocks in 23 minutes. Big man Parker Omslaer went for 14 points and seven boards while Josh Crutchfield also reached double figures with 10 points, six assists and two steals. Aljernod Terry led Gordon with 13 rebounds.

For Salem, Chris MacDonald had 14 points and eight boards while Fern Bernard chipped in nine off the bench.

Brendan McCann Jersey Signed

The NBA Draft is tonight, and, no, there won’t be any St. Bonaventure players taken, but it seems as good a time as any to reflect on the 33 former Bonnies who did hear their names called on draft night.

The Philadelphia 76ers have the No. 1 pick in tonight’s lottery, having traded with Boston for that spot earlier in the week, the first of 30 first round selections being made inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

The Bonnies have had four first-round draft picks in their history: Brendan McCann (No. 5 overall, New York Knicks), Tom Stith (No. 2, New York Knicks), Bob Lanier (No. 1, Detroit Pistons) and Andrew Nicholson (No. 19, Orlando Magic). They’ve had two players taken by the team with tonight’s top pick: Bob Barnek in 1965 and Glenn Hagan, who was taken by the 76ers in the second round (No. 43 overall) in 1978.

Once again, Kentucky is expected to have at least three of its young players taken in the first round. There has been one instance in which Bona had at least that many taken in a single draft: In 1953, when four of its starting five was taken.

One of those four players, Bob Sassone, remembers it well.

“In 1953, even though we had a 12-12 record, four of those five guys were drafted to the NBA,” the 86-year-old Sassone recalled vividly.

Sassone was taken in the third round by the Philadelphia Warriors, with Bill Kenville going in the same round to the Syracuse Nationals, Mike Bodnar (5th round) to the Fort Wayne Pistons and Bill Edwards (12th) to the Rochester Royals.

What was that like for Brooklyn native?

“It was a thrill,” he said, but …

“In the NBA (in those days), you only lasted two years most of the time. When I came out, I went to Philly and I talked to them. They said, since you’ve gone, we already got other guys to last two years. Even Sam Stith, I think he lasted only two years with the Knicks.”

Ah, the Knicks.

When Eddie Donovan left Bona to coach the Knicks in 1961, he wound up bringing a handful of Bonnies with him. Tom Stith (first round) and Whitey Martin (second round) were taken by New York in ‘61 while Fred Crawford went in the eighth round in ‘63. Sam Stith was selected by the Cincinnati Royals in 1960, but his draft rights eventually went to … the Knicks.

Sassone lamented the bout with tuberculosis that kept the younger Stith from truly pursuing an NBA career, but remembered a story about Tom from his days as an assistant coach.

“When he was a sophomore, he became very friendly with me; more friendly with me than with Eddie,” Sassone said. “And the reason was, we used to throw the ball into Stith, and Stith started throwing it out to Kenny Fairfield, who was a senior from Hinsdale.

“I said, ‘Tom, the whole offense is four guys around you. When the ball comes into you, do you know what you have to do with it? Shoot it.’ You know what he said to me? ‘Coach, I gotta keep the seniors happy, so I throw the ball out to Kenny.’”

The Knicks weren’t done at Crawford, however. Eventually, they’d also take Greg Sanders (8th round, 1978) and Mark Jones (4th round, 1983).

More from this section
Bears will face Lions undrafted rookie QB David Blough on Thanksgiving
Bears will face Lions undrafted rookie QB David Blough on Thanksgiving
Badgers, Gophers strong in power rankings, matchup Saturday for West Division title
Badgers, Gophers strong in power rankings, matchup Saturday for West Division title
Missouri needing better cornerback play in season finale
Missouri needing better cornerback play in season finale
Aside from the 76ers, the Lakers, Celtics, Suns and Kings all have top five picks tonight. That’s actually the same top four, in order, as last year. The Bonnies have had players drafted by all of those teams except Los Angeles.

The Celtics took Bill Butler in the eighth round of the 1968 draft while Matt Gantt went to the Suns in the fourth round in 1972. Fred Diute (3rd round, 1951) and Edwards went to the Rochester Royals, who’d ultimately become the Kings.

Bona has had players drafted by teams that moved or are no longer in existence: Paul Hoffman (1972), Carl Jackson (‘73), Glenn Price (‘74), Bob Rozyczko (‘76) all went to the Buffalo Braves while Kenville, Mal Duffy (‘55) and Bob McCully (‘62) went to Syracuse. Essie Hollis, a co-captain on the 1977 NIT championship team, went in the second round (No. 44 overall) to the New Orleans Jazz that same year.

Bonnies have gone to the current NBA champion (Greg “Bubba” Gary was taken by Golden State in 1971) and past champions (Earl Belcher was drafted by the Spurs in 1981) and everywhere in between: Leo Corkery and George Carter went to the Pistons in 1952 and 1967, respectively; Jim Satalin was taken by the Bucks in the ninth round in ‘69, Tim Waterman to the Hawks in ‘79 and Barry Mungar to the Wizards in ‘86.

St. Bonaventure’s first ever NBA draft pick? Ken Murray, to the old Chicago Stags in 1950.

As for Sassone? After the conversations he had with Warriors, he was ready to move on with his life; more specifically, into coaching.

“What they wanted me to do was go up to Scranton/Wilkes Barre and play in the weekend leagues,” he said. “There were guys from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and they played up there.

“I had a job with United Postal, I was married. I was working and making a lot of money. Then, I wanted to drop out of UPS. I put in for law school, figuring that’s where I’d go, and Eddie Donovan called me, and that changed my life.”

Dave Minor Jersey Signed

ORLANDO – For an extended period of the season now, the focus surrounding Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Issac has been on his jump shot, his difference-making defensive abilities and how he has meshed in the starting lineup alongside fellow forward Aaron Gordon.

The focus, however, Dave Minor hasn’t been on Isaac’s ankles – and that’s a very good thing considering the trouble that he had last season as a rookie.

Saturday’s game against the Boston Celtics was Issac’s 28th straight game of the season – one more than he played all of last season because of various ankle sprains. He worked hard all summer to grow his game and strengthen his ankles and it has paid off to the point that after Saturday he will have played in 35 of the team’s 42 games.

“It feels great to string together more games than I played the entire last year,’’ said Isaac, Orlando’s No. 6 pick from the 2017 NBA Draft. “It’s exciting, I’m glad to be healthy and I’m glad to be out on the floor.’’

Magic coach Steve Clifford, who often compares Isaac to former Magic great Rashard Lewis because of his lengthy body and willingness to sacrifice for the team, has averaged 7.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.11 blocks in 24.5 minutes a night. Shooting has been an issue as he’s made just 40.4 percent of his field goals and 28.4 percent from 3-point range. He seemed poised to come out of his shooting slump on Wednesday in Utah by drilling two of his four 3-point attempts.

All of it has been possible thanks to a team effort by Isaac, the Magic’s front office and their medical team to help get his ankles strong and steady again. Other than a minor sprain in the preseason and another one in the first month of the regular season that cost him six games on the sidelines, Isaac has been healthy and growing for the Magic.

“Really, the summer was huge, getting my foot right and I haven’t had many issues,’’ Isaac said. “Other than early in the season with a couple of light sprains I haven’t had any issues because I’ve been focusing on it. Our training staff and our management team are doing their best to make sure I’m taken care of and it’s been great. It allows me to just get my mindset ready to play and not have my ankle in the back of my mind. It’s just about the game now.’’

MAGIC PROTECTING PLAYERS FROM GERMS: For the Magic, defense extends well beyond the parquet floor of the Amway Center when it comes to protecting their players.

The Magic have partnered with Violet Defense, an Orlando-based germ-killing company with patented UV technology, to bring the first-known deployment of hospital-grade UV cleaning to the NBA.

Utilizing the full spectrum of ultraviolet light, Violet Defense’s products deliver germ-free protection throughout the air and onto any contact surface that is exposed to UV light. Their technology, which can be used or installed in a mobile format, has been proven to kill 99.9 percent of key bacteria and viruses, including E. Coli, Salmonella, Norovirus and even superbugs like MRSA.

“The Orlando Magic are committed to winning and the innovations that provide the best opportunities to do that,’’ Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said. “We are thrilled about what this partnership with Violet Defense could bring to our team, and most importantly, ways to keep a healthy locker room.’’

The Magic will deploy a variety of products Violet Defense’s surface and air germ elimination (S.A.G.E.) UV line in their locker rooms, training rooms, weight rooms, dining areas and medical areas. The Magic also plan to add this technology to their family area to disinfect the nursery, children’s play areas and bathrooms.

“We are always looking for opportunities to keep our players healthy,’’ Magic High Performance Director David Tenney said. “And by keeping our players healthy and on the court, that gives us the best chance to win. With this exclusive partnership, we now have another tool available to help us do that.’’

Added Terrance Berland, Chief Executive Officer of Violet Defense: “The Magic have demonstrated a real commitment to being very innovative in their pursuit of improved player performance. We are excited to have the opportunity to not only help protect our home team’s athletes from infection, but also to work closely with the Magic to identify additional opportunities specific to high performance athletes that will advance the science of infection control in the future.’’

HOME IS WHERE THE SUCCESS IS: Through the first 41 games of the season, the Magic actually played one more game as the home team than they did as the road team. However, it probably doesn’t feel that way considering that two of their games – both of which were stirring victories – were played in Mexico City.

If the Magic are going to make a playoff run over the final 41 games of the season, they are going to have to be significantly better than the 10-11 at home that they came into Saturday with, head coach Steve Clifford said.

Again, taking into account that two of those victories were in Mexico, the Magic came into the weekend just 8-11 at the Amway. For whatever reason, some of Orlando’s most lopsided losses of the season have come at the eight-plus-year-old Amway Center. To put together a second-half run the Magic will have to play more like the squad that has beaten Toronto, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Amway Center, Clifford insisted.

“I’ll say this, and we have to be honest, but we have a frustration that we have try and get rid of,’’ Clifford said of Orlando’s home struggles. “We’ve played some clunkers and more of them in this building (in Orlando). You go back to Clippers here, Portland here, San Antonio here, where we have lacked energy and didn’t give ourselves a chance to win.’’

UP NEXT: After facing the surging Boston Celtics on Saturday, things won’t get any easier on Sunday when the Magic host superstar guard James Harden and the Houston Rockets. It will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams. Tipoff is just after 6 p.m.

Houston smashed Cleveland 141-113 on Friday thanks to a Harden’s 43 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Not only was it his 15th straight 30-point game, but it was the 12th 40-point triple-double of his career. Last season, Harden set the NBA record for most points (60) in a triple-double in a game against the Magic.

“I watched a little bit of (the Houston-Cleveland game) and he’s just on a roll,’’ Clifford said of Harden. “We’ll deal with that (on Sunday).’’
Dave Minor Jersey Signed
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

Terrell Brandon Jersey Signed

Terrell Brandon has some skills for a little guy. He was the 11th pick in the first round and ended up being an all-star one year. Over his career, he was best known for playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Milwaukee Bucks as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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SCOTT BROOKS – 5-FOOT-11

If you are of a certain age you might just think of Brooks as a head coach in the NBA but he had a long playing career. He played in a total of 680 games, logging time with the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

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DAMON STOUDAMIRE – 5-FOOT-10

Damon Stoudamire was short, this is true, but he has some pretty good skills. He was picked 7th by the Toronto Raptors and averaged almost 20 points a game over his time with them before he was traded to the Portland Trailblazers. He played 13 years in total.

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BREVIN KNIGHT – 5-FOOT-10

Brevin Knight wasn’t known as much of a scorer, in fact, he was a horrible outside shooter but he sure could pass the ball. He was one of the NBA’s leading assist men for years. He played 13 years in the NBA, mostly as a starter. Not bad for a little guy.

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AVERY JOHNSON – 5-FOOT-10

Avery Johnson is another guy who most people these days know as a coach, but he had a very solid career. He played for the now-defunct Seattle Supersonics as well as the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks. He won a championship with the Spurs.

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TYUS EDNEY – 5-FOOT-10

Tyus Edney played for the Sacramento Kings, the Boston Celtics, and the Indiana Pacers. He also spent some time playing overseas. Although he never was a star he had a good career, especially for someone with his size who was a late second-round pick.

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ANDRE BARRETT – 5-FOOT-10

Another NBA player who is quite possibly shorter than you is Andre Barrett. He was an undrafted journeyman guard over 4 seasons playing for the Houston Rockets, Magic, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, and Los Angeles Clippers.

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MICHAEL ADAMS – 5-FOOT-10

Michael Adams could fill it up and he could pass a little too. He bounced around the league before exploding for 26.5 points and 10.5 assists per game when he played for the Denver Nuggets. Before making the NBA he was a star at Boston College.

Art Burris Jersey Signed

It’s never too early to be thinking ahead, that’s what we do with sports. The 2020 NBA draft is setting up as another strong one for the Vols.
The Tennessee basketball program is coming off a historic NBA draft. For the first time since 1977 when Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld went in the first round. Mike Jackson was the third Vol drafted in that class with the No.133 pick in the 7th round.

It happened the first time back in 1950 when Art Burris went in the third round. Both Ed Jones and Ed Montgomery were drafted in the seventh and twelveth rounds.

As you can see, it hasn’t happened since the NBA went to the two round model that is currently what we are accustomed to today.

Grant Williams went in the first round to the Boston Celtics as the No.22 pick overall. This was probably the best landing spot for the back-to-back SEC Player of the Year. Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone found homes in the second round to the Wizards and the Pistons.

2020 has the potential to be just as good as a draft as the 2019 class displayed, as far as Tennessee basketball is concerned. In a way too early big board from si.com, one Vol is listed to go in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Josiah-Jordan James will be a freshman next season, and si.com has him as No.19 on the big board. Obviously, James is going to be an important role for the Vols next season. He should be a key contributor and carry a lot of the scoring load.

Another player that could get drafted is Kerry Blackshear Jr., of course, we are still waiting on his decision. After getting snubbed from an NBA Draft Combine invitation, I’m 100 percent sure that Blackshear would get invited next season if he played for the Vols.

Another intriguing player is Jordan Bowden. As a senior and the leader of the team, we are expecting big things from Bowden. It’s been noted several times, but he started SEC play on a tear scoring 20,20,17,19, and 12 points in the first five games.

Bowden can jump out of the gym and has a really consistent outside jumper. He also is a tremendous defender that will translate well to the next level.

NEXT: Ranking Vols by landing spots following 2019 NBA Draft
It will be hard to match the success the 2019 crew had. However, 2020 and beyond there should be a lot of Tennessee basketball players hearing their names called in the NBA Draft.

Sharone Wright Jersey Signed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest coach Danny Manning likes bringing Olivier Sarr off the bench because of the energy he brings to the floor.

Sarr — and his self-proclaimed alter ego — don’t mind the role one bit.

The 7-foot center provided energy in a decisive second half for the Demon Deacons, who blew open a 3-point game at halftime into a second-half lead that reached as many as 24 points and rolled past Davidson 82-70 Friday night in a neutral site game. Brandon Childress led the Demon Deacons with 18 points and seven assists, while Sarr added 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

Sarr was the difference in the second half, dominating the glass on both ends. On one play he grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and drew the foul, prompting him to clench his fists, tip back his head and scream at the ceiling.

Sarr laughed when thinking about his reaction, saying that when he’s on the basketball court he becomes a “second person.”

“It’s not me, it’s somebody else out there,” Sarr said with a laugh.

When asked if he likes that second person, he replied, “I do!”

Manning likes it too.

He hasn’t considered moving Sarr into the starting lineup because he feels like the big man plays better off the bench.

“He’s still playing starter minutes,” Manning said. “To me that doesn’t matter. I played 15 years in the NBA, so coming in off the bench, starting, it’s all a part of it. He’s going to get his opportunities.”

Isaiah Mucius added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Andrien White had 11 points as the Demon Deacons (3-2) held Davidson to 28% shooting from 3-point range.

Wake Forest broke open a tight game by making 11 of its first 12 shots from the field to the start the second half, including a barrage of 3-pointers from Childress, White and Mucius.

“Some of those 3-point shots just sent the dagger right into your heart,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “We had a difficult time responding to that.”

Kellan Grady had 20 points and Jon Axel Gudmundsson had 17 for Davidson (2-3), which had its two-game winning streak snapped. McKillop said he’s a little concerned how the loss will affect his team’s confidence moving forward.

BIG PICTURE

Wake Forest: This was a bit of redemption after losing to Charlotte 67-65 in overtime on Sunday. Sarr didn’t start but despite Manning’s comments, it’s fair to wonder how long that will last. He was extremely difficult to stop in the paint and has the potential to be one of the ACC’s top big men.

Davidson: The Wildcats received some votes as a preseason top 25 team, but they are off to a disappointing start with three losses in five games and McKillop may need to mix up his lineup. The Wildcats aren’t shooting the 3 as well as they have in the past and don’t seem to be attacking the hole enough to keep teams honest.

BROWN TO HAVE MRI

Demon Deacons guard Chaundree Brown, the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, sat out with a left ankle injury. Brown sustained the injury in Wednesday’s practice and Manning said he will have an MRI on Saturday.

Sharone Wright Jr. missed the game due to an illness.

STOPPING THE 3

Childress said the goal coming into the game was to speed up the Wildcats and guard the 3-point line. That seemed to work as Davidson never really got in sync on offense and shot 7 of 25 from 3-point range.

“We tried to run them off the line,” Childress said. “Kellan Grady is a tough player and he made some shots, but we wanted to make other guys put the ball in the basket.”

SPECTRUM CENTER WOES

The Wildcats never seem to play well at the Spectrum Center, home of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, falling to 1-7 in the arena

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: Travel to Anaheim, California to face Charleston in the first round of the Wooden Legacy.

Davidson: Face Marquette Thursday night as part of the Orlando Invite.

Thomas Robinson Jersey Signed

Thomas Robinson’s NBA comeback might be near its completion. Robinson, who played at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas for the San Antonio Spurs, said he is in talks to sign an NBA contract.

“I’m in talks with [the Spurs] to hopefully secure something for the year,” Robinson told a small group of media members earlier in the week. “If not, I have a couple of other teams that I’m just trying to make sure the security is there. I have options. I just want to make the security a little more concrete because I’m at a point right now where I need to make the right decisions.”

Robinson said he was back in Lawrence to present his company “Hawk Scooters” to the City Commission on Monday night. (For a full story on Robinson’s company, click these words). Robinson also said he will be finishing his KU degree and plans to walk in May.

The former Jayhawk is coming off a season in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Beijing Fly Dragons.

“It was cool,” Robinson said of his year abroad. “I felt like I was pretty lucky, adjusting to my situation. I think for me, I was able to deal with it. Plus I was in Beijing, which is a tourist city, so you get your fair share of Americanized things.”

The 2018-19 season was Robinson’s first professional season in China. He spent the 2017-18 season playing for Khimki in Russia. In his lone season in Beijing, Robinson averaged 21.9 points and 13.6 rebounds. Prior to going abroad, Robinson played for six teams over a five-year stretch in the NBA.

To this point in his NBA career, Robinson has played in 313 games and started 12. For his NBA career, Robinson has averaged 4.9 points, 4.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes. Prior to the start of the 2018-19 season, Robinson signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Atlanta Hawks but was subsequently waived a few days before the start of the season.

In four games with the Spurs at summer league in July, Robinson averaged 8.3 points on 57 percent shooting from the field, adding 6.8 rebounds in 14 minutes. Robinson gave some insight into his decision to play in summer league, despite being 27 years old.

“I played in summer league first and foremost to show that I don’t have any pride issues,” Robinson said. “I wanted to show that I can still play at a high level.”

The big man did deal with a knee injury during summer league, but only missed one game. In his first game in Las Vegas, Robinson threw down an emphatic dunk over an Orlando Magic player. A few games later he had a similar dunk, this time against the Hawks.

As for his playing career, Robinson didn’t sound like he plans on retiring any time soon.

“I plan to go until the wheels fall off,” Robinson said. “I have a high level of basketball left in me, especially at the NBA level. How long that’s going to go, I don’t know. But as of now, I’m doing my best.”

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Thomas Robinson talks about time in China, possible NBA comeback
Media breaks down Chaminade win, potential changes coming
Bill Self unsure if KU basketball can continue with two-big look
How to watch, betting line for KU basketball vs. BYU (Maui)
KU basketball vs. Chaminade: Quick recap & instant analysis
Media breaks down Chaminade win, potential changes coming
By KEVIN FLAHERTYTue Nov 26 2019
0

Chaminade’s presence at the Maui Invitational is as much ceremonial as anything, so the goal when a team draws the Silverswords is to avoid showing up on a historical highlight clip, like the school’s win over Virginia (and Ralph Sampson) in 1982, or Texas in 2012.

And Kansas passed that goal in defeating Chaminade 93-63 to tip off the Jayhawks’ run at the tournament. Kansas made 12-of-29 3-pointers, and at one point, point guard Devon Dotson had as many points (12) as Chaminade did. The Jayhawks further stretched things out in the second half when Udoka Azubuike, who battled foul trouble in the first half, put up 15 second-half points.

But while Kansas cruised, the opponent was a Division II one, so the goalposts were moved a bit. And it was easy to tell from Kansas coach Bill Self’s interview after the game that he wasn’t entirely pleased with the way things went. Further, those could lead to some real and lasting changes in how Kansas plays, perhaps even starting with the Jayhawks’ game in the Maui semifinals against BYU, a 78-63 winner over UCLA Monday night. Kansas’ second game is projected to tip off at 8 p.m. CT.

See what media members — and Self — had to say about Kansas’ victory over the Silverswords.

SOMETHING TO WATCH

Matt Galloway
@themattgalloway
Bill Self on his postgame radio interview after #kubball’s 93-63 victory over Chaminade: “Other than Doke, our bigs don’t play big. I don’t know that we can stay playing two bigs much longer to be honest with you because it’s just not very good when they’re both out there.”

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12:25 PM – Nov 26, 2019
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The biggest takeaway, right there. On a night where Kansas won by 30, coach Bill Self expressed his concerns that the Jayhawks could continue to play big. The bad news is that it hasn’t worked; Kansas’ biggest raw strength might be its big-man trio, any of whom would start for most other teams. The good news is that if Kansas does make the switch, it would be playing to what have been the Jayhawks’ most effective lineup combinations so far.

Charles Johnson Jersey Signed

LOS ANGELES (AP) — To LeBron James, triple-doubles are not a goal.

They are only a side effect of the consistent, brilliant all-around play he has been dishing out for 17 NBA seasons, with no slowdown in sight.

Triple-doubles also don’t mean much to LeBron without wins attached to them, so James was pleased when his latest statistical superlative occurred during yet another successful night for the surging Los Angeles Lakers.

James became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double against every team in the league, and Anthony Davis scored 34 points during the Lakers’ fifth straight victory, 112-107 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

James finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to post a triple-double against his 30th opponent for the NBA-leading Lakers, who have won 12 of 13 after a perfect four-game homestand. James was more surprised than thrilled by his latest statistical achievement, particularly while a different statistic glared at him from the box score.

“Coach (Frank) Vogel came in here and said, ‘Congratulations,’ and I thought he was joking about my seven turnovers,” James said. “I really don’t know what to think about it. I just think it’s a pretty cool stat to know, and I’m glad it happened in a win.”

James has five triple-doubles in the Lakers’ last 10 games, getting four in victories. There’s a reason for this spree: Although James has constantly filled the stat sheet since he joined the league in 2003, he is leading the NBA this season with 11.1 assists per game, nearly four more than his career average. He has at least 10 assists in six consecutive games, the longest streak of his career.

Vogel has put the ball in James’ hands constantly on offense, and his playmaking acumen has grown along with his chemistry with Davis, as they demonstrated repeatedly against the Thunder. Seven of LeBron’s assists came on baskets by Davis.

“Amazing,” Davis said. “To be able to do that against every team is something special. I mean, (it’s) trippy that he’s been playing for a long time, so it was a matter of time before it happened, but just a tribute to all his hard work.”

James is fifth in NBA history with 86 triple-doubles, but the four players in front of him — Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook, Lakers great Magic Johnson and Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd — hadn’t done it against 30 teams. Kidd, who did it against 28 teams, has served as a role model for James’ efforts as a tall point guard.

“He’s just playing terrific basketball,” Vogel said. “For him to be doing what he’s doing in his 17th year is just nothing short of remarkable. There’s no reason to believe he can’t sustain that for the rest of the season and help us make a real strong playoff push.”

Dennis Schröder scored 20 of his season-high 31 points in a phenomenal first half for the Thunder, who have lost four of five despite two solid performances at Staples Center. Danilo Gallinari added 25 points in his former home arena, and Nerlens Noel had 15.

“That’s why (James) is considered probably the best of all time, but I think we did a great job on him,” Schröder said. “They obviously hit some tough shots.”

One night after the Thunder barely missed an upset win over the Clippers thanks to a last-minute 3-pointer by former star Paul George, Oklahoma City couldn’t quite catch up to the powerful Lakers despite keeping the game close all night.

“There’s a lot of things we did well in there,” Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. “But, you know, we came up short in all these games. I think the one sign you can point to is both teams, the Clippers and the Lakers, are really, really good teams, so we’re competing well at a high level. But we’ve just got to do more in order to be able to finish and close out games.”

The Thunder won’t have to wait long for a rematch: These teams meet again in Oklahoma City in three days.

TIP-INS

Thunder: F Hamidou Diallo missed his third straight game with a left knee sprain. … Schröder got a technical foul in the third quarter for confronting Davis at the free throw line after Davis dunked and was fouled.

Lakers: Kyle Kuzma left the court in the second quarter with an eye abrasion after teenager Darius Bazley hit him in the right side of his face with an elbow on a drive. Kuzma returned to the bench in the second half, but with obvious damage above his eye. He didn’t return to the game, although Vogel said he was available if necessary. The Lakers plan to re-evaluate him within the next 24 hours.

CLOSEOUT SEQUENCE

James’ 3-pointer put the Lakers up 109-98 with 3:08 to play, but the Thunder scored nine straight points to cut the Lakers’ lead to two on Gallinari’s free throws with 1:24 left.

After Danny Green got a key offensive rebound for the Lakers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drilled a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left. James missed two free throws moments later to keep the Thunder in it, but Oklahoma City couldn’t score again.

POINT GUARDS BEHAVE

Chris Paul had four points, 10 assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, and he didn’t appear to clash with Rajon Rondo, his opponent in a fight early last season while he was with the Rockets. Rondo had eight points and a season-high 10 assists.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Host the Lakers on Friday.

Lakers: Visit the Thunder on Friday.