Sunday, May 1, 2016

2015-16 NBA Season Win Total Review

The 2015-16 brought a certain amount of surprises including the Golden State Warriors winning a NBA record 73 games; however, it was the Portland Trail Blazers that gave Vegas the biggest surprise. After winning 51 games last season, the Trail Blazers were expected to only surpass the lowly 76ers in wins with the departure of LeMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. Instead, the Blazers surpassed their season win total by 16.5 games. Along with the Blazers, Charlotte, Golden State, and San Antonio all surpassed their pre-season win total by 10+ games.

As for those teams that did not fare so well, the New Orleans Hornets went under their total by 18 games. Many prognosticators believed the Pelicans were ready to make the “leap” behind a MVP like season from Anthony Davis. Instead they lost by 16 on opening night and started the season 1-11, all but sealing their fate. Other big losers included the Rockets, Suns, and Bucks (1 year after beating their total by 17 games).

TeamActual WinsProjected WinsDifferenceO / U
Golden State7359.513.5Over
San Antonio675710Over
New York3229.52.5Over
Oklahoma City5557-2Under
LA Clippers5357.5-4.5Under
LA Lakers1728.5-11.5Under
New Orleans3048-18Under

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Josh Langford Interview

Josh Langford, a five-star shooting guard recently played in both the McDonald’s All-American game and the Nike Hoop Summit. The future Michigan State Spartan talks about his experience, goals for next season, and his overall improvement.

Q: How was the Nike Hoop Summit experience for you?

It’s been great, being around the best players in the country. It’s been fun. Off the court it’s really been fun. Known these guys for a long time. Never a dull moment off the court and never a dull moment on the court.

Q: You were named a McDonald’s All-American. How did you enjoy your week in Chicago?

It was a great experience as well. We were a little more busy. It was a great experience going to the Ronald McDonald house being around the kids and seeing the smiles on the kids faces that are going through tough times. Sometimes we forget what it’s about, and that’s what its all about impacting lives using basketball as a platform.

 Q: Michigan State did not end the season on a high note this year. What are your expectations for next season?

As a team, just to go win a national championship. We know what it takes. We have guys that have made the runs. Tum Tum and other guys. So we aren’t going in there blindly. We have guys that can teach us the ropes. Individually I just want to get better, be the best player. Soak it up from Coach Izzo, who is a Hall of Fame coach. Just learn from him and grow.

Q: Izzo and the Spartans are known for their toughness. Is that something you looked for in a school?

I think it will fit in well. That’s something I looked at when I was looking at the school and other schools. That is part of my game is being tough and bringing toughness to the court. So I feel Coach Izzo can only make me better in that category so I feel like it’s a perfect fit. Looking forward to getting out there and getting to work.

Q: You’ve been shooting the ball well from the outside, is that something you’ve been working on lately?

It’s always an aspect I’m working on. People think I can’t shoot as well, but I feel like I can and just have to keep working on it. The game changes, but you always need to be able to shoot. I feel like if you can shoot you can last in this game a long time. You can be really old, but if you as long as you can shoot, you can make it a long time and I have been focusing on that a little more getting some reps.

Q: What are your personal goals for next season?

Really my conditioning. My conditioning and shooting. Main thing I want to go in there already conditioned. I want to be ahead of schedule. Once I get my conditioning down it will allow me to show my full game cause I’ll be in shape so I can play the best I know how to play. So just conditioning and working on my jump shot.

Q: Over 140 NBA Scouts watched you practice in Portland, did that change how you played at all?

I’m just looking to play basketball and have fun. When you start looking at the NBA scouts it causes you to press a little bit harder and you get too hard on yourself. You just want to enjoy it and stay present in the moment and live it up since this is my last high school experience. So I’m not trying to focus on that, just want to play fun and play the best I can play.

Q: With your high school season over, what was the biggest improvement you made over the years?

I made a tremendous jump. From the mental part of it to the skill wise and physical wise. My jump shot made a real big improvement and mentally, people take that for granted. I feel like that’s what the greats do, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant took the mental part to a whole other level. Skill-wise I just got a lot better. I still have a long ways to go, but I really made some big strides.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Josh Jackson: Hoop Summit Interview

5-star small forward Josh Jackson scored 7 points on 3-7 shooting and added 4 rebounds in the 101-67 victory over the World team in the Nike Hoop Summit. The standout wing talked about his time spent with U.S.A. basketball over the last 3 years and how he plans on making his college announcement public on Monday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 Spring AAU Events

The star-studded class of 2016 will be making their final appearances in All-Star games throughout the country in March and April while the spring AAU season is about to kick-off for players ready to make their mark in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The NCAA has two live spring recruiting periods scheduled beginning in mid-April. Tournaments and dates will be updated as they become available:

ALL-STAR GAME                         DATE                             LOCATION
McD’s AA practices                                       March 27-29 (Sun-Tues)             Chicago, IL
McD’s Game                                                March 30 (Wed)                          Chicago, IL
Nike Hoop Summit                                       April 9 (Sat)                               Portland, OR
Jordan Brand                                               April 15 (Friday)                         Brooklyn, NY

TOURNAMENT / EVENT             SPONSOR                      LOCATION                                 
April 15-17 (Live Session #1)
Nike EYBL #1                                              Nike                                           Brooklyn, NY
UA Association 1                                          UnderArmour                              New York
Adidas #1                                                   Adidas                                        Duncanville, TX

April 22-24 (Live Session #2)
Nike EYBL #2                                              Nike                                           Indianapolis, IN
UA Association #2                                       Under Armour                             Westfield, IN
Adidas #2                                                   Adidas                                        Suwanee, GA

May 13-15
Nike EYBL #3                                              Nike                                           Hampton, VA         
Gibbons TOC                                               Gibbons                                      Suwanee, GA

May 27-29
Nike EYBL #4                                              Nike                                           Suwanee, GA
UA Association #3                                       Under Armour                             Los Angeles, CA

June 3-5
Pangos All-American Camp                           Pangos                                       Long Beach, CA
Super Soph Camp                                                                                         Atlanta, GA

Mohamed Bamba Prepares For His Future

No matter what recruiting service you look at, 6’11” Mohamed Bamba ranks as a top 5 prospect in the 2017 junior class. He might even have the most long-term potential given his 7’6” wing span which will make NBA scouts drool in just a few months. While Bamba is fresh off winning a Pennsylvania Independent School state championship for Westtown he is currently getting ready for his last AAU season, but he is also preparing for his future.

On March 11-12, the 10th annual Sloan Sports Analytic Conference was held in Boston with almost 4,000 people in attendance. As the premier sports conference in the country, Houston Rockets General Manager Darryl Morey brought in a premier crop of panelists to discuss the future of analytics in sports, the future of sports media rights, and modern sports finance to name a few. The event took place at the Boston Convention & Exhibit Center and also included various competitive advantage presentations and workshops. With speakers such as Michael Lewis and Nate Silver sharing their knowledge attendees were exposed to a treasure of information. One attendee that will be able to put his learnings into action one day was the 6’11” Bomba.

Bamba towered over the rest of the conference attendees including former NBA players Shane Battier and Brian Scalabrine, as he soaked up information through the two-day event. He attended panels regarding the future of the front office with Bob Myers, General Manager of the Golden State Warriors and Modern NBA Coaching with Mike Brown, Scott Brooks, and Vinny Del Negro. In addition, Bamba was able to listen to professors discuss research papers regarding the proper evaluation of complimentary skill sets when evaluating NBA player values to a specific team as well as injury prevention panels through wearables for athletes.

The Sloan Sports Conference is usually attended by industry professionals as well as students looking for potential internships or jobs. In Bamba’s case, it’s refreshing and exciting to see such a talented individual recognize his gifts and push himself both on and off the court. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bishop Montgomery (CA) Bounces Back After Chino Hills Loss

Bishop Montgomery bounced back in a strong way on Tuesday night after suffering their first loss of the season on Saturday to Chino Hills (CA), the No. 1 team in the country. The Knights were led by their talented trio of under-classmen in junior guard Ethan Thompson, junior guard Jordan Schakel, and sophomore guard David Singleton, as they took down St. Bernard 77-60 in a home match-up.

6’5” four-star guard Ethan Thompson scored 15 points on a mixture of outside shots and drives to the basket off the dribble. Thompson, the younger brother of Oregon State sophomore guard Stephen Thompson Jr., scored 13 of his points in the first half and finished 4-8 from the field. Throughout the game, Bishop Montgomery used Thompson on all parts of the court. He brought the ball up the court and initiated offense at times and also tried to utilize his height advantage in the post. Playing calm and collected, Thompson found the open manner when faced with a double and attacked the basket off the bounce usually utilizing a right to left spin move. On his outside shots, Thompson hit both three’s from the left wing, with the first one coming at the first quarter buzzer resulting in an and-one. The only three he missed was from NBA distance and even that one went in and out. Thompson is currently receiving a bevy of PAC-12 interest from schools such as Oregon State, Cal, Stanford, and UCLA.

Sophomore guard David Singleton was the team high scorer finishing with 22 points. As the quickest player on the court, Singleton used his quickness to get a step on his defender and finished with soft shots in the paint. The sophomore guard also knew how to free himself for an outside shot. Given an inch of space, Singleton wouldn’t hesitate to let a three fly using his lightning quick release. While his style is a bit unorthodox as he shoots from just above his right shoulder, the result is usually the same. He hit two three-pointers on the game with both finding the bottom of the net without touching any part of the rim. In the second half, Singleton went to the line eight times and went a perfect 8-8. Once again, the shots did not touch any part of the rim.

Q: What was the team’s mentality after the loss to Chino Hills?

A: We weren’t discouraged at all. We were actually encouraged and fired up. It was more of a wake-up call for us as we were so we were getting so used to winning and starting to get kind of complacent. It was a wake-up call to show there is still room for improvement.

Q: How did you try to attack St. Bernard?

A: From the beginning we were just trying to take advantage of our size. Get post touches, look for easy cutters, and lay-ups.

Q: On your free throws and outside shots, none of your makes ever touched the rim. What do you focus on when working on your shot?

A: Just repetition. I focus on my form in great detail, because that’s all that matters is detail. Right now, shooting and attacking the basket are my strengths and I’m trying to work on everything.

Q: Recruiting is in the early stages for you, but who are some of the schools showing interest and what is their pitch?

A: Lately I’ve been to UCLA and USC games so far. UCLA is coming out with a new gym (Mo Ostin Basketball Center) and also getting to play with the Ball brothers is their pitch. USC is playing in their new gym. The schedule is going to be getting competitive as well.