Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant says he got stronger during NBA break

Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has reportedly added strength to his frame. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, the Rookie of the Year front-runner, feels like he’s ready to take off after making physical improvements during the NBA’s hiatus.

Morant, who is listed at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, said he added 12 pounds during the three-plus-month break. He also believes his right knee, which was repaired in a minor arthroscopic surgery last June, is stronger now than it has been throughout a rookie campaign highlighted by spectacular dunks…

“I’m stronger, can absorb contact and those things,” Morant said.

Morant is still the favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year. Zion Williamson is also a fantastic rookie but his season got off to a very late start due to injury, and now with league play shortened, Morant clearly deserves the award.

Seeing Morant stonger is just yet another fun thing to look forward to during the NBA’s restart, which if all goes according to plan is exactly four weeks away.

With NBA signings back on, Grizzlies add forward Anthony Tolliver

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed forward Anthony Tolliver for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

Signed by Memphis to a 10-day contract on March 2, Tolliver (6-8, 240) has appeared in five games and has averaged 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 19.2 minutes for the Grizzlies. The 35-year-old has competed in 33 games (nine starts) this season and has averaged 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.6 minutes for Portland, Sacramento and Memphis.

Undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft following his collegiate career at Creighton, the Springfield, Missouri native has appeared in 711 games (101 starts) over his 12-year NBA career and has averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 19.6 minutes while shooting 37.3 percent from three-point range.

On the NBA career of Josh Jackson

Here’s the Arizona Republic on young Josh Jackson, who had just started to put up some real numbers when the NBA season was put on hold in mid March:

Josh Jackson never reached his full potential in his two seasons in Phoenix, but he showed signs of doing so for the Memphis Grizzlies this season.

After a lengthy process of having to prove himself by playing in the G-League, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft got the call up in January and found himself on the floor when the game was on the line for the Grizzlies (32-33)…

Jackson, 23, averaged a career-low 10.4 points in 18 games, but the 6-8 wing shot a career-best 43.9% from the field. In March, he averaged 16.6 points on 47.5% shooting (38.2% from 3) in five games before the NBA season was put on hold March 11 after Utah Jazz all-star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

Listed at 6-foot-8, 207 pounds, Jackson, when NBA play eventually resumes, definitely needs to continue showing growth if he wants to solidify his place in the league.

New Notre Dame coach is Niele Ivey, who had been with Memphis Grizzlies

Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal with some news on the coaching front:

Notre Dame named Niele Ivey its new women’s basketball coach Wednesday.

Ivey spent the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach on Taylor Jenkins’ Memphis Grizzlies staff, becoming the ninth active female coach in the NBA.

Ivey becomes the fourth women’s basketball coach in Notre Dame history, succeeding Muffet McGraw, who announced Wednesday she was stepping down after 33 seasons.

And per UND.com:

There’s no place like home under the Golden Dome. James E. Rohr Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick announced Niele Ivey (‘01) as the fourth head coach in women’s basketball history on Wednesday.

Ivey was the common link to all nine of the program’s Final Four appearances, two as a player and seven as an assistant coach, logging a combined 17 years on Notre Dame’s campus. Ivey spent the past season honing her craft as an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, before returning to follow in Muffet McGraw’s footsteps.

On the great NBA rookie season of Ja Morant

Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal on Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who was doing big things in the 2019-20 season before action was paused due to the world’s coronavirus spread:

Zion Williamson was averaging 26.4 points on 59.8% shooting in his last 11 games. The Pelicans forward looked every bit like the No. 1 overall pick with his highlights and dynamic play. But there’s nothing he can do to supplant Morant.

Morant’s 27-point, 14-assist performance to beat the Lakers on Feb. 29 was enough evidence to show why he’s made the Grizzlies a playoff contender. He was still leading all qualified rookies in points, assists and double-doubles, so the question isn’t his resume; it’s how he would’ve added to it to finish the year.

Could he break the Grizzlies’ rookie record with 15 assists in a game? Who else would he have dunked on to send Memphis and NBA fans into a frenzy? That’s what’s being missed now.

We look forward to seeing Morant’s magic on the court when play eventually resumes.

Grizzlies injury updates on Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke and Justise Winslow

The Memphis Grizzlies today provided medical updates for forwards Brandon Clarke, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow:

Jackson Jr. (left knee soreness) and Winslow (back soreness) both are likely to return within the next week.

Clarke (right quadriceps strain) is progressing well in his recovery and is expected to return this season.

The Grizzlies are enjoying a very good season. They’re 32-32, which places them 8th in the Western conference. Rookie guard Ja Morant is the leading Rookie of the Year candidate.

Jackson Jr. and Clarke are key members of the Grizzlies rotation. Starting all 54 games he’s played, Jackson Jr. this season is averaging 16.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Coming off the bench for 47 of his 50 games played, Clarke contributes 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Getting them back will give Memphis a big boost as they try to hold off the Pelicans and Kings, who are both four games behind the Grizzlies in the standings.

Winslow played 11 games for the Heat earlier this season, but hasn’t suited up for the Grizzlies yet.

Grizzlies sign Anthony Tolliver, waive Jordan Bell

The Memphis Grizzlies yesterday signed forward Anthony Tolliver to a 10-day contract.

The team also waived forward/center Jordan Bell.

Tolliver (6-8, 240) has appeared in 706 games (101 starts) and has averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 19.6 minutes while shooting 37.3 percent from three-point range in 12 NBA seasons since going unselected in the 2007 NBA Draft. The 34-year-old Creighton alum has competed in 42 games (nine starts) with Portland and Sacramento this season and has averaged 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes.

Tolliver will wear jersey #44 for the Grizzlies.

Bell (6-8, 216) averaged 5.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 10.5 minutes in two appearances for Memphis after he was acquired from Houston on Feb. 6. The 25-year-old University of Oregon product holds career averages of 3.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 12.0 minutes in 154 games (16 starts) over three seasons with Golden State, Minnesota and Memphis.

Grizzlies sign Jarrod Uthoff, waive Dusty Hannahs

The Memphis Grizzlies signed forward Jarrod Uthoff to a 10-day contract, as a “Call-Up” from the NBA G League’s Memphis Hustle.

In addition, the Grizzlies waived guard Dusty Hannahs.

Uthoff (6-9, 221) has started all 34 of his games with the Hustle this season and has averaged 18.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.38 steals and 1.15 blocks in 34.9 minutes while shooting 49.0 percent from the field, 36.3 percent from three-point range and 79.0 percent from the free throw line. The 26-year-old, who was named to the Western Conference Midseason All-NBA G League Team on Feb. 10, ranks third in the NBA G League in double-doubles (19) and sixth in rebounds per game.

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native competed in nine games off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2016-17 season and averaged 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.8 minutes. He also has played professionally in Russia and in the NBA G League for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Texas Legends and Raptors 905. He went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft after completing his collegiate career at the University of Iowa, where he was named to the All-Big Ten First Team as a senior.

Uthoff will wear jersey #19 for the Grizzlies.

Hannahs (6-4, 195) appeared in two games as a reserve for the Grizzlies and averaged 6.0 points in 6.5 minutes after signing a 10-day contract on Feb. 21. The 26-year-old Little Rock, Arkansas native has averaged a team-high 21.3 points in 33 games (20 starts) for the Hustle this season, helping guide the team to the top spot in the NBA G League Western Conference Standings.

Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. out with knee injury

The Memphis Grizzlies will be without starting forward Jaren Jackson Jr. for the near future.

In Friday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson Jr. sustained an injury while challenging a shot late in the second quarter, and did not return for the second half. Subsequent imaging revealed that the injury is a sprained left knee.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal adds:

It’s a blow to the Grizzlies, who remain 3.5 games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers for the No. 8 seed in the West. Rookie Brandon Clarke started the second half on Friday and could start on Monday. Clarke started on Nov. 4 when Jackson missed a game because of injury.

Jackson Jr. will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Grizzlies sign Dusty Hannahs to 10-day contract

The Memphis Grizzlies signed guard Dusty Hannahs to a 10-day contract today. This as a “Call-Up” from their NBA G Leagues affiliate team, the Memphis Hustle.

Hannahs (6-4, 195) has appeared in 33 games (20 starts) for the Hustle this season and has averaged a team-high 21.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 30.4 minutes, guiding the team to the current top spot in the NBA G League Western Conference standings. Hannahs also has shot 47.5 percent from the field, 46.4 percent from three-point range and 91.4 percent from the free throw line (his third consecutive season to shoot at least 90 percent from the foul line) during his third season with the Hustle. In addition, he is tied for fourth in the NBA G League in three-pointers made (109).

The Hustle’s all-time leading scorer (1,848 points), Hannahs was selected to the Western Conference Midseason All-NBA G League Team on Feb. 10 and was named the NBA G League Player of the Week for games played from Nov. 25-Dec. 1. The second player in club history to receive a weekly honor, Hannahs averaged 30.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.00 steals without any turnovers while shooting 60.6 percent from the field and 63.6 percent from three-point range in a pair of wins.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Hannahs competed in two games as a reserve for the Grizzlies last season and totaled eight points, one rebound, five assists and one steal in 26 minutes. The 26-year-old went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Arkansas.

Hannahs will wear jersey #5 for the Grizzlies.