Archive for the ‘ Memphis Grizzlies Blog ’ Category

Grizzlies sign Matt Costello and Kellen Dunham

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced the team has signed center Matt Costello and guard Kellen Dunham. The deals are likely non-guaranteed and only for preseason, which ends in a few days.

Costello (6-9, 245) most recently was a member of the Atlanta Hawks’ preseason roster, coming off the bench in two games and averaging 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 9.0 minutes. The 23-year-old Linwood, Mich. native went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at Michigan State University, where he was named Second Team All-Big Ten by the media and Third Team All-Big Ten by the coaches as a senior.

Dunham (6-6, 205) last played for the Grizzlies at the 2016 Summer League in Las Vegas, making four reserve appearances and averaging 2.0 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.9 minutes. The 23-year-old Pendleton, Ind. native was unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft after a four-year collegiate career at Butler University, where he was named First Team All-Big East as a junior.

The Grizzlies’ roster now stands at 20 players.

Grizzlies waive Chris Crawford and Vince Hunter

The Memphis Grizzlies waived guard Chris Crawford and forward Vince Hunter today.

Crawford (6-4, 222), originally signed on Sept. 23, made four preseason appearances (zero starts) for the Grizzlies and averaged 3.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 16.3 minutes.

Hunter (6-8, 208), who was signed on Oct. 9, competed in four preseason games (zero starts) for Memphis and averaged 8.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 19.4 minutes.

The Grizzlies’ roster now stands at 18 players.

Grizzlies sign Vince Hunter

Grizzlies sign Vince Hunter

The Grizzlies signed forward Vince Hunter today. It is probably a non-guaranteed contract that won’t keep Hunter on the team beyond preseason.

Hunter (6-10, 208) was a member of the Grizzlies’ 2016 NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas, where he appeared in five games (one start) and averaged 11.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.80 steals in 21.8 minutes while shooting 57.1 percent from the field.

The 22-year-old Detroit native began his professional career last season, joining the Sacramento Kings for training camp and splitting the season with the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns and Panathinaikos in Greece. In Reno, he started all 32 of his games with the Bighorns and averaged 21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.00 steals and 1.53 blocks in 31.9 minutes while shooting 58.9 percent from the field. He represented the West in the 2016 NBA D-League All-Star Game and recorded 12 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.

Hunter went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft following two seasons at the University of Texas-El Paso, where he was named 2014-15 First Team All-Conference USA as a sophomore and the 2013-14 C-USA Freshman of the Year.

The Grizzlies’ roster now stands at 20 players.

Grizzlies waive Tony Wroten

Grizzlies waive Tony Wroten

The Grizzlies have waived guard Tony Wroten.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Wroten played in one preseason game with the Grizzlies, and produced two points, one assist and one steal in six minutes on Oct. 6 against the Hawks.

Drafted by Memphis in the first round (25th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft following his freshman season at the University of Washington, the 23-year-old has appeared in 145 regular season games (34 starts) over his four-year NBA career and averaged 11.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 21.2 minutes for the Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Grizzlies’ roster now stands at 19 players.

Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal with an update on the Grizzlies’ key new small forward:

Chandler Parsons not healthy yet for Grizzlies

The bad news centered on the Grizzlies’ fancy new free agent. General manager Chris Wallace said Parsons is “progressing” but declined to say when he is expected to be able to play.

As for Parsons himself, he said “I’ve had no pain, I’ve had no swelling, I’ve had no setbacks.” But Parsons still isn’t doing any real basketball activity, and didn’t reveal when he might begin.

“Obviously, it’s a big-picture thing,” said Parsons. “The doctors don’t want to rush it back.”

Which is understandable and appropriate, of course. Best to have Parsons healthy over the long haul. But if all this starts to remind you of another injured free agent the Grizzlies signed from Dallas — Vince Carter — you are not alone. Carter wasn’t fully healthy until a year after the Grizzlies acquired him. Let’s hope Parsons is ready sooner than that.

A glance at the Grizzlies

Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal with the big picture on the 2016-17 Grizzlies, who as usual enter the season looking like a squad who should continue to make the playoffs, but not compete for a championship:

marc gasol, grizzlies

This week, the Grizzlies’ longtime “core four” of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen will embark upon their seventh season together, during which they’ve never missed the playoffs, an active post-season streak that only the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks can top.

That continuity could be due for some disruption this season. Versatile, sweet-shooting forward Chandler Parsons, whom the Grizzlies lured over the summer with a four-year max contract, is the biggest free agent signing in franchise history and will immediately challenge the team’s pecking order. When he plays, that is.

Parsons will partner with Conley and Gasol in what the Grizzlies hope will be a new kind of core going forward, one predicated on more shooting, versatility and offensive skill level than that to which the “grit and grind” Grizzlies have grown accustomed.

This shifting style will be led by a new coach in David Fizdale, the former Miami Heat lead assistant, whom the team tapped after dismissing Dave Joerger, a successful coach who was never quite on the same page with the team’s front office.

Grizzlies sign Chris Crawford to training camp roster

The Grizzlies have signed guard Chris Crawford. The move finalizes the team’s 2016 training camp roster.

Crawford (6-4, 222) spent last season in the NBA Development League with the Canton Charge and overseas with SPO Rouen Basket in the French LNB Pro A league. The 23-year-old has appeared in 64 games (19 starts) for the Charge over two D-League seasons and has averaged 8.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 25.8 minutes, helping lead the team to the D-League Playoffs twice.

The Memphis native went unselected in the 2014 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at the University of Memphis, where he was named to the 2012 Conference USA All-Conference Third Team as a sophomore and honored as the 2013 C-USA Sixth Man of the Year as a junior.

Free Grizzlies scrimmage on October 1

Free Grizzlies scrimmage on October 1

On October 1, 2016 from 6-8 p.m., the Grizzlies will host a “Blue White Scrimmage” in place of the annual Open Practice at FedExForum. This full-team scrimmage will be Grizz Nation’s first-look at newcomers Chandler Parsons, 2016 draftees Wade Baldwin IV and Deyonta Davis, plus fan favorites Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen.

Led by new Head Coach David Fizdale, the Blue White Scrimmage will also include entertainment teams like the Grizz Girls, Claw Crew and more, plus fan giveaways.

The scrimmage is free to the public and parking is available in the Toyota Parking Garage. Fans in attendance will receive a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a Grizzlies 2016-17 preseason matchup.

In addition, the Grizzlies Foundation will make a donation on behalf of Scrimmage attendees to the Police Athletic League in support of their community based youth programming.

Grizzlies add Bob Bender, Bob Thate to coaching staff

The Grizzlies have hired Bob Bender as an assistant coach and Bob Thate as shooting coach on head coach David Fizdale’s staff.

Bender comes to Memphis after working last season as a scout for the Brooklyn Nets. His professional coaching experience includes: two seasons (2002-04) with the Philadelphia 76ers, first as an assistant coach/player development and then as an assistant coach; nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2004-13) as an assistant coach, where he worked alongside Fizdale for the first four seasons; and one season with the Milwaukee Bucks (2013-14) as an assistant coach. Bender began his coaching career as an assistant at Duke University under Mike Krzyzewski (1983-89) and later served as head coach at Illinois State University (1989-93) and the University of Washington (1993-2002). He was named the 1992 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year at Illinois State and the 1996 Pac-10 Coach of the Year at Washington.

A Duke graduate, Bender is the only individual to play for two different teams in two different NCAA Championship games, one as a freshman on Bob Knight’s undefeated 1976 Indiana team and the other as a point guard at Duke in the 1978 title game against Kentucky. The Quantico, Va. native was drafted by the San Diego Clippers in the sixth round of the 1979 NBA Draft but did not play in the NBA.

Thate joins the Grizzlies after serving in the same capacity for four years (2012-16) with the Los Angeles Clippers and three years with the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn), tutoring superstars such as Blake Griffin and Jason Kidd. Griffin shot 52.1 percent from the foul line during the 2011-12 season but saw his free throw percentage rise to 72.8 percent and 72.7 percent over the last two seasons, respectively, under Thate. Kidd shot 37.0 percent from three-point range over the final eight years of his NBA career after first working with Thate in 2005 (32.9 percent in his first 11 seasons).

A graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles, Thate earned All-America recognition after setting the school’s single-season records for scoring average (27.2 points) and points scored (598) in the 1969-70 season. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970 NBA Draft but instead embarked on a four-year professional career in France and a combined 23 years of coaching at the Division I college and high school levels, including stints at Pepperdine University, Loyola Marymount University, the University of California-Irvine and Long Beach State (now California State University, Long Beach).

Grizzlies re-sign Mike Conley

Grizzlies re-sign Mike Conley

The Grizzlies have re-signed point guard Mike Conley to a multi-year contract.

The agreement came together early in free agency but the signing just became official today.

The deal is reportedly a $153 million dollar contract, over five years.

The Grizz are paying a ton of money in this. Even by new cap standards. Conley is a very good point guard, sometimes a star, but not a dominant player. But they obviously felt it was better to pay big than to lose him and get nothing in return.

Selected by the Grizzlies with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, Conley (6-1, 175) has spent all of his nine NBA seasons with Memphis. The 28-year-old has appeared in 637 regular season games (608 starts) and holds career averages of 13.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.51 steals in 32.5 minutes while shooting 44.0 percent from the field, 37.3 percent from three-point range and 80.6 percent from the free throw line. Last season, Conley posted averages of 15.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.20 steals in 31.4 minutes while shooting 42.2 percent from the field, 36.3 percent from three-point range and 83.4 percent from the free throw line.

In the Grizzlies’ career record books, Conley ranks first in games played (637), minutes played (20,693), assists (3,578) and steals (963); and second in points (8,635) and three-point field goals made (736) and attempted (1,972).

Conley has led Memphis to six of the franchise’s nine trips to the NBA Playoffs, including its first-ever Western Conference Finals appearance in 2012-13, and the Grizzlies’ current run of six consecutive postseason berths is the third-longest active streak in the league. He has competed in 50 career playoff games (all starts) and has averaged 15.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.42 steals in 37.4 minutes. Among his most memorable postseason moments, he led all scorers with 22 points in a road win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2015 Western Conference Semifinals in his return from a serious facial injury sustained in the first round, which required surgery and forced him to play with a protective mask through the remainder of the playoffs.

Conley has accumulated several accolades for his work both on and off the court during his career. Conley earned NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors in 2012-13 after leading all NBA players and setting a Grizzlies single-season franchise record with 174 steals. Most recently, he was the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy as the winner of the 2015-16 NBA Sportsmanship Award, his second career honor (2013-14), and joined Grant Hill (three times) and Jason Kidd (twice) as the only multiple winners since the award’s inception in 1995-96. He also was a finalist for the 2015-16 Season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award after winning the monthly award in January 2016 for his Jr. NBA work in the Memphis community, ongoing fundraising efforts for Methodist Healthcare Foundation, namely the Methodist Sickle Cell Center, and the advent of his signature Shoe Up! with Mike Conley program for youth.

Conley was drafted by Memphis following his freshman season at The Ohio State University, where he was named First Team All-Big Ten by the media and led the Buckeyes to the 2007 NCAA National Championship Game. Conley remains a supporter of Ohio State, donating $500,000 to the university’s men’s and women’s basketball programs in 2013. The school since has renamed its basketball weight room the Mike Conley Jr. Strength and Conditioning Room.

Growing up in Indianapolis, Ind., Conley was named a 2006 McDonald’s All-American as a senior at Lawrence North High School, where he teamed with 2007 No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Greg Oden to lead the team to three straight state championships and an overall record of 103-7 in his four years as the starting point guard.

Grizzlies sign James Ennis

Grizzlies re-sign James Ennis

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed forward James Ennis, to a multi-year contract.

Ennis (6-7, 210) returns to Memphis after making 10 appearances for the Grizzlies last season. He finished the 2015-16 season with the New Orleans Pelicans, where he played nine games and averaged 15.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.33 steals in 31.3 minutes while shooting 50.0 percent from the field, 48.0 percent from three-point range and 79.2 percent from the free throw line. Ennis shot 24-of-50 from beyond the arc in his nine-game stint in New Orleans, making multiple threes in seven of those games.

The 26-year-old has appeared in 84 regular season games (eight starts) in his two-year NBA career with the Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans and averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 16.4 minutes while shooting 43.1 percent from the field, 37.3 percent from three-point range and 81.3 percent from the foul line.

Ennis also has competed in 24 NBA Development League games (21 starts) for the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, and averaged 18.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.00 steals in 33.3 minutes while shooting 45.4 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range and 69.7 percent from the free throw line.

A native of Ventura, Calif., Ennis was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round (50th overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft following his senior season at California State University, Long Beach where he was named the 2013 Big West Player of the Year. His draft rights were traded by Atlanta to Miami on draft night for a future second round draft pick.

Ennis began his professional career playing for the Perth Wildcats in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL), where he was named the 2013-14 Australian NBL Player of the Year, before playing for Piratas de Quebradillas in the Puerto Rican BSN.

Grizzlies sign Andrew Harrison

Grizzlies sign Andrew Harrison

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the Grizzlies signed rookie guard Andrew Harrison to a multi-year contract.

Harrison (6-6, 213) spent last season playing for the Grizzlies’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, where he appeared in 46 games (42 starts) and averaged 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.46 steals in 35.3 minutes while shooting 43.7 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from three-point range and 78.3 percent from the free throw line. Harrison scored in double figures 41 games, netting 20-or-more points 17 times and 30-or-more points on six occasions. The 21-year-old posted a D-League career-high 36 points on Feb. 16 vs. Canton.

The San Antonio, Tex. native was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round (44th overall) of the 2015 NBA Draft following a two-year collegiate career at the University of Kentucky, where he helped lead the Wildcats to consecutive NCAA Final Fours and was a member of the first team in men’s college basketball history to begin a season with a 38-0 record. Phoenix traded his draft rights to Memphis on draft night for Jon Leuer.

Grizzlies waive Tony Wroten

Grizzlies waive Tony Wroten

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the Grizzlies waived guard Tony Wroten.

Wroten (6-6, 205) was claimed off waivers by Memphis after he was waived by the New York Knicks on June 22. The 23-year-old has appeared in 145 regular season career games (34 starts) in his four-year NBA career with the Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers and averaged 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 18.0 minutes while shooting 41.3 percent from the field, 23.1 percent from three-point range and 64.7 percent from the free throw line.

The Seattle, Wash. native was originally drafted by Memphis in the first round (25th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft following his freshman season at the University of Washington.

Grizzlies sign Chandler Parsons

Grizzlies sign Chandler Parsons

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed forward Chandler Parsons to a multi-year contract. The deal is reportedly a $98.5 million dollar contract over four years.

Parsons (6-10, 230) has appeared in 340 regular season games (324 starts) during his five-year NBA career with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks and has averaged 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.03 steals in 33.3 minutes while shooting 47.4 percent from the field, 38.0 percent from three-point range and 70.5 percent from the free throw line. He has competed in 13 NBA postseason games (all starts) with Houston and Dallas and has averaged 18.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 40.4 minutes while shooting 43.7 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from three-point range and 69.0 percent from the foul line.

Over the last two seasons in Dallas, Parsons appeared in 127 games (117 starts) and averaged 14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 31.4 minutes while shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from three-point range and 68.4 percent from the free throw line during his tenure with the Mavericks. The 27-year-old set career highs in both field goal percentage (.492) and three-point field goal percentage (.414) last season and was one of just three qualifying players to maintain those percentages in both shooting categories, joining Golden State’s Stephen Curry and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

While playing for Houston, Parsons set his career high in scoring against Memphis with 34 points on Jan. 24, 2014 at the Toyota Center. Parsons made 10 three-pointers – all in the second half – which set an NBA record for threes in a half, a Rockets franchise record for threes in a single game, and a Grizzlies franchise record for threes by an opponent in a single game. Parsons made all 10 three-pointers consecutively starting with his first make at 11:11 left in the third quarter.

The Casselberry, Fla. native was drafted by Houston in the second round (38th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at the University of Florida, where he became the first Gator to be named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 2010-11. He earned 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors with the Rockets.

Deyonta Davis out with foot injury

The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the following medical update for Grizzlies center Deyonta Davis:

While participating in individual workouts in Memphis, Davis developed plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He is expected to miss the first three games at the 2016 Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and will be re-evaluated daily.

Davis (6-11, 239) was selected by Boston in the second round (31st overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft following his freshman season at Michigan State University. His draft rights were subsequently traded to Memphis on draft night.

grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace yesterday announced that the organization has hired Keith Smart and Adam Mazarei as assistant coaches on head coach David Fizdale’s staff.

Smart comes to Memphis with over 25 years of professional basketball experience as either a player or coach, spending the last two seasons (2014-16) working with Fizdale as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, assisting in game management. Smart has served as head coach for three different NBA franchises, guiding the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, and has worked as an assistant coach for those same organizations. Before starting his NBA coaching career with Cleveland, he spent three seasons as head coach of the Continental Basketball Association’s (CBA) Fort Wayne Fury, guiding the team to the first back-to-back winning seasons (1997-99) in franchise history.

A graduate of Indiana University, Smart helped lead the Hoosiers to the 1987 NCAA National Championship and was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four after hitting the game-winning shot with five seconds remaining in the title game against Syracuse. Selected in the second round (41st overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, Smart spent part of his nine-year professional career with the San Antonio Spurs (1988) before playing in the Philippines (1989), World Basketball League (1989-91), CBA (1992, 1995-97), Venezuela (1993) and France (1994).

Mazarei joins Fizdale’s staff after serving as a player development assistant for the Grizzlies for the past three seasons, during which time he assisted with advance and pro personnel scouting. Last summer, he attended the prestigious Grgurich camp, led by respected veteran NBA assistant coach Tim Grgurich, in Las Vegas. Before coming to Memphis, he served as an assistant and associate head coach for three years (2010-13) at Moorpark College in California where his responsibilities included assisting and organizing all scouting, recruiting, practice and game plans as well as player development.

In addition, Mazarei served as a player development coach at the IMPACT Basketball Academy in Las Vegas (2009-13) where he helped train current NBA veterans such as Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross in addition to pre-draft rookies. He holds a master’s degree in athletic administration and coaching from Concordia University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Redlands, where he led the SCIAC Conference in assists per game and paced the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio (5:1) as a senior.

Grizzlies add Tony Wroten

Grizzlies add Tony Wroten

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the Grizzlies claimed guard Tony Wroten off waivers.

Wroten (6-6, 205) holds career averages of 11.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 21.2 minutes in 145 games (34 starts) over four seasons with the Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers. The 23-year-old averaged 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 18.0 minutes in eight games (three starts) last season for the 76ers before being waived on Dec. 24. He finished last season with the New York Knicks after signing on March 16 but did not appear in any games while he rehabbed from injury. He was waived by New York on June 22.

A native of Seattle, Wash., Wroten was originally selected by Memphis in the first round (25th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft following his freshman season at the University of Washington.

New Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Fizdale needs some assistants, and Keith Smart is reportedly in the running. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

The Miami Heat have granted permission to the Memphis Grizzlies to interview assistant coach Keith Smart for a position on the staff of former Heat assistant David Fizdale.

The Heat confirmed Thursday they have been contacted by Memphis since Fizdale took over as coach last week regarding Smart, who was added to Erik Spoelstra’s staff in 2014 on the recommendation of Fizdale. Fizdale and Smart previously had coached together with the Golden State Warriors.

Fizdale was denied permission to interview Heat assistant coach Dan Craig, who is expected to take an elevated position on Spoelstra’s staff next season after this past season coaching the Heat’s minor-league affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, to the NBA Development League championship. Craig previously had served as a Heat assistant coach before the D-League assignment.

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today named David Fizdale as the team’s new head coach.

Here is what the Grizzlies say about Fizdale:

Considered one of the rising stars in NBA coaching ranks, Fizdale comes to Memphis after spending eight seasons (2008-16) with the Miami Heat, including the last two as the assistant head coach and the previous six as an assistant coach under Erik Spoelstra. During that time, Fizdale’s assistance in game preparation, involvement in player development and rapport with the roster played a major role in the Heat’s championship success. Dating back to his first season on the Heat sidelines in 2008-09, Miami won more playoff games (70) and playoff series (15) than any team in the NBA and compiled the league’s second-best regular season (.623) and fourth-best postseason (.619) winning percentages.

Before his tenure in Miami, Fizdale spent four seasons (2004-08) as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks, where he was instrumental in the development of their young players. The Hawks increased their win total in each of his final three seasons and in 2007-08 earned the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 1999. He began his NBA coaching career as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors for one season (2003-04).

Prior to joining the Warriors, Fizdale spent five seasons coaching in the college ranks. After one year (1997-98) in the Heat video department, he started his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of San Diego. After four seasons (1998-2002) with the Toreros, he spent one season (2002-03) as an assistant coach at Fresno State University.

A three-year starter at point guard while playing at the University of San Diego, Fizdale was selected to the All-West Coast Conference team after his senior season in 1996.

The Los Angeles native earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in sociology from San Diego in 1996.

The National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) has named Memphis Grizzlies Head Athletic Trainer and Vice President of Player Care Drew Graham as its 2015-16 Joe O’Toole Athletic Trainer of the Year. The award is chosen each year for exemplary achievement or outstanding service to the NBATA.

Graham, who recently concluded his 10th season as the Grizzlies’ head athletic trainer, has been on the executive committee and foundation committee for the last four years.

“Every year the NBATA recognizes a Head Athletic Trainer for exemplary achievement or outstanding service to the NBA and the NBATA,” said Kevin Johnson, Chairman of the NBATA and Head Athletic Trainer of the Philadelphia 76ers. “Drew Graham’s professionalism, knowledge and work ethic has made him our Trainer of the Year.”

Graham joined the Grizzlies in 2006 after working the previous six seasons (2000-06) as an assistant athletic trainer/strength and conditioning coach with the New Jersey Nets. In addition to his NBA experience, Graham served three years (1997-2000 as the director of athletic training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex and three years (1994-97) as an athletic trainer for the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals. Before beginning his career in professional sports, Graham worked for four years at The Ohio State University as an athletic trainer for men’s hockey (1994-95), football (1993-94) and baseball (1992-93).

“When there is an award given from your peers who know what your day and season consists of, there really isn’t anything more special,” Graham said. “I want to thank the NBATA, the Memphis Grizzlies and the entire medical staff I work with every day. Without their help, I wouldn’t have received this award.”

The award is named for Joe O’Toole, the long-time former head athletic trainer for the Atlanta Hawks who is regarded as the father of the NBATA.

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