Archive for September 29th, 2008

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has signed free agent Cory Underwood to replace Justin Reed on the Sixers’ training camp roster.

Last season, Underwood (6-10, 240) played for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League.  He was coached by Jeff Ruland, who was named an assistant coach for the Sixers back in August.  In 36 games with 13 starts for the T-Birds, Underwood averaged 6.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game while shooting 42.0% from the floor and 66.1% from the line.

Since finishing his collegiate career at Southern University of New Orleans in 2003, Underwood has played in numerous leagues, including the ABA (American Basketball Association), the USBL (United States Basketball League), WBA (World Basketball Association), CBA (Continental Basketball Association) as well as leagues in both Brazil and Poland.

The native of Queens is also a frequent participant in the Entertainers Basketball Classic at Rucker Park in New York City and is known as “The Undertaker.”

Thunder sign regional TV deal

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Fox Sports Networks today announced that they have reached a multi-year agreement providing Fox with the regional television rights to Thunder Basketball.  The announcement was made by Thunder Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Ken Adelson and Fox Sports Southwest Senior Vice President/General Manager Jon Heidtke.

In addition, Fox announced that its regional sports network currently serving the Oklahoma market  (FSN Southwest, COX Ch 37 on basic cable in OKC) will be re-launched as “Fox Sports Oklahoma” in October to coincide with the start of the Thunder’s first season in Oklahoma City.  The new network is an effort by Fox to more closely reflect the interests of the Oklahoma market and to strengthen its connection with local sports fans.  Also, to emphasize the new TV partnership with Fox Sports, game broadcasts will be branded “FS Thunder” in its on-screen graphics.

During the 2008-09 season Fox Sports Oklahoma will carry 65 Thunder games. The rest of the Thunder schedule will be broadcast on a still-to-be named local partner. “Our fans will be able to watch every Thunder Basketball game on television, home and away,” Adelson said. The full season television schedule will be released in coming days.

This new partnership between Fox and the Thunder was forged to ensure that Thunder games would be widely available to fans throughout Oklahoma.  Fox Sports Oklahoma will reach more than one million cable and satellite television homes throughout every TV market in Oklahoma.

“Fox Sports is the leader in regional sports television and we are proud and excited to partner with them,” Adelson said. “They are innovative, creative and offer state of the art production techniques. We have attained our goal of offering our fans a high quality, exciting, easily accessible TV broadcast.”

More than half of the Thunder games on Fox Sports Oklahoma will be in HD (high-definition) during the 2008-09 season, with additional HD broadcasts scheduled for the following season. For the Thunder broadcasts, Brian Davis is the play-by-play announcer and 14-year NBA veteran player Grant Long serves as Thunder analyst.

“This is an exciting time for Oklahoma sports fans and we’re thrilled to be on the ground floor as the Thunder’s new television partner,” Heidtke said. “We look forward to showcasing their games and helping to grow the team’s fan base throughout the state. We’re committed to building Fox Sports Oklahoma into the premier destination for local sports programming.”

Fox Sports Oklahoma will also offer additional Thunder programming such as THUNDER LIVE pre- and post-game shows and a weekly magazine show. In addition to Thunder telecasts, Fox Sports Oklahoma will offer a strong lineup of local sports programming, including select University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football, basketball, and Olympic sports events, local coaches shows, and high school events beginning this year from the Oklahoma Secondary School Athletics Association. Fox Sports Oklahoma will also feature original programming and specials, such as In My Own Words, Under the Lights, and Spotlight, highlighting local athletes, coaches, and teams.  Fox Sports Oklahoma will become the 17th regional sports network in the Fox Sports Networks family.

Michael Beasley strains groin

The Palm Beach Post reports — Heat first-round draft pick Michael Beasley missed most of Monday’s first practice session after suffering a mild left groin strain. “Just a little sore,” coach Erik Spoelstra said when asked about Beasley’s injury. “Really precautionary. He started practice, did dummy offense and moved around a little.” Beasley was hurt during a five-on-five drill. He watched from the sideline along with fellow forward Udonis Haslem, who is recovering from a foot injury.

The South Florida Sun-Sentile reports — Beasley said he still finds himself deferring to the veterans during drills. “I’m a little hesitant sometimes, because we’ve got guys like Dwyane and Shawn Marion and U.D.,” he said. “But Dwyane told me to play my game, don’t think about nothing, don’t think about too much.”

Stephon Marbury sounds off

The AP reports — Stephon Marbury doesn’t care. He says the New York Knicks can get rid of him. In remarks filled with contradictions and accusations Monday, the point guard stressed that the team’s problems last year went well beyond him… “I was being blamed for losses and I wasn’t even playing,” Marbury said… “I have no feelings of what they’re doing, it doesn’t matter to me. Because once I get on the basketball court, I’ll show what I can do and that’ll be that. And if they feel like they have plans to do something differently, that’s OK. I understand that it’s a business and I’m not taking it personally at all.” … “I’m every disease that you could possibly think of,” Marbury said. “So for me, I just want to approach it with playing basketball at a high level and I want to be able to change the way people think.” … “I’m going to play basketball and I’m going to play at a high level,” Marbury said. “So it doesn’t matter to me. As long as I get on the court and once I get my opportunity, that’s it. Watch me play this year.”

Jazz exercise Ronnie Brewer option

The Salt Lake Tribune (Ross Siler) reports –  Although they had until Oct. 31 to do so, the Jazz have exercised the fourth-year option in guard Ronnie Brewer’s contract, general manager Kevin O’Connor said Monday at the team’s annual media day. “We’ll do it now and kind of make him feel like he understands that the work he did this summer is rewarded,” O’Connor said, “and the work he did last summer and last year is rewarded.” Brewer took over as the Jazz’s starting shooting guard last season and went on to average 12.0 points and 2.9 rebounds. He gained an additional 10 to 12 pounds from last season and weighed in Monday at 235 pounds.

Michael Ruffin to Bulls training camp

The Rocky Mountain News (Chris Tomasson) reports: Forward Michael Ruffin was hoping to stick around his hometown in the hope his parents could see him play regularly. Instead, the 1995 Cherry Creek High School graduate will go to training camp with Chicago rather than the Nuggets. Ruffin didn’t feel good about his chances of making the roster with a nonguaranteed contract on the cost-cutting Nuggets, who have 13 players with guaranteed deals and aren’t certain if anybody else will be kept.

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