Archive for June 25th, 2011

Leandro Barbosa

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday guard Leandro Barbosa has exercised his contract option year for the 2011-12 NBA season.

Barbosa, 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, averaged 13.3 points, 2.1 assists and 24.1 minutes in 58 games in the 2010-11 season, his first with the Raptors. He led the team in bench points on 36 occasions. He also ranked second on the team in 3FGM (72) and third in scoring.

The 28-year-old native of Sao Paulo, Brazil has averaged 12.7 points, 2.3 assists and 25.0 minutes in 524 regular season games in his eight-year NBA career. He was voted 2006-07 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

Guard Isaiah Thomas, pride of the University of Washington, was drafted #60 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. He was the last pick of the entire event. The kid has a bright future in life and basketball.

Here are Isaiah Thomas quotes from draft night:

On being drafted: “I’m very excited. You know me. That’s all I wanted. All I needed was a chance…and I got it. I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

How nerve-wracking was it to have to wait so long to hear your name called: “It was real nerve-wracking because I didn’t expect to go that late. Even my agent was a little surprised because we heard different things coming up into the draft. Other than that, it was just a blessing to get picked. I’m just glad. God has a plan for me and He chose for me to get picked by Sacramento. It’s a great organization and it’s a young team. I’m just ready to get after it.”

How did the draft process go with Sacramento and what do you know about them: “I know a little bit. I had two of my good friends Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes play there in previous years, so I know a little bit. I had a great workout there. It was one of my first workouts and I shot the ball well and just competed at a high level. They liked that. I talked to Coach Paul Westphal today and one of the Maloof brothers after they selected me and they were surprised that I dropped that late, but they were also excited. They told me they can’t wait to meet me and can’t wait to get things going because they the type of player I am. I’m just happy because everybody doesn’t get this opportunity.”

Will being selected as the last pick add to the chip that is already on your shoulder?: “Yes. You know it will. I will be in the gym tomorrow. While I’m disappointed that some of the player got chosen ahead of me, at the same time, everything happens for a reason. I’m just ready to get after it and show the other 29 teams that they made a mistake.”

How did you spend the draft?: “I was on my own. I was just waiting for my agent to call. I didn’t watch the draft. I was looking at (the TV) every few minutes, but I was just on my own playing the waiting game until my time came.”

When did you know you were going to be selected?: “During the 58th pick I found out that Sacramento was going to take me. My agent called me and I was just excited. I shed a little tear with my family members. I got back home (to his Seattle apartment) right as my agent called. He called me right as I was walking up to my family members. It was just a blessing. It is a moment I will cherish for my life, but at the same time I got my foot in the door and now I’m going to knock it down.”

What were you doing prior to the draft?: “I was up at the UW all day. I was just chilling with my teammates…Scott Suggs, Darnell (Gant), Dez (Desmond Simmons). We were in the gym for like four hours. We were just chilling and talking. It was good. I had my UW shirt on when I was drafted…I’m in purple now…so you know I’m going to always stay true to my school.”

What’s your message to Husky and Kings fans?: “Husky fans, I hope you stay rooting for me and Kings’ fans, I’m going to bring a winner’s mentality and give 110 percent every chance I get.”

The AP reports:

Russian tycoon and New Jersey Nets basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov was confirmed Saturday as the new head of a Kremlin-friendly political party.

The 46-year-old billionaire was all but unanimously elected head of the Right Cause party by its members.

Right Cause is seen as a Kremlin creation designed to lure opposition-minded, pro-business voters, while building an illusion of competition with the ruling United Russia party ahead December’s parliamentary elections.

Prokhorov said last month he was targeting second place in that vote.

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia needs more political competition, but the Justice Ministry made a mockery of that only days later when it denied registration to a real opposition party.

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