Archive for March 29th, 2012

University of North Carolina junior forward John Henson, sophomore forward Harrison Barnes and sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall will enter the 2012 NBA Draft.

“It’s a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball,” says head coach Roy Williams. “On a very small stage, it’s a sad day for me because I won’t get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well.

“When I recruit a young man I talk to them about their ultimate goals and each of them are taking that next step toward reaching the goals they spoke to me about. I am extremely pleased for them. They have meant so much to our basketball program and theUniversity of North Carolina. I thank them for everything they have contributed to Carolina Basketball.

“I really look forward to watching Harrison, John and Kendall play in the NBA. I know theywill be very successful. They have been and will always be great Tar Heels.”

Henson was the ACC’s defensive player of the year in 2011 and 2012 and earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior. He played in 109 games and finished with1,124 points, 885 rebounds (11th all-time at UNC) and 279 blocks, the second-most in school history. He is first all-time at Carolina with 2.56 blocked shots per game.

“I’ve loved my three years at Carolina, and now I’m ready to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA,” says Henson. “It’s tough to leave because I love my teammates, coaches and UNC. I wish we’d been able to bring our fans a national championship, but it wasn’t meant to be. I am proud of what we accomplished, especially the last two years.

“I plan to finish working toward my degree. That’s important to my parents, CoachWilliams and me. I can’t say enough about how much I’ve enjoyed my experience in Chapel Hill. This was a big decision and it will be a big change, but I’m ready.

“I’d like to thank my parents, Coach Williams and his staff and all of my teammates for everything they’ve done to get me ready for this moment. I’d also like to thank all the Carolina fans who have given us so much support over the lastthree years.”

Barnes earned first-team All-ACC honors and second-team All-America honors (NABC) as a sophomore after leading Carolina in scoring for the second straight year. The Ames, Iowa, native scored 1,228 points in 75 games, an average of 16.4 per contest.

“I’m honored and blessed to have the opportunity to compete in the NBA,” says Barnes. “The love and respect I have for basketball fuel the drive toward my ultimate goal - to experience an illustrious career in the NBA. I have consulted with Coach Williams and my family, and although it was a difficult decision, I have decided to enter this year’s NBA draft.

“Chapel Hill is a special place. Over the past two years I’ve enjoyed every single moment of my Tar Heel experience. The road we took to reach the Elite 8 in 2011 and again in 2012 were great team accomplishments. I am thankful to UNC fans, my teammates, and to have played for Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams and the entire coaching staff. Now it’s time for the next course of my journey. Although I may be giving up my eligibility, I will continue to pursue my degree. I love this university and will always be a Tar Heel.”

Marshall won the 2012 Bob Cousy Award as the top point guard in the nation and was a first-team All-America by CBSSports.com. The Dumfries, Va., native set the ACC’ssingle-season assist record this year with 351, the fourth-most in NCAA history. He also set ACC single-season records with 9.75 assists per game and 17 double-figure assist games. He is Carolina’s all-time leader in assist per game (7.96) and the ACC’s career leader in assist-turnover ratio (3.01). He is second in ACC history in assists per game.

“I would like to thank my family, coaches, teammates and the Tar Heel Nation for all their support,” says Marshall. “It’s been the greatest two years of my life. I have always put the team before myself and I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished. My life long dream has been to play basketball at the highestlevel possible and I feel now is my greatest opportunity to fulfill this goal. I will always be a Tar Heel at heart and I will carry the experiences that I’ve had here both on and off the court with me for the rest of my life.”

The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that they have assigned rookie guard Travis Leslie to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League.

This marks Leslie’s second stint with the Jam this season. In four games played with Bakersfield from March 2nd through March 11th, Leslie tallied 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 21.0 minutes per game.

The 47th overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, Leslie has averaged 1.4 points and 4.5 minutes in 10 games played for the Clippers this season.

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley reiterated today his doubt that the franchise will be sold anytime soon.

How can Heisley be so sure?

He’s instructed his attorney, Stan Meadows, to stop negotiating with Oracle founder Larry Ellison because of Ellison’s repeated overtures about relocating the team.

“We’re not even considering Ellison,” Heisley said. “This team cannot be moved.”

Ellison recently signed a confidentiality agreement with Heisley and began an exploratory process to buy the Grizzlies. It was at least the third time Ellison inquired about the team over the past several years.

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

Shelden Williams

Nets center Shelden Williams, who suffered an injury to his right eye in Wednesday’s Nets victory over the Indiana Pacers at Prudential Center, did not make the trip with the team to the West Coast today and on its official injury report, the team said it will update his condition April 5, after the trip.

Williams was injured in the second quarter of the game, when he was apparently poked in the eye by Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough. He left the game immediately and was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for further evaluation. The team did not say whether he spent the night in the hospital, nor did it give any details about the type or severity of injury Williams suffered.

Williams is the only Net to have played in each of the team’s first 52 games. He has started 30 of those, and has averaged 4.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game.

– Reported by Colin Stephenson of the Newark Star-Ledger

Kevin Love drops 40 and 19 on Bobcats

Kevin Love
kevin love
Beast Mode

Kevin Love had 40 points and 19 rebounds Wednesday night to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to an 88-83 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

It was Love’s third-highest point total in March, and pushed his scoring average in 15 games in the month to 31.2.

Love has scored at least 20 points in 14 of his last 15 games and has 44 double-doubles on the season, including nine straight games.

Before the game, Bobcats coach Paul Silas said Love without question should be considered an MVP candidate and his opinion didn’t change after he dominated his young big men Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens.

“If he continues to do what he’s doing for a good portion of his career he’s going to be one of the best ever,” Silas said. “He’s just tenacious. That ball goes up and he’s there. And he’s strong… The young boys we have are not ready for that. So that makes it difficult.”

As for all of the MVP talk, Love said, “In some ways it’s warranted, but we need to win a lot more games in order to be anywhere close to that.”

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

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