Archive for June, 2012

Dwight Howard wants trade to Nets, again

dwight howard

Dwight Howard met with new Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan on Friday and told him he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Howard and Hennigan sat down face to face in Los Angeles, meeting for the first time since Hennigan became Orlando’s GM nearly two weeks ago.

Hennigan was noncommital when Howard told him he wants to be traded to Brooklyn, sources said.

Hennigan did not tell Howard whether he would trade him. His intentions were merely to hear the thoughts of the Magic superstar.

Howard picked up the option for the final year of his contract with Orlando on March 15. But since then, he has grown increasingly disgruntled with the organization, even telling people close to him that he feels the Magic blackmailed him into signing the “opt-in” clause.

– Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN.com

michael beasley

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team will not extended qualifying offers to forwards Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. With Minnesota not extending qualifying offers to Beasley and Randolph by today’s deadline, both players will become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Beasley, a 6-10 forward, has averaged 16.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in two seasons with Minnesota. Acquired from the Miami Heat on July 12, 2010, Beasley averaged a career-high 19.2 ppg in 2010-11, his first season with the Wolves. Originally selected No. 2 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by Miami, Beasley owns career averages of 15.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 279 contests over four NBA seasons.

In his second season with the Wolves, Randolph, a 6-11 forward, totaled averages of 7.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 34 games (five starts) during the 2011-12 campaign. Acquired on Feb. 22, 2011 from the New York Knicks, Randolph has averaged 9.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 57 games with the Wolves. Randolph owns career averages of 8.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 170 games (38 starts) with Golden State, New York and Minnesota. He was originally selected by the Warriors with the 14th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have extended qualifying offers to center Semih Erden, guard/forward Alonzo Gee and forward Luke Harangody, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

By extending qualifying offers to each player prior to June 30, Cleveland owns the right to match any offer sheet they may sign with another team.

Erden, 25, averaged 3.5 points on .527 shooting and 2.6 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game in 28 games (nine starts) during the 2011-12 season. Gee, 25, averaged career highs in points (10.6), rebounds (5.1), assists (1.8) and steals (1.3) in 29.0 minutes per game in 63 games (31 starts) this season. Harangody, 24, averaged 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.0 minutes per game in 21 games (one start).

jordan farmar

Jordan Farmar has opted into the final year of his contract, guaranteeing he will earn $4.25 million this season and eating into a bit of Nets’ cap space this summer.

Farmar, 25, averaged 10.4 points and 3.3 assists in a little over 21 minutes per game in 39 games with the Nets last season, his second since signing with them as a free agent in 2010. Farmar spent much of last season dealing with nagging groin injuries that kept him out of the lineup for large stretches of the shortened season, including the final 16 games of the season.

– Reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post (Blog)

Ronny Turiaf opts out of Heat contract

ronny turiaf

The Heat has retained one backup center and lost another. Ronny Turiaf on Saturday opted out of a contract that would have paid him the veteran’s minimum $1.2 million next season. But Miami guaranteed Dexter Pittman’s contract (worth $854,369) by Friday’s deadline.

Turiaf’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said his client always intended to test the market. “He’s worth more than the minimum,” Bartelstein said. “He had a significant hamstring injury” late in the season.

Bartelstein said the Heat has expressed interest in keeping Turiaf and he plans to speak with Heat president Pat Riley. But the Heat very likely would not offer him more than the minimum.

– Reported by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald

roy hibbert

Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard kept the details vague but the team plans to be aggressive with free-agent center Roy Hibbert.

Come Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m., the start of the NBA free agency period, the Pacers will be on Hibbert’s doorstep making their pitch to re-sign the free agent center.

“We’ll absolutely be there,” Pritchard said.

The Pacers will also be meeting with free agent guard George Hill once he returns from vacation.

– Reported by Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star

deron williams

Deron Williams, the most coveted player in this summer’s free-agent class, will meet with representatives from the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks on Monday before deciding which team to sign with this July, according to a source privy to Williams’ plan.

Mavericks free-agent point guard Jason Kidd will also join whichever team Williams chooses, sources said.

Williams is spending the weekend playing golf with Kidd in New York’s Hamptons, sources say, yet one more indicator that the Nets have at least a fighting chance to keep Williams and add Kidd sometime after free agency begins Sunday.

– Reported by Ric Bucher of ESPN.com

chris bosh

Olympic gold medalist Chris Bosh (Miami Heat) yesterday informed USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and USA Basketball Men’s National Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski that because of his strained abdominal muscle he will be unable to play for the USA Basketball National Team this summer.

“I am extremely disappointed to say that due to injury, I cannot represent my country in the 2012 Olympics in London.  The abdominal injury that I suffered in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals is not fully healed. After the Finals, I met with my doctors to determine the best course of action, with the full intent to play in the Olympics. From those meetings, I was advised that rest and additional rehab of my abdominal injury will be necessary in order to avoid the development of a chronic injury,” said Bosh.

“Having enjoyed the honor of representing my country in the 2008 Olympics, when we won the gold medal, I wanted to be part of that experience again.  However, I must follow my doctors’ advice and properly take care of this injury. My thoughts will be with our guys in London in August and I am confident that Coach K and the USA Basketball staff will bring home the gold again to the USA.”

“I got a call this morning from Chris who said the doctor recommended that he not go forward because they were concerned about him re-aggravating the abdominal strain and it could turn out be a chronic situation so he wouldn’t be able to play.” said Colangelo. “He’ll be missed, but we have to move on.  We’ve taken four bullets with the injuries to Rose, (Dwight) Howard, (Dwyane) Wade and now (Chris) Bosh and it will now be a testimony to the infrastructure we put in with the national team roster. I feel very confident about our roster going forward.

“Adversity gives people opportunity, and guess what? It’s going to open up a couple of roster positions,” added Colangelo.

“We’re totally supportive of Chris and hope he recovers fully for his season next year. We’ll miss him; he was really a key player for us in winning the gold in 2008 and we thank him for his service to USA Basketball. I really loved coaching him,” said Krzyzewski.

“It is obvious why we have built a pool of players over the last seven years to take care of situations like these. This opens up opportunities for other players in the pool to show their talents.”

Bosh in the 2008 Olympics averaged 9.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, while shooting 77.4 percent from the field to help the USA finish 8-0 and win the gold medal.  At the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan, he recorded 6.8 points and 4.0 rebounds as the American team finished 8-1 and in possession of the bronze medal.

moe harkless

Harkless didn’t even start to play organized basketball until he was in high school, competing only at the junior-varsity level then. But the goal he had set in his head, even back then, was set. His path went in only one direction — straight to the best basketball league in the world.

That goal became a real possibility during his only season at St. John’s, where Harkless was named the Big East Rookie of the Year after posting averages of 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks. Much of the time the 6-9, 208-pounder was playing the power forward position, a spot the Sixers eventually see him growing into at the NBA level, once his body matures and he puts on weight and perhaps adds another inch or two.

“I see myself on the wing, but whatever it takes, or whatever coach [Doug] Collins asks me to do,” Harkless said. “I’m just excited to be here. In college I was just really focused on doing whatever the team needed me to do. I wasn’t complaining or anything, I was just doing what I had to do. I was playing against a lot of guys who were about 60 pounds heavier than me. But that was OK. Whatever they needed me to do.”

– Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News

jamaal tinsley

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has exercised its option on guard Jamaal Tinsley for the 2012-13 season, and has tendered a qualifying offer to forward Jeremy Evans.

Tinsley (6-3, 190, Iowa State) is a nine-year NBA veteran who has appeared in 473 career games (367 starts) with Indiana, Memphis and Utah, and holds career averages of 9.3 points, 6.4 assists and 1.5 steals in 27.7 minutes.  The former first-round pick (27th overall by the Vancouver in 2001) appeared in 37 games (one start) for the Jazz during the 2011-12 season, his first in Utah, and averaged 3.7 points, 1.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 13.7 minutes.

The 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Champion, Evans (6-9, 194, Western Kentucky) has appeared in 78 games (three starts) over his first two NBA seasons, averaging 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds while shooting .656 from the field.  Originally selected by the Jazz in the second round (55th overall selection) of the 2010 NBA Draft, the Crossett, Ark., native was the first Jazz draft selection ever from Western Kentucky and is also the only player in franchise history to win the slam dunk contest.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30.  A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.

Lamar Odom

The Los Angeles Clippers today acquired forward Lamar Odom from the Dallas Mavericks as part of a four-team trade also involving the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.  The Clippers sent point guard Mo Williams to the Jazz and the draft rights to Furkan Aldemir, the Clippers’ second round selection (53rd overall) in the 2012 NBA Draft to Houston while the Jazz conveyed the draft rights of Tadija Dragicevic, Utah’s second round pick (53rd overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft to Dallas.

To complete the trade, Dallas sent the draft rights of Shan Foster, the Mavericks’ second round selection (51st overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft to the Jazz with Houston sending cash considerations to Dallas.

This marks a return to the Clippers for Odom, who was originally selected by Los Angeles with the fourth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.  In four seasons with the Clippers, Odom tallied 15.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and 36.0 minutes per game.

According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com, “Nine years is a lifetime in the NBA. Since leaving the Clippers as a callow talent brimming with potential, Odom established himself as the game’s premier multi-skilled big man, won two rings with the Los Angeles Lakers, used his celebrity as an adjunct Kardashian to cross over as a star on the shlock-ertainment circuit, consumed heaping amounts of refined sugar before games and, over time, emerged as one of the more interesting personalities in the league.  Odom was devastated when was included in the post-lockout trade last December that would’ve sent him from the Lakers to New Orleans. He was so distraught that, when the deal wasn’t consummated, the Lakers felt compelled to send him away to Dallas for nothing rather than deal with the emotional fallout. In Dallas, Odom found another basketball hell, one of his own creation. After a series of incidents, the Mavericks finally told him to take a walk a few weeks before the playoffs. Mark Cuban called it “addition by subtraction.”

Odom left the Clippers as a restricted free agent, joining the Miami Heat prior to the start of the 2003-04 season.  After one season in Miami, Odom was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers along with current Clipper forward Caron Butler in the multi-player deal that sent Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat.

The winner of the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award following a strong 2010-11 season with the Lakers, Odom has averaged 14.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.0 blocks and 34.7 minutes over his 13-year NBA career.  Odom played a crucial role for the Lakers during their back-to-back NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010.

After seven seasons with the Lakers, Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on December 11, 2011.  Odom tallied 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 20.5 minutes in 50 games played for the Mavericks last season.

mo williams

A 2009 NBA All-Star selection, Williams (6-1, 195, Alabama) is entering his 10th NBA season and has appeared in 589 career games (432 starts), owning career averages of 13.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 30.4 minutes with Utah, Milwaukee, Cleveland and the Clippers.  He has also played in 41 career playoff games (25 starts) and averaged 12.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists.  This past season Williams saw action in 52 games (one start) for the Clippers, averaging 13.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 28.3 minutes while helping L.A. to the best record in franchise history and a trip to the Western Conference Semifinals.

The 29-year-old Jackson, Miss., native was originally selected by the Jazz in the second round (47th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft.  As a rookie in 2003-04, his only season with the Jazz, Williams appeared in 57 games (no starts) and averaged 5.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 13.5 minutes.  His best statistical NBA season came with Cleveland during the 2008-09 season, when he averaged a career-high 17.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists and hit .436 (183-420) from three-point range in 81 games (all starts) and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star before helping lead the Cavaliers to the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.

Foster (6-6, 205) was the 51st overall selection of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Mavericks. He finished his four-year career at Vanderbilt as the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,011 points) and first in three-pointers made (367). He was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 2008. Foster spent last season playing overseas for Belfius Mons-Hainaut in Belgium.

Dragicevic (6-9, 246) was the 53rd overall pick in the 2008 Draft by the Utah Jazz. He is a native of Serbia and averaged 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for Angelico Biella in Italy.

The Orlando Magic have named Scott Perry vice president/assistant general manager and Matt Lloyd assistant general manager, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Perry has served as vice president of basketball operations of the Detroit Pistons for the last four years.  Lloyd spent 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, the last five as the team’s director of college scouting.

“We are ecstatic to add Scott (Perry) and Matt (Lloyd) to our Orlando Magic family,” Hennigan said.  “Scott and Matt bring multi-dimensional skillsets to our front office, and they both will have tremendous input in how we shape this organization going forward.”

With Detroit, Perry was responsible for directing day-to-day operations of the basketball operations department, handling player personnel issues and assisting in roster development.

Perry’s professional career began during the summer of 2000, joining the Pistons as a college scout.  He was then promoted to director of player personnel in June of 2002, a position he held for five years.  Detroit captured the NBA World Championship in 2004.  In 2007-08, Perry served as assistant general manager for the Seattle Supersonics.

Prior to joining the Pistons, Perry spent three seasons as head coach at Eastern Kentucky University from 1997-2000.  He also spent nine seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Michigan, University of California and Detroit Mercy.

Perry graduated from Wayne State in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.  He was a captain and all-conference basketball player his senior year. Recruited to play at the University of Oregon by former NBA coach Jim O’Brien and NBA executive Stu Jackson, Perry spent his freshman year with the Ducks prior to transferring.

Perry’s father, Lowell, was the first black assistant coach in the NFL, hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957.

As director of college scouting for Chicago, Lloyd oversaw the scouting and information compilation of prospects for the NBA Draft, along with statistical analysis of pro and amateur players.  He implemented and maintained a database which organized scouting information.

Lloyd began with the Bulls in 1994 as a game-day and special projects employee in the video room.  He joined the team full-time in 1999 and was the team’s media services coordinator for four seasons.  Lloyd then joined the basketball operations department in 2003, and served as senior manager of basketball operations/scout for four seasons.

In addition, Lloyd also worked as a game-day employee with the Chicago White Sox in their video department for five years.

Prior to joining the Bulls full-time, Lloyd spent one year (1998-99) as the assistant director of information services for Conference USA, and a year-and-a-half (1997-98) as director of media services for the Arena Football League.  He also completed an internship at ESPN during his senior year of college.

Lloyd graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1996, where he worked for three years in the athletic department.

jerryd bayless

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents guard Jerryd Bayless and guard-forward Sonny Weems.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its rights of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent it must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30. A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal in favour of the NBA team for which the player last played.

Bayless averaged career highs of 11.4 points, 3.8 assists and 22.7 minutes in 31 games last season. In 11 starts, he upped his averages to 17.8 points, 5.3 assists and 34.5 minutes. He contributed  21.8 points, 7.6 assists and 37.6 minutes in a stretch of five consecutive starts from March 11-17, shooting .543 (38-70) from the field.

Bayless was acquired from New Orleans on November 20, 2010. In 91 appearances with Toronto, he has averaged 10.4 points, 3.9 assists and 22.6 minutes.

Weems spent the 2011-12 season with Zalgiris in the Lithuanian league. He averaged 10.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16 VTB League outings and 15.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in five Euroleague contests.

Weems averaged career highs in points (9.2) and minutes (23.9) in 59 games with the Raptors in 2010-11. In a career-best 28 starts, he posted averages of 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 29.8 minutes. He scored in double figures 27 times.

Weems has appeared in 140 games with Denver and Toronto in his three NBA campaigns, averaging 7.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 20.3 minutes. He joined the Raptors in a trade from Milwaukee on August 18, 2009.

The team also announced it will not tender a qualifying offer to centre Solomon Alabi.

devin ebanks

The Los Angeles Lakers have extended qualifying offers to forward Devin Ebanks and guard Darius Morris, making them both restricted free agents, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

A second year player out of West Virginia, Ebanks was selected by the Lakers in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft. The 6-9 forward appeared in 24 games (12 starts) with the Lakers last season, averaging 4.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 16.5 minutes. Ebanks also appeared in three games for the D-Fenders, averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 32.0 minutes.

Ebanks has career averages of 3.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.30 assists in 44 games.

Selected by the Lakers in the second round (41st overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft, Morris appeared in 19 regular season games for the Lakers last season, averaging 2.4 points and 1.1 assists in 8.9 minutes. In addition to his role with the Lakers, Morris played in one game with the D-Fenders, where he recorded 21 points, one rebound and four assists in 28 minutes of play.

The 6-4 guard out of the University of Michigan, played two seasons for the Wolverines where he averaged 9.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists. An All-Big Ten Third Team selection during his sophomore year, Morris also set a Michigan record for assists in a single season (235).

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30. A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.

DJ Augustin

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has extended qualifying offers to guard D.J. Augustin and forward Derrick Brown, making them restricted free agents. The qualifying offers allow the Bobcats to match any offer they receive from another team.

Augustin was initially selected by the Bobcats with the ninth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.  He averaged 11.1 points and a career-high 6.4 assists in 29.3 minutes per game during the 2011-12 season.  In his four NBA seasons, Augustin has played in 282 games, averaging 10.9 points and 4.4 assists in 26.8 minutes, and is the Bobcats career leader in free-throw percentage (.876).

Brown was selected by the Bobcats with the 40th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.  He averaged career bests of 8.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 22.2 minutes in 65 games played last season.  In 171 games over three NBA seasons with the Bobcats and Knicks, he has career averages of 5.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 14.9 minutes played.

Timberwolves want to trade for Pau Gasol

pau gasol

The Minnesota Timberwolves are trying hard to land Spanish forward Pau Gasol.

If they have to part with the highest draft choice in franchise history after just one season, the Wolves appear ready to do it.

That much became clear leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday, when Minnesota offered Derrick Williams in hopes of landing the second pick from the Charlotte Bobcats to help get Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers, two people with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.

The people requested anonymity because the talks were meant to remain private. The deal never came together before the draft, and the Bobcats stayed at No. 2 and took Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

The Timberwolves are expected to continue their pursuit of Gasol in hopes of putting the four-time NBA All-Star with fellow Spaniard Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love on a revamped roster aimed at returning the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

marreese speights

The Memphis Grizzlies extended qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur, Grizzlies General Manger and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Speights (6-10, 255) set career highs in scoring (8.8 points), rebounding (6.2) and minutes (22.4) in 60 games (54 starts) last season after being acquired by Memphis from the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 4, 2012 in a three-team trade that also included the New Orleans Hornets.  The 24-year-old averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.3 minutes during the Grizzlies’ seven-game first-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

The St. Petersburg, Fla. native holds NBA career averages of 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 16.4 minutes in 265 games (58 starts) over four seasons with the Grizzlies and 76ers.  Philadelphia selected Speights with the No. 16 overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Arthur (6-9, 235) posted career bests in scoring (9.1 points), blocks (0.79), field goal percentage (.497), free throw percentage (.813) and minutes (20.1) in 80 games (nine starts) during the 2010-11 season before a torn right Achilles sustained on Dec. 18, 2011 caused the 24-year-old to miss the entire 2011-12 season.

The Dallas native owns NBA career averages of 6.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 18.8 minutes in 188 games (74 starts) with the Grizzlies.  After leading the Kansas Jayhawks to the 2008 NCAA National Championship, Arthur was selected by New Orleans with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and traded to Memphis on draft night.

Extending a qualifying offer prior to the June 30 deadline gives Memphis the ability to match any offer sheet a player signs with another team during the offseason.

Pistons land Andre Drummond in NBA Draft

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club has selected Andre Drummond with the with the ninth pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft held on Thursday, June 28.  The club also selected Khris Middleton with the 39th pick and Kim English with the 44th pick in the second round.

“We are pleased to draft Andre Drummond with the number nine pick,” said Joe Dumars, Pistons President of Basketball Operations. “He’s a player with good size and physical tools and we look forward to seeing him grow within our organization.  We’re real pleased to add Khris Middleton and Kim English in the second round.  They’re two young players that will give us quality depth at the wing positions.”

Drummond, a 6-11, 279-pound center from the University of Connecticut, averaged 10.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 2.7 blocks as a freshman for the Huskies.  In 34 games, he shot a team-high 53.8% from the field and ranked third in blocks (2.7) in the Big East Conference.  Drummond recorded a season-high 24 points (11-12 FG), eight rebounds and five blocks vs. Holy Cross (12/18).  Drummond also earned two Big East Big East Rookie of the Week honors last season by scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds vs. West Virginia (1/9) and 18 points (9-12 FG) with seven rebounds at Georgetown (2/1).  A native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., he was rated the No.1 high school prospect by Scout.com, No.2 in the ESPNU Top-100 and led St. Thomas More (Conn.) to the 2011 Prep National Championship.

Middleton, a 6-7 junior from Texas A&M, averaged 13.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season.  In 87 career games, he averaged 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 rebounds as a collegian.  Middleton averaged 14.4 points and 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a sophomore and earned Second Team All-Big 12 and All-Districts selections.

English played four seasons at Missouri and averaged 14.1 points (.521 FG), 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists as a senior.  He scored in double figures in 26-of-35 games last season including seven games with 20-plus points.  English shot 39.4% from beyond the arc last season and shot better than 36.0% from three-point range in each of his four years.  He earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors as a senior and was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament.

Thunder select Perry Jones in 2012 Draft

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Perry Jones III with the 28th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft held this evening at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Jones III (6-11, 235 pounds), appeared in 63 games during his two season at Baylor University and registered averages of 13.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 32.2 minutes per game. As a sophomore, Jones III earned AP All-American Honorable Mention honors before leading Baylor to an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament.

This past season, Jones III recorded nine double-doubles and received Second-Team All-Big 12 honors by the media and Big 12 All-Tournament First Team honors. During the Big 12 tournament, Jones III averaged 22.5 points and 9.6 rebounds in three games.

As a freshman, Jones III was named a unanimous Big 12 All-Rookie selection as he became the first player in Baylor history to be named a USBWA Freshman All-American.

In high school, Jones III was named a Parade, McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American while playing at Duncanville High School in Texas.

The Phoenix Suns tonight selected University of North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall with the 13th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

“We are ecstatic, as happy as we were last year,” said Suns General Manager Lance Blanks.   “Looking at our board and who was there at the 13th pick, that was the guy we were targeting all along.  Kendall came here and had a wonderful visit.  He came back, we got a second look at him, and quite frankly, Kendall represents where we are as an organization.  Don’t read too far into this as far as free agency—he represents everything we want to be about, as a player and as a person.  He’s a winner.”

Marshall, a 6-4, 195-pound pure point guard, was a two-year performer at North Carolina where this season he earned the 2012 Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard after serving as the floor general for the nation’s second-highest scoring offense (82.0; Iona, 83.3).  An unselfish and accurate passer, Marshall averaged an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) single-season record 9.8 assists, second-most in the nation, and the eighth-highest average in NCAA history overall.  In doing so, he established an NCAA record for the highest assist average by a sophomore in history and a single-season ACC record for total assists (311).

An Associated Press Third-Team All-American and CBS Sports.com First Team All-America selection, Marshall earned Second-Team All-ACC honors in 2011-12 and was named Third-Team All-ACC as a freshman.  The 20-year-old Marshall finished his collegiate career as the all-time assist average leader (7.96) at North Carolina’s decorated program, and as the owner of the best assist-to-turnover ratio in conference history (3.01). He led the conference in assists in both of his collegiate seasons, and became just the second Tar Heel ever to do so as a freshman.

A capable all-around player, Marshall established career averages of 7.2 points, 8.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 73 career games.  He is a career 44.5 percent shooter overall, including 36.4 percent from three-point range.  As a sophomore, he averaged 8.1 points, 9.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals while making 46.7 percent of his shots overall.

Basketball blog