Archive for August 28th, 2012

For the first time since he underwent July 9 arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has resumed court work.

Says who? Says Wade.

Tuesday evening, during the break between his charity events this past weekend in Chicago and his upcoming book tour, Wade posted on Twitter:

“Whew..first day on the court since my surgery..oh and that look on my face was b4 the workout started..haa.”

Wade then posted a picture (at left) of him working out with Heat assistant coach David Fizdale.

– Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Don Nelson happy to be retired

Don Nelson never knew just how much he would love retirement. In the Maui plantation town of Paia, he is far from the pressures of the fast-paced NBA lifestyle in which he thrived to become the game’s all-time winningest coach.

These days, he’s Nellie, the entrepreneur. From his new shaved ice stand, to coffee plants and koa trees, to all his rental properties and a wedding venue in the works right off the beach, the 72-year-old Nelson is about as far removed from his old basketball life as he could be.

– Reported by Janie McCauley of the Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks announced today that Head Coach Larry Drew has added Kenny Atkinson to his staff as Assistant Coach/Player Development, and Bob Weiss as Assistant Coach/Consultant. They join Assistant Coaches Lester Conner and Bob Bender, and Player Development Instructor Nick Van Exel on the Hawks’ bench. In addition, Rick Sund has been named Senior Advisor, Basketball Operations, and Jeff Watkinson as Atlanta’s Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Atkinson comes to Atlanta after spending the last four years as an assistant with the New York Knicks where he helped the team reach the playoffs each of the last two seasons. Prior to joining the Knicks staff, he spent the 2007-08 campaign serving as the Director of Player Development for the Houston Rockets.

“Kenny has proven to be very successful in developing young players in this league, and his energy and enthusiasm are contagious,” Drew said. “We’re excited to add another dedicated and hard-working coach and teacher.”

Before starting his NBA coaching career, Atkinson spent three years as Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach for Paris Basket Racing Club in France (2004-06) and the summer of 2006 as Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach for the national team of the Republic of Georgia. He was also a Reebok EuroCamp Coach in Treviso, Italy during the summers of 2005-through-2010.

A standout collegiate player at the University of Richmond, Atkinson was an All-CAA First Team selection as a junior and senior (1989-90) and helped the Spiders to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1988. He went on to play professionally in France, Germany and Spain from 1991-2004.

Weiss is a former head coach for the Hawks (1990-93), San Antonio (1986-88), LA Clippers (1993-94) and Seattle (2005-06), and also spent time as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Braves, Dallas, San Antonio and Orlando. In 2008, Weiss coached Shanxi Zhongyu in the Chinese Basketball Association.

“Bob has been involved with the NBA game a long time, and brings a wealth of experience,” Drew said. “I’m looking forward to the contributions he’ll make to our staff.”

The 22nd overall pick in the 1965 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Weiss played 12 NBA seasons for the Sixers, Seattle, Milwaukee, Chicago, Buffalo and Washington, averaging 7.6 ppg in 783 regular season contests.

Sund has over 37 years of NBA experience, including the last four years as Atlanta’s Executive Vice President/GM. The Hawks posted a record of 184-128 under his leadership, reaching the playoffs in each of his four seasons, and advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals three times. He’s also spent time as an executive with Milwaukee, Dallas, Detroit and Seattle.

He was a two-sport athlete at Northwestern University, where in basketball (as a 6-4 guard) he earned CoSIDA Academic All-America (third team) honors in 1973, and was twice named academic All-Big Ten, while also seeing action as a tight end and wide receiver on the football team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern.

Watkinson owned his own business for the last two years, working with NBA players on their strength, conditioning and basketball development. Formerly the strength and conditioning coach at Indiana University from 2006-10, he has held similar positions at Missouri, Clemson, Charlotte and College of Charleston.

The suburban Chicago native began his college studies in 1989 at Kishwaukee College in Illinois, earning an associate’s degree in pre-medicine. He then earned a baseball scholarship to North Carolina State, playing two years with the baseball team and graduating with a pre-medicine degree in 1993. Watkinson earned his master’s in exercise science from Indiana in 1996.

San Antonio Spurs hire Ime Udoka as an assistant coach

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that Ime Udoka has been named an assistant coach.

“Ime Udoka possesses an outstanding work ethic as well as a natural inclination to teach. We are excited to add someone with his potential to our coaching staff,” said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich.

Udoka returns to San Antonio after having played for the Silver and Black from 2007-09 and during the 2010-11 campaign.  In his three seasons with the Spurs, he appeared in 160 games, averaging 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 15.5 minutes.

Udoka spent seven seasons in the NBA playing in 316 career games, averaging 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 18.1 minutes .  He enjoyed his best campaign during the 2006-07 season when he started 75 games for Portland, averaging 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 28.6 minutes.  Udoka also played for the L.A. Lakers in 2003-04, the New York Knicks in 2005-06, the Sacramento Kings in 2009-10 and the New Jersey Nets in 2011-12.

Undrafted out of college, Udoka spent time in NBA Development League, USBL, IBA and internationally in Spain and France.  Udoka began his D-League career in 2002-03 with the Charleston Lowgators.  In 2005-06 he was named to the All-NBA D-League First Team and was also the recipient of Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award after averaging 17.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in 45 games for the Fort Worth Flyers.

Udoka closed out his college career at Portland State where he led the Vikings in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocked shots during the 1999-2000 season.  He was also named First Team All-Big Sky Conference and was selected as the league’s Newcomer of the Year.  Udoka began his college career at Eastern Utah and spent a year at the University of San Francisco before arriving at Portland State.

Though American-born, Udoka’s late father was of Ibibio descent and was born in Nigeria which allowed Udoka to play for the Nigerian National Team.  He represented Nigeria in multiple tournaments, including the 2005 African Championship, the 2006 FIBA World Championship, where he averaged 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists, and the 2011 African Championship where he helped lead Nigeria to a bronze medal.

Summer to remember for Canada Basketball

Though the senior men did not qualify for the London Games, this was one of the best summers ever for Canada Basketball.

Canada’s senior women qualified for the Olympics only about a month before they began and going on to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time ever, where they ran into the buzz-saw that is the top-ranked American team.

A year after two players were drafted into the NBA — including Brampton’s Tristan Thompson who went fourth overall to Cleveland — three more players were selected, led by Mississauga’s Andrew Nicholson, who went 19th to Orlando.

Nicholson, Kris Joseph (from Montreal, drafted 51st by Boston) and Robert Sacre (North Vancouver, 60th by the Los Angeles Lakers) all showed up for Canada’s training camp this weekend, significant since Nicholson had never previously been at a Canadian get-together and Joseph had chosen to leave camp the last time he showed up.

Canada’s future stars also fared well this summer.

The junior men’s squad took home bronze at the FIBA Americas U18 tourney in Brazil, finishing 4-1 and beating Argentina to reach the podium.

– Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Former NBA all-star Yao Ming has called for China’s school system to invest more in sport at the grassroots level, claiming much was needed to be done in his homeland to prevent further stagnation.

“The growth of sport’s status in school life in our country has halted now,” the giant former Houston Rockets center told the China Daily newspaper.

“We should start over and let it go beyond just a function (for) keeping (students) fit.”

With the inaugural season of Yao’s “Foundation Hope” elementary school basketball program recently concluded, he has been making a considerable push of his own.

– Reported by Reuters

Maccabi Tel Aviv great Tal Burstein announced his retirement from professional basketball at a press conference on Monday evening at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Burstein, 32, took the decision to walk away from the game after learning that he would have to undergo surgery on his injured hip, which would have cost him the entire 2012-13 season. Injuries have plagued Burstein over the past few years. He missed the first nine Euroleague games of the 2006-07 season and played in just two games the following year. Burstein was a starter on the great Maccabi teams that conquered back-to-back Euroleague titles in 2004 and 2005. His first continental title came in his first year with Maccabi when he helped the Israeli juggernaut win the 2001 SuproLeague in Paris.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

It has been 23 years since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar last played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but soon fans headed to Staples Center will see him every day.

The Lakers plan to erect a statue outside the arena to honor The Captain, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

The Lakers plan to announce the date of the official unveiling of the statue in the near future, according to a league source.

While Abdul-Jabbar’s on-court accomplishments were no-doubt stellar, racking up six championships and six MVPs during his 20-year career, his relationship with the Lakers had become strained in recent years. The team cut ties with Abdul-Jabbar as a special assistant following the 2010-11 season and the former 19-time All-Star also voiced his frustration at Jerry West receiving a statue before he did, after West’s statue was unveiled during the 2011 NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles.

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

Jazz assistant coach Scott Layden has accepted an invitation by Spurs management to interview for the organization’s assistant general manager vacancy, according to a source.

The meeting was scheduled for Monday night with general manager R.C. Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, the source said. Spurs ownership will not be in attendance.

This San Antonio position opened three weeks ago when the Jazz hired then-Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey to replace Kevin O’Connor as Utah’s general manager.

– Reported by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News

Bulls might make Brian Scalabrine an assistant coach

When NBA training camps open in a little over a month, there’s a good chance that like the last two seasons, Brian Scalabrine will be in Deerfield, Ill., at the Berto Center with the Bulls–just not as a player.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the fan favorite is in line to join Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff for the upcoming season, CSNChicago.com has learned.

Since former Bulls assistant coach Rick Brunson departed for a position with the Charlotte Bobcats in the offseason, the organization has had an opening and while the likes of former Magic assistant Steve Clifford was considered–the member of Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Orlando recently accepted a job with the Lakers, where he’ll be reunited with All-Star center Dwight Howard–it appears that Scalabrine is now a front-runner for the spot.

– Reported by Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago

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