In 2010, D.J. Strawberry signed a non-guaranteed one-year deal with the New Orleans Hornets and his NBA career appeared to be right on track. Then, a random phone call in January coming from Lithuania changed D.J.'s basketball path, for now. Joining Lietuvos Rytas, the 26-year-old Maryland graduate was introduced for the first time to the point guard position, as Khalid El-Amin suffered a torn quadriceps ending his season, leaving D.J. to pick up the pieces.
'Last year I had to play the unfamiliar point guard position for the first time in my career. It was an interesting experience but this season I'm looking forward to getting back into the mix of playing the combo-guard spot I'm used to.'
Now, after signing a potential 1+1 year deal with Israeli Hapoel Jerusalem, Strawberry has the month of September to raise some eyebrows in the Holy Land and prove his doubters wrong, starting with the team's coaching staff. 'The one month try-out doesn't really matter to me,' Strawberry exclusively told Eurobasket, 'I know what I'm capable of doing on the court, so, as long as I play my game, perform the way I know I can and prove my doubters wrong, I'll be fine and the contract terms don't concern me.'
Negotiations with Hapoel were a long and tough process, how are you feeling now that things have cooled down?
'I'm very glad we got the deal done. I spoke with people from the management and Hapoel is a team I want to play for. I'm ready to come in and do whatever I can to help the team win.'
A basketball specialist describes Strawberry as an improved version of Maccabi Tel Aviv's recent guard Doron Perkins. 'Coming out of college D.J. wasn't even considering playing abroad, J-M is lucky to have him on their roster. His game is very similar to Perkins', but D.J. is more polished.'
'D.J. is a better shooter and more athletic than Perkins. They are the same kind of defender and both bring lots of energy and winning attitudes to their games. If I had to compare his style of play to someone from the NBA? Can't, D.J. is unique,' added the specialist.
Jerusalem is in a very delicate guard situation, your expectation of adapting and fitting in?
'I want to lead the team and let everything after that play out. I'm really focused on playing and eager to prove everyone wrong and that I'm a good player. I feel good and probably most healthy since I've been in the NBA, and my game is at high level again, so I just want to prove it every night.'
Strawberry knows that if he puts up the right numbers this year, doors on the other side of the Atlantic will reopen, yet, he is focused on here and now 'eventually everyone wants to play in the NBA but I'm not concerned about that when there's not even a league. I'm focused on Jerusalem and helping my new team. Whatever happens after that happens.'
Are you familiar with the NBA names coming into the Israeli league?
'I heard about Jordan Farmar, Trevor Booker, Sean Williams and that Craig Brackins just recently signed in Israel as well, so the league will definitely be good and we will have tough games night in and night out -- I'm really looking forward to it.'
In light of the recent murder charges against NBAer Javaris Crittenton, Strawberry shared his opinion on who could have been a current potential teammate - 'What's happening with Javaris is crazy. I know him personally and he's not even the type of guy to do such a thing, so to see what's going on is very unfortunate.'
Ewing is back at Neptunas, ex Maccabi Ashdod - 7 minutes ago
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Neptunas Klaipeda (LKL) agreed terms with experienced 34-year old American shooting guard Daniel Ewing (191-83, college: Duke, agency: Stealth Sport). It is actually his comeback to Klaipeda as he has played here before. Ewing started the season at Maccabi Ashdod in Israeli Winner League. In 19 games he had 9.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.5apg and 1.6spg this season. Ewing helped them to make it to the Israeli Cup Semifinals. The last season he played at Neptunas where in 49 LKL games he recorded 13.2p... [read more]
Neptunas Klaipeda (LKL) agreed terms with experienced 34-year old American shooting guard Daniel Ewing (191-83, college: Duke, agency: Stealth Sport). It is actually his comeback to Klaipeda as he has played here before. Ewing started the season at Maccabi Ashdod in Israeli Winner League. In 19 games he had 9.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.5apg and 1.6spg this season. Ewing helped them to make it to the Israeli Cup Semifinals. The last season he played at Neptunas where in 49 LKL games he recorded 13.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.6apg and 1.2spg. Ewing contributed to his team making it to the final and Cup semifinals. Quite impressive season as he was selected Eurobasket.com All-Lithuanian LKL Import Player of the Year, named to 1st Team and named to All-Imports Team. Ewing also played 15 games in Eurocup where he averaged 14.8ppg, 2.1rpg, 4.0apg and 1.3spg. In 2005 Ewing was drafted by Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) in second round (32nd overall). He attended Duke University and it is his twelfth (!!!) season in pro basketball. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Ewing won Polish League championship title for three years in a row (between 2009 and 2011). He was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Polish League Player of the Year back in 2011. Ewing is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in France (Paris Levallois and Le Mans), Russia (Khimky), Turkey (Besiktas), Ukraine (Azovmash) and Poland (Asseco). On Ewing:
Great shooter with the ability to slash to the basket... Not a pure point guard.
Kevin Dillard (ex Breakers) is a newcomer at Maccabi Ashdod - 10 minutes ago
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Maccabi Ashdod (Winner League) strengthened their roster with addition of 28-year old American point guard Kevin Dillard (183-83kg-89, college: Dayton). He played recently at Breakers in Australian NBL league. Dillard managed to play in three leagues in two countries this year (!!!). In 9 NBL games he recorded very impressive stats: 18.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.8apg and 1.6spg. He also played earlier that season for Pinar Karsiyaka in Turkish BSL where in 9 NBL games he averaged 12.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.... [read more]
Maccabi Ashdod (Winner League) strengthened their roster with addition of 28-year old American point guard Kevin Dillard (183-83kg-89, college: Dayton). He played recently at Breakers in Australian NBL league. Dillard managed to play in three leagues in two countries this year (!!!). In 9 NBL games he recorded very impressive stats: 18.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.8apg and 1.6spg. He also played earlier that season for Pinar Karsiyaka in Turkish BSL where in 9 NBL games he averaged 12.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.9apg and 1.0spg. Dillard also played 7 games in Basketball Champions League where he had 7.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.7apg and 1.4spg. He has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2013. Among other achievements Dillard received NABC Division I All-District 4 2nd Team award back in 2012 and 2013 at his college time. Dillard is a very experienced player. He has played also professionally in Belgium (Antwerp Giants), France (Pau Lacq Orthez and Cholet Basket), Germany (EnBW Ludwigsburg), Greece (Apollon Patras), Italy (Novipiu Casale) and Latvia (VEF Riga). Dillard attended University of Dayton until 2013 and it is his fourth season in pro basketball.
Israeli Winner League round 19 best performance: Mark Lyons (by Court Side) - 23 hours ago
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American Point guard Mark Lyons (185-PG-89, agency: Higher Vision Sports) had a great game in the last round for Hapoel T-A, receiving a Court Side Player of the Week award for round 19. The 27-year old player was the main contributor (35 points, four rebounds and six assists) to his team's victory, helping them to crush Ironi Nahariya (#9, 8-11) with 21-point margin 92-71. Hapoel T-A maintains the 6th position in Israeli Winner League. Hapoel T-A is a typical solid league team placed som... [read more]
American Point guard Mark Lyons (185-PG-89, agency: Higher Vision Sports) had a great game in the last round for Hapoel T-A, receiving a Court Side Player of the Week award for round 19. The 27-year old player was the main contributor (35 points, four rebounds and six assists) to his team's victory, helping them to crush Ironi Nahariya (#9, 8-11) with 21-point margin 92-71. Hapoel T-A maintains the 6th position in Israeli Winner League. Hapoel T-A is a typical solid league team placed somewhere in the middle or a little bit lower in the standings. They need more victories to improve their 10-9 record. In the team's last game Lyons had a remarkable eight three-pointers out of 11 attempts. He turned to be Hapoel T-A's top player in his first season with the team. Former University of Arizona star has very solid stats this year. Lyons is league's best scorer averaging so far 23.4ppg. Lyons is in league's top in assists (2nd best: 6.3apg) and averages impressive 45.7% from behind 3-point line.
The second best player in last round's games was 24-year old American Darion Atkins (203-F-92) of league's second-best Hapoel Holon. Atkins had a very good evening with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Bad luck as Hapoel Holon lost that game 66-81 to slightly lower-ranked Hapoel Eilat (#4, 11-8). It was definitely game of the week between two contenders to the title. Hapoel Holon still maintains its place in the top 2 of the standings, even despite this loss. His team's 13-6 record is not bad at all. Atkins is a newcomer at Hapoel Holon, but is already one of team's top players.
Third on the list of top players last round was American forward Murphy Holloway (201-F-90) of Galil Gilboa (#10). Holloway scored 19 points and grabbed ten rebounds. He was a key player of Galil Gilboa, leading his team to a 79-73 win against the higher-ranked Bnei Hertzeliyya (#3, 11-7). The chances of Galil Gilboa ranking at the top of the league, however are very questionable as they have already lost 11 games, recording just eight victories. With bigger assistance of his teammates, Holloway could help Galil Gilboa to bring them higher in the standings. Holloway has a great season in Israel. After 14 games, he made it on the list of the league's leaders in points with 16.3ppg (6th best) and rebounds with 8.6rpg (4th best).
Other top performing players last week: 4. DJ Seeley (193-SG-89) of Maccabi T-A - 23 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists 5. Devin Smith (196-G/F-83) of Maccabi T-A - 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists 6. Brandon Bowman (206-F-84) of Maccabi K/G - 20 points and 9 rebounds 7. Maalik Wayns (185-PG-91) of Maccabi Rishon - 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists 8. Reginald Buckner (206-F-91) of Hapoel Eilat - 8 points and 14 rebounds 9. Josh Selby (188-PG-91) of Maccabi K/G - 17 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists 10. Landon Milbourne (201-F-87) of Hapoel Eilat - 17 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
The Player of the Week awards are presented by Court Side. Court Side is the global leader in basketball management, and is widely regarded as the most dynamic and innovative company of its kind. It was the first Basketball Agency to launch its own website, and the first to have its own database. Court Side has more agents and manpower within its organization, than any other competitor, and its international network of basketball contacts is still unparalleled.
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