EUROBASKET NEWS REPORT - 4/5/2008Copyright © 1997-2007 Eurobasket
|A Bundesliga Standings|
BK Amager - Svendborg 91 - 89
Unbelievable and interesting series is shown by BK Amager and Svendborg in the semis of Danish league. Six games are played, but the score is 3-3 now. BK Amager tied the series last night with 91:89 at home. Peter Johansen (204-F/C-80, agency: Arik Krayn Services) led the winners with 26 points. Mads Vaegter nailed 18 points, while Matt Cooper (201-F-85, college: Le Moyne) scored 16 points. Jarrett Howell (188-G-84, agency: Worldwide Hoops, college: Texas Arlington) ended up with 33 points in the losing clause.
BK Amager had nothing to lose and went on a lead from the first minutes. The hosts built 12-3 advantage, but had 23:20 after the first 10 minutes. Svendborg with the help of Jarrett Howell grabbed 35:43 lead, however BK Amager remained in front with 48:46 at the halftime.
It was the time for the hosts to increase the lead in the third period and they reached 9 points deficit. Who could think that a 2-15 run in the last quarter could be fatal for the hosts. They did however survived. With 89:89 in the final stanza BK Amager scored two more points to tie the never ending story.
Game 7 is scheduled for April 7th.
BK Amager: Peter Johansen 26 points, Mads Vaegter 18 points, Matt Cooper 16 points.
Svendborg Rabbits: Jarrett Howell 33 points, Brayden Billbe (208-C-85, agency: Worldwide Hoops, college: American) 19 points, Danilo Fatic (191-G-77) 13 points.
|D-League Stats Leaders|
|Points Per Game|
|1.M. Almond, UTA 25.0|
2.D. Farmer, RGV 24.6
3.K. Powell, SIF 22.3
4.C. Powell, DAK 22.3
4.S. Banks, LAD 22.1
|Rebounds Per Game|
|1.R. Benson, DAK 12.1|
2.C. Alexander, SIF 11.2
3.L. Allred, IDA 10.0
4.M. Campbell, IDA 8.2
5.I. Mahinmi, AUS 8.2
|Assists Per Game|
|1.R. Livingston, IDA 10.5|
2.A. Barrett, AUS 8.6
3.E. Gill, COL 8.5
4.K. Kruger, UTA 6.9
5.J. Horner, IOW 6.0
NBA --> D-League Player Assignments
The Chicago Bulls have re-called second year players Shannon Brown (6'3''-G-85, college: Michigan St.) and Cedric Simmons (6'9''-F/C-86, college: N.Carolina St.) from the Iowa Energy.
In six games with the Energy, Brown averaged 25.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.3 apg and 2.00 spg in 35.0 mpg.
Simmons also played in six games with the Energy and posted averages of 15.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 2.20 bpg in 29.3 mpg.
The Seattle SuperSonics re-assigned developmental center Mouhamed Saer Sene (7'0''-C-86) to the Idaho Stampede. Sene was previously assigned to Idaho between Dec. 23, 2007 to March 14, 2008.
During the 27 games of his first assignment, he averaged 12.4 points and 9.0 rebounds. In 13 total games with the Sonics this season, Sene is averaging 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.8 minutes.
Ronald DuPree (6'7''-F/G-81, college: LSU) Signed to 10-day contract by Seattle
NBA and D-League veteran swingman Ronald DuPree has been called-up by the Seattle SuperSonics from the Tulsa 66ers. Dupree is the 25th D-League call-up this season.
Dupree has appeared in nine games with the 66ers since being acquired on Feb. 29, and leads the team with 17.2 points, to go with 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 30.0 minutes.
The former LSU Tiger owns NBA career averages of 3.7 points and 1.4 rebounds in 150 games split between Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota.
Tulsa: Signed veteran guard Derrick Dial (6'4''-G-75, college: E.Michigan). Dial appeared in five games earlier this year with Anaheim, averaging 4.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in just under 22 minutes per game.
Dakota: Signed Michael Peeples (6'7''-G/F-85, college: Fairleigh Dickinson)
Colorado: Re-Acquired Eddie Gill (6'0''-G-78, college: Weber St.) after his assignment with Seattle. Gill returned in top form, as he scored 17 points and dished out 12 assists in Colorado's 86-81 victory last night over Tulsa.
Partizan Igokea continues with another fantastic performance and more amazing results this season. It seams no one can beat them in Serbian temple of basketball - Pionir! The black and white team buried Spanish giant TAU Ceramica 76-55 and tied the score in the Euroleague quarterfinals on 1-1. The fact that Partizan had plus 24 just 13 seconds before the end says everything. Hall Pionir once again was filled to the last seat (almost 7.123 spectators!) while more than 1.000 fans had to stay out of it.
Partizan opened the game in style. Tripkovic, Pekovic and Tepic took care to make plus 13 points which was Partizan's maximum advantage in the first half. After 15 minutes coach Spahija introduced Rakocevic and Teletovic. TAU succeeded to come on at 36-31 at half time thanks to great assists by Prigioni and a 3-pointer by Jasaitis. Partizan's big guys didn't let Splitter score any points in the first half. TAU opened the third quarter with Rakocevic's jump shot for 36-33 and later came on minus 1, again after Jasaitis 3-pointer. But the last period totally belonged to reining Serbian and Adriatic league champion. Pekovic was unstoppable in the paint while Velickovic and Tripkovic made a couple of very important offensive rebounds. Minute after minute Partizan kept extending the lead and after a 10-0 run it was plus to 24 (last quarter 22-7). Planinic scored a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final score 76-55.
The best Euroleague center Nikola Pekovic (210-C-86, agency: Beo Basket) again was the central figure of the game leading his team to win. For the 25 minutes, which he spent on the court, Pekovic collected 19 points, 5 rebounds and 7 fouls were made on him. He and Vranes stopped very good Splitter, who scored just 3 points. PF Novica Velickovic (205-F-86) also had a great night and was MVP of the game with index value 24. He registered a double-double, 17 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists. Uros Tripkovic (197-G-86) netted 14 points while Milenko Tepic (198-G-87, agency: Beo Basket) had 11 points including a couple of very important lay-ups with a foul. Igor Rakocevic (191-G-78) was the only one with double digits for TAU as he scored 15 points.
The black and whites finished the game with 37 rebounds and 17 assists with 8/20 from behind the arc. Partizan's head coach Dusko Vujosevic gave a chance to Borovnjak and Milosevic at the very end while Pekovic and Velickovic, who were substituted, got unbelievable ovation from the fans.
The decisive game will be played on April 10th in Vitoria.
Partizan Igokea - TAU Ceramica 76-55
Partizan: Pekovic 19 (5 rebs), Velickovic 17 (12 rebs, 4 as), Tripkovic 14, Tepic 11
TAU: Rakocevic 15, Teletovic 9, Jasaitis 8, Mickael 8
In a strong demonstration of their current fitness as a team, Sat-Cybertech overpowered Zencas with a 109 to 63 win that clearly communicated its intention to reach the finals of Torneo de Apertura in Liga Metropolitana 2008. Pablo Cano (176-G-88) and Diego Berreondo (177-G-88) led the offensive for the winners with 21 pts and 15 points each, most of them produced from the 3-point line. On the second scheduled game of the evening, Leones de Marte also performed as expected with a comfortable 101-62 win over Millonarios.
After 5 dates, Liga Metro updated its calendar for Torneo de Apertura 2008, to be played at two venues during the month of April (Gimnasio Teodoro Palacios Flores and Parque La Democracia).
Thursday, April 3
19:00 (F) SAGRADO CORAZON vs. DE LA PENA SAGRADO
20:30 (M) ESTUDIANTES vs. U.R.L.
Saturday, April 5
20:00 (M) ELITE SPORT B.C. vs. LEMANS
Sunday, April 6
10:00 (F) GELATINAS CASTILLA vs. U.R.L.
11:30 (M) LEONES DE MARTE vs. ZENCA
13:00 (M) CORPOEVISA vs. CREACIONES R.L.
14:30 (M) MILLONARIOS vs. COMPUSYS
Tuesday, April 8
19:00 (F) DE LA PENA SAGRADO vs. MYSTICS
20:30 (M) SAT-CYBERTECH vs. U.R.L.
Thursday, April 10
19:00 (F) U.R.L. vs. SAGRADO CORAZON
20:30 (M) U.S.A.C. vs. CREACIONES R.L.
Sunday, April 13
10:00 (F) U.S.A.C. vs. MYSTICS
11:30 (M) U.S.A.C. vs. LEMANS
13:00 (M) MILLONARIOS vs. U.R.L.
14:30 (M) ESTUDIANTES vs. ELITE SPORT B.C.
* Favorite teams in black
Thursday night in FEB action, both West-Brabant Giants and Rotterdam Challengers came up with big wins to help themselves in the FEB playoff race, with West-Brabant Giants winning an 108-100 overtime thriller over Matrixx Magixx, and the Rotterdammers having no problem vs. Den Heler Seals and cruising to an 86-64 blowout win.
In the Horstacker, the guests took a 69-60 lead heading into the 4th quarter, but Matrixx's three-point shots began falling in crunch time, forcing the game into overtime, in which the Giants gained the advantage and seizing the win. Five West-Brabant Giants players scored in double figures, with Andre Harris (203-F-85, agency: Worldwide Hoops, college: Fairleigh Dickinson) leading with 23 pts. Arvin Slagter (190-G-85) added 19 pts., and Devonne Giles (203-F-83, agency: Worldwide Hoops, college: Texas Tech) added a double-double of 18 pts. and 13 rebounds. Alhaji Mohammed (192-G-81, agency: Beo Basket, college: Louisville) led Matrixx with 23 pts. West-Brabant Giants had 29 assists on 40 total baskets. Poor free throw shooting really hurt Matrixx, with Mohammed making only 4 of 11 total. With the win, West-Brabant Giants assure themselves of at least 2nd place in the FEB standings.
In the Topsportcentrum, Rotterdam Challengers jumped out to big leads of 46-27 at the half, and 65-42 at the end of the 3rd quarter, taking over 5th place ahead of Hanzevast Capitals. Sullivan Sykes (193-G/F-81, college: St.Joseph, IN) was unstoppable, scoring a game-high 31 pts. with 10 rebounds. The Rotterdammers shot 67.5% FG and forced 25 turnovers. It was Rotterdam's 3rd straight win.
* First place Game 1 - Friday 4th of April:
Zain 96 - Orthodox 89
Stats will be posted soon...
* Third place Game 1 - Friday 4th of April:
Arena Amman 117 - Al Riyadi/Aramex Amman 108 (Qs: 25-22, 58-50, 85-78 & 117-108)
# Best performance:
- Arena Amman:
Mark Strickland (208-F/C-70, college: Temple) (43 pts, 13 reb!!)
Zeid Abbas (203-C-83) (26 pts, 9 reb)
Josh Cooperwood (193-G-80, agency: Pro Management Agency, college: Tennessee St.) (20 pts, 8 ast)
- Al Riyadi/Aramex Amman:
Rob Anderson (196-G/F-79, college: George Mason) (32 pts, 9 reb)
Wesam Sous (181-G-83) (22 pts, 6 ast)
Hussam Lutfi (198-F/C-73) (20 pts, 11 reb)
MABETEX SUPERLEAGUE A WEEK -VIII-
KOSOVA - TREPCA , Sunday at 19,00
Referees: Agim Halili, Xhelal Mumini, Isa Prebreza
Monitors: Muhamet Ahma
SIGAL PRISHTINA - PEJA, Saturday at 19,00
Referees: Hajredin Zeka, Faton Kurshumliu, Daut Mehmeti
Monitors: Agim Visoka
MABETEX SUPER LEAGUE B
BASHKIMI - SHB'12' Sunday at 18,00
Referees: Faton Kurshumliu, Daut Mehmeti, Xhavit Beqiri
Monitors: Bajrush Ademi
KASTRIOTI - RC COLA DRITA, Saturday at 18,00
Referees: Arbnor Rifati, Alban Vula, Fisnik Ramadani
Monitors: Tajar Rifati
EUROSPORTI - FUSHË KOSOVA Sunday at 11,00
Referees: Mehdi Gashi, Atdhe Gocaj
Monitors: Alban Lumi
VERTIKALI - LLAPI, Sunday at 20,00
Referees: Mehdi Gashi, Fitim Gashi
Monitors: Remzi Ramadani
JUNIOR'S LEAGUE A
PEJA- ISTOGU, Saturday at 10,00
Referees: Dren Pudarolli, Drin Veselaj
Monitors: Bekim Agusholli
JUNIOR'S LEAGUE B
SIGAL PRISHTINA - KOSOVA, Saturday at 10,30
Referees: Fitim Gashi, Glauk Qollaku
Monitors: Alban Lumi
PRISHTINA PROBASKET - VERTIKALI,Saturday at 16,00
Referees: Burim Berisha, Bashkim Berbatovci
Monitors: Hasim Jashanica
TREPCA - RC COLA DRITA,Sunday at 13,30
Referees: Ilhan Xhaka, Albert Verbiqi
Monitors: Bajrush Ademi
CADET'S LEAGUE A
RC COLA DRITA - KALAJA, Sunday at 13,00
Referees: Burim Berisha, Bashkim Berbatovci
Monitors: Nuri Selman
YLLI - TUSHI&GRUDA, Sunday at 16,00
Referees: Hysen Hasani, Hazir Haxha
Monitors: Fatmir Berisha
PEJA AG - BASHKIMI,Saturday at 12,00
Referees: Labinot Belegu, Egzon Gashi
Monitors: Mahir Spahija
Rest: 'ABS VËLLAZNIMI'
CADET'S LEAGUE B
VUSHTRIA BASKET - EUROBASKET, Saturday at 11,00
Referees: Zaim Zenuni, Ardian Rrustemi
Monitors: Muhamet Munishi
PRISHTINA PROBASKET - MITROVICA, Sunday at 16,00
Referees: Fisnik Ramadani,Atdhe Gocaj
Monitors: Sejdi Mehmeti
TREPCA - BONUSI, Saturday at 10,00
Referees: Ilhan Xhaka, Burim Beqiri
Monitors: Mehmet Xhemaili
SIGAL PRISHTINA - VERTIKALI, Saturday at 09,00
Referees: Glauk Qollaku, Flamur Ajeti
Monitors: Alban Lumi
PIONEER'S LEAGUE STOBI FLIPS A
RC COLA DRITA - PEJA AG, Sunday at 12,00
Referees: Burim Berisha, Bashkim Berbatovci
Monitors: Nuri Selmani
KALAJA - YLLI, Saturday at 11,00
Referees: Urim Hasani, Kushtrim Cocaj
Monitors: Tafil Hoxha
ABS VËLLAZNIMI - BASHKIMI, Saturday at 10,00
Referees: Vellaznim Rraci, Amir Mamusha
Monitors: Burim Koshi
NBA 23 - SHB '12',Sunday at 13,00
Referees: Labinot Belegu, Nol Spahija
Monitors: Gazmend Pupovci
PIONEER'S LEAGUE STOBI FLIPS B
EUROBASKET - VERTIKALI, Sunday at 09,00
Referees: Flamur Ajeti, Kushtrim Gashi
Monitors: Hasim Jashanica
BONUSI - PRISHTINA PROBASKET, Sunday at 12,30
Referees: Atdhe Gocaj, Kushtrim Gashi
Monitors: Remzi Ramadani
TREPCA - VUSHTRIA BASKET,Saturday at 11,30
Referees: Armend Sejdiu, Burim Beqiri
Monitors: Mehmet Xhemaili
We have seen the boost of Mexican basketball this past years
all ready with the LNBP cosidered one of the top leagues in
latin america. And increasing attendence in the several arenas in
the LNBP, more tv games seen on cable or satelite tv.
Players like Omar Quintero, Victor Avila, Rommel Beck, Jamario Moon, etc
have made there jump to more important leagues or come back to play in the summer to the LNBP and
in off season they make there way to other countries to play.
Well we have considered the LNBP Mexico's first division in pro basketball
but there several leagues around the country that are considered the
minor leagues of basketball in Mexico
Like CIBACOPA a league who has 10 teams and its played in the pacific coast of Mexico. In the CIBACOPA
the cities that have team are Cd Obregon, Cananea, Agua Prieta, Navojoa,Guaymas and Nogales all of theme in the state of Sonora
Culiacan, Los Mochis, Guasave and Mazatlan in the state of Sinaloa. These two states have CIBACOPA action in the course of the
off season of the LNBP.
Another league is the LBS ( Liga de Baloncesto del Sur este) its played in the the south of Mexico
and last year had 6 teams and these year it seems there will be more additions to the LBS.
The LICOMUBA and LIMEBA leagues that are played in the state of Chihuahua the richest basketball state in the
country , where Chihuahua native Eduardo Najera (202-F-76, college: Oklahoma) it's now playing in the NBA.
Well talking about the two leagues, the LICOMUBA( Liga de Comites Municipales de Baloncesto) has these years 8 teams, and its now in Playoff action.
Having Choriceros Camargo and Faraones Nuevo Casas Grandes there most improtant teams.
And just to start the season these April 4 of 2008 its the LIMEBA (Liga Mayor Estatal de Baloncesto) the other Professional league in the state having 8 more teams
Gallos De Pelea CD.Juarez, Soles Ojinaga and Pioneros Delicias,are the candidates these season to the Championship.
These two leagues from the state of Chihuahua have good quality players in the league and add another chance for imports, top mexican players and young players to show there talent in these leagues.
And finally a brand new league in the the occidental part of Mexico, called LIMEBA (Liga Mexicana de Baloncesto de Occidente)
wich its a new minor league in the country. Teams like Estribadores Manzanillo, Tiburones Lazaro Cardenas, Tarascos Morelia, Puerto Vallarta and
some four more are in these semi professional league.
All of these leagues in Mexico we are talking in the LNBP 24 teams, CIBACOPA 10 teams, LICOMUBA and LIMEBA 8 each one, LBS 6 and
more to comfirm these year and LIMEBA Occidental having brand new teams. These equals more local talent having more opportunities to play pro basketball
and grow Mexican basketball each year.
Darnell Jackson (6'8''-F-85), Senior, Forward
Q. Coach Self admitted he was relieved for you guys after winning Sunday. How relieved were you for him?
It was very relaxing after the Davidson game for Coach Self because he has wanted to get here for so long. Now that he is here, I don‘t think the relief is up yet because we have such a big challenge ahead of us. North Carolina is a great team. As long as we stay focused and keep doing what we‘ve been doing and play at the level that we know we can play at, we can be a great team come Saturday.
Q. What impresses you about North Carolina?
They like to get out in transition and score real early. It‘s like they score in transition all the time. They throw the ball down to Hansbrough a lot and even if he‘s double teamed, he throws the ball up somehow and gets guys in foul trouble so he can get points. Our biggest job as bigs is to try and contain him down low. We know he‘s going to score because he‘s a great offensive scorer. We just have to do a great job on him and make him earn his points.
Q. Do you have any special memories of the Final Four from when you were growing up?
Not really. I was playing football when I was growing up. I hated basketball because there wasn‘t enough contact for me. I was a contact guy. I didn‘t start liking basketball until I was a freshman. Once I got used to playing and started catching the elbows and falling to the ground, I started to love the game. I‘d say my first memory came my freshman year when I first got here. Watching Wayne Simien and Keith Langford and all those guys make it when they first got here. I started to think we may make it one day and now we‘re here.
Q. Both teams have tremendous rebound margins. Is it safe to say that will be a big part of Saturday's game?
I think it‘s going to be a big key for the bigs and the guards. If you look at North Carolina, all their guards hit the glass except Lawson and he‘s always getting back on defense. They all have big size. I think (Danny) Green is 6-5 or 6-6 and he has a great body. He has good height and can hurt our guards down low, so we have to do a good job of blocking out.
Q. How much does this weekend mean to Brandon Rush?
It means a lot. Brandon has been showing a lot of emotion the last couple days. I've never known Brandon to do that, but one day he snapped at practice on a couple of guys. It shocked me because he's one of the guys who's always calm and collected. He wants it. He wants it more than everybody. He wants the same thing Coach Self wants and he wants the same thing that the fans want, so we‘ll follow. He‘s going to lead this team to a victory as long as he plays well and we follow. When he‘s out there just making plays and getting other guys involved, he brings a lot of confidence out of us.
Q. How much are you looking forward to the challenge of playing against Tyler Hansbrough?
It's a big challenge because he's such a great player. You can't really do anything about keeping him from scoring because he is a big part of North Carolina's offense. He does so much for his team — rebounding, taking charges, getting steals and extra possessions — so our bigs have to make sure they keep up with his momentum and energy that he brings to the court. You just have to play principles. You have to know what he likes to do on the court and play him. I think all our bigs are looking forward to the challenge. He‘s a great player.
Q. How do you keep from getting into foul trouble? Is it something you're specifically are keying in on?
We really haven't talked about foul trouble at all. All the guys on the team know their roles. We just need to play with our heads and feet and not our hands. When guys shoot the ball, we need to contest, block out and rebound.
Q. Can you talk about the progression of Darrell Arthur the last two years, both on and off the court?
When Darrell first got here, I don't think that guy wanted to anything. He never wanted to leave his room, he always wanted to sleep. He's come a long way. He's become a go-to guy for us. He's helped me out a lot, even my confidence. There's a lot of things I sit there and watch him do on the court and it makes me want to become a better player.
Sasha Kaun (6'11''-C-85), Senior, Center
On Tyler Hansbrough
We've watched a lot of tape. How good a player he is, how hard he works. We just have to match his energy out because he never takes a possession off. He always goes after balls, he shoots and go gets it. We have to keep that in mind and try not to get in foul trouble. 'He's a really good player, he knows how to get his shot up using his body and as a kind of blocking you off. He's definitely going to score some points. You just have to match his energy up and try to eliminate some easy points that he always gets, like dunks off offensive rebounds. Try to always box him out and put a body on him and kind of wear him down that way. 'I don't think we should focus on taking him out of the game. We will focus on containing him and limiting him. He has a way of keeping himself in the game. He's a phenomenal worker, we need to put a body on him.
On whether it's possible to 'wear down' Hansbrough
We just have to try our hardest. We have four big guys we can throw at him and kind of try to rotate and cut our minutes down and try to go harder than we've been and substitute a lot more and hopefully that will help us a little bit.
On his energy level last weekend in Detroit
There is a sense of urgency of knowing any of these games could be your last game of the career. Not wanting to lose and end the career. Trying to fight for it for the last battle.
Is this it? Is this the reason you came to Kansas?
Oh definitely. There are so many great schools out there but so little schools that make it this far and definitely Kansas as my choice would be one of the reasons I would want to come here.
On being prepared for the Final Four atmosphere
The past couple of weeks, the last four weeks and the Big 12 Tournament have prepared us. The Texas game was a big game. Those have prepared us to be in this position.
Russell Robinson (6'1''-G-86), Senior, Guard
On playing an up-tempo style and defending North Carolina's guards
I see it as us playing our game. There's going to be some defense played, and hopefully we're the ones playing it. We need to pressure and think about our coverage zone and play the way we've played all year. They've got some good guys, and we've got some good guys. We've just got to go out there and play a defensive minded game, and good things will happen.
On North Carolina
They're excellent. They get scoring from a lot of different places and have an inside-outside game. They're a real tough challenge. We've been watching them all year and waiting for this moment to play against the best of the best. It's going to take us coming out and playing with a lot of energy, running with them and playing really hard.
On Roy Williams coaching against his former team
He did give Kansas a good 15 years, so I hope fans appreciate that. Everyone has decisions to make in life, and Coach Williams made one that was in his best interests. The main thing I see in his teams is that they always run. At Kansas they ran and now at North Carolina they run a lot, so one of his big things is getting his team out in transition.
On being the underdog
I'm excited about it. The past two times I've been an underdog, I've gone 2-0. It's kind of a different aspect of looking at the games, but we've been successful. My sophomore year we played Texas in the Big 12 Championship and they were heavily favored, and last season against Florida we were underdogs then. We won both of those games, and there's just something about it in those games that's different than others where we came out really aggressive.
Robert Dozier (6'9''-F-85), Junior, Forward
Feeling of being at the Final Four
We are here and we are looking forward to this. People are saying it is us against the world, but we are just focusing on ourselves. We are starting to get a little respect, but we are not focusing on that. We are just concerning ourselves with what we do.
On the pressure of the Final Four
We are having fun. There is no point in coming here and being all up tight. Guys have been having fun all year. That is what we do. That is what makes up who we are. We really aren't doing anything different for this game.
Thoughts on how defending Kevin Love
We are going to be comboing on everybody. No one person is going to draw a certain player. We are going to go out and just play great, no matter who we are guarding. We may have times where Derrick (Rose) is guarding him. There will not be one set guy guarding him.
Willie Kemp (6'2''-G-87), Sophomore, Guard
On keys to winning the game
We have to go out there and play great defense. We know UCLA has great players. They have great inside players, and they have great outside players. We just have to go in and have great team defense.
On Andre Allen not being here
Andre (Allen) is a great player and a great teammate. We are going to miss him, but we still have to go out and play tomorrow.
On he and Doneal (Mack) being ready for the challenge to step up
I know Doneal (Mack) is ready, even though he hasn't been playing as much. Coach (Calipari) always tells us to just be ready because you never know what's going to happen. I know Doneal and I are ready.
Derrick Rose (6'4''-G-88), Freshman, Guard
On the style of the game
From what we have seen, they are going to get out and run and they will be pushing the ball as well. We know (Darren) Collison will attack the basket and (Kevin) Love is a great player inside. They are a good team and we look forward to the challenge.
On not having Andre Allen with the team
We really feel bad for Andre. We wish he cold be here with us, but we are trying not to focus on that. We are not going to look at any of the negatives. We just want to concentrate on all of the positive things about being at the Final Four.
Shawn Taggart (6'10''-F-85), Sophomore, Forward
On Kevin Love match-up
He works off angles and positions. He is a big guy. He is like 6' 7, 270, so as soon as gets the ball, he is so used to turning and shooting the hook shot. We just have to push him off the block and make it hard for him to turn and shot the hook shot.
On having an edge against UCLA
We are more athletic, run faster, we have a better bench, and we are long and more aggressive than them.
Keys to winning the game
We have to shut down Kevin Love and we have to shut down (Darren) Collison. We do that and we will win the game.
We'll go ahead and get started with Coach Howland.
Q. A little bit about the familiarity between UCLA and Memphis. You played a really ugly game a couple years ago that was a defensive battle. A little bit about this matchup this time around.
COACH Ben Howland : They're a great team. I think both teams are probably better than the last time we met two years ago, primarily because so many of the players in tomorrow's game played in that game and have had a couple years' experience. Then each team has added a great freshman, in our case obviously Kevin Love, and on their side Rose. So it's gonna be a very tough game for us. We know that. When I look at their lineup, they're just loaded with so many guys who can score in different ways. They have a great perimeter game. They have a good inside game. They really push the ball. They create a lot of havoc with their defense and a lot of offense from forcing turnovers and blocking shots.
Q. Aside from the obvious talent, do you see anything that Love and Rose have in common?
COACH Ben Howland : I think the thing they have in common is all the hype and expectation surrounding them coming into college. These were two of the top five players coming out of high school last year, for sure. Kevin won just about every award, national Player of the Year. But yet when you have that much expectation, hype for each kid, to be able to handle all the incredible scrutiny, everybody trying to interview them. I remember when we first started psychological, it was incredible how much demand there was for Kevin with all the different magazines. To be able to handle that all and still perform so well and lead their respective teams to Final Fours, which I think they've both been obviously key drivers behind both teams, has been really special.
Q. Obviously Memphis and you have gotten here. At this stage of the season, is your steady diet of PAC-10 basketball given you -- any relevance over Memphis' steady diet of Conference USA?
COACH Ben Howland : I would say we played now 20 games against the NCAA tournament field this year. So we've had a very difficult schedule. I think that's the most of any of the four teams. And 10 games against the teams that were in the Sweet 16, not including tomorrow. So we've had, you know, a lot of tough games from start to finish, and especially when we started PAC-10 play, it just seems to never end. April 4, 2008 2 You know, they've had -- I think that John was really, really smart the way he staggers in some really tough games during the middle of their conference. I don't think they're -- the fact that the PAC-10 is such a tough conference gives us any advantage over them. They play -- they're playing SC, they played Arizona, they played UConn, they played Tennessee, they've played Gonzaga. I mean, their schedule is star-studded as ever. In their conference, they're always a team that everybody is doing their very best to try to beat. They're getting everybody's best effort every night. And we experience that same thing in our conference. So that always makes it doubly difficult when you're playing against somebody.
Q. If I remember correctly, you were Weber State's defensive player two times. That is correct?
COACH Ben Howland : Uh-huh.
Q. Do you have any idea where those trophies are?
COACH Ben Howland : Probably in my garage somewhere. I think it was really a token award two years in a row. I think Neil McCarthy felt bad for me so he wanted to take care of me in some way. I appreciate that from Coach McCarthy.
Q. Why defense? What is it about defense for you?
COACH Ben Howland : In terms of what? What's the question?
Q. In terms of what you've always gravitated to, your coaching style.
COACH Ben Howland : I actually was a shooter (smiling). I got credit for being a good defender because I tried hard and played with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. But as a coach, I understand that's what wins. And it's true in any sport. When you look at the best teams in football, where it be the Giants this year, the Patriots, who made the longest runs, you look at LSU's defense this year in college football, look at baseball, always comes down to pitching and defense, that's always going to give you a chance. The same is true in basketball. You look at how good the Spurs are year in and year out defensively, how Phil Jackson's teams, all nine championships were great defensive teams. It's really clear defense is a constant that you have the most control over as a team because it's effort and preparation every day. Some nights that shot's going to be going and you're going to be knocking things down without even looking at the basket. But on those days where it may be rough, you know, like that game, for example, you alluded to two years ago, I watched that game just the other night, and it was a game where we turned the ball over many times, really struggled to score, largely due to their good defense. They had a tough time scoring because we played good defense. At the end, it -- there's no way this will be one of those games where it's 50 to 45. Both teams are better. There's just no way you can hold a team like them down like we did last time. They're just so much more experienced and better. Then when you add Jason Kidd to the lineup, it makes it even doubly difficult.
Q. I know Kevin Love took it upon himself to reach out to Coach Wooden, sought his advice. Can you talk about that relationship, what that says about Kevin and his character.
COACH Ben Howland : Well, when we recruited Kevin, we arranged for Coach Wooden to come on campus to meet with Kevin and his family. Coach is retained as an employee of the university, which allows him to be able to do that, not only with basketball recruits, but other recruits. Now he's cut back on that in the last couple years. It's pretty rare that he does that, come to the campus. We used to have breakfast with him once in a while. The great thing for Kevin, his parents and his father really instilled in him, because his dad Stan played against Coach Wooden's teams, you know, when at the University of Oregon. So Kevin, and I really appreciate this, because I love the history of the game, he has great appreciation for the history of basketball, of college basketball, knowing all the players, being exposed to film at an early age. So what I really love about that is that he has a true appreciation for it and really, really cares 3 about it. You know, he gets how great it is for him to be able to know and to be able to have a relationship with Coach John R. Wooden, who is the greatest coach in the history of all sport, in my opinion.
Q. Can you talk a minute about the big-man matchup, Kevin, I don't know if it will be solely against Joey Dorsey, might be Dozier, they have two or three different bigs that can rotate on Kevin. Can you talk about that matchup?
COACH Ben Howland : Well, Dorsey we played against. Remember, the first time we played Memphis, we played him twice two years ago in the same year. They crushed us at Madison Square Garden, November, the pre-season of the NIT, I think it was. They had a great team that year. I think their team this year's much better because of all the experience, Roberts returns from that team, Dozier returns from that team, Dorsey was on that team, so on and so forth. A lot of their key guys. Anderson, their four other starters played significant minutes with them two years ago. But Dorsey is just so strong and so physical and so tough, I remember when he was coming out of Baltimore, I was still the head coach at Pitt. But Kevin will probably see a multitude of bigs rotating at him, including Taggart, as well. They're big, they're strong, they're tough, they pressure the ball, they switch a lot on the perimeter. They're switching one through four. All ball screens, sometimes one through five. They're also very athletic. They make every pass hard to complete. What's amazing is that, okay, we played Michigan State in November. In November, Darren wasn't playing in that game, so that was a disadvantage. But we were lucky to beat Michigan State. We were down 13, I think, early in the second half and came back and took a one-point lead with 30 seconds to go and ended up winning by three. They had them down 50 to 20 at the half last week. That just is incredible to me. Then we got beat by Texas at home in a tough game. We played 'em tough. But they ended up beating us on our home floor. They had them down 17. We understand how good Memphis is as a team and have unbelievable respect for not only how good they are, but what they've accomplished. 37-1, close to being 38-0. They were up one in that game against Tennessee with three minutes to go. With all that pressure of trying to be 'undefeated' all that, they have just been incredible. You have to commend their coach, Coach Calipari, and their players.
Q. You talked about the big-men matchup. What about out front with the guards?
COACH Ben Howland : Rose and Roberts are their guards. I think they have 98 points last weekend between the two of them. They each averaged about 25 a game in their last two games. Rose and Roberts are their two leading scorers on the year. They're a very difficult matchup. Rose because he's so strong, he can get wherever he wants to go. He is so quick. You know, I saw one play against I believe it was Texas where he went up and grabbed the ball on a rebound on defense, two hands, way above the rim. You know, it looked like Jason Kidd or Sidney Moncrief or something. Went coast-to-coast like a bull at the time, about three seconds, if that, the other end, laid it in. Then you look at Roberts how he finishes, left hand, right hand, floaters, jumpers, post-up, face-up. I mean, these guys are great players. They're both future NBA players obviously. That's why they're hard to match up with anybody, much less up.
Q. I understand you've been listening to a lot of Ribbon in the Sky when you've been breaking down film. Any significance to that song? Any reason for that?
COACH Ben Howland : I actually saw Stevie Wonder in concert this year at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. I've always loved Stevie. He actually sang that song this summer. He's improvising. He sang it for about, I don't know, 10 minutes. It was actually incredible. The recording I have, I listen to it when I'm watching film once in a while, does it no justice. But no significance other than I really liked how he sang it this summer. I was so impressed with him. Hope he's on tour again this summer.
Q. Kevin and the bigs, how much of an advantage is it for him to be able to take those guys outside and shoot from the outside?
COACH Ben Howland : That's always more difficult to guard a player who can face-up, post-up, bounce it, pass it. And Kevin is a tough matchup. He's really improved as the season's progressed at 4 knocking down those perimeter shots. I remember I think it was against - who was it - Oregon State maybe, somebody, he hit three threes in a row late in the year right from the top of the key to start the second half. You know, Kevin can really, really shoot the basketball. I've been working with him on that halfcourt and full-court shot all year, and it's starting to play dividends. We're really excited about that.
Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Darren, Kevin said when he first started trying to be a leader, people just kind of shrugged him off. How did he convince you guys and when that he was okay like that?
Darren Collison (6'0''-G-87): Uhm, you know, personally for myself, you know, I always listen to Kevin. Kevin's IQ of basketball is phenomenal. Just as a freshman, he doesn't think as a freshman, he thinks, you know, probably as a senior for this game. From high school to college is a big transition. And you can see that he's already made for this game, if not better. The thing I wanted to do with this team is just make everybody feel comfortable so everybody could play at they best. I thought we did a good job of that this year. Kevin probably had his times, but for the most part, you know, when Kevin says something, everybody listen. It was all meaningful to us.
Q. Kevin, I know coach talked about you reaching out to Coach Wooden and talking to him. Why did you feel the reason to do that and your appreciation of history to take that step on your own?
Kevin Love (6'10''-C-88): I would say mostly because my dad and myself, I would have it no other way. I've always tried to be a historian for the game. You know, in my situation, coming into UCLA, being a big recruit, you know, I felt it was only the right thing to do to reach out to Coach Wooden. I feel like anybody in the same situation would do the same thing as well because I feel like, not only is he one of the greatest human beings I've ever met, he's also the best coach I've ever met as well. He's probably the best coach in college basketball ever. Has 10 national championships, coached two of the greatest NCAA players of all time, and some of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Q. Were you surprised he reached out and called him?
Darren Collison: Definitely, I was real surprised. I can't remember the last time a player has done that. Just proved to my last point I made about him, his maturity level. He just wants to learn so much about the game, he's gonna do whatever it takes and ask whoever to learn about the game.
Q. Kevin, the crowd seemed to enjoy your full-court shots quite a bit. If you have to point to one single thing you did growing up to help you prepare for that shot, working out, what was it? Darren, how is your full-court shot coming along?
Kevin Love: I always keep stating my dad Stan, but he really helped me with that as well. He always had me doing the curl bars with the weights, doing push-ups. But mostly it was fingertip push-ups as well. Wes Unseld doing them all the time, which is actually my middle name. I'm sure all of you know by now, I'm named after Wes Unseld after how many times I've mentioned it. No, I've worked on that shot since I was about, you know, a freshman, doing it on the smaller court, my sophomore and junior year where I moved to a bigger court. Now I'm pretty consistent on hitting the rim or the backboard.
Darren Collison: My full-court shot is coming along as well, too (laughter).
Q. After you made the one out there, did you consider just going out and leaving the court at that point?
Kevin Love: I wanted to make two in a row actually. That's what I was trying to do. I hit the rim a couple more times after that. Coach Howland, along with a couple of the trainers, pulled me off the court after I sat down and tried to start making them from halfcourt as well. It's all fun and games. We're going out there trying to dunk, trying to make halfcourt shots, everything like that. But come game time tomorrow, we'll be focused and ready. 5
Q. Jordan Farmar related a story a couple years ago that in his recruitment, Ben talked about defense, defense and more defense. Has he changed the picture at all? Do you ever at times wonder if he's ever going to mention offense?
Darren Collison: I mean, it's the reason why we're here, 'cause of his defense philosophy. You know, he really does talk about offense in practice, and practice is nothing like the games. It's real physical. You know, guys are hurt every day. Knicks and nags every day. Practice against Kevin, guys really get after him in practice. It mainly started with the defensive end. I always felt we were a defensive team because when we really started, you know, playing as hard on the defensive end, that really starts our offense. We do a good job of not worrying about offense because we're good enough to score whenever we want. But, again, you know, Coach Howland, he's done a good job of emphasizing that throughout my whole years at UCLA.
Kevin Love: Just like Darren mentioned, Coach Howland emphasized defense all throughout the year. Every practice, that's what we start out with. Our main focus is always the defensive end, knowing if we take care of it on the defensive end, we're hyped up, getting steals, deflections, doing everything we need to do on the defensive end, that the offensive end will take care of itself and we feel pretty confident that we can score every possession down.
Q. I know last night y'all got to preview One Shining Moment. Did that inspire you?
Kevin Love: That gave me chills, I don't know about you. But you've been here how many times now, three times?
Darren Collison: The video itself was cool. But personally I'm kind of tired of the music. I'm not just trying to be mean. It's just like, you know, you hear it so many times.
Kevin Love: 'The ball is tipped and there you are' (singing and laughing).
Darren Collison: Third year, right now it's just about winning. You can hear the music all you want, but if you don't win it, you're not going to be a fan of it. Maybe when we win it, I'm going to love that music. I'm going to play it a lot.
Kevin Love: I feel the same way. As you can see, I didn't get the singing gene from my Uncle Mike. That sent chills up and down my spine, even though, like Darren said, the song is a little cheesy. When it says, Will you be next, that was pretty cool.
Darren Collison: How long have they had that music? Anybody know? Can they change it? Have a little hip-hop?
Kevin Love: What are they going to throw in there, though?
Darren Collison: A little Jay Z.
Kevin Love: You want me to give you a beat? Darren is a little camera shy. Trying to help my counterpart out here. You want the beat?
Darren Collison: Go ahead and sing.
Kevin Love: I can't rap, man (smiling). Back to business. Sorry about that.
Q. Can you both address what Lorenzo has meant to the team and how he accepted and embraced his role this year?
Darren Collison: Lorenzo's probably that piece that we really need to symbolize us: hard, tough, going through adversity. That's Lorenzo himself right there. Anybody can speak in college basketball. When you're a player, you know, your whole goal is to start on the team. If another player comes in, he starts over you, that's one of the toughest things ever. Lorenzo, he didn't look at it as a bad way, he looked at it for the team. We all know Kevin is good. Lorenzo has worked on his game in the off-season. He does some good things, some really good things for us. The way he sacrificed himself for the team explains a lot about his character. That's what I love about Lorenzo. He's a people first, before the team. Lorenzo is always going to fight through adversity. I hope he has a good future ahead of him.
Kevin Love: Pretty much Darren said everything. The thing about Lorenzo, not only is he a family-oriented person off the court, but he is on the court as well. He really took into the family. Being a newcomer, being one of the lone freshman on the team, myself and Chace Stanback and myself, it was a little different. Anybody in his situation could have been a jerk to me, could have kind of blown me off. 6 But he embraced me, he really brought me in and made me part of the family as well. For him to take a little bit of a backseat to me for part of the team, for the team aspect, that was huge and it showed a lot of maturity.
Q. After watching tape of Memphis, what impresses you about those guys most?
Kevin Love: Definitely their speed, their athleticism, the way they get out on the break. For us to win this game, we're going to have to win the battle of the boards, like Coach Howland always mentions in our pregame. Also, we're going to have to get back into transition, try to play our tempo, because they're a fast team, to get up and down the court.
Darren Collison: Again, like Kevin said, one thing that does impress me is their athleticism. I thought their athleticism was a big part in that Texas game. It was the reason why they overcome that victory. We're ready to play tough. We're going to go out there and play tough. A little physical battle, like Ben has always taught us. That should do it for us right there.
Q. Kevin, with all the attention you've gotten, all the media scrutiny, interviews, how were you able to stay grounded this season?
Kevin Love: That's easy. I mean, I got this guy sitting right next to me right here that wouldn't let me get a big head. I also have a good family. Even in my immediate family, but also my Bruin family as well keep me grounded. I never feed into any of that stuff. I always feel like I have something to prove. I always feel like I'm fighting from behind. So I go out there and give it my all every game. They're something inside of me, that killer instinct, that's really the driving force in the back of me that really keeps me going.
Q. Is there a most Memphis-like team in the PAC-10? If not, how is Memphis different?
Darren Collison: If I had to pick a team that was like them, it would probably be Oregon.
Kevin Love: Yeah.
Darren Collison: Because of the guard play. One through four, you know, they can shoot the ball really well. We really got a big load on our hands on the perimeter. We're on our own. We got to contain them on the D end. It's not going to be easy, but it's something we have to do to win the ballgame. Just like Oregon, you know, we're going to be ready to switch, we're going to be ready to contest shots. You never can relax. There's possessions where you can't relax, but not against Memphis because they'll penalize you for that.
Kevin Love: Yeah, I agree. They're kind of like Oregon on steroids a little bit. They go out there, they defend. Each player can shoot the three ball. Dorsey is a beast inside. Rose, he runs that team very well. We're all going to have our hands full, whether it's on the offensive or defensive end. I think we're poised enough to get the job done if we just play our style of basketball.
Q. What sort of things have you learned or liked about sports and masculinity?
Kevin Love: That's funny that you ask. He's over here asking me about school right now and I'm trying to focus on the Final Four. But I've had a great run at UCLA thus far. It's been a lot of fun. I have over a 3.0 GPA. I made the honor roll my first quarter. I know I'm bragging about academics when we're here at the Final Four when we're here trying to win basketball game, but it's been a lot of fun and a good ride for me as well.
Courtesy of ASAP Sports
San Antonio Express-News
A week after returning from Los Angeles, where he had attended the 1996 Wooden Award ceremonies, Wake Forest junior Tim Duncan (208-F-76, college: Wake Forest) called his coach to tell him of a decision that would change Spurs history.
Duncan, whose poker face is as big a part of his game as his bank shot, was characteristically succinct when he told Dave Odom he planned to return for his senior season.
Or, put another way, forgo the NBA draft that summer and postpone signing a contract that would pay him big bucks.
Odom, in San Antonio to coach in a college all-star game being played in conjunction with the Final Four, recalled that phone call Thursday.
'When he told me he was staying, I told him, 'OK, tell me why,'' Odom said. 'Then he told me, 'I got to thinking about it last night, and I asked myself why should I try to do today what I'll be better prepared to do next year?''
To hear Odom tell the story 12 years later, he was hardly surprised by Duncan's decision.
'I expected him to stay because I knew the kind of young man he was,' Odom said.
A year later, Duncan won every major individual award after playing in the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive season.
The Spurs fell into the NBA lottery that spring and got the No. 1 pick.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Duncan, arguably the best power forward in NBA history, is so consistently good in all phases of his game that many San Antonio fans may be guilty of taking him for granted.
From his footwork, soft shooting touch and defensive skills, Duncan is the rarest of basketball players and pro athletes. He doesn't get caught up in stats and eschews the spotlight.
'Tim just wants to be himself,' said Odom, who left Wake Forest in 2001 to take the basketball job at South Carolina. He stayed with the Gamecocks until retiring this season. 'Tim is not a self-promoter, and that's absolutely amazing in this day and age. He is very much about the game and his team.'
Odom said Duncan was an 'unpolished diamond' as a freshman.
'He had skills, but not the knowledge on how to get better,' Odom said. 'He came up to me and said, 'I'm a ball of clay, coach, and I want you to mold me.' He never, ever resisted our coaching. He was like a sponge.'
Wake Forest's best finish in the NCAA tournament during Duncan's career was in his junior year, when the Demon Deacons made the Elite Eight.
Odom said Duncan's unselfish play reflects his upbringing in Christiansted, St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
'It began at home,' Odom said. 'Tim had two wonderful parents who taught him human virtues as a young boy. He did the right thing for the right reasons, not for attention. That's what makes him the man he is today, and the player he is for the Spurs.'
Odom forever will be remembered as the college coach who 'discovered' Duncan. Actually, he went to St. Croix after getting a tip from Chris King, a former Wake Forest player, who had toured some of the Caribbean Islands with a team of NBA rookies in the summer of 1992.
'Chris came through the office when he got back, and I rhetorically asked him, 'Well, did you see any kid I might want to take a look at?'' Odom said. 'He said the only one he could think of was this kid who had held his own against Alonzo Mourning.'
The player King was referring to was Timothy Theodore Duncan, who was only 16 then and preparing for his senior season in high school.
Odom went to St. Croix in September 1992 to meet Duncan, and was impressed enough to stay in touch with him in the ensuing months.
Duncan committed to Wake Forest in January and signed with the Demon Deacons in April. Some trivia: The only other schools he considered were Georgetown, Delaware State, Hartford and Providence.
'Of course, no one knew much about him because of where he was from,' Odom said. 'When we signed Tim, a guy with a recruiting service wrote, and I quote, 'Duncan could be the world's best player and nobody would know it.' I've often thought about how prophetic that guy was.'
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