Saturday, July 01, 2006

Heat Pick Up Contract Option On Kapono

By Bruin Basketball Report

The NBA Champions, the Miami Heat, picked up the second-year contract option on former UCLA Bruin Jason Kapono.

Kapano made $1.1 million in 2005-06 and is scheduled to make $1.18 next season with the Heat.

The 6'8 swingman averaged 4.1 points in 51 games and shot 40% from beyond the three-point arc last season.

Kapono was initially a second-round draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA draft, and then was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the team's expansion draft in 2004. He signed with the Heat as a free-agent in 2005.


Friday, June 30, 2006

Farmar Looked Suited For NBA

By Mike Bresnahan
Los Angeles Times

The former UCLA guard caught the Lakers' eye at the pre-draft camp with his solid play, but he also dressed and acted like a professional.

The flight to Orlando was filled with little kids, their parents, and, closer to the back of the plane, hope.

Many of the passengers were on their way to Disney World, but Jordan Farmar was on a career path.

The UCLA Bruin was headed to the NBA pre-draft camp this month in Florida, and the 6-foot point guard needed to reach new heights in order to guarantee a spot as a first-round selection in the draft.

Which is exactly what he did. No behind-the-back passes. No degree-of-difficulty dunks. He didn't play astoundingly for five-minute stretches and then, just as quickly, disappear.

Just strong, consistent play — finding open teammates, playing the pick-and-roll to perfection — against strong competition. And a 42-inch vertical leap didn't hurt.

Lottery players traditionally skip the camp because of the possibility of holes being exposed in their game, but of the group that participated, Farmar placed in the top two or three players.

"That's when he secured his position in the first round," said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who took Farmar with the 26th pick in Wednesday's draft. "The things that he did at UCLA and the things that he showed us during the [individual] workout, he showed at that level of competition. And that level of competition is certainly better than what he played against at UCLA.

"All those guys are all-conference, they're MVP of their conference. He showed that he's got something special that even shines when the competition gets better and better. Poise is a word a lot of general managers throw around, but for a young guy to have that kind of poise, it's unusual."

Off the court, Farmar also set out to impress.

He made a dedicated decision to wear suits at the pre-draft camp and to individual team workouts around the country, often ironing his own clothes. Much like his father, Damon, did during a minor league baseball career that spanned nine years, Farmar looked and acted professionally, catching the eye of NBA personnel whose jobs hinge on noting every detail, every idiosyncrasy of draftable players.

"I'd see guys coming in T-shirts, shorts and sandals and I'd have a suit," Farmar said. "It would be hot and I'd be sweating, but it was important for me to show I was a professional, very concerned about the way I presented myself. This was a job interview."

His new employers are pleased to have him in the company directory after a two-month period referred to by Farmar as the busiest of his life.

Two weeks after the Bruins lost to Florida in the NCAA championship game, Farmar announced he would try the draft without hiring an agent, leaving open the possibility of returning to UCLA. His decision to leave school early was met with lukewarm reaction.

Most general managers pegged him as a bubble candidate for the first round, perilous territory. First-round picks get guaranteed money for at least two years. Second-round picks get an invitation to training camp and little else until they prove themselves worthy.

Farmar first worked out for the Lakers three weeks ago.

"At that time, there were a lot of other players that were deciding whether to keep their name in or take their name out," Kupchak said. "My advice to Coach [Ben] Howland was that [Farmar] should stay in school because you don't know if a guy was going to be drafted 26th or 35th. In my opinion, and Coach would agree, if you're a lottery pick, hey, come on out. If not, you might be 18 to 20. If you're late in the first round, you may end up in an area you don't want to end up in."

Farmar is now guaranteed at least $1.6 million over his first two seasons. The Lakers could then pick up third- and fourth-year options at $1.1 million and $1.9 million.

Unlike past Lakers draft picks who had to travel from New Jersey and Slovenia, Farmar's Thursday afternoon drive to El Segundo to meet with team officials and then with the local media was quick and painless, except for a little freeway traffic.

He wore jersey No. 1 at UCLA and at Woodland Hills Taft High, but he posed for pictures with No. 5 because Smush Parker wears No. 1. (Kupchak informed Farmar that another jersey number had recently become available, but he added, "I'm not sure picking No. 8 would be the way to start your career.")

Just the same, Kobe Bryant was part of the welcoming committee, calling Farmar early Thursday just as Farmar was … ironing one of his suits.

"I looked at the number and didn't recognize it," Farmar said. "At first I thought it was somebody playing around. He kept talking and saying congratulations, which was good."

There's still work to do. Coach Phil Jackson strongly suggested in his meeting with Farmar that good on-ball defense would be critical to his success.

Kupchak said on draft night that the Lakers aren't really counting on him next season, or even necessarily the one after that.

In the bigger picture, though, Farmar managed to turn himself from borderline material into first-round territory. From Taft High to UCLA to the Lakers, all via that camp in Orlando.

"I showed I was a little stronger than people thought, a little more athletic than people thought," Farmar said. "I think that was big for me just to show up there. A lot of guys tried to dodge that, like something is going to get exposed. I had nothing to hide."

(reprinted with permission)


(photo credit: AP)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kobe Calls To Congratulate Farmar

By The Associated Press

When Jordan Farmar's cell phone rang Thursday morning, he wasn't surprised to discover it was another call of congratulations.

But it wasn't just any caller - it was Kobe Bryant.

"That was the best way to start my career, to get a phone call from the best player in the NBA,'' Farmar said at a news conference less than 24 hours after the Los Angeles Lakers took him in the first round of the NBA draft with the 26th overall selection.

"It wasn't long at all - about 5 minutes,'' Farmar said of his conversation with Bryant. "It was very meaningful to me. He's the best player in the NBA and we're on the same team.''

Farmar, who turns 20 in November, passed up his final two years of eligibility at UCLA to make himself available for the draft. He played at Taft High in nearby Woodland Hills, then started all 66 games in which he played over two seasons with the Bruins, who advanced to the NCAA championship game this spring before losing to Florida.

The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 13.2 points and 5.3 assists as a freshman and 13.5 points and 5.1 assists as a sophomore, when he was a first-team All Pac-10 performer.

"Man, I'm very excited to be here,'' he said. "It's been the longest month of my life, traveling around the country to pursue my lifelong dream. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. I'm blessed to be here.''

There were some who questioned Farmar's decision to pass up his final two seasons at UCLA, but he was very impressive in pre-draft workouts in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. He made his final decision to stay in the draft on June 18 - the deadline for withdrawing.

"It was the toughest decision of my life so far,'' he said. "I had to follow my dream. I just want to get out there and make my dream a reality.''

Farmar's family attended the news conference at the Lakers' training facility.

"He called to give me directions, and he told us about his call from Kobe,'' said Farmar's mother, Mindy Kolani. "We're all just numb - we're all so excited.''

Farmar's mother acknowledged to having doubts when Farmar made his decision to leave school.

"I'm really big on education. I wanted him to get his degree,'' she said. "Mostly, I wanted him to be happy. He said, `I just have this feeling it's going to work out.' He told us to have faith in his decision.''

And so, she said she does.

While Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak reiterated he doesn't expect Farmar to play big minutes next season, Farmar said: "If I'm going to be an asset on the court, I'm going to play.''

When asked what advice he offered to Farmar, Kupchak replied: "He can control how good he's going to be based on work, improvement. The talent is there. He's in control of his own destiny.''

The Lakers selected center Cheick Samb from Senegal in the second round with the 51st overall selection, but traded his rights to Detroit for swing man Maurice Evans, who averaged 5.0 points in 80 games for the Pistons last season.

"I think we're a better team today than we were yesterday,'' said Kupchak, pointing to the addition of Farmar and Evans. "I think Maurice Evans gives us an added dimension.''

The Lakers also sent a 2007 second-round draft pick to Dallas for the rights to guard J.R. Pinnock, who averaged 14.5 points per game for George Washington last season. The Mavericks drafted Pinnock with the 58th overall selection.

"We're not done,'' Kupchak said, making it clear there were more changes in store.

After reaching the NBA finals four times in five years and winning three championships, the Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to Miami two years ago and took a nosedive, going 34-48 and missing the playoffs.

They rebounded this season, going 45-37 before taking a 3-1 lead over Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs. But the Suns became the eighth team in NBA history to overcome such a deficit, winning the final three games including a 31-point blowout in Game 7.


(photo credit: AP)

Zeigler Named New Central Michigan Head Coach

By Bruin Basketball Report

Central Michigan University (CMU) is expected to hire UCLA assistant Ernie Zeigler as their new Head Coach replacing Jay Smith who resigned in May.

A Detroit native, Zeigler, 40, recently completed his third year on the staff of UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland.

Zeigler helped lead the Bruins to the NCAA National Championship game this past season.

Noted for being a great recruiter, Zeigler's efforts helped the Bruins land the nation's No. 4 incoming freshman class in 2004.

He was also primarily responsible for recruiting the Cameroon freshmen players last year, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya.

Zeigler is a Detroit native and played at Detroit Cody High, where he was also an assistant coach. He was also an AAU coach in Detroit.

"One of the biggest things for us was a good understanding and a connection to the Midwest from a recruiting perspective," Central Michigan AD Dave Heeke said.

Zeigler also has a year of coaching experience in the Mid-American Conference having spent the 2000-01 season at Bowling Green State University.

The other finalists for the CMU were Michigan State assistant Mark Montgomery and Mott Community College Head Coach Steve Schmidt.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hollins Drafted By Bobcats

By Bruin Basketball Report

The Charlotte Bobcats selected UCLA's Ryan Hollins with their second round selection and 50th overall pick in the NBA draft.

Hollins averaged 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in 33 games last season.

"I'm elated for Ryan and excited for his new NBA career with the Charlotte Bobcats," said Bruin head coach Ben Howland. "He had an exceptional finish to his senior season, helping to lead us to the NCAA Final. I predict Ryan will have a long and productive career as a professional basketball player."

He improved his draft stock tremendously in the NCAA Tournament when he averaged 10.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game, and was named the Oakland Regional MOP.

The former basketball and track star from Pasadena High School worked out for a number of NBA teams and impressed scouts with his size and athleticism.

Earlier in the day, the Bobcats selected Gonzaga's Adam Morrison in the first-round with the third overall pick.

Hollins will have the opportunity to compete for a spot on the Bobcats' front-court which currently includes Primoz Brezec, Melvin Ely, Emeka Okafor, and Sean May.


Home Sweet Home, Lakers Pick Farmar

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA's Jordan Farmar was taken with the 26th overall pick in the first-round by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The former local standout from Taft High School was the Bruins' second-leading scorer (13.5) and led the Pac-10 in assists (5.1) last season.

He helped the Bruins reach the Final Four last season for the first time since 1995, and was named to the NCAA Oakland Regional and Pac-10 Tournament teams. In addition, Farmar was selected to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team.

"I'm very excited for Jordan's future in the NBA and the fact that's he's able to stay in Los Angeles and play for the Lakers," said Bruin head coach Ben Howland. "He's an outstanding point guard, who No. 1 is a winner.

Farmar helped improve his draft stock when he became the only projected first-round pick to participate in the NBA Pre-Draft camp in Orlando.

The Bruin point-guard surprised many scouts by recording the highest step vertical jump at 42" and bench-pressing 180 pounds eleven times at the NBA Pre-Draft camp.

"He's a very, very intelligent player who also has great athleticism and skill level. Howland said. The fact that he's only 19 (turns 20 on Nov. 30) and still developing physically - his best years in basketball are ahead of him and he's already had an outstanding career.

The Lakers (45-37) finished third place in the Pacific Division last season. They were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs after taking a 3-1 lead in the series.

The team rotated Smush Parker and Sasha Vujacic at point guard last season, but the duo struggled with inconsistent play, especially during the playoffs.

"We didn't think Jordan Farmar was going to be available at this point in the draft." said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. "We've watched him play at UCLA and know his coach and their system, he will help us at some point."

It's uncertain how much Farmar will contribute to the team next season considering Lakers' head coach Phil Jackson has a reputation of not playing rookies.

Yet, considering the Lakers' struggles last season, Farmar may have the opportunity to make an impact right away.

Farmar becomes the first Bruin selected in the first-round of the NBA draft since 2000 when Jerome Moiso was selected eleventh overall by the Boston Celtics. Baron Davis was selected third overall in the first-round in 1999 by the Charlotte Hornets.


Draft Day Stories: Jordan Farmar and Ryan Hollins

2006 NBA Draft is tonight at 7:00PM ET on ESPN

The UCLA Bruins have not had a player selected in the first-round of the NBA draft since 2000 when Jerome Moiso was selected eleventh overall by the Boston Celtics. Baron Davis was selected third overall by the Charlotte Hornets in 1999.

The drought should end tonight when NBA Commissioner David Stern will potentially call out the names of two Bruins at the podium.

Based upon numerous reports, Jordan Farmar will be drafted in the middle to late first-round, while Ryan Hollins has jumped up on the charts and may go in the late first-round as well.

Below are Draft Day Stories on the two Bruins from local and national news outlets.

Jordan Farmar

The Lakers auditioned nearly 80 players and had Temple's Mardy Collins and UCLA's Jordan Farmar in for workouts this week. Whether Farmar would be available when the Lakers pick at No. 26 is questionable. L.A. Daily News

The Lakers' first-round pick is No. 26, and they are in need of a point guard. But General Manager Mitch Kupchak said the Lakers won't necessarily focus on a guard if they find a better player at another position in today's draft. These are the likely candidates the Lakers will select from: James White, a 6-foot-7 swingman from Cincinnati; Jordan Farmar, a 6-2 point guard from UCLA; Maurice Ager, a 6-5 guard from Michigan State; and Sergio Rodriguez, a 6-3 point guard from Spain. Press Enterprise

Lakers: (35-1): Point guard is the position the Lakers should look into and theres one right in their own backyard in UCLAs Jordan Farmar. The 62" guard led the Bruins to Final Four before falling to Florida in the championship game. FoxReno

The Cavaliers are looking for a point guard or combo guard with the No. 25 overall selection.Farmar averaged 13.5 points and a Pac-10-best 5.1 assists last season. He said he thinks he matches up favorably with the top point guards in the 2006 draft. Morning Journal

Jordan Farmar, 6-2, 170, UCLA: Cavalier's Ferry long has been rumored to be interested in Farmar, who impressed at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando. He is more of a pure point guard. Akron Beacon Journal

Cavaliers face decisions in draft: They could hold onto the pick and pray that either UCLA's Jordan Farmar or Villanova's Kyle Lowery falls further than most draft experts think they will. Salem News

New Jersey very well could trade this pick to Portland (for 30 and 31) or to another team. Should they keep the pick, Farmar has been a player the Nets have been enamored with for some time. He would be in an ideal situation as Jason Kidd's understudy. Farmar lacks a strong build, but shows a real understanding of the game that many PGs lack.

Jordan Farmar - New Jersey Nets - The backup point guard comes next. A solid draft for New Jersey with two picks in the early twenties. HoopsWorld

A couple of players who entered the draft early should interest the Nets. Jordan Farmar of UCLA averaged 13.5 points to help the Bruins reach the NCAA title game against Florida. Pioneer Press

Nets Can't Be Too Picky: The comfortable scenario: They are expecting at least one of three guards -- Shannon Brown of Michigan State, Jordan Farmar of UCLA and Kyle Lowry of Villanova -- to still be on the board when their number comes up. In such a case, they are believed to be leaning toward Brown.

If the Nets stand pat, which is a very likely scenario, they will have a hard time deciding whom to pick. Ideally the Nets would like to select a power forward and either an athletic guard or a backup point guard with their two picks. The Nets are considering big men like Florida State's Alexander Johnson, UConn's Josh Boone and UCLA's Ryan Hollins at 22 and 23. They also have Michigan State guards Shannon Brown and Maurice Ager, UCLA's Jordan Farmar on their short list. New York Daily News

Sacramento's most obvious needs are in the backcourt, where underachieving Jason Hart and unproven Ronnie Price were Mike Bibby's backups last season. The Kings might be able to select UCLA's Jordan Farmar, Kentucky's underrated Rajon Rondo, Villanova's Kyle Lowry or even Sergio Rodriguez. Union-Tribune

After the Kings lacked interior defense much of last season, it seems they also have gone hunting for big men, from Connecticut's Hilton Armstrong to Boone and others. They have looked at point guards, too, namely UCLA's Jordan Farmar and Spaniard Sergio Rodríguez, but are said to have questions about their defense. Sacramento Bee

Dallas Mavericks. Jordan Farmar, PG, 6-2, UCLA.Farmar is tough to place. He could go as high as Indiana at No. 17, or he could go in the second round. The Mavericks worked him out last week, and he'd be a good option should free agent Jason Terry decide to leave Dallas. Sporting News

Memphis: Jordan Farmar, PG, UCLA. The tough-minded Farmar should help the Grizzlies immediately. Wisconson State Journal

Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Farmar, UCLA: The Grizzlies want to go big, but they also have a need at point guard and opt for the best available player. Chicago Sun Times

Left with the No. 21 and 26 picks, the Suns will have a hard time finding immediate help. Potential choices include 6-4 shooting guard Shannon Brown of Michigan State, 6-6 Swiss forward Thabo Sefolosha, 6-2 guard Jordan Farmar of UCLA, 7-foot center Saer Sene of Senegal, 6-2 shooting guard Guillermo Diaz of Miami and 19-year-old British 7-footer Joel Freeland.

Suns: Jordan Farmar, G, UCLA. The jury is out on how Farmar will perform at the next level, but he could be an adequate fill-in for Steve Nash. PhillyBurbs

Team: Indiana Pacers Pick: 17 Player: Jordan Farmar (UCLA) Pos: Guard Notes: Farmar is the pure point guard that the Pacers need. He knows how to distribute the ball effectively and has great court vision. MLive

Ryan Hollins

The big players the Nets would consider are Connecticut's Josh Boone, Florida State's Alexander Johnson and UCLA's Ryan Hollins, who is long and athletic, but raw. New

Look for the Blazers to deal their 30 and 31 picks to move up (possibly with Sacramento at 19 or New Jersey at 22) for a pick or a combination of player/picks. The Nets like Ryan Hollins and might even consider him at 22/23, but he would likely be here for them if they traded one of their picks, and they could add the 31st pick in the deal.

Clippers to take best player available, though they could use a young big man to develop behind Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. Possible big men at 34 could be Paul Davis, James Augustine, Joel Freeland, Josh Boone, Ryan Hollins or even Kevin Pittsnogle. HoopsWorld

Bulls on the clock: Yemi Nicholson (Denver) and Ryan Hollins (UCLA) round out the short list of center prospects. Herald News

The Hornets also have a second-round pick, the 43rd overall selection, to add depth. UCLA 7-footer Ryan Hollins will be available, according to many of the mock drafts. Hollins was a key player in the Bruins' drive to the NCAA championship game in April. Sun Herald

Also Saturday, the Bobcats worked out UCLA's Ryan Hollins, Wake Forest's Chris Ellis and Vladimir Veremeenko of Belarus. None of them is a candidate for the Bobcats' first-round pick, the third overall in Wednesday's draft. MSNBC


UCLA To Host Advanced Skills Summer Camp

By Bruin Basketball Report

Top prep players from around the country will be at Pauley Pavilion this week to participate in the UCLA Advanced Skills Summer Camp.

Players expected to attend the camp include; Kevin Love (Lake Oswego) , Chace Stanback (Fairfax), Jerime Anderson (Canyon), Larry Drew (Taft), Jeff Withey (Horizon), and Travis and David Wear (Mater Dei).

The camp runs from Wednesday through Friday.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tourney Run Could Help Hollins in Draft

By Dan Weber
The Press-Enterprise

Ryan Hollins may have helped himself as much as any player in Wednesday's NBA draft the past six months. The 7-foot UCLA center from Pasadena took himself from a 22-year-old with a degree in history but with no pro basketball prospects to a player who is a fixture in the second round of a number of teams' draft-day planning.

All it took was a coming-of-age second half of his senior season. He helped take the Bruins to the NCAA championship game and himself to a play-for-pay career after being selected as the Most Outstanding Player at the Oakland Regional, leading UCLA to wins over Gonzaga and Memphis with his scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking.

Q: So where do you plan to watch the draft tomorrow?

A: You know, I haven't even thought about that. In the last six weeks, I stopped by to pick up my diploma at graduation and then headed back for more workouts.

Q: How many have you had?

A: I've worked out with 12 teams, including three that I've worked out for twice -- Sacramento, Portland and New Jersey.

Q: You've also worked out for Golden State, Memphis, Toronto, Minnesota, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston and the Lakers before going to Orlando two weeks ago for the pre-draft camp where scouts from as many as 20 teams got a look at you in private workouts. What's the toughest thing about all of this?

A: The travel. Getting though airports, checking in by yourself with the lines and the security. It's a whole different world. You're on your own. There's no one to hang out with, no teammates to talk to. It's business now. It's your career.

Q: Do people have any idea who you are?

A: They know I'm a basketball player, but the funny thing is I usually wear a plain black or dark blue warm-up and all they can do is ask, "Who do you play for?" But on my last trip to Portland, I was getting those warm-ups washed and I had on a light blue warm-up and right away, people said: "UCLA."

Q: Are the trips all the same or different?

A: Literally every place is different. Sometimes you take a cab from the airport, sometimes there's a chauffeur. Sometimes they have a team person pick you up.

Q: But are there similarities -- like measuring you, weighing you, testing your strength and athleticism?

A: I've done that every time, getting measured and weighed. Without shoes, I'm either 6-11 ½ or 6-11 ¾ (which translates to 7-feet-plus with shoes). My weight? ... 235.

Q: You've increased your weight some 10 pounds and impressed team personnel with your athleticism, both running and jumping. How has that all come together for you?

A: My trainer, Rico Hines (a former UCLA player), has done a great job preparing me.

Q: What was his best advice to you?

A: Be ready for anything to be thrown at you. But I've been so busy, I don't think I've had a chance to be nervous.

Q: Other than the basketball and Ben Howland's coaching, did anything else in your UCLA experience help you through the NBA preparations?

A: The postgame interviews. I believe it does pay off. Teams will throw some hard questions at you. After games at UCLA, you can make a comment that will change your life. But the same thing can happen here.

Q: What about the workouts themselves? What are they like?

A: Well, they always have another post player there for you to go against. The fewest I've been with was four with two other guards. There are usually a lot of people there, the head coach, a strength coach and the trainer.

Golden State had the most people to watch the workout; there were people everywhere. You don't know who they all are. They're as short as 45 minutes and as long as two hours, and they're usually in the morning. I like to get there the night before and have been able to do so for all but one of them. If you're working out on the East Coast at 8 in the morning, that's 5 a.m. here.

Q: Any other adjustments, like for the heat and humidity that a Southern California kid doesn't get to experience?

A: When I got off the plane and to my hotel in Memphis, I wanted to take a bath. But the Grizzlies had pretty modern facilities to work out in.

Q: Other highlights for you?

A: I did get a chance to have a conversation with Jerry West there. It was a real honor. And every team you go to, you see players you remember watching play who are now coaches. It's been a real pleasure.

Q: Memphis Grizzlies director of personnel Tony Barone Sr. said it this way: "This kid (Hollins) is a world-class athlete ... He's a guy that because of his athleticism is an intriguing prospect."

A: Every team has been positive with what they've said to me.

Q: Have you looked at recent mock drafts like that had you going at No. 48, midway through the second round, to Washington? Or Draft, which had you going to Cleveland at No. 55? Do you pay any attention to those projections?

A: Not until the mock drafts start actually drafting people.

(reprinted with permission)


(photo credit: AP)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (6/26)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Forward Chace Stanback, who committed to UCLA last month, was exceptional while leading Fairfax to the Watts Summer Games championship at the Home Depot Center on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus. The Lions knocked off Fremont in a quarterfinal on Saturday and then Campbell Hall, in a semifinal, and Hawthorne, in the title game Sunday. The caveat is that Campbell Hall was playing without brothers Jrue and Justin Holiday and Taft (a loser to Hawthorne in a semifinal) without exceptional point guard, Larry Drew, all of which were playing on teams in the Rose City Showcase in Portland. Press-Telegram 6/20


Still, Mayo has apparently left his options open and said he was looking forward to returning to ABCD for another season. "It's my last year coming so I'm looking forward to making a big impact and having some fun," Mayo said during a phone interview. Mayo also recently made national news when he was suspended from his North College Hill team for allegedly fighting. There had been speculation that he might transfer to another high school for his senior season. He visited with officials at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, but Mayo said he would spend his last year at North College Hill in Cincinnati. "I'll be returning back to North College Hill," he said. Joining Mayo will be his North College Hill teammate Bill Walker and Kevin Love, a 6-9 power forward from Lake Oswego High in Oswego, Ore. North Jersey Media Group 6/20

Porter, Singler face final cut for U.S. team: Kyle Singler said he felt playing well at the opening workout was a key to being chosen among the remaining 16, "but on the other hand it did kind of put a little pressure. I mean, I did have a good first day, but my second day wasn't as good. So if I can get back to that first day, it'd be good. "It's just a great honor to be a part of this team. We all know there is one more cut to 12, so, I mean, it's not over yet. But it's a good honor to get past this first one." The Register-Guard 6/20

The NBA Players Association created a unique event 13 years ago, complete with a limited number of invitations, on-and-off the court lessons taught by former and current players and a focus on what to do when basketball careers come to an end. They also created a scouts' fantasy. The 13th annual NBPA top 100 camp, which begins today at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., features another tremendously talented and deep field. [...] The crop of shooting guards and small forwards is particularly strong and includes; James Harden, Alex Legion, Chace Stanback (UCLA). Scarlet Nation 6/20

With six players in the incoming freshman class and four sophomores, North Carolina will be more selective with its recruiting of rising high school seniors, Williams said. Kevin Love, a 6-foot-9 center from Lake Oswego, Ore., appears to be the top player on a short recruiting list. He plans to choose between the Tar Heels and UCLA, possibly in the fall. "It won't be quantity recruiting," Williams said. "It won't be in bulk like we've had to do the past couple years." Charlotte Observer 6/22

NBA Players Association Camp Tips Off: Alex Legion has also been a consistent scoring threat from the outside. Legion has been very good when he has played his role as a scorer and has kept his ball handling and passing simple. When Legion has tried to play the role of a playmaker, he has turned the ball over more than making productive plays. WV Sports 6/22

Alex Legion - During the spring many analysts were a little down on the slightly mechanical and sometimes stiff moving wing guard. Then at the Tournament of Champions he broke out of what by his standards was a bit of a slump. His excellent play has carried over to NBPA where he’s impressed with his fundamentally sound game and ability to score and defend from the wing. His jumper takes some time, but it’s highly accurate and he’s got just enough bounce to finish over defenders. He’s the kind of kid that ends up leading teams and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play spot minutes at the point later on his college career. Tiger Rag 6/22

Jeff Withey, a 6-foot-10 sophomore center from Horizon High in San Diego, Calif., is a promising prospect who is receiving attention from high major programs across the country. We spoke with Withey recently, and he told us his current top four schools are UCLA, Arizona, Kansas and Louisville. Kansas and Arizona have both offered him scholarships. Fox Sports 6/22

While Jerryd Bayless won't be here next week, it still should be another star-studded affair for the second annual Lute Olson Elite Camp at McKale Center. The camp begins Thursday and runs through Saturday. Among the high school players expected are 6-foot-7 forward Luke Babbit from Galena High School in Reno, Nev.; 6-10 center Jeff Withey of San Diego Horizon High; and 6-4 forward James Harden from Artesia High in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. Tucson Citizen 6/23

Matt Simpkins still has Arizona and UConn at the top of his list, but now they are joined by North Carolina, who recently contacted Simpkins. Blue Demons Nation 6/23

The final roster for the squad, which competes in the June 28-July 2 FIBA Americas Championship in San Antonio, will feature 12 players. So unless they’re the final two players cut, both local standouts will make the team. Oregon commitment Tajuan Porter of Renaissance, Mich., and Drew Gordon of Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) were the two players cut by the coaches. Gwinnett Daily Post 6/24


(photo credit: The Register-Guard)