Class of 2014 star Emmanuel Mudiay has reached an agreement in principle with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the China Basketball Association on a one-year deal that will pay him a total of $1.2 million, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com on Tuesday.
This development, earlier reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, comes a week after Mudiay announced he’s skipping college in favor of a contract overseas that would help alleviate some of his mother’s financial concerns. Clearly, this deal makes that possible.
But multiple sources told CBSSports.com that Mudiay’s actual motivation for bypassing a year in the AAC is rooted in the fact that he was facing eligibility concerns — both amatuerism concerns and eligibility concerns — and that the odds of the 6-foot-5 guard ever being cleared for freshman eligibility were slim, at best, mostly because he spent two years at Prime Prep Academy, which a source told CBSSports.com has never actually had a class accepted by the NCAA for the purposes of initial eligibilty.
Mudiay is projected as a consensus top-10 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Former Texas standout Royal Ivey played for the Southern Tigers last season.
It was an injury to Carmelo Anthony that led to Jeremy Lin‘s meteoric rise to basketball relevance in New York more than two years ago. Now it appears that indecision on Anthony’s part could lead to Lin trying to recapture the magic in Los Angeles.
The Lakers still hadn’t heard any official word from Anthony on Friday, according to a league source, when they pulled the trigger on a trade with the Houston Rockets to acquire Lin and Houston’s 2015 first-round pick in exchange for cash considerations and the rights to an undisclosed player stashed overseas.
While Lin hardly has the reputation now he had back in February 2012 when “Linsanity” reached its height of euphoria thanks to him dropping 38 points on the Lakers of all teams during a Friday night game at Madison Square Garden, it’s not as if he’s some bum either.
There’s no denying that the last we saw of him on the court, Lin struggled. Lin shot just 21.7 percent on 3-pointers in Houston’s first-round playoff loss to Portland and was particularly ineffective early in the series, scoring five points on 1-for-5 shooting in Game 2 and four points on 1-for-6 shooting in Game 4 as the Rockets fell behind 3-1 before eventually losing in six games.
But that rough series, combined with the Rockets’ preference for Patrick Beverly at the point, ended up clouding the player that Lin really is today.
The fact is, he’s a better player than when he was setting the world on fire during that streak with the Knicks. Lin may have averaged fewer points (12.5 compared to 14.6) and assists (4.1 compared to 6.2) last season than he did when he was in New York, but he’s more efficient (35.8 percent from 3, up from 32.0 percent, while his attempts have gone from 2.1 to 3.2 per game), more reliable (82.3 percent from the foul line, up from 79.8) and also more in control (2.5 turnovers per game, down from 3.6).
At 6 feet 3, 200 pounds, Lin is a bigger point guard than most think, which perhaps has something to do with his durability. Lin played in 71 games last season and all 82 games the season before that. Having a stable point guard would certainly be a welcome addition for the Lakers after Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar all missed so many games because of injuries in the last two seasons.
Lin also has one elite skill that puts him in the company of Friday’s biggest news maker, LeBron James. Lin shot 57.9 percent off drives last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information, second in the league last season behind only James (63.8 percent) among players who averaged at least seven drives to the basket per game.
While Lin’s $15 million salary for 2014-15 might not seem commensurate with what he brings to the court, his cap figure is only $8.3 million, which left L.A. with the necessary cap room to retain Nick Young ($21.5 million over four years) and Jordan Hill ($18 million over two years) on Friday.
Is Lin, Young and Hill as good of a combination of the Lakers’ preferred Plan A route of Anthony and Pau Gasol next season? Of course not.
But could it be better for 2015-16 and beyond? Maybe. Lin is only 25 and if he makes it work with the Lakers next season, could find a home for the next several years in L.A.
Getting that first-round pick from Houston is no small feat, either. The Lakers traded their 2015 first rounder to Phoenix as part of the Nash deal. Getting another good, inexpensive young piece in the draft to grow alongside Julius Randle for years to come is just a smart move in terms of the business of basketball.
And while L.A. overpaid for Hill, the second year is a team option, so they can cut ties if they choose next summer if it looks as if they’ll need that money to go after Kevin Love or another big fish out there.
Though it will hurt to see Gasol go, he just turned 34 and has a history of knee and foot troubles, so maybe avoiding giving him a multi-year extension will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Yes, Anthony paved the way for Lin to step into the spotlight once again.
The Lakers didn’t get the top-tier star they were hoping for, but ended up with Lin who has an extremely high international appeal, and Young, an L.A. native who was literally built for this town.
It’s not ideal, but it’s not disastrous, considering all the future flexibility the Lakers were able to maintain.
Coincidentally, the Rockets were interested in Anthony too and tried to recruit the high-scoring small forward by posting images of Anthony wearing a red Rockets No. 7 uniform (Lin’s number) when he came to town.
Also coincidentally, the Lakers might have been motivated in part to cut ties with coach Mike D’Antoni in April — Lin and Anthony’s old coach with the Knicks — before they went after Anthony this summer because their time together what somewhat rocky.
Well, only one of the three are in L.A. now.
And for Lin’s sake, let’s just hope his transition from Broadway to Hollywood includes a little more luck and positive results than there were for D’Antoni when he made a similar leap.
NBA executive president of global marketing partnerships Mark Tatum is in line to become the NBA’s deputy commissioner under incoming commissioner Adam Silver, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly until the announcement is official. NBA spokesman Tim Frank declined comment.
The move needs to be approved by NBA owners, but a decision such as this wouldn’t progress to this point unless Silver, the deputy commissioner who takes over for commissioner David Stern this week, knew Tatum would be approved.STERN: Leaves as ‘No. 1 reason’ for NBA successTatum, who joined the NBA in 1999, would become one of pro sports’ highest-ranking African-American executives. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell and graduated from Harvard Business in 1998.
He has been instrumental in the game’s global growth but has also been involved in collective bargaining, TV deals and partnerships with major sponsors. He has been on the NBA’s senior management team for about 10 years and also works closely with USA Basketball executives on the organizations marketing and sales.Tatum, 44, is a coveted executive. The United States Olympic Committee and the revamped Big East were interested in hiring Tatum. Prior to the NBA, Tatum worked for Major League Baseball, Pepsi-Cola and Proctor & Gamble, according to his bio on nba.com.
Larry Tieu played college basketball in California before going pro playing in Vietnam for the Saigon Heat
In the 1993 NBA draft, Rex Walters was drafted 16th overall.
Rex Andrew Walters (born March 12, 1970) is an American former professional basketball player and current men’s basketball coach at the University of San Francisco. Walters played college basketball at Northwestern University and the University of Kansas and played professionally for ten years, including seven seasons in the NBA, from 1993 to 2003.
In an interview with Rick Quan, Rex Walters responded to the question of feeling that he was a pioneer for Asian-Americans. He responded – “I consider myself Japanese-American. I just don’t look it. People are always surprised. Now we got a guy like Jeremy Lin breaking barriers, I’d like to think I played a small part in that”. He later added, “People ask me who I am? What I am? I am a Japanese-American, I take great pride in that.”
See the interview:
Believing in Li Muhao
PERTH, Australia Sino-Australian Challenge: Young starlet Zhou Qi pic above returned an impressive double-double, but China blew a 15-point lead and went down 95-97 Game Details to Australia in Overtime in Game One of the 2014 Sino-Australian Challenge series on Friday.
The annual series between two the trans-Pacific basketball giants took off with the expected intrigue and intensity and finished with enough twists and turns to satiate the basketball connoisseurs on either side the Pacific.Gong Luming, in his first international game at the head of China’s bench since guiding them to the quarterfinals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, has stitched a roster of players all of them under 25 years of age.
The youthful roster comprising players all of them playing in the CBA did an impressive job of hold their own against the more experienced Boomers, who are in preparation mode for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup to be played in Spain from Aug 30-Sept 14. Zhou Qi, considered by many as the ‘future of Chinese basketball’ more than justified that billing while returning the only double-double of the game, but the inexperience of the squad to handle the pressure situation showed up when push came to shove.China are using the Sino-Australian Challenge to prepare for the 5th FIBA Asia Cup which they will host in Wuhan from July 11-19.
Former Knick returns to the city that gave birth to Linsanity, sits on a park bench. Waits.
Remember Linsanity? Ah, February 2012. I remember it well. Sleepless nights of watching game replays, tracking down sports bars that were playing the Knicks games, my Facebook timeline lit up with countless links and comments about Jeremy Lin. That was fun. And New York City was ground zero for all of it.
Of course that eventually came to an end, and Jeremy Lin parted ways with the New York Knicks. This week, the current Houston Rocket guard was back in the city where it all started. Would Linsanity be a distant memory?Sports Illustrated thought it would be fun to set up a hidden camera while Jeremy hung out on a park bench and see if anyone recognized him. Former New York City sensation? Or just a random Asian dude on the street?
Check it out what happens:
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao’s plan to serve as the player-coach of incoming expansion team KIA Motors can only be good for the Philippine Basketball Association, according to some of the league’s top stars.
Pacquiao caused a stir last week when he announced his intention of becoming the playing-coach of KIA, one of the three new teams in the PBA, when the squad makes its debut next season.
Some details are still unclear, including whether or not Pacquiao will be allowed to bypass the Rookie Draft, and fans have been divided on the boxer’s plans. But PBA stars Asi Taulava, LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar support his endeavor.
“I think, in a way, it will be good for the league,” Taulava told Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News during a break at a recent 3-on-3 tournament. “(It will bring) more marketing value for the PBA, and especially for Manny.”
Taulava, who helped propel the Air21 Express to a semi-finals stint in the recently concluded PBA Commissioners Cup, also revealed how he would treat Pacquiao if and when they play against each other.
“I’m not trying to make him mad. I just want to let him play basketball, and not make him mad and start throwing punches,” said Taulava.
Tenorio agreed with Taulava, saying Pacquiao’s entry into the league is “a good thing for the PBA.”
“For sure, a lot of people will watch or are looking forward to watching Manny Pacquiao play in the PBA, and at the same time coach the team,” said the Ginebra point guard. “So I think, maganda ‘yun for the PBA.”
Aguilar, meanwhile, is a big fan of the “Pacman” and will thus treat him with respect during their game.
“If we every play against him, I’m gonna respect him by playing hard against him and his team,” said the high-leaping Ginebra forward.
KIA officials have said that Pacquiao will take an active role in forming the team and will have a coaching staff of his choice as well.
“Manny will take a leadership role” in KIA, according to Columbian Autocar Corp. president Ginia Domingo. “We at KIA are just so happy that with our team, Manny is now so close to living his dream of being involved with a professional basketball team as a player and a coach.”
Pacquiao associate Eric Pineda, who will likely be the KIA team manager, said the “Pacman” himself will oversee the team’s workouts and wants his team to be the “best conditioned in the PBA.”
“Manny expects the players to be as disciplined as he is,” Pineda told Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star. “This means every player will be pushed to the limit, over the norm. He wants a team of no superstars.”
Pineda also said Pacquiao’s abilities as a player should not be underestimated.
“He’s got game. He’s quick and smart,” Pineda said. “Just imagine when he hits a three-pointer. The crowd will go crazy.”
Basketball is clearly a passion for the 35-year-old Pacquiao, who previously owned – and played for – the MP-Gensan Warriors in the semi-professional league Liga Pilipinas.
The “Pacman” also includes basketball in his training activities ahead of fights. Most recently, Pacquiao did some basketball drills as a cross-training activity ahead of his April 12 showdown against American Timothy Bradley Jr., which he won via unanimous decision.
Li Muhao, the Dongguan Leopards’ 7-foot-2 center, is looking to enter the upcoming NBA draft if various reports in the Chinese media are true.
The young big man is preparing to fly to America and meet with a team of U.S. agents, who will help Li test the waters and gauge interest from NBA teams. Should he find enough suitors, Li would then file his entry papers and become the first realistic draft prospect from China in years.
This is not to say that Li’s journey to the NBA is a formality. Although Dongguan made it to the semifinals of the CBA playoffs, Li played a low-key role in the postseason run and finished the year averaging 8.7 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.
Yet in many ways, Li doesn’t have a lot of options. At 22, he is running out of time to be considered a viable project for NBA coaches to work with, and so it makes sense to jump now. Given that this year’s class of centers appears weaker when compared with the 2015 draft, it could be a case of now or never for the Leopards big man.
Another factor for Li is that he probably doesn’t want to be stuck in the same draft class as China’s other young big man, Wang Zhelin. The two big men are seen as China’s frontcourt for the future now that Yao Ming and Wang Zhizhi are retired and Yi Jianlian is shuffling into his 30s. Not only is Wang’s talent far more obvious than Li’s — at least on paper — he is the unquestioned darling of Chinese basketball, and Li and his representatives must be weary of getting overlooked as a result.
Whether Li, a four-year CBA player, could be a viable target for NBA teams still remains to be seen. Barring Yao, Chinese players have struggled to adapt in the NBA, whether due to cultural reasons or because of the intense pressure that comes with being a player from China in the world’s best league. The notable failure of Jianlian, both in terms of his on-the-court ability and also the concerns about the player’s actual age, will be a factor when NBA teams assess Li. In terms of Li’s actual game, some will be worried by his occasional lack of focus and hesitancy when things get physical under the basket. The fact that he has not played starters minutes after four seasons in the CBA might also be a concern.
What Li’s U.S. agents will be stressing will be the significant upside of their Chinese client. At 7-foot-2, Li is incredibly mobile, and his agility and speed for his position will catch many by surprise. If focused, Li can be a productive finisher around the rim and is able to finish with both hands. His raw athleticism and ever improving jump shot and offensive game will also make him an intriguing prospect for an NBA team that has time to let him develop.
If he does indeed make the leap to the NBA, China hopes he will be a high pick. But for Li, the best thing possible would be to go in the end of the first round or even in the second. The latter option seems more likely and it would frankly be for the best. An enigmatic talent who needs time to grow and refine his game, Li is not going to be another Yao Ming. However, if he can make it to the NBA, he has the potential to stay there and emerge as a solid backup.
The Los Angeles Clippers are not yet for sale, but two former NBA All-Stars are among the various parties assembling ownership groups to potentially buy the franchise, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com on Friday that Grant Hill and Yao Ming are working separately to line up investors to lodge bids for the Clippers when the team is ultimately made available.
STERLING BANNED FOR LIFE
NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life in the wake of Sterling’s racist comments. Full coverage »
Donald Sterling has agreed to allow his wife, Shelly, to negotiate a forced sale of the Clippers, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Friday.
Hill is just completing his first year in retirement after a 19-season career that ended with the Clippers after seven All-Star berths. Sources say Hill has made it known within league circles that he is in the process of putting a consortium together.
Sources say that Yao, meanwhile, also plans to pursue the Clippers hard with a group of Chinese investors. The former Houston Rockets All-Star center owns the Shanghai Sharks in his native country and has maintained close ties to the NBA through the league’s various initiatives in Asia.
Yao was seriously interested in purchasing the Bucks, sources say, but dropped out of the bidding when outgoing Milwaukee owner Herb Kohl made keeping the team in that city mandatory for any new owner. The Bucks were ultimately sold to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for a purchase price of $550 million.
The number of bidders for the Clippers is expected to stray well into double digits, assuming the league can force the sale of the team, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver continues to believe.
Other notables said to have interest in purchasing the Clippers include: Larry Ellison, who could partner with David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey; former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer; Magic Johnson, along with executives at Guggenheim Partners, who teamed up to buy the Dodgers; and billionaire Antony Ressler.
Grantland’s Bill Simmons first reported Yao’s interest in the Clippers.
As if we needed another big name thrown into the mix for new Los Angeles Clippers ownership, “Yao Ming is putting together a group of wealthy Chinese investors to make a serious run” at buying the franchise, reports ESPN’s Bill Simmons. Yes, we’ve reached the stage of this process where even international former stars are throwing their hats into the ring.
Why this makes sense
For one, Yao is an extremely wealthy individual. Since retiring from professional basketball in 2011, the Chinese ex-superstar has emerged as a prominent investor in China’s technology industry, and as of two years ago, had amassed a net worth of over $150 million.
Back in 2009, Yao purchased his former Chinese team, the Shanghai Sharks, when the financially struggling franchise was on the brink of shuttering. He’s also taken college classes and started a winery since leaving the NBA, so he has the time to work on his passions.
As for the league, adding a Chinese ownership group backed by arguably the most popular international player in league history is a pretty tasty proposition. Commissioner Adam Silver has touted his desire to expand the NBA beyond North America in the past, and replacing the Sterling ownership with a Yao-based group would contribute to that.
Why this doesn’t make sense
A lot of very wealthy, very connected people want to buy the Clippers.
Just because Yao Ming has the money and group support to purchase the team doesn’t mean it will happen, especially if the Clippers get their way and Shelly Sterling is allowed to dictate the process, which would only complicate matters.
We’ve already seen an incredible number of prominent, respected people tied to the franchise, from Magic Johnson to Oprah, so the bidding process will be extremely competitive.
When folks talk about the Clippers selling for around $2 billion, that’s partially a reflection of demand for the team. There are a lot of people who would love to own an NBA franchise, let alone an NBA franchise in the United States’ second-largest market.
The odds that Yao actually puts together a group, bids for the Clippers and has that bid accepted by the NBA are pretty low. Again, this isn’t because Yao isn’t a respected person in league circles or lacks money. This is about the overwhelming demand that’s likely to result from the sale of the team. There isn’t really a possible owner out there, as of now, who garners particularly high odds.
The possibilities are impressive, though, Yao among them. Whoever does become the new Clippers owner will likely have quite the resume.
There’s something insufficiently descriptive about calling Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate developer Donald Sterling a racist. By now, everyone is familiar with the baffling remarks he made to his girlfriend, admonishing her for featuring photos of black people on her Instagram feed and for bringing her black friends to Clippers games. These weren’t merely the words of a jilted madman. They fit within a broader pattern of behavior, most notably a series of lawsuits in which Sterling was charged with housing discrimination on the basis of race against Latino and black tenants—black people “smell and attract vermin,” he allegedly remarked to his staff.
This is racism in its most recognizable, blatant form: the powerful bigot creating structural obstacles against the advancement of poor minorities. But there’s another piece to Sterling’s warped worldview, one that illustrates the bizarre and incoherent ways in which racism works. As Sterling allegedly schemed to rid his properties of certain racial minorities, he sought to fill his development with Koreans, an ethnic group he valorized as hardworking and reliable.
Sterling did not take a passive approach to attracting Korean tenants. He changed the name of one of his buildings to “Korean World Towers,” adorned his buildings with Korean flags, and explicitly stated a preference for “Koreans” in his housing ads. A group of tenants, who saw this as a thinly disguised attempt to discriminate against black and Latino housing applicants, filed a discrimination case against Sterling in 2002. In 2003, a U.S. district judge issued an injunction barring him from using the word “Korean” in his building names and advertisements.
Why did Donald Sterling love Koreans? At a basic level, he was buying into the myth of the “model minority”: the perception that Asian-Americans, compared with other nonwhite minorities, are innately intelligent and well-behaved. To Sterling, this made them ideal tenants: “[Koreans] will live in whatever conditions [I give] them and still pay the rent without complaint,” he allegedly remarked. His respect for the Asian immigrant’s quiet diligence extended to his own business. According to ESPN’s Peter Keating, in 2003 Sterling’s real estate business “had 74 white employees, four Latinos, zero blacks, and 30 Asians.” Lest you think Sterling’s prejudices begin and end with race, note that 26 of his 30 Asian employees were women, and that he wanted them to fulfill an Orientalist fantasy. One former employee claimed that Sterling would “tell me that I needed to learn the ‘Asian way’ from his younger girls because they knew how to please him.”
Legions of social scientists and historians have debunked the myth of the Asian-American’s “natural” orientation toward economic achievement. They point out that it is more a function of immigration trends in the 1960s, which favored East Asian professionals who often arrived with significant educational and wealth advantages. In the mythical retelling, the minority’s model behavior speaks to an inborn superiority, an almost genetic predisposition to success. This is the flip side of a deeply held, racist worldview: Alongside the “undesirable,” vermin-attracting minority groups, there is another group that does everything right. Why did Donald Sterling idealize Koreans? Because, in his view, they did whatever Donald Sterling wanted them to do, and they did it without complaint.
This will all sound very familiar to Asian-Americans, cast as the put-upon overachievers, whose head-down, by-the-bootstraps stoicism has resulted in remarkable educational and financial attainment. The “model minority” myth persists in part because it is cited as evidence that the system works. It makes for a great story—the plucky, determined Asian-American succeeding where others have failed. But the ultimate beneficiaries of this racial typecasting are the people who invoke the model as a bludgeon against others. Sterling’s admiration for his Korean tenants is actually a kind of scorn. After all, he still subjected Korean tenants to the same degrading treatment as everyone else—the only difference is that the Koreans seemed willing to take it.
For Asian-Americans who eagerly stand with other minorities in denouncing Sterling, this is all very awkward—even more so because Sterling’s history of housing discrimination is filled with small moments of Asian-American complicity. The housing case brought against Sterling in 2003 includes black, Latino, and white plaintiffs but no Korean-Americans. We have not been able to find prominent public complaints against Sterling by any Asian-American individuals or groups. There are also troubling stories of Sterling at one point replacing his security team with “Korean-born guards who were hostile to non-Koreans.”
Of course, focusing exclusively on one minority’s gain when pitted against another risks obscuring the bigger picture. These moments when Korean-Americans enter the Sterling narrative are a reminder of how, on the rare occasions when Asians are invited in to a public conversation about racism, it is to play the role of the middleman. This is how California’s debates around affirmative action, for example, have become framed, with Asian-Americans as the purported victims of policies that benefit their fellow minorities.
We don’t have a good way to talk about any of this publicly. More often than not, observers frame America’s racial dramas according to a black-white binary, one that abides by familiar tropes of hateful bigotry and righteous condemnation. This dynamic is central to American history, yet it feels inadequate in moments like these. While it’s not quite on par with degrading other minorities as lazy or filthy, Sterling’s praise for his hardworking Korean tenants and the “Asian way” reveals how racism can be a collection of contradictory impulses. Love and hate, praise and condescension—they are all engines of exploitation.
Above all, Sterling saw the world in terms of winners and losers (“I like people who are achievers,” he once noted), and he used this logic to categorize racial groups along a sliding scale of desirability. For Sterling, Koreans never merited the decency of being looked upon as individual human beings. Rather, they were a faceless bloc, a group of indistinguishable “achievers” that did nothing more than provide the contrast that enabled his contempt for blacks. This is the lesson of Donald Sterling’s racism: A hierarchy that flatters those at the top and demeans those at the bottom can only serve to distract us from noticing the one shuffling the rankings.
On Sunday morning, Jeremy Lin’s cell phone alarm went off. He looked at it, and there in his calendar notifications were the words that would ruin his day.
The Rockets guard forgot to delete the calendar item when the Rockets lost in Game 6 to Portland on Friday night.
“That kind of sucked,” Lin said. “That’s probably when it really hit me. It’s over. It’s weird. No more film, no more anything, It’s over.”
After the loss on Friday which came on a fadeaway 3-point shot from Trail Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard with 0.9 seconds to play, Lin was in a state of disbelief.
He sat in the locker room motionless, barely reacting when anyone spoke to him.
“It doesn’t feel real,” he repeated over and over.
It was, though, and the roller coaster ride that Lin had been on since training camp came to an abrupt stop. And he wasn’t quite ready to get off.
The season started with Lin back as one of the faces of the “New Age” Rockets squad. He, along with guard James Harden and center Dwight Howard were on every billboard, internet ad and message board having anything to do with the team.
Lin had a new mo
As Linsanity gripped the nation, more than two years ago now, a cluster of Asian-American men who loved basketball came together in San Francisco.
They had a friend who’d starred some 50 years before Jeremy Lin, and they felt that he should be considered as much of a forerunner, at least at the local level, as the former Palo Alto High School and Harvard star.
Soon, a bid for the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame narrowed into focus.
At first, Norman Owyoung Jang, the man in question, was reticent. He’s not too keen on displays of self-promotion, but friends and family convinced him that this would be a chance to show his grandchildren what he’d done. How he was one of the premier prep talents of his age. Jang relented: If it was for his family, he was all in.
He still didn’t expect anything would come of it.
But Steve Nakajo, part of that band of friends that has gathered for the past 25 years to play basketball, led a spirited campaign. He nominated Jang to the Hall of Fame committee, and produced a stirring presentation to the board.
This past February, Jang, who starred at Washington High from 1956-59 and became the first Asian-American to try out with the Warriors in ’64, received a letter declaring that he was set to be inducted into the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame.
The 2014 class also includes Walt Arnold (Sacred Heart, football), Paul Fortier (St. Ignatius, basketball), Dave McCall (Mission, basketball), Michele McMahon (Washington, softball), Steve Sewell (Riordan, football-track and field), Ronald Whitaker (Wilson, track and field), Gene Womack (Polytechnic, basketball-track & field), Jeff Thollander (Portrero Hill, Enola Maxwell, coach) and Anne Heiline (former AAA commissioner).
“I feel honored to do it,” Jang said. With his wife, Betty, he added, “I usually think I’m too old for something like this.”
Since the announcement, Jang’s friends and family have accounted for some 100 reservations for the ceremony, which is scheduled for May 17 at the Spanish Cultural Center. All but two of his grandchildren will be in attendance. A daughter will be making the trip from Georgia.
And to think how it all began.
Jang arrived in San Francisco from China just before he turned 10. He quickly took up the sport of basketball, darting around Chinatown to the recreational center, then to the blacktop.
He’d play pick-up games with friends, imitating the dribbling of Boston Celtics great and personal favorite Bob Cousy until his legs grew too tired to move. He developed an unorthodox shooting motion, his hands jutting past the right side of his head, with his release coming at an angle that made it almost impossible to block.
At Francisco Middle, his coach, Tommy Kim, convinced him to pursue the sport. Since Jang’s father often worked long hours at the family’s grocery business, Kim would invite Jang to have dinner with his family after practice. Jang calls Kim a second father.
Coming out of Francisco Middle, Jang attended Washington, but not after a transcript mix-up meant he would be ineligible to play basketball his freshman year.
When he became eligible, he thrived. Jang helped the Eagles 130s team (the equivalent of JV) win more than 50 games in a row before he was moved to varsity in his junior year. Two losses to Polytechnic in the city championship game stung, but Jang, then 5-foot-4, dazzled audiences with his high-flying, dexterous display.
After Washington, he had an offer from San Jose State, but as a new husband with a baby on the way, he turned it down to enter the workforce. He still starred for the S.F. Saints, a local Chinese team. They played service teams — Army, Air Force, Navy — filled with former collegiate All-Americans.
“That’s how I got my experience,” Jang said. “I played against those big guys.”
Betty Jang remembers those games vividly.
“They’d play these teams that would see this group of small guys and think it wouldn’t even be a game,” she said. “And then, that shocked look on their faces when they saw how well Norman’s team could play.”
In 1964, the Warriors — then based in San Francisco — took note and invited him to training camp. He was the first Chinese-American to do so.
He felt he acquitted himself well but in the end, he was told that at 5-7 (he’d sprouted since high school), he was too short to be a viable option. Owner Frank Mieuli sent a note offering his condolences and noting that Jang would one day become known as a groundbreaker for the Asian community, but that offered little comfort. Jang just wanted to make the team.
So it is with some catharsis that another letter, 50 years later, heralded inclusion into a select group.
Nakajo is a few years younger than Jang, but considers him a hero. “The S.F. Hall of Fame bid felt like unfinished business,” Nakajo said. “I told him, ‘It’s for your children and grandchildren but it’s also for our generation, too.’ Lin showed America what Asian-Americans can do, but Norman was our guy. He was amazing.”
When Jang was honored at the Chinese Historical Society, his granddaughter couldn’t hide her surprise.
“I didn’t know you played basketball!” she said.
He still plays with his friends at any gym with an available court.
Jang turns 75 this August, but he’ll still head to the park with his grandchildren to shoot hoops, or show some dribbling tricks.
“His life is basketball,” Betty said.
In the end, Clutch — the Houston Rockets’ mascot bear — is shooting off a confetti streamers gun, as if the Rockets have won a series or something, not just the first of the three straight elimination games they need. Three different Rocket players are being interviewed on the court — Dwight Howard by TNT, Jeremy Lin by CSN and Chandler Parsons for the in-house feed broadcast on the giant scoreboard.
And the guy who shows up at Toyota Center carrying that “See y’all Sunday” sign is feeling better about himself.
All because Jeremy Lin finally has the Rockets offense in his hands. With Kevin McHale essentially out of other options, Lin’s allowed to play like a true point guard for one of the first times all season.
Predictably, the Rockets look like more of a team than they have all series and pull out a 108-98 Game 5 brush back of Portland. This is what it looks like when everyone’s involved and James Harden’s not just dominating the ball.
It’s not Linsanity. It’s about his coach finally finding forced sanity.
The forced and tired references to Linsanity returning whenever Lin receives the chance to play a major role are silly and clueless. That storyline completely ignores reality. This isn’t about Jeremy Lin discovering his long-lost A Game.
It’s not Linsanity. It’s about his coach finally finding forced sanity.
Lin’s always been capable of leading the Rockets this way. He’s just usually denied the opportunity.
On this Wednesday night, the near supernova combination of McHale’s beloved Patrick Beverley being completely zapped by a 101-degree fever and Harden looking so lost that not even McHale can ignore it, gives the Rockets coach little choice but to turn to Lin.
“He played better,” McHale says of Lin in his postgame news conference. “Jeremy has had some very good games for us.
“We needed him.”
If that sounds a little like damning with faint praise — particularly the “he played better” qualifier — so be it. Jeremy Lin is used to being underappreciated by his own coach.
The complementary players Lin gets more involved in the game certainly know what playing with a true point guard can do for one’s game. It’s no coincidence that Omer Asik plays his best game of the series by far (10 points, 15 rebounds) with Lin running the show.
Lin knows how to get an offensively limited big man engaged in a game. See Tyson Chandler. In fact, it’s no big wonder that these Rockets almost look like the Knicks of Lin’s heady New York run during stretches of Game 5. The ball’s moving, everyone’s hustling because they know there’s always a chance they’ll get a pass (something not true when it’s all Harden Hero Ball) and the Trail Blazers don’t know who to focus on defensively.
Jeremy Lin’s Passing Ways
Lin’s only credited with four assists, but they all come in the last 6:52 of the first quarter (yes, with Beverley gasping for air, Lin gets into the game at a juncture that must feel unfathomably early to McHale), setting an immediate tone. One of those assists is a drop off to Asik inside for an easy dunk after Lin drives deep into the lane. Another is a fast break pass to Chandler Parsons for a 3-pointer. The other two set up no-stress dunks for Asik and Howard.
With Jeremy Lin attacking, the Rockets are attacking — as a team. And they’ll never stop, racking up a whopping 60 points in the paint and collecting 23 assists to the Blazers’ 14.
For the first time in one of the most entertaining first round NBA playoff series you’ll ever see, the Rockets don’t face final minute angst. They’re actually running out the clock rather than trying to set up a desperate last shot against the fifth seed.
With Jeremy Lin attacking, the Rockets are attacking — as a team. And they’ll never stop.
This is what giving a true point guard control of the team — at least for important stretches — can do.
Jeremy Lin finishes with a playoff career-high 21 points on 9 for 15 shooting in 31 minutes of playing time. But more than his own numbers, it’s about the balance he brings. Four Rockets score between 17 and 22 points. No player takes more than 22 shots and five Rockets get at least 12 shots.
In many ways, it’s a clinic in the power of teamwork. One hopes McHale is taking note, but with Jeremy Lin delivering the lesson that’s highly unlikely. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to imagine the Rockets reverting to their Hero Ball ways under the immense pressure of Game 6 in Portland Friday night.
That game’s likely to decide the series. Home teams don’t lose Game 7s. But the Rockets, still down 3-2 in the series, still need to get to Sunday.
Jeremy Lin gets them to Friday. The Rockets game operations crew break out all the stops for this Game 5. But all those snazzy red Clutch City T-shirts and the timeout skit with the little kid dressed as Clark Kent popping out of a phone booth as Superman can’t do what Lin can. Hit the shots that break the Blazers’ back.
“It seemed like Jeremy Lin hit big shot after big shot,” veteran Blazers guard Wesley Matthews says in his televised postgame dais time.
Lin hits two at the shot clock buzzer, including a double clutch 3-pointer in which he somehow maintains his shooting balance. He shows more emotion that he has all series too, turning back at half court and giving a flying near Tiger Woods-worthy fist pump to the crowd after one of his shots forces a Portland timeout. His game’s finally unchained for at least a night. He’s going to enjoy it.
“God is good,” the religious Lin says in his on-the-court TV interview moments after a Game 6 is guaranteed. “It’s been a rough couple of days. But God’s given me a lot of peace.”
After taking all that criticism for that Game 4 turnover — while others received a free pass for the same — Lin’s given the Blazers a few uneasy nights of wait. He’s given the Rockets a blueprint on how they can control and still win this series.
Is anyone listening?
The tale of two turnovers tells it all about these Houston Rockets and the sickening double standard that’s haunting this franchise.
Jeremy Lin loses the ball in a crucial moment late in regulation after he’s put in an impossible position by Kevin McHale — and Lin’s absolutely crucified for it. Patrick Beverley loses the ball in the closing seconds of overtime, stopping the Rockets from ever getting off a game-tying shot — and Beverley’s given a complete free pass.
The one-sided venomous reaction in the wake of the Rockets’ 123-120 loss to Portland in Game 4 of a first round playoff series couldn’t be more predictable, telling or sad. The fans — and the segment of reporters acting like they’re waving pom poms at the games — who love to hate Jeremy Lin are almost gleeful in their condemnation. Of one of the turnovers. The other turnover? The Beverley turnover?
Well, that’s understandable. Beverley must have been mugged. He’s a warrior, you know!
It’d all almost be comical. If it wasn’t so clearly bigoted.
On a night when both Rockets point guards commit almost the same exact blunder, a night when TNT commentator Reggie Miller rightfully laces into James Harden for completely giving up on getting back on defense (and giving away a fast break to Nicolas Batum) because he’s pouting about not getting the ball on offense, a night when McHale is once again completely out coached by Terry Stotts, it’s absurd to blame this loss on one player.
Yet, Jeremy Lin is still predictably the lone Rocket being blamed.
It’d all almost be comical. If it wasn’t so clearly bigoted.
Which is laughable considering McHale benches Lin for all but 21 minutes of this 53-minute thriller — only to throw him into a ridiculous situation in the last minute of regulation. Lin’s pulled from the game with 6:41 remaining and then put back in with only 50 seconds left. As cold as can be thanks to the long exile, he’s asked to help save the Rockets on defense as they cling to a slim lead.
Should Lin call a timeout when he corrals the rebound after having more than done his defensive job? Certainly. There’s no need to dribble up court, exposing the ball — which allows Blazers veteran Mo Williams to swoop in from behind for the steal. But it’s hardly the main reason the Rockets lose.
Yes, McHale tells all the Rockets to call a timeout if they get the ball and there’s not a clear fast break opportunity the other way. Lin fails to call the timeout. Just like Beverley fails to pass the ball ahead like McHale instructs him to before the last play of overtime and dribbles right into a double team at half court instead.
Two mental mistakes. Lin’s crucified for his, Beverley’s given a free pass for his. Welcome to Rockets basketball!
The situations are so nearly identical that one can’t help but half wonder for an instant if some wicked basketball god set this up to highlight just how glaring the double standard against Jeremy Lin truly is.
To both Lin and Beverley’s credit, each player insists on taking responsibility and owning up to his own mistake.
“It shouldn’t have been in overtime in the first place,” a stone faced, shoulder slumped Lin says in a locker room interview shown on CSN Houston. “I should have held onto the ball and called timeout.”
For his part, Beverley refuses to grab onto the lame excuses offered by some of his media defenders — and Lin haters. “He made a good play on the ball,” Beverley says of Wesley Matthews coming in to strip him at half court with the Rockets trying to force double overtime.
Unfortunately, McHale does not show the same grace.
Kevin McHale’s Playoff Panic
In his own postgame news conference, the Rockets coach goes out of his way to point out that he told the players to call a timeout in the situation Lin loses the ball in.
“Jeremy gets the defensive rebound and dribbles it out and we lose the ball,” McHale huffs. “We couldn’t be any clearer, than ‘Clear break or timeout.’ “
Two mental mistakes. Lin’s crucified for his, Beverley’s given a free pass for his. Welcome to Rockets basketball!
Then, almost as if catching himself and realizing Larry Bird would have slapped him across the head if he threw a Celtic teammate like that under the bus back in the day, McHale suddenly adds: “That’s not (Lin’s) fault, he made a basketball play.”
Jeremy Lin is guaranteed to get the hateful scorn, but McHale’s fooling himself if he thinks his own blunders aren’t being noticed by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander. Lin is not the reason the favored Rockets are in a 3-1 series hole, needing to somehow win three straight elimination games to prevent the season from ending in utter, crushing disaster.
Four games into the series, McHale’s still butchering his bench rotations. He’s finally rightfully giving D-League shooting wonder Troy Daniels some run, getting 17 points and only two missed shots from the rook on Sunday night. But now he’s completely benched Francisco Garcia and cut Lin’s time nearly in half —the game after Lin made the heady play that resulted in the Rockets only series win.
It doesn’t look like McHale’s coaching on feel. It looks like he’s coaching on panic.
The only thing that might possibly give Houston life is the boneheaded, gloating move made by Mo Williams, who walks all the way over to the Rockets bench after the final buzzer to mock Troy Daniels of all players. Harden rightly steps in front of Daniels and goes right back at Williams.
For at least a moment in Rip City, the Rockets are finally standing together rather than yelling at each other. “It’s just hard to play a team and then play ourselves at the same time,” Rockets forward Chandler Parsons says in his televised postgame dais moment, hinting at the real discord.
Jeremy Lin’s the one being crucified. But he’s not the Rockets true problem. Not even close. That’s as clear as those two turnovers.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Senior point guard Jason Brickman closed out his LIU Brooklyn career by becoming just the fourth player in NCAA history to record 1,000 assists in the Blackbirds’ 81-62 loss to Bryant on Saturday.
Brickman, who had 12 assists in the game, tied his own LIU and Northeast Conference single-season record with 290 assists in 2013-14. In the process, he also became just the second player in men’s college basketball history to average a double-double in points and assists in a year (Avery Johnson — Southern, 1987-88).
Needing only three assists to join an exclusive club that featured just three members, Brickman got things started with a backdoor feed to redshirt junior Troy Joseph at the 16:11 mark of the first half. Less than four minutes later, he found Joseph for a 3-pointer to give him 999 for his four-year career.
The 3-ball from Joseph and a free throw from sophomore E.J. Reed pulled the Blackbirds within four at 15-11 at the 11:51 mark. But a 9-2 spurt by Bryant that was capped by a layup from Alex Francis bumped the margin to double digits, 34-23, with 8:50 remaining in the opening half.
On the ensuing possession, the historic assist came to fruition as Brickman dished to junior Gerrell Martin for a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 run that brought LIU within 24-20. He finished the half with six assists, and the Blackbirds went into the locker room with the same four-point deficit, 36-32.
The second half was one mired by offensive struggles for LIU Brooklyn, as the team missed its first nine shots and turned the ball over five times in the first 6:34. The Bulldogs built a 19-point lead over the stretch, with Corey Maynard leading the way with 11 points during the span to give his team control.
Brickman finally got the offense going with an assist on another 3-ball from Martin, then assisted on a layup by junior Gilbert Parga to pull LIU within 56-42 near the midway point of the period. That margin is as close as it would get, however, as Bryant built up a comfortable margin the rest of the way.
The only drama down the stretch was whether or not Brickman would secure a double-digit average for the season. Needing three more dimes with 2:40 to go, he threaded the needle with a pass to Reed for a difficult layup down low. On LIU’s next possession, Joseph cut through the middle of the lane for a contested hoop off a pass from Brickman to put him one away.
After a couple missed opportunities, Brickman finally got his 12th assist on a backdoor cut to Martin for a layup with 40 seconds remaining. Brickman, who finishes his career with 1,009 to rank fourth all-time, exited to a standing ovation for the final time in his LIU Brooklyn career.
It’s been a little more than a week since Beverley went down, possibly for the season, thanks to a meniscus injury, one almost similar to the one that ended Lin’s magical 2012 NBA season in New York, which led to Lin getting a dramatic increase in playing time. Prior to that, Lin’s minutes were largely fluctuating coming off the bench for Houston, with the inconsistency in playing time and some nagging injuries causing his numbers to slip after the All-Star break, his scoring average dipping from 13.3 points prior to the All-Star break to 11.1 points afterwards and his shooting dropping from 46.6 percent to 40 percent during that period.
After Beverley’s ill-timed injury, Lin was expected to get a boost in his offensive categories thanks to more playing time and, by default, more shooting opportunities. So far, Lin’s scoring opportunities have definitely increased over his last five games, his field goal attempts climbing from 9.1 in his last 23 games to 12.8 shots per game within the last week. Yet, that increase in shots has only translated into marginal gains, at best, in key offensive areas…
The Rockets look powerful when Dwight Howard is making his presence felt in the low post, grabbing rebounds for put-backs, spinning in the lane to drop in those jump hooks he’s honing in during workouts with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.
The Rockets look like a tough nut to crack when James Harden is weaving like a wild-eyed taxi driver through traffic in the lane to finish for improbable layups and stepping back to stab in his long 3-pointers with ease.
But the Rockets become positively confounding to defenders when Jeremy Lin is doing all of the things he can do. Which is why Lin’s recent emergence from a slump is worth noting.
“We need Jeremy,” said coach Kevin McHale. “He just makes a lot of things happen and when he is rolling it just gives us more versatility to do different things.”
While there will never be a return to the “Linsanity” days in New York, that ability to strike inside and out, create for his teammates, get all the way to the rim and hit a critical shot from the outside is what can elevate Houston to being the most difficult offense to stop in the Western Conference.
The Rockets don’t need him to be the big hammer in their attack as much as a bowling ball that strikes and send pins…
Desperate and running out of time, Kevin McHale finally frees his banished star.
This is how it goes for Jeremy Lin. When the Houston Rockets coach has exhausted every other possible way to try and win the game, he might give Lin a chance to make a difference. McHale will throw Lin into an impossible position and see what happens.
More often than it should, more than often than anyone has a right to expect considering how often Lin’s been jerked around, something like Sunday night happens. Lin pops off the bench, receives his first extended playing time in 17 days and goes crazy. He drops in 26 points, hits the go-ahead jumper in overtime, gets to the free throw line 12 times and makes up for starting point guard Patrick Beverley’s hideous zero assist, minus-two, 36-minute game.
Jeremy Lin can still play. He still has moments of pure basketball insanity in him. He just needs a real chance.
It’s the kind of performance that screams out for more playing time. Demands it.
With every fearless drive and pull-up jumper, Jeremy Lin serves notice that the Rockets need him in order to be anything more than another Houston team that goes on a dazzling second half of the season run only to flame out early in the playoffs (remember those 22-game-win-streak, 55-wins-overall 2007-08 Rockets who promptly bowed out to the Utah Jazz in the first round?) When Lin turns and unleashes a full-throat scream after one overtime dagger, he might as well be yelling at all the doubters.
Yes, Jeremy Lin can still play. He still has moments of pure basketball insanity in him. He just needs a real chance. More than once every eight games.
“If you ask me it feels good, yeah it feels good,” Lin tells the TV cameras after the great escape against a Portland team that still fancies itself as one of the Western Conference elite.
Lin’s demise hasn’t just been greatly exaggerated. It’s been completely orchestrated by a coach whose doghouse seems dictated by personal beliefs rather than player performance.
What other player in the NBA has a player whose capable of dropping in 26 points off the bench one night and racking up a triple double as a reserve on another?
It’s like the Rockets have a Jamal Crawford and an Evan Turner coming off their bench — only they’re barely playing him.
The other Rockets are starting to acknowledge Lin’s unmistakable talent.
“Jeremy Lin had an amazing game,,” Dwight Howard tells the CSN cameras after the Portland comeback.
Even the commentators on the the Rockets’ own cable network are beginning to recognize the faulty strategy of continually benching and belittling Lin.
Damon Jones — the former Miami Heat guard turned CSN Rockets analyst — argued on air days before the Portland explosion that Lin is not being given a fair chance to produce or break out of any so-called slump.
“He only played 16 minutes the other night,” Jones says. “You can’t find a rhythm in 16 minutes.”
Jones found himself debating against 610 AM host Nick Wright, who always seems to be on the bully side raging against anyone whose draft status and demeanor don’t fit his definition of what a professional athlete should look like (see Case Keenum).
There’s no denying it now though. Lin’s 26-point throwdown demands that he needs more time.
Oklahoma City Conundrum
On almost any other team in the NBA, with any other coach, Lin’s latest star turn would guarantee him instant increased playing time. This trend of yanking away his starting job for no sound reason, the reducing of him from the sixth man to virtually the eighth man, would end with that fourth quarter. On any other team, with any other coach.
After all, Lin shattered the notion that he and James Harden can’t excel together. They dominate the fourth quarter and overtime as a duo. When Harden — the rightful repeat Western Conference Player of the Week — isn’t hitting a big shot, Lin is knocking one down.
There’s no denying it now though. Lin’s 26-point throwdown demands that he needs more time.
This represents the Rockets at their most offensively dangerous.
Unfortunately, these are also the Rockets of McHale’s senseless and very selective quick hook.
Lin could be reduced to a bit player again as soon as Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. It doesn’t matter how hot he comes into the night. There’s a good chance McHale will try and see if can win the game without him.
Jeremy Lin’s play couldn’t be screaming any louder for a larger role and a real chance.
But does anyone really think Kevin McHale has any interest in listening?
Statistically and analytically, the Houston Rockets play their best lineups when they don’t include Jeremy Lin. However, the decision to pretty much give up on his importance and contribution, while handing the team over completely to James Harden and his sidekick, the overrated Patrick Beverley.
Things change quickly in the NBA, especially when you have a head coach who is out to get you. I’m not saying Kevin McHale made a decision at the beginning of last season to derail Lin’s career, but it’s quite clear that he and his coaching staff don’t hold him in high regard, and prefer to spend as much time as possible with him on the bench or not playing next to key players.
Lin had a very good stretch in late January and early February. Beverley not playing, or Harden not playing, didn’t just make him look very good, but the entire Rockets team play like a completely different team. But the last couple of weeks? Since the loss to the Golden State Warriors, it seems like Lin has been demoted. A team with only him as a viable backup guard (not just point guard) should play him a bit more than 17-to-20 minutes a night, but he’s averaging only 19.5 minutes over the last four games.
And when you get to that point, it’s hard to stand out, especially when it’s a player like Lin. Numbers are nice, but some players aren’t measured by stats. As Stan Van Gundy said during the Sloan Sports Analytics conference, statistics and analytics are very nice but they don’t always mean that much. Some things can only be seen by watching and understanding, and not from looking at box scores and digested stat columns.
Maybe if Lin was different he’d be making it about scoring 10-12 points during the 15-20 minutes he has on the floor; take a page from the James Harden book. But Lin isn’t that kind of player, in term of personality and his abilities. He’s an excellent passer and penetrates as well as Harden, but he doesn’t have that ability to draw fouls and finish near the rim while three bodies are banging at him.
It doens’t make him less of a player, or any less important to the Rockets, but he has fallen into certain perceptions it is hard to shake. A bad defender for example. When Beverley started getting more minutes last season, he was referred to as a good defender. But we’ve seen how badly he’s done this season against quality players. Maybe there’s more of a pesky quality to him Lin doesn’t, but he’s more than slightly overrated as a defender.
When a team wins, it’s hard to argue with a head coach and his decisions. The Rockets have dropped a game to the Clippers because of that hero-ball McHale is so proud of, but Harden isn’t measured by the same rigid standards Lin is. When a player has to be perfect to get minutes and even that doesn’t help, there’s not much left for him to do but actually hope, deep inside, that someone on this team gets injured so his minutes go up and his importance is revealed again.
But Lin isn’t like this; he understands the situation, which isn’t helping him play any better due to the shakiness of his minutes, the lineups he’s with and obviously being affected by the depreciation of his standing in the eyes of his coach for whatever reason McHale has. When the Rockets get knocked out of the playoffs because they didn’t have a confident point guard to help them out, it won’t be surprising if for some reason the fingers will be pointed at Lin, instead of where they really should be directed.
Baron Davis’s grip on reality is tenuous at best. Just ask Steve Nash, who was featured in the first part of the Inside The NBA mockumentary, chronicling the 34-year-old’s faux return to basketball. Or film. Whatever comes first.
Japanese basketball phenom Yuta Watanabe will commit to George Washington University next season, he revealed on his Twitter account on Tuesday.
“I’ve decided to go to George Washington University,” Watanabe tweeted. “The school has a good basketball team, too. I’m sure I’ll have hard times both in basketball and academics, but I’ll give it my best shot.”
Watanabe reportedly received an offer from Fordham University as well. According to ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein, Watanabe was torn between George Washington and Fordham until recently.
The 19-year-old has attended St. Thomas More School, a preparatory school in Oakdale, Connecticut, since last fall and has been a core player of its men’s basketball team.
GWU is located in Washington, D.C., and its men’s basketball team belongs to the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Colonials have made the NCAA Tournament 10 times and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1993.
George Washington has produced several NBA players. In addition, legendary former Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach graduated from the school.
Watanabe, a native of Kagawa Prefecture, will become one of very few Japanese-born men to have played at an NCAA Division I school, following in the footsteps of Keijuro “K.J.” Matsui and Taishi Ito, both of whom played for Division I schools in the U.S., Columbia and Portland, respectively, before returning to Japan.
According to Ben Standig of Comcast Sportsnet Washington, Watanabe will become the fifth international player on the Colonials’ 2014-15 roster.
Watanabe, who was listed as 201 cm last year but is presumably taller now, gained recognition by guiding his Jinsei High School team to runnerup finishes in 2011 and 2012 in the All-Japan Tournament.
He has also already played for the Japan national team.
It’d be easy for Jeremy Lin to lose confidence. It’d be easy for him to retreat into a shell. It’d be easy for him to start tuning out (a la Omer Asik) and just wait and hope against hope for a trade to deliver him a real opportunity.
He’s been dismissed, dissed and marginalized during his second season in Houston, treated like a spare part by his own coach.
Yes, Jeremy Lin could have checked out a long time ago.
Instead when the Houston Rockets need him most, when James Harden is out, when Patrick Beverley wants no part of facing off against Tony Parker, when Chandler Parsons is colder than a winter storm warning, when Kevin McHale has no choice but to use Lin like a real starting NBA player for once, the marginalized man delivers. Jeremy Lin saves the Rockets in that come-from-behind 97-90 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s impossible to deny that. Just like there’s no denying he plays like an elite level point guard when he’s allowed 44 minutes of playing time.
One might think that Lin’s performance against the Spurs will grant him more leeway in the future. Anyone who watches the Rockets knows better.
It’s not just the 18 points and eight assists. It’s not just the tough pull-up jumper — the kind of mid-range shot that Calvin Murphy’s been begging the Rockets to seize for weeks — he fearlessly takes and hits with 48 seconds left to seal the win. The night is a lesson in what a high-level point guard can do for a team when he’s given a real chance to make an impact.
The Rockets look as lost and inept on offense in the first part of the Spurs game as they did in those back-to-back putrid meltdowns againdt the Memphis Grizzlies.
The difference? This time Jeremy Lin gets enough playing time to find a rhythm and he drags the Rockets along with him. His third quarter turns the game around, ensures San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich will be grumpy in sideline interviews for weeks to come.
Jeremy Lin’s Takeover
Lin hits a corner three to open the third and quickly adds two free throws, but it’s his passing that changes everything. He puts up three assists in the quarter, but that barely begins to demonstrate his impact. He makes the rest of the Rockets better, exactly what a point guard is supposed to do.
“He really caught a rhythm in that third quarter and it was really good for our team,” McHale says in his postgame news conference broadcast on CSN.
When Kevin McHale has no choice but to use Lin like a real starting NBA player for once, the marginalized man delivers.
Of course, Lin “caught” a rhythm because McHale actually played him long enough for it to happen — for once. The coach doesn’t just play Lin the first eight minutes of the second half (time he’d be sitting in any other game), he also brings him right back in after a short rest so he can finish the third. Yet rather than acknowledging that this is the major difference in Lin’s play — opportunity — McHale talks like he’s divorced from having anything to do with it.
Earlier in the same news conference, McHale says Lin needs to play “aggressive.” This from the coach who often takes him out at the first sign of a mistake.
It’s almost like the Rockets coach is auditioning for a part in some new age version of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.
One might think that Lin’s performance against the Spurs will grant him more leeway in the future, starting with the Wednesday night game in Dallas. But anyone who’s watched the Rockets knows better.
As soon as Harden is back — if not sooner — Jeremy Lin will found himself downgraded and dismissed again as the offense is run through lesser playmakers like Beverley and Parsons.
No modern day athlete outside of Tim Tebow has been this doubted. Only Jeremy Lin has the game tape to back him up that Tebow’s never had. So what?
It will matter little that Lin saved the Rockets against the Spurs. It means zilch that he’s shown he still has the potential to deliver Linsanity level numbers when given a real opportunity (Lin himself is the first to admit he misses several drives against San Antonio that he should hit — that’s what happens when you’ve been kept out of rhythm). It doesn’t even matter that the coaches clearly choose to put Lin rather than that fantasy land “defensive stopper” Patrick Beverley on Tony Parker in the big game (Beverley himself even motions for Lin to take Parker late in the fourth quarter).
Reality has a tenuous hold on these Houston Rockets.
It’s even bled into the stands where the murmurs after a few great, attacking Lin drives that don’t fall against San Antonio are loud and clear. Everyone knows you’re supposed to doubt Jeremy Lin.
Lin will be banished to the bench for endless stretches again soon enough. No matter what he does. No matter how much the Rockets offense continually breaks down without a true point guard. (Houston’s already scored under 90 points three times since Jan. 10 and that doesn’t even include that 19-point second half game against Oklahoma City.)
No matter. Jeremy Lin will be made to wait for another real opportunity. He’ll have his confidence tested, his resolve challenged, his patience probed. Maybe this time he’ll break.
Just don’t count on it.
Jeremy Lin keeps his cool. Chandler Parsons, not so much.
Is there anything funnier than watching grown men get the crap scared out of them? You never know what kind of sneaky surprise might be waiting to pounce in the Houston Rockets clubhouse. In this video, a seemingly inanimate Clutch the Bear, the Rockets’ mascot, suddenly comes to life to prank the unsuspecting passing members of the team — including Jeremy Lin. Take a look:
Tough guys on the court… not so tough in the presence of inflatable bears. Let the record show that our man Jeremy did flinch, but at least he didn’t take a flying scaredy leap like teammate Chandler Parsons.
As for Francisco Garcia, just take a look at that death stare — you do not want to mess with that guy.
Sun scored a team-high 28 points, Hudson added 24 points and 7 assists for the North. Gibson finished with a game-high 32 points, Yi Jianlian contributed 18 points and 9 rebounds to the South, his All-star teammates, Wang Zhizhi, grabbed 15 points and 7 rebounds. Tonight’s game was all about saying good-bye to Wang, who is reported to retire after this season.
“It’s a pity that Wang missed some shots, he intended to give more chances to the youth. I wanna share this award with him. This may be his last All-star game, he taught us so many things that we can benefit from for the rest of our lives,” Sun said.
After years of domination in CBA, Wang Zhizhi became the first Chinese player in NBA, playing for Dallas Mavericks. He returned to CBA in 2006-2007 season, and helped Bayi Rockets grabbed its eighth Championship. In the national team, his contribution was always indispensible.
Sun’s Beijing teammate, Stephon Marbury, missed the game due to knee injury.
Zhejiang guard Wang Zirui became the technique champion with 26.7 seconds. He Tianju from Beijing, who collected 16 points in the game, took the three-point title. Johnson of Zhejiang claimed the Slam King with a game-high 96 points in total.
The signs keep showing everywhere, but the Houston Rockets and their shot callers ignore them. James Harden gets to run almost every possible possession, ignoring the fact that he has Jeremy Lin next to him and others who can make plays, resulting in another unnecessary loss, 80-83 to the Atlanta Hawks.
Credit to the Hawks goes for their defense, but it’s not that difficult with the way the Rockets have been playing this season. James Harden get to run the show for the 38 minutes he’s on the floor. He might end up with pretty numbers: 25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, but it goes without saying that there’s more to it than just numbers.
Jeremy Lin finished with 11 points and 4 assists, but instead of getting to run the offense a bit more, he’s once again delegated to the times Harden is stuck with the ball for too long and is waiting for a way out, which usually leaves too few seconds on the clock for anyone to do anything with. Dwight Howard is getting the ball down low, but not nearly enough as he should in pick & rolls and in other situations, which would have made things a lot more beneficial and efficient for the Rockets.
This was the worst offensive performance by the Houston Rockets this season: a season-low 80 points, shooting 41.4% from the field, only 15 assists and turning the ball over 16 times. The Hawks did their homework in slowing the game down – The Rockets are now 20-7 when scoring 100 Pts or more, and 3-7 when they don’t. They’re 0-5 when scoring less than 93 points.
The Hawks might not be among the league’s elite, but they’re a smart team, who know where the ball should go. Jeff Teague wasn’t having the best of scoring nights, but he’s the team’s best decision maker, and runs the show without anyone having a problem with it. He creates for others instead for just himself, allowing a lot of open looks for Kyle Korver who might be having his best season after over a decade in the league, scoring 20 points. Paul Millsap had a big night as well while Pero Antic kept Dwight Howard busy, adding 20 points and 7 rebounds.
The Rockets now fall to 23-14; not a disaster considering the Thunder’s slips without Westbrook, the Spurs having nights off, the Clippers playing without Paul and the Blazers coming down to earth. Houston have problems of their own: No Omer Asik or a decent enough backup for Dwight Howard, and yet they should look much better, especially on offense.
But that’s the difference between a team with big-name players but not thinking behind it all on how to run the show and others who are less talented but have the right people running the ship. Jeremy Lin didn’t have the best of games, but it’s impossible for him, Dwight Howard and others to reach their full potential, which also means a better game for the Rockets, when everything is about Harden doing his thing – dribbling, penetrating, shooting, and passing when he’s in a jam.
Daryl Morey assembled a very talented team, with depth and superstars, filling both ends of the spectrum. The Asik situation has hurt them, but there’s no doubt that the coaching and support for James Harden to continue running the show like there’s no one else on the court is ruining what could have been a much better season up to this point.