24 Jun

DIKEMBE DIXSON: THE FLAME IS GETTING HOT WITH THE MIAMI HEAT THIS SUMMER

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UIC Flame Dikembe Dixson looks to get hotter with the Miami Heat this summer.

A UIC Flame, Dikembe Dixson isn’t afraid to get hot.

The question is, how heated can he get with Miami this summer?

Despite not trading for a 2018 NBA Draft pick on Thursday night, the Miami Heat front office is getting ready to feast its eyes on some new talent. With 2018 Summer League play starting up on July 2, another batch of undrafted talent will soon be pulling out all the stops to try and lock in a professional contract.
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22 Jun

CHICAGO BULLS ADD KAISER GATES TO SUMMER LEAGUE TEAM

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Another basketball player from St. Francis High School in Alpharetta will get a shot in the NBA.

Kaiser Gates, a native of north Fulton County and 2015 graduate of the school, went unselected in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night, but was signed by the Chicago Bulls on Friday and will join the team in the NBA’s Summer League.

Gates, 21, played his college ball at Xavier, but left a year early to pursue a career in pro basketball. The Musketeers made the NCAA Tournament each year that Gates was on the team. This past season, the 6-foot-8, 225 lbs. forward helped Xavier earn its first No. 1 seed in the tournament in school history.

Leading up to the draft, Gates worked out for the Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I feel like I have a lot to prove,” Gates told BasketballInsiders.com. “I feel like a lot of the guys in the draft this year, I’m just as good if not better than (them), so I got to show that.”

In his junior season at Xavier, Gates averaged 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per-game while also shooting 37 percent from behind the arc.

At St. Francis — where he shared the court with current NBA players Kobi Simmons and Malik Beasley — he won two state titles and finished as the school’s all-time leading rebounder. In the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Gates and Simmons faced off in the Sweet 16. Simmons went undrafted last year, but signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. Beasley was a first-round selection by the Denver Nuggets in 2016.

Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com tweeted that Gates is a “probable two-way candidate.” Players signed to two-way contracts are assigned to that team’s G-League affiliate, but can play in a limited number of NBA games if called up. Simmons played on one last season for the Grizzlies. The Bulls’ G-League affiliate plays in a Chicago suburb, under the name “Windy City Bulls.”

For now, Gates will have to prove himself at the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas. He’ll suit up for the Bulls on July 7 when they take on the Cavaliers, a game that airs at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN 2.

By Mitchell Northam, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

22 Jun

KNOX HAS ALWAYS BEEN HARD TO THE CORE

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“One thing that the Knicks fans can understand about the Knox family is that nobody works harder than the Knox’s,’’ Kevin Knox Sr. said. “And we’re a blue-collar family. We’ve always had a chip on our shoulder. I think that’s why Kevin’s always had success wherever he went.’’

The Knicks used the No. 9 pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft on Knox, a versatile 6-foot-9 forward from Kentucky, who averaged 15.6 points. A lot has been made about his sweet stroke and ability to stretch defenses.

But that’s not what might separate Knox from the group of very talented forwards that was in this draft.

Call him Hard Knox.
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21 Jun

KNICKS PICK KEVIN KNOX AS THEIR DRAFT GAMBLE

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With injury-plagued Michael Porter Jr. dropping like a rock to No. 9 and fans at Barclays Center chanting his name, the Knicks wouldn’t take a chance on the Missouri forward.

But the Knicks still wound up taking something of a chance on draft night with Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox, the second-youngest player in the draft at age 18 and the youngest Knicks draft pick since the forgettable Maciej Lampe in 2003.

The 6-foot-9 Knox, like a late-closing thoroughbred from the state where he played college ball, beat out the more established Mikal Bridges of Villanova despite his up-and-down freshman year. Knox averaged 15.6 points and shot 44.5 percent — 34.1 percent from 3-point range — and struggled on defense.
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18 Jun

ANTONIO BLAKENEY MUST PLAY A ROLE IN THE CHICAGO BULLS FUTURE

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While much of the focus last season was on the results of the Jimmy Butler trade, the Chicago Bulls had their own star forming in the G-League.

Chicago Bulls two-way guard Antonio Blakeney was one of the pleasant surprises of the 2018 season. As a Tiger at LSU, Blakeney was teammates with the NBA’s best rookie (or, non-rookie) Ben Simmons.

Blakeney is no stranger to creating his own shot, given Simmons’ known shooting struggles. His 17.2/4.8/1.7 stat-line led many analysts to believe he would hear his name called at the Draft. When that didn’t happen, the Bulls pounced on a player they had likely aggressively scouted, and signed him to their Summer League squad. There, it was pure bliss.
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31 May

MANGOK MATHIANG’S UNREAL JOURNEY FROM SOUTH SUDAN TO AUSTRALIA TO THE NBA

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Greensboro, North Carolina — It’s early April in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the spring has yet to properly break. The NBA playoffs are still weeks away but for the Charlotte Hornets, the reality of an early end to their season has already hit home. There will be no post-season basketball for them in 2018, so this might be the best opportunity to play some of their prospects from the G-League to hopefully unearth a diamond in the rough for next season and beyond.

A Dwight Howard technical foul during a game against the Brooklyn Nets — his 16th of the 2017-18 campaign — results in a one-game ban the following night when the team is set to face the Memphis Grizzlies.

The stage has been set for Mangok Mathiang.
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18 May

HOW TERRY ROZIER AND HIS SISTER BONDED THROUGH STRUGGLE

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After Terry Rozier scored 21 points in the Celtics’ Feb. 11 loss to the Cavaliers, his older sister, Tre’Dasia Tucker, waited patiently for him in a hallway in the bowels of TD Garden. It was the first time she had seen him play in Boston, the first time she’d heard Celtics fans howl for him, and now she was excited for them to go to dinner and talk all about it.

Rozier drove his sister to one of his favorite restaurants, Strip by Strega, and when they arrived at the Back Bay steakhouse, Tucker asked her brother to grab her walker. She has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk without assistance, and even then she can usually travel just short distances.

But Rozier shook his head. He reminded her that she was with him now, and that nothing had changed from when they were teenagers.
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13 May

WHO CREATED ‘SCARY TERRY’ ROZIER PERSONA FOR BOSTON CELTICS GUARD?

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – Terry Rozier, the Shaker Heights High School grad now running the point for the Boston Celtics, is scary good.

A backup, he stepped in for injured star point guard Kyrie Irving (remember that guy?) and helped Boston dominate despite missing its two biggest stars in Irving and Gordon Hayward.

When you watch the Cavaliers take on the Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston Sunday, you are likely to see fans, maybe even players on the bench, sporting “Scary Terry” T-shirts.

It uses the name of a character on the Adult Swim animated TV series, “Rick and Morty.” And it’s a caricature of Terry wearing a “Scream” mask. There are a number of versions. The whole “Scary Terry” thing has gone viral in Boston.
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03 May

TERRY ROZIER ENVISIONED HIS BREAKOUT SEASON LAST SUMMER

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BOSTON — Terry Rozier thought he would be the Boston Celtics’ starting point guard this season. Or at least that was his goal. This was in the summer, back when Isaiah Thomas was still on the roster and recovering from hip surgery.

It isn’t that Rozier wanted to depose Thomas. He just wanted to prove to the Celtics they could survive, and still thrive, without Thomas on the floor.

But in August, the Celtics pried Kyrie Irving away from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Rozier was thrilled, but he also knew his dream of leading a team into the playoffs would have to be put on hold. Or so he figured.
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03 May

HEEEERE’S SCARY TERRY

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Terry Rozier has made a series of sartorial choices of late that are, shall we say, of questionable quality. Most recently, there was l’affaire Bledsoe.

Rozier arrived at Boston’s TD Garden before Monday night’s Game 1 against Philadelphia rocking a blue Drew Bledsoe Patriots jersey. This made the gaggle of media folks waiting around pregame in a quiet Celtics locker room, where Philly’s Game 5 win over Miami played silently on a TV, positively giddy.

When Rozier materialized at his locker, the group peppered him with questions about the jersey.
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