Pro Bonnies have huge opportunity at NBA Summer League

By. Isaiah Blakely

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball program will be well represented in this year’s NBA Summer League

While, the Bonnies backcourt duo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley  went undrafted, they were signed by teams. Adams was signed by the Atlanta Hawks on a two-way deal which means he will most likely be playing a lot of his games with the Hawks’ Gatorade-League (G-League) affiliate the Erie Bayhawks. Players who sign two-way contracts can spend no more than 45 days with the NBA team that signed them to a two-way deal.

Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz signed Mobley to play on their summer league team. The Jazz were one of the teams to bring Mobley in during the pre-draft process for a workout which obviously went well enough to where they wanted to take a closer look at him this summer.

Both Mobley and Adams’ pro careers start this evening in Utah and will have the chance to play each other in the last game of summer league in Utah on July 5 before the Las Vegas Summer League begins on July 6.

The Denver Nuggets signed 2016 graduate, guard Marcus Posley, who was a major contributor for the Bonnies in 2015 and 2016. While Posley also went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, he was selected in the NBA Development League (Now Gatorade League) Draft with the 22nd pick of  the second round by the Sioux Falls Skyforce, a Miami Heat affiliate. Posley averaged almost 10 points a game. This past season he played in Greece with Koroivos.

Additionally, former SBU forward Demetrius Conger, who graduated in 2013 was signed to play on the Boston Celtics summer league team. Conger has played in a variety of countries overseas including Italy, Greece and Australia, among others. He recently signed with Joventut Badalona in Spain. Conger and Posley play against each other on July 7 in Las Vegas. On July 8, playoffs begin.

All four Bonnies have an opportunity make an NBA team or at least potentially play with an NBA team’s G-League affiliate.

Adams has the most job security because he signed a two-way contract.

The Hawks summer league roster contains a lot of guards so it will be interesting to see how much time Adams gets this summer. But playing right away in summer league for Adams is not as important as it is for Mobley.

The Jazz have a few roster spots open and potentially have some availability at the guard position if guards Dante Exum and or Raul Neto (both restricted free agents) do not come back to the Jazz. Mobley should get some playing time potentially behind the Jazz’s first round pick Grayson Allen. Half of the Jazz’s roster are players from non-Power 5 conferences so you expect the Jazz to give all those guys including Mobley a fair shot to prove that they can either make their roster or make a good impression for another team and make their roster.

Posley has the potential to get a solid amount of playing time for the Nuggets because he is one of only three point guards on the roster. The Nuggets’ roster looks pretty solid right now but there could be a spot at the end of the bench for another point guard. In all likelihood Posley is looking to impress another team and show that he has improved since his rookie year in the G-League.

Conger presents an interesting case because he may be looking for an NBA roster spot or he’ll play another year overseas. Having signed with Joventut Badalona in March, if he doesn’t get offered an NBA contract Conger is most likely going back to Spain. For Conger, being on the Celtics summer league team means he’s trying out for other teams. There is one roster spot right now so it would take quite the performance from Conger or any of the players in summer league to make the Celtics roster. This summer league team is full of wing players and so there will probably be a lot of small-ball being played which will allow Conger to show off his versatility. Conger’s success oversees should ensure that he gets minutes to show off his skills against NBA players. The 6-foot-6 forward definitely has a shot to stick in the NBA being an athlete wing is a skillset that teams like.

 

With four players competing in summer league for NBA jobs, these are the times that serve as a reminder of how far the Bonnies program has come, and how it continues trending in the right direction.

 

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One day at a time: Adams tuning out the noise despite lofty expectations

By Jeff Uveino

The Bonnies are coming off a season in which they finished with a 20-12 record and bring back lots of experience with four returning starters. This includes the most important piece of the puzzle — senior guard Jaylen Adams.

After originally declaring for the NBA draft following his junior year, Adams later chose to stay at St. Bonaventure for one more season; a decision that will give the Bonnies a huge boost as they compete for the conference championship.

Adams has already amassed one of the most successful careers in Bonaventure history, being named First Team All-Conference in the Atlantic 10 each of the last two seasons. He finished 2nd in the A 10 last season in scoring, averaging 20.6 points per game. A lifetime 83% free throw shooter and 38% three-point shooter, Adams has already shown he has what it takes to lead Bonnies basketball to the next level.

After an ankle injury that sidelined the NBA prospect for the first several games of the season, Adams has returned with a chip on his shoulder and an undeniable focus to finally get the Bonnies over the hump.

The best example of this may have come in their last game against Syracuse, in which Adams scored 23 points and helped the Bonnies get their first win at the Carrier Dome in program history.

After being named preseason First Team All-Conference again this year, and being picked by NBC Sports as their preseason Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Adams will have to deal with additional pressure to lead the Bonnies deep into the postseason. With many analysts picking them to make an NCAA Tournament run, Adams spoke about what the team needs to do in order to deal with all of the hype.

“I think we just need to tune it out honestly,” Adams said. “The things that people say about us, we can’t let it get to us. If we let it affect us negatively or positively, it’s just weakness. We need to block it out and prepare every day.”

Head coach Mark Schmidt will once again be leaning heavily on Adams for continuous involvement, as he averaged 37.4 minutes per game last season. Adams discussed what he has to do to get ready for such a big work load.

“I just have to prepare my body, prepare for the physical beating and prepare mentally,” he said.

Adams will work with backcourt mate and fellow senior Matt Mobley to take some of the load off him. Mobley, who averaged 18.5 points per game last year, will also be a key piece for the Bonnies this season. This team is packed with talent, which is something that will help their star players prepare and succeed.

“I get to go up against Matt in practice every day and a bunch of other guys that push me, so I’m ready for it,” he said.

For all of the veterans on the roster, this could be the best chance they get to play deep into the postseason and make a run at the NCAA tournament.

“I’ve got a bunch of friends who have been there before and they tell me that it’s one of the best experiences they’ve ever had,” he said. “Coach Schmidt has been there and he tells us all the time there’s nothing like it, so it’s definitely goal number one.”

As a senior, Adams will look to make the most of his last go-around at St. Bonaventure, and expressed how much his time at the school has meant to him.

“It’s definitely a special, special place. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity Coach Schmidt gave me. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” he said. “I’ve built some lasting relationships, and I just love it here.”

Adams has brought plenty of energy to the Reilly Center over his career at Bonas, but even he had to take a moment to reminisce on just how powerful the Bonnies student section, the ‘Wolf Pack’, is during home games. Last season, the Bonnies were 11-4 at home, and just 6-5 on the road and 3-3 at neutral locations.

“I don’t even know if they know it, but they give us an unreal energy. Especially when you see familiar faces that you see around campus cheering for you. They get so excited; the gym literally feels like its shaking. They give us a tremendous boost,” he said.

Although his career at Bonaventure will come to an end after this season, Adams hopes that he can continue to play professionally for years to come.

“I just want to play until the wheels fall off,” Adams said. I love the game and everything about it. Hopefully I don’t have to give it up too soon.”

Opinion: Iverson changed the culture of the NBA

By Joseph Phelan, @JPhelan13 

Allen Iverson retired from the National Basketball Association (NBA) recently. Drafted in 1996 by the Philadelphia 76ers, Iverson played until 2010.

Iverson not only built a Hall of Fame career, but he changed the culture of the NBA.

Tattoos, cornrows and a me-first attitude fit Iverson. Early 2000s basketball fans knew Iverson because of those tattoos, cornrows and that attitude—specifically the “practice” rant and the way he stepped over Tyronn Lue after knocking down a three against the Lakers in Game 1 of his only Finals appearance.

He led the league in scoring four times, had been selected to 11 All-Star games and won a regular season MVP award despite being only 6’0”. He played through injuries, had a breath-taking crossover and guided his team to the 2001 NBA Finals—but Iverson will be remembered for something that cannot be found in his stats or accolades.

Baggy shorts, arm sleeves and do-rags became Iverson’s trademarks. Before Iverson entered the League, some players wore short shorts—now each player wears long shorts. After a right elbow injury, Iverson began wearing an arm sleeve, which players now use as a fashion statement. NBA commissioner David Stern announced a dress code in 2005 for press conferences, which critics claim that Stern targeted black males such as Iverson who wore do-rags to press conferences.

Continue reading “Opinion: Iverson changed the culture of the NBA”

Opinion: Top-10 NBA rivalries

By Jordon Hall

1. Heat vs. Bulls:

The rivalry goes back to the 1990s when Pat Riley defected from the New York Knicks and joined Alonzo Mourning in Miami to take on the dynasty of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Fast-forward about 15-years later and it’s maybe the most heated rivalry in the NBA today. Both teams have arguably the two best players in the NBA; LeBron James and Derrick Rose. The two-time NBA and Finals MVP against the only player not named James to win an NBA MVP since 2008. Both are without a doubt two of the most explosive players in the NBA today.

Dwyane Wade, the Chicago native, is not afraid to get rough with the Bulls. Joakim Noah has stated many times he hates the Heat more than any one man on the planet. Carlos Boozer, Chris “Birdman” Andersen, Luol Deng, Nazr Mohammed and Chris Bosh have all gotten physical in the rivalry since it started three years ago when “ The Big 3” came together. These teams play four times and then more in the playoffs.

2. Heat vs. Nets

When Miami’s “Big 3” started, it ticked off the Celtics’ “Big 3” because Boston coined the term first and also never liked James and Wade.

Continue reading “Opinion: Top-10 NBA rivalries”

NBA: Posey Discusses Career

[Photo courtesy of sportsofboston.com]

By Aime Mukendi, staff writer, @sir_aimezing 

James Posey is an NBA veteran who has had success at all stops during his career, but as the season comes to an end, he is still without a team.

He played a major role in helping the Memphis Grizzlies make their first postseason appearance in 2004, stood by the Big three in Boston as they won the 2008 NBA championship and contributed to the Miami Heat’s first NBA championship run in 2006. 

A 12-year veteran, his most recent employment came with the Indiana Pacers.

Posey was drafted in 1999 by the Denver Nuggets and avoided the only lockout in NBA history until this season.

One of the additions to the Collective Bargaining Agreement which helped end the lockout was the new Amnesty Clause. This clause allows for a team to release a player and not have his contract count towards their cap space while still paying the player. 

The Indiana Pacers used this clause on James Posey during the shortened offseason making him a free agent.

“Money wise it was a blessing,” Posey said. “Right now I’ve just been working out. I can get a call any day.”

Posey explained he had to acclimate himself to a lesser role with the Pacers.

“In Indiana it was a tough situation,” he said. “They wanted to go young. It was tough but I understood, I wouldn’t want to be in that situation again.”

Teams have made no offers to Posey but he has received a few calls.

“I have gotten phone calls but at the end of the day with anything you hear it’s all talk until things actually happen,” he said on his free agent status.

As a former NBA Champion, Posey says he would prefer a chance at another ring rather then being a mentor on a young team.

“At the end of the day I still want to play,” he said. ” At this point of my career I would like to be on a more veteran orientated team, [where] it’s all about winning.”

During the interview Posey reminisced about his career. He talked about the best teams he played for. 

He mentioned the 2004 Memphis Grizzlies that was coached by Hubie Brown, where he played with Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Bo Outlaw, Earl Watson and Jayson Williams and the 2006 Miami Heat team coached by Pat Riley, where he played with veterans Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker and star Dwayne Wade. 

He also made sure to mention his time spent with the Big Three of the Boston Celtics.

“Those three teams were special in different ways,” he said.

He shared how each team had different expectations and had different ways of accomplishing their goals. In Memphis it was the hard work in practice, Miami had to meet expectations due to all the big name players, and in Boston it was hard work and camaraderie.

Posey also spoke about how players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen asked him what they needed to do to be like the 2006 Miami Heat team or even be better than that team.

“Those guys with all the accolades to actually listen to me with some of the things I had to say regarding practice or just how we played went a long away,” he said of his time in Boston.

Posey also praised the intensity that Kevin Garnett brought to each practice, which transferred to the games, and helped bring a championship to Boston for the first time since Larry Bird’s Celtics won in 1986. 

“He’s paid $100 million and when I say he’s hard in practice like it’s a game that’s what he does. He don’t slack off.” Posey said about Garnett’s competitiveness.

Posey also shared the methods that Pat Riley often used to win in Miami. 

” For me it was a great experience. There was no bad blood or beef between me and Pat Riley it was all about winning,” he said. “When I had to miss those games it was a tough pill to swallow. So it was like now I’m the skape goat, blame me for this and that. That’s just another one of his tactics. He’s known to have guys walking on egg-shells. He’s like God walking around there.” 

Posey weighed in on the ultimate question as well — who is better LeBron or Kobe? 

“I wouldn’t mind playing with LeBron James. He plays the game the right way. He’s very unselfish as a star player like KG. As far as skill set I gotta go with Kobe he’s more polished as a player. He [Kobe} is the more complete player,” was his answer.

Posey said he was able to sustain his career by working hard, something others could learn from.

” I been blessed injury-wise I didn’t have any major injuries. I took care of my body [and] prepared for the season. I accepted [my] role and did it the best I could,” Posey said.

mukendas11@bonaventure.edu

NBA: The Lockout Hurts

[Photo courtesy of espn.com]

By Aime Mukendi, staff writer, @sir_aimezing 

The NBA lockout may have been the scariest moment of time for small-market NBA teams, die-hard fans and LeBron James.  

 The fear of not having a season put companies such as Nike, Adidas and television affiliates such as ESPN and NBA-TV in danger of losing millions of dollars.

But when the lockout ended, the excitement and anticipation for the NBA season had risen to unheard of levels.

Workers who depend on the NBA for an income were extremely happy that the season although shortened, would be played and the players were relieved that they wouldn’t have to resort to pick-up games for an entire season.

But there was one major problem with a shortened season.

A shortened season equals rushed training camps, minimized free agency period, less practice time and a grueling week-to-week schedule. 

Teams with youth would suffer from the lack of practice while older teams would struggle to maintain consistency and health with a higher frequency of games.

NBA personality and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has been vocal about his feelings on the shortened season.

“I want to apologize to the fans,” he said. “I cannot believe how bad the NBA is right now. I’m embarrassed about the product we’re putting out there right now.”

He is right.

The game has been sloppy and teams are not playing as well as they previously had.

There are seven teams averaging 90 or fewer points per game this season. Last year the lowest by any team was 91.9 points per game.

During the 2010-2011 NBA season teams averaged 99.6 points per game, shot 45.9 percent from the field, 76.3 percent from the free throw line,and 35.8 percent from the three-point line.

All numbers have decreased through the 2011-2012 season.

Teams are averaging 94.6 points per game, shooting 44.4 percent from the field, 74.5 percent from the free throw line and 34.4 percent from the three-point line.

The quality of basketball is down.

Yet there are some pros.

The intensity of defense has increased as each team realizes that in order to win they must play consistent defense and a team who might have struggled for much of the season can make a run at the Larry O’Brien Trophy come mid-June. 

For instance, a team like the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers can take a page out of the New York Giants Super Bowl pamphlet by catching fire late in the season, ending in a title run.

But Barkley says the poor level of play cannot be attributed to just the lockout.

“They have all built in excuses about it’s the lockout,” he said. “Let me tell you something if these teams played once a week they would still suck.”

However, Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale and New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni have both expressed that many issues that they have found in games are hard to correct when practice time is rare.

Coaches are now having to muster up better game plans and strategies in shorter times, while players must use travel time to evaluate their play on film.

The lockout has shown the huge difference between the elite superstars in the league and the guys who have to battle to make a roster on a daily basis.

Charles Barkley is correct in stating how bad the NBA has been this season but the real question now is do the players realize how bad they have played thus far?

Or has sloppy ball become the new NBA trend?

mukendas11@bonaventure.edu

NBA: Lin’s rise is an inspiration to many

[Photo courtesy of USA Today]

By Kevin Smith, staff writer, @Kevsmith88

Linsanity. Linning. Linderella.

These are a few of the many puns pressed onto the surprising sensation that is Jeremy Lin.

His sudden ascension from the last seat on the bench to the Knicks starting point guard has seemingly saved their season from being an epic failure.

Analysts and fans alike have penned Lin as another Tim Tebow. But that can not be further from the truth.

Tebow’s rise centered around his humble words and religious background while leading the Denver Broncos from the ashes to a playoff berth.

The only comparison that holds truth is the humbleness displayed by the former Harvard graduate. 

But the fascination does not end with his ties to the Crimson. It goes to his ethnicity — Asian-American.

Lin has spoken of being overlooked and after going undrafted, being waived by three different teams and almost cut from the Knicks in early January — the 23-year-old has experienced ups and downs.

Now imagine where the Knicks would be without their newest star.

New York had a record of 8-15 before Lin became a full-time starter. He has since led them to an 8-2 record since that point, once again making the Knicks a dangerous team.

Lin is averaging 14.4 points per game to go along with 5.8 assists in helping the Knicks discover their identity — a pass-first team that moves the ball with rapid efficiency.

This philosophy led them to surprise wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks.

The only aspect one can point to as a need for improvement is his penchent for turnovers, but his high minutes played per game can be a factor.

Off the court Lin has had an even bigger impact.

He owns the highest selling jersey in the NBA, helped Madison Square Garden’s stock rise by 11 percent and increased sales and traffic to the Knicks online site by more than 4,000 percent

His impact is even felt on the road.

Lin’s stardom led to sell-outs in both Toronto and Minnesota, including a standing ovation as his buzzer-beating 3-pointer delivered a Knicks win over the Rapters.

His story exemplifies the old saying of never giving up.

Through trials and turbulations, Lin’s confidence has never wavered.

Now, through 10 games as a starter Lin has facinated and captivated many, becoming both the story of the year and inspiration for those who have also been overlooked.

Smithkl09@bonaventure.edu