What They’re Saying...Junior Monte Morris on who he plans on visiting: “I’m going to Indiana May 4 for a visit and then I’m planning on attending Butler’s Elite Camp June 2. Then I’m going to try to get out to Iowa State, USC and Georgia Tech. These schools were the ones who I’ve been talking to the most and they’ve been wanting me to come down since the winter.”
Ball Don’t Lie’s playoff predictions: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz--Ball Don't Lie
This doesn't mean this series won't be competitive or fun. You're going to love watching Gordon Hayward fill in all the holes, or Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard look like he could morph into something that even Scottie Pippen would be jealous of. And a five-game series means the Spurs will only roll the ball out five times between April 27 and May 10, which is plenty of time for a team that has ably handled the divide between rest and relocating the jaw of their opponents all season.
Only two players, backup point guard Jamaal Tinsley and just-back-from-injury forward Josh Howard, are on the far side of 30, and five — Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter and DeMarre Carroll — are 25 or under. For those young Jazzmen, the opening-round tilt against the Spurs will be their first taste of NBA playoff action; for Utah veterans like Al Jefferson (first trip since '04-'05), Tinsley ('05-'06), Devin Harris ('06-'07) and Howard ('08-'09), it'll be a return to a brand of game they've not seen in a minute. It'll be Corbin's first time running the show from the sidelines, too. So this series will be either a learning or re-learning experience for just about every member of the Jazz.
Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers report card--Deseret News
GUARDS: It was a light duty night for starters Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward. Neither guard played after the first quarter, and it was a well-earned break before the playoffs. Alec Burks, Jamaal Tinsley and Blake Ahearn all did a nice job of filling in for them with Burks scoring a career-high. Former Jazzman Wesley Matthews couldn't buy a basket in his former arena, with his costliest miss coming as time expired. (Ahearn's tackle, of course, helped him miss.) Rookie Nolan Smith was outstanding in the second half for Portland.
For 8th-place team, Utah Jazz have appeal--Deseret News
This year's Jazz are interesting, whether it's Jamaal Tinsley and Josh Howard resurrecting their careers, or Favors and Gordon Hayward beginning theirs. It's compelling to see Alec Burks not even trying to hide his ambition and Enes Kanter scattering bodies like bowling pins. It's entertaining to see Al Jefferson, in all his emotional swings, making quirky one-handed jump-hooks in the clutch and Devin Harris — Utah's most-maligned player — finally spurring the offense. You wonder: How good will these guys get?
This team is a different deal. There's something about watching kids grow up and grown-ups mature. It's hard not to like DeMarre Carroll, who was out of work 21/2 months ago but is now starting for the Jazz; Paul Millsap who, just like Malone, finds something to improve every season; Hayward, who's biggest fault is that he's too unselfish. Plus, it has a coach who, just like his players, is starting to find himself.
Utah Jazz relish spot in the playoffs, despite challenge--Deseret News
"It's going to be exciting. It's going to be fun," Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward said about his first playoff experience. "It's going to be a challenge."
"It's cool you get to go in there and have a chance to shock the world," said Hayward, who has some NCAA experience of doing that with his Butler team. "I think we'll be ready for it."
Utah Jazz's Kevin O'Connor isn't surprised by team's success--Deseret News
He thought promising second-year players Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors "could bounce back" from up-and-down rookie seasons.
What he thinks of fans who'd prefer team keeping first-round pick instead of making playoffs: "We have had two first-round picks two years ago (Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors), two first-round picks a year ago (Enes Kanter and Alec Burks) and we got Jeremy (Evans), who we like. That's five young players. It's not like we have to have an infusion of younger talent. That's not something that's paramount.…We got kids that have busted their butt for 65 games to make the playoffs. For us to say, we're disappointed we made (the playoffs) because we didn't get the 13th or 14th pick in the draft is sacrilegious to me. You keep score. Why not win."
Utah Jazz hope youthful exuberance can overcome experience--Deseret News
What's more, Utah's starting center/leading scorer and rebounder, Al Jefferson, has been to the playoffs just once in his NBA career — a seven-game series that the Boston Celtics lost in his rookie season. And seven other members of the Jazz lineup, including starters Gordon Hayward and DeMarre Carroll and key reserves Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter, will be sticking their toes into the postseason pool for the first time.
No. 8 Utah Jazz face No. 1 San Antonio Spurs in first round of NBA playoffs--Salt Lake Tribune
"It’s going to be a challenge. But we’re looking forward to that," Utah small forward Gordon Hayward said. "We’ve shown this season if we play our game we can hang around with anybody and compete with the best teams in the league. We have to just focus on us and do what we do."
Although Corbin said beating the Blazers remains a priority, the victory over the Suns puts less pressure on the Jazz to do so. As a result, players like Al Jefferson,Millsap, Hayward and Devin Harris might get a little more rest than usual.
• Hayward played 42 minutes against Phoenix. He has played at least 34 minutes in 15 straight games, going back to March 18.
Analysis: Jazz return to playoffs by doing it their way--Salt Lake Tribune
Jamaal Tinsley, Josh Howard, DeMarre Carroll and Blake Ahearn don’t exactly sound like playoff basketball. They don’t sound like Jazz basketball, either. But neither did Al Jefferson for seven years of non-postseason misery. Same for Devin Harris, whose career was trashed in New Jersey and bottomed out during the first two months of 2011-12 in Salt Lake City. Heavily debated lottery picks Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks? O’Connor and Corbin made everything work. And they did it by bucking trends, ignoring experts and swearing by what they know best: basketball.
Utah’s Big Four of Millsap, Favors, Jefferson and Kanter was huge. Harris’ late-season resurgence, Hayward’s thrilling ascension and one of the deepest rosters in the NBA — a lineup O’Connor specifically assembled with a lockout-compressed schedule in mind — pushed the Jazz over the top.
After finishing off Portland, Jazz eye series vs. Spurs--Salt Lake Tribune
"We’ve proven we can beat the best teams if we do things our way," said Utah’s Gordon Hayward. "So that’s what we’re going to have to do. …
"It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a challenge. It gives us a chance to shock the world. So we have to be ready for it."
Monson: Scott Layden once ruled the Jazz, now he serves them--Salt Lake Tribune
Paul Millsap blew past the hapless defender, who stood flat-footed in the lane, extending his hand only to bother the shot, not block it. Devin Harris flew by, then Al Jefferson … Gordon Hayward … Jamaal Tinsley … Derrick Favors … DeMarre Carroll.
NBA: Playoff-bound Utah Jazz swear by coach Tyrone Corbin--Salt Lake Tribune
How could he get an uneven, unproven Utah team to return to Jazz basketball? What would it take to finally maximize Al Jefferson’s talent? Could promising but diverse pieces such as Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors be glued together to form a strong, complete whole?
The Jazz haven’t just bought in. They believe. Jefferson swears by Corbin. Millsap nightly pours out his heart and soul. Hayward has blossomed, while Favors has only grown taller. And after initially failing to synch up with a coach who constantly pushed for a faster tempo and a more aggressive style of play, Harris’ relationship with Corbin has evolved to the point the like-minded duo can trade inside jokes before practice, then dish in-game dirt about the best way to attack an opposing point guard.
Wizards vs. Cavaliers: John Wall’s 21 points, 13 assists power Washington to fifth straight win--Washington Post
After the game, the locker room was filled with jokes, laughter and fashion advice, as John Wall chided rookie Shelvin Mack: “What kind of jeans you wearing, Wrangler? You got those Brett Favres on.” Wall later claimed that he would continue to give Mack a hard time for his clothing choices on Twitter.
Wizards tie bow around lockout-shortened season--Washington Post
Rookies Vesely, Shelvin Mack and Chris Singleton got ample opportunity to contribute. Singleton had an uneven season but started more games than any player except Wall, Mack led all rookies in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.95 to 1) and Vesely relied on his athleticism and high-energy play to get time as he worked on refining his offensive game.
Butler hosts tourney at Hinkle today--The Indy Star
Butler free of transfer outbreak--Indy Star Butler Insider
Mack finishes rookie year on upswing--Indy Star Butler Insider
Ball Don’t Lie’s playoff predictions: Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks--Ball Don't Lie
But we're friends, now. The regular season is over, and I'm here to be your pal. And I'm also here to tell you that the New York Knicks, all sturdy with that defensive mindset and Tyson Chandler skulking around the paint in a surgical mask so as not to infect Norris Cole, could make a go of this. I understand the Heat ably held off the Knicks in New York a couple of weeks ago, but Madison Square Garden in early May is an entirely different beast altogether. Maybe it's just that organ, which frightened many a May of this Bulls fan growing up. Geez, my birthday is in May. Thanks a lot, Knicks.
Miami Heat falls to Wizards, will face New York Knicks in playoffs--Miami Herald
For the Heat it was the only thing of note in the season finale, other than allowing the Wizards to win the season series between the two teams and losing by more points (34) than in any other game this season. Norris Cole led the Heat with 14 points.
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks: Who has the edge?--Miami Herald
• Heat: The Heat enters these playoffs with a better starting lineup but a worse bench than a year ago. Erik Spoelstra’s rotation finally appears settled after considerable upheaval, with Haslem starting; Battier, Miller and Anthony as the top reserves, and others (James Jones, Norris Cole, Ronnie Turiaf) playing on an as-needed basis. Miami handled the Knicks in three games this season, winning by an average margin of 10.7, and its three marquee players are simply better than the Knicks’ top three.
Looking back at Heat vs. Knicks in regular season--South Florida Sun Sentinel
Feb 23 at AmericanAirlines Arena
Heat 102, Knicks 88
At the time, the Knicks and Linsanity were the story of the NBA. At the end of the night, it was the Heat showing why they were still the team to beat in the East. Guard Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole took turns slowing New York guard Jeremy Lin, who finished 1 of 11 from the field and had eight turnovers.
Leaders Heat Knicks
Points Bosh 25, Anthony 19
Rebounds James and Udonis Haslem 9, Chandler 9
Assists James 8, Baron Davis, Jeremy Lin, J.R. Smith 3
Butler's upcoming departure to the Atlantic-10 creates opportunities for Cleveland State Vikings, Horizon League--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Report: Cleveland State Lands Former Missouri Commit Aaron Scales--Cleveland State Hoops
Aaron Scales Signs With Men's Basketball--csuvikings.com
Howard Moore Will Throw Out First Pitch at U.S. Cellular Field Friday--uicflames.com
Averkamp And Gibler Named To National Jesuit All-Academic Team--LoyolaRamblers.com
Porter Moser Visits Wrigley Field--LoyolaRamblers.com
Former Phoenix Standout Earns MVP Honors--uwgbathletics.com
VIDEO: Wojta Provides Inside Look on WNBA Draft Experience--uwgbathletics.com
Former St. Catherine's point guard joins Panthers--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Scouting: Nike Spring Showdown Part B--UM Hoops
Ryan Fazekas: 6-7 Forward, Marquette Catholic (Ind.)/Meanstreets, Class of 2015
As a 6-7, 180-pound 2015 prospect, Fazekas has an unlimited upside. After one year at Marquette Catholic High School, he has over 15 schools interested in his services, and received an offer at 14 years old from Valparaiso. He has a great touch, and a lethal three-point shot. He’s a good catch-and-shoot player, but can put the ball on the floor, and create his own shot. Fazekas is athletic and has good court awareness, always finding open space. He moves well without the ball and gets involved on the glass at both ends of the floor.
Very disciplined for a freshman, Fazekas doesn’t take bad shots, and makes good decisions with the ball. With good ball skills, he has a knack for getting to the line and knocking down free throws. He scored a game-high 27 points in his team’s last pool play game on Saturday, and was the best player on the floor.
Fazekas needs to continue to gain muscle and adjust to a new position as he grows. He’s grown six inches since last summer, put on eight pounds since March, and said he plans on being 6-9 next year. He needs to get better driving through the lane, and could improve finishing down low.
Grad student exemption adds to spin of transfer turnstiles--USA Today
The Big Ten has dominated this trend in basketball, too. Michigan State reached the Sweet 16 with Valparaiso transfer Brandon Wood as its third-leading scorer. Illinois had Sam Maniscalco, a Bradley transfer, who contributed 6.1 points a game. Northwestern recently acquired Louisville senior Jared Swopshire, who left because the Cardinals didn't have an available scholarship. Swopshire will be eligible to play in 2012-13 as a graduate student.
Wood explained the process, saying once he found out about the graduate student exemption, it opened up a new recruiting period for him. He chose Michigan State over Purdue and Tennessee to work on his defensive skills under coach Tom Izzo's guidance. Wood enrolled in MSU's advertising program after two years at Valparaiso (which was preceded by stops at Southern Illinois and Highland Community College in Illinois).
"I did everything my first four years that each school asked me to do on and off the court," Wood said. "I feel like once I graduated … If I had the opportunity to transfer and better my family and myself on and off the court by networking, meeting a whole different group of people, then that's what I feel like I needed to do.
"Sometimes, in life you have to make selfish decisions. … I don't think it's a bad rule. If players handle their business and do what they have to do in the classroom and have the opportunity to do this, take advantage of this rule to better themselves, then I think it's something people should look into doing."
"It's unfortunate when players want to pursue a different pastures to maybe better themselves in the classroom or on the court, and they're not allowed to," Wood said. "You have to have an open mind, whether you're a player or coach. … If players handle their business and do what they're asked on and off the court, I don't think it should be a problem."
Profiles In Badassery: Brad Miller--Hammer and Rails
Expectations were high in 1997-98 with Miller as a senior. Some guy named Brian Cardinal was starting to come along, and Cornell, Austin, and Robinson were coming along. An aggressive non-conference schedule saw Purdue fall to North Carolina by four in the Great Alaska Shootout final and Kentucky in the Great Eight. Purdue did beat Louisville at Louisville and No. 10 Xavier in Indianapolis. Our Boilers were in the top 10 most of the year and finished 28-8, 12-4 in the Big Ten. In the first ever Big Ten Tournament Purdue reached the final, but lost to Michigan a team that most certainly did not play any college basketball that season according to the NCAA.
Purdue earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAAs and easily dispatched Delaware and Detroit before getting upset in St. Louis by Stanford and Mark Madsen. This is one reason a red mist of anger descends when I see Madsen's Laker celebration dance. You see, on the other half of the bracket was Rhode Island (who had upset No. 1 seed Kansas in round 2) and the Bryce Drew Valparaiso Crusaders. The path had been cleared to the Final Four, but we couldn't get past Stanford.
Stebbins grad sets lofty goal for WSU women's basketball--Dayton Daily News
WSU basketball recruit a ‘coach on the floor’--Dayton Daily News