Bucks.com: Billy McKinney talks draft. There's some standard chit-chat with Josh Heytvelt and Josh Shipp to start, but the more interesting stuff is from Bucks Director of Scouting Billy McKinney (starts about 1:20 in). It's certainly possible McKinney is BSing a bit, and I wouldn't expect him to speak poorly of any players, but if taken at face value it does provide a little bit on insight on what the Bucks are thinking. On guys improving their stock:
Each week based on the workouts that happened--Golden State, Minnesota, there's one happening in New Jersey on the 12th--some guys step out.On Pitt PF DeJuan Blair, who's coming in next Wednesday:
Gerald Henderson, for example, is a guy who has really improved his stock. Jrue Holiday has improved his stock as well. Omri Casspi, who played overseas, has really helped himself quite a bit...Sam Young [as well]. As the draft unfolds, different guys will rise up in the draft, and if that happens then usually a guy will slip back that will make the draft more intriguing. So we've got 20 more days and there will be a lot of different scenarios that come about as a result.
What I like about him...I'd be here all day. He's tough, he rebounds, he understands the game. He's a true power forward, and you look around the NBA and you see so many teams playing with smaller lineups. And here's a guy that's not the biggest guy in the world but he plays his position great. He rebounds, he defends, he'll block shots, he'll operate out of the low post, he's a good passer, and he plays the game with a passion.Responding to whether Blair's lack of ideal height worries the Bucks:
No, it doesn't for this reason. If you look at the NBA, and people are always enamored with size, it's great to have it. But you can look at an NBA game at any time and see three players on the floor that might be guards. And a lot of teams are playing with smaller lineups now. So if you can get a big player with size that's great, but you look at the NBA, I don't think size is as big of a factor as people make it unless you're playing against a Shaquille or Yao Ming, but those guys are really exceptions to the rule.
Times West Virginian: Alexander learns from rough rookie year. After a rough rookie year, Joe Alexander isn't a guy lacking motivation at the moment...and assuming he's still a Buck come November, I'm actually kinda optimistic he'll be much improved. Even if he doesn't justify his lottery pick status, it won't be for a lack of effort.
"The biggest difference is that when you are a professional you take ownership of yourself and your career. It all involves exceeding expectations," Alexander said.
He could run and jump with anyone in the league. Not outrun and outjump them, as often he could in college, but he was their equal, but still he found himself sinking into the quicksand for exactly the same reason he had a slow start on his college career.
"I was far behind," he said. "They were so much more experienced that I was. They were doing crafty veteran tricks."
It wasn’t quite like he found players standing on his feet when he was about to jump or grabbing hold of his shorts as he was about to cut, but the game was just totally different.
"In the NBA basketball is a game of chess. It’s not a track meet," he said.
Hartford Courant: The Fabulous Villanueva Brothers. A little more from CV's trip to ESPN last week, including some background on his brothers. There's also this:
"I'd like to go to a team where there is a large Hispanic following like Orlando or Los Angeles, but no well-known Hispanic player," said the 24-year-old, whose parents are from the Dominican Republic.
"We'll see what happens at the draft at the end of the month," he said. "It's all about business."
FCB.com: Barcelona a game away from Spanish finals. We've been bringing you updates on Ersan Ilyasova's exploits in Spain all year, so apologies for totally forgetting about him for a couple weeks. Barca is currently tied at a game apiece in their semifinal best-of-three matchup with Unicaja, with the decisive third game in Barcelona tomorrow (watch here for links). The winner will face defending champs TAU Ceramica, who defeated Real Madrid in three games.
Ilyasova was a non-factor in Barcelona's 70-62 opening win, then had 11 points and six boards in an 82-75 loss. Ersan has come off the bench in the last four games as Aussie big David Andersen has been getting more burn.
Sunday Notes: McKinney on the draft, Joe's year, Ilyasova update
By Frank Madden