Mike Davis lands big recruits for Texas Southern

Mike Davis has made the Texas Southern Houston campus a resort for second chances players.

      
 

 

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John Calipari Calls into Mike Francesa’s Show to Defend His Coaching Abilities

When someone questions Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari‘s coaching abilities, he’s going to defend himself.

Calipari recently did an interview on Mike Francesa‘s radio show. After the interview was over, Francesa said that he didn’t believe Calipari was a “classic X’s and O’s coach.” Calipari took that pretty personally.

Shortly after that comment, Francesa received a call from a “John from Kentucky.” It turned out to be Calipari, who initially used a fake voice. The two men quickly got into an argument over Calipari’s coaching abilities.

Although not much came from the argument, it certainly was entertaining.

[SoundCloud, h/t Kentucky Sports Radio and USA Today's FTW]

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Can the Memphis Grizzlies’ Mike Conley Finally Be an All-Star This Season?

Mike Conley‘s incremental evolution will soon pay off. The Memphis Grizzlies‘ point man should tip the scale on his borderline All-Star ability in 2014-15 after validating his scoring ability last season.

Entering his eighth season, Conley keeps rising through the ranks at his position. His recent maturation as a scorer has made him a threat on both ends of the floor.

This spurred discussion of Mike Conley as underrated. As ESPN Radio Memphis’ Brad Carson tweeted, Charles Barkley was among those with this utterance on his lips.

 

Defense demanding attention

His defensive play garners the greatest respect. Conley earned an All-Defensive Second Team honor in 2012-13. He has placed in the top six in steals per game three times. In 2012-13, he allowed 100 points per 100 possessions.

Don Wade of the Memphis Daily News discussed Conley’s mastery of the steal, in which he describes his study of the art and says, “I think I’ve learned a happy medium to where I’m physical and then I can back off.”

Conley will easily bounce back from a subpar defensive year in which he allowed 106 points per 100 possessions while ranking among the top 20 with a steals rate of 2.4 percent.

Like any other Grizzly, Conley struggled to plug holes with Marc Gasol injured for 23 games, allowing 111 points per 100 possessions during that time. He experienced a small boost after Marc Gasol returned, allowing 105 per 100.

He allowed 103 per 100 or fewer in three playoff games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and had four games with multiple steals. While the team failed to slow the Thunder in Game 7, he snatched four steals.

For Conley, this won’t be as important to attaining his first All-Star spot as what he’ll do with the ball.

 

Meeting the scoring standard

Offensive figures play a large role in All-Star selections, even for point guards. All four Western Conference All-Stars at the position posted at least 19.6 points per 36 minutes last season.

After his best scoring campaign, Conley still must work to close the gap. He averaged 18.4 points per 36 minutes while shooting 45 percent from the field.

He removed dead spots in his shooting. He shot 61.3 percent at the rim, five percent better than a year earlier. His 37.9 percent from between three and 10 feet was a 4.3 percent improvement. 

Basketball Insiders’ Jessica Camerato pointed out that Conley can “see the path to the basket before it is created.”

He’s an above-average outside shooter, hitting 36.1 percent last year and 37.2 percent for his career. He justifies the 19.4 percent career portion of shots as long twos by hitting at a high clip. At this point, that figure will normalize in the neighborhood of his past two seasons, with 44.3 percent in 2012-13 and 42.6 percent last year.

His technique makes him an outside threat. SB Nation’s Andrew Ford broke down Conley’s jump shot, noting his quick release and the forward sway in his legs that relaxes his shoulders.

Conley will continue to be aggressive. He had a career-high 26 20-point games last season. Topping 30 is manageable with Conley’s 24.8 percent usage rate last season, which will likely increase as Zach Randolph eases off a bit in his later years.

Also, Conley will have more opportunities to commandeer the offense with Courtney Lee occupying a starting spot for a full season. Lee is a lower-maintenance offensive player than Tony Allen, who periodically takes inexplicable shots. Besides being more effective, Lee had a 16.3 percent usage rate, 3.8 lower than Allen.

 

Efficiency as an answer to low assist numbers

All-Stars tally more assists than Conley, even though he’s a solid offensive manager. He ranked 17th in the category last season. 

But assists are a function of an offense. For the Grizzlies, Conley shares facilitation duties with Gasol. Hence, he’ll never average much more than six assists per game, especially after the team ranked seventh in field-goal percentage.

Rather, one should view his low turnover numbers. He committed 2.2 turnovers per 36 minutes and had an 11.5 percent turnover rate. Lillard was the only All-Star point guard with a turnover rate that low. Also, Conley had the lowest turnover rate of anyone with six or more assists per game.

Unless otherwise noted, advanced metrics come from basketball-reference.com.

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Marist hires Mike Maker as men’s basketball coach (Yahoo Sports)

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — Mike Maker, who led Williams College to the Division III national championship game last season for the second time in five years, has been hired as the men’s basketball coach at Marist College.

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Rice hires Virginia Commonwealth assistant Mike Rhoades

Rhoades has been at VCU since Shaka Smart’s first season in Richmond back in 2009.

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Steve Nash ‘Wouldn’t Disagree’ Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni Don’t Work Together

Allow Steve Nash to show you the door, Mr. Mike D’Antoni.

Magic Mike has long seemed like a soon-to-be-unemployed coach walking, what with the Los Angeles Lakers chasing the Western Conference’s worst record and Kobe Bryant‘s patience wearing half-a-spaghetti-noodle thin.

Now, the always candid, usually polite, Nash has entered the players-eat-coach fray, pointing out what many will consider obvious: Bryant and D’Antoni go together like motor oil and apple pie.

“I wouldn’t disagree,” Nash told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd when asked if D’Antoni and Bryant were a bad fit, via the Los Angeles Daily NewsMark Medina. “We’ve seen that. People have deduced and read between the lines and felt that way, they’re not wrong. It’s not the perfect marriage.”

Should D’Antoni just clean out his office now or wait for Bryant to do it for him on April 17, one day after Los Angeles’ regular season mercifully ends?

Though Nash added a lack of time together has driven a wedge between the couple’s potential, the Kobe-Magic Mike merger is one destined for a Black Mamba-backed dissolution.

Speaking on The Dan Patrick Show, Bryant didn’t express much faith in his head coach when asked if he’s earned another year at Los Angeles’ helm.

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “It’s been tough on him. He’s been dealing with so many injuries. I don’t know if he’s gotten a fair shake.”

Before that, Sporting News’ Sean Deveney alleged that Bryant has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next season. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher also revealed multiple players have been assured he won’t be coaching the Lakers beyond 2013-14.

At this point, it doesn’t matter whether or not D’Antoni and Bryant can coexist. The writing isn’t on the wall, it’s etched in crystallized stone: D’Antoni is done in Los Angeles, cooked like Mike Brown before him.

Pin yours truly to the minority. The embattled Lakers coach hasn’t been given a real chance.

Last season, he was gifted a shallow team rife with egos and tasked with implementing a system unbecoming of his personnel. This season, he has an injury-addled roster brimming with no-names and stopgaps, sans Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, and has been expected to—well, we don’t really know.

If and when D’Antoni is shown the door, it’s impossible to chalk his departure up to failed expectations. Phil Jackson himself couldn’t win with this injury-plagued, star-deprived team. 

Coaching the Lakers to 23 victories in a powerhouse-teeming Western Conference is an accomplishment worthy of faint applause. If nothing else, the Lakers have been largely fun to watch. Incredibly bad, but fun nonetheless.

“But it’s one of those situations where they haven’t had the time to decide how they feel about each other, I don’t think,” Nash explained to Cowherd, via Medina.

Time is something D’Antoni doesn’t have, something Bryant isn’t prepared to give. The clock is ticking, the Mamba is angry and D’Antoni, imperfect as ever, has been handed a one-way ticket to Scapegoatsville for failing to rescue a team beyond saving. 

 

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WATCH: Mike Miller receives ring, gets love from Heat

Former Heat forward Mike Miller received his 2013 championship ring when the Grizzlies took on Miami at American Airlines Arena Friday and he was mobbed by his former teammates following the presentation which included a video tribute. The post Mike Miller Receives Championship Ring, Gets Mobbed By Former Heat Teammates (Video) appeared first on Beyond The Buzzer.

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Grizzlies’ Mike Miller returns to Miami to collect championship ring

MIAMI — Nearly five months after an opening night ring ceremony honored last year’s NBA champions, former Miami Heat swingman Mike Miller received his jewelry before Friday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Miller, who signed with the Grizzlies as a free agent during the offseason, was a valuable player off the bench for the Heat the previous three seasons, including two league titles.
In between the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and player introductions, a brief video dedicated to Miller played on the screens above midcourt. The presentation showed highlights of the 3-point-shot specialist with the Heat — including when he lost his sneaker and then sank a trey during Game 6 vs. San Antonio in the NBA Finals. The video concluded with the words, “Mike: Thank you for letting it fly!”
The Heat team then rushed Miller and surrounded their ex-teammate near midcourt. After receiving pats and hugs from the players, Miller darted toward the Miami bench and greeted members of the co

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Mike Woodson Gives Phil Jackson a Taste of His Incompetence

Good luck finding a job this summer, Mike Woodson. 

The New York Knicks extended their winning streak to eight games on March 21 with a 93-92 victory over the reeling Philadelphia 76ers, who are now losers of…wait for it…23 games in a row. They also closed the gap between themselves and the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference to only three games. 

But it’s hard to view a one-point victory over the reeling Sixers as a positive, especially if you’re the man calling the shots from the sideline. If there’s such a thing as a bad win, this would be the example you can find right next to its entry in an encyclopedia. 

With Phil Jackson now running the show as the team president, Woodson needs to be coaching his behind off. It would already be a stunner if the goatee-bearing head coach maintained his job through the offseason rather than getting replaced by a Jackson acolyte like Steve Kerr.

Now it would be a downright miracle after he pulled his starters with five minutes to go in a must-win game. Sure, it was only a contest against Philadelphia, but every outing needs to be treated like a do-or-die situation at this point in the season.  

Instead of looking like a man who knows what he’s doing, Woodson looked completely incompetent during the end of the eighth win in a row, emerging victoriously only because he was playing the Sixers and not a team with significantly more NBA talent. 

The Knicks did everything in their power to hand Philly the game, but the Sixers just failed to take advantage of every opportunity. 

There was the play in the waning seconds when Philadelphia was down two points. Thaddeus Young drove through the lane, but instead of hitting a wide-open shooter in the corner for a shot at a game-winning attempt, he passed the ball out of bounds. 

After Carmelo Anthony split a pair of free throws, the Sixers had one more chance to tie the game.

Clang. 

Michael Carter-Williams’ final three-point attempt failed to connect, and the Knicks managed to escape with a victory. Given the way the fourth quarter was proceeding, it was an escape that Houdini himself would’ve been proud of. 

As both the Sixers’ official Twitter feed and Marc Berman of the New York Post make perfectly clear, the Knicks somehow managed to blow a 17-point lead with only five minutes left.

And why? 

Because Woodson pulled his starters and must’ve thought he was playing soccer. I know it’s hard to remember, but in the NBA, you’re allowed to put players back in the game once they’ve been substituted out. You’re also allowed to touch the ball with your hands, so at least he’s having his team do one thing properly. 

With 5:13 left in the fourth quarter, the Sixers called a full timeout, down 91-74 at the time. Then they exploded. 

When just 3:30 was remaining in the game, James Nunnally hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to just 10 points. The game had proceeded in uninterrupted fashion for almost two minutes, and Woodson still wouldn’t stop the clock or make a substitution. 

So the teams proceeded, and the momentum continued trickling flowing flooding over to the Sixers’ side. 

After Henry Sims made an 18-foot jumper, the lead was down to only seven points. Then Young ended the run by fouling Toure’ Murry and sending him to the line for two freebies. 

Murry made the first, and Woodson had a perfect opportunity to insert some of his starters back into the game. But did he do so? Of course not. 

Apparently an eight-point lead with just under a minute left was safe, even though Philadelphia was in the midst of a 10-to-1 run. He must’ve forgotten that he was coaching the Knicks, a team that has been scarily unable to hold on to a lead throughout the miserable 2013-14 campaign. 

After Murry bricked the second free throw, MCW drilled a three-pointer. The lead was down to five. 

Then Murry turned the ball over, and Young made a triple to cut the deficit to only two points. Only then did Woodson decide to take action, calling a full timeout and inserting all five starters back into the game. 

Frankly, he’s lucky it wasn’t too little, too late. 

How can any NBA coach be content to sit back and watch his team completely unravel like that? How can they not want to take action, asserting authority and doing something, anything to get their team off the schneid

It was an embarrassing moment for Woody, even if his team emerged with a victory. And unfortunately for his chances of maintaining his current job past the last game of this season, it’s not the first time he’s been the part of such a narrative. 

In the last week, he’s been cursed at by Anthony in the huddle, and he’s admitted he could use some help from Phil trying to coach the triangle. So basically, this was actually a good week in the grand scheme of this season. 

As Sean Deveney wrote for Sporting News earlier in March: 

Remember, too, when the Knicks were nearing “open revolt” in mid-January, and even the mild-mannered Tyson Chandler was making insubordinate comments about his coach? Or how about last month, just ahead of the All-Star game, when the Knicks were said to be certain to let Woodson go before the break? When that didn’t happen, they would let him go just after the break. Assistant Herb Williams was said be ready to step in for Woodson.

But it is a near miracle that Woodson has lasted as long as he has this season, and an even bigger miracle should he stay on the bench for the remaining six weeks. For that, no question, he can thank Anthony.

It’s unlikely anything changes during the rest of the season. 

Pulling the plug on the Woodson experiment—ineffective as he may have been—would be highly problematic coming down the stretch of the 2013-14 season. After all, this team has won eight games in a row and does still have a chance to sneak into the playoffs. Switching coaches would just throw a wrench in that plan, even though the replacement would almost certainly be an upgrade over the incumbent. 

But this offseason? Let’s just say Jackson retaining Woodson is less likely than ‘Melo opting out of his contract to sign with the cap-strapped Indiana Pacers for a veteran’s minimum deal.

And if the lame duck of a head coach asks why, all the Zen Master needs to do is replay the fourth quarter of this victory over the Sixers. No words would even need to be exchanged. 

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Carmelo to Mike Woodson: ‘Lets play the f—ing game, man’

Don’t look now, but the New York Knicks have somehow strung together a series of wins. They beat the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night to pick up their seventh straight victory. Despite that, Carmelo Anthony reminded us late in the fourth quarter that superstar players have a tendency to get annoyed over nothing. […]

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