Posts Tagged ‘Hoops’

 

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Clark High senior Bobbi Floyd (center) was joined by her parents, Jodie and Gregory Sr., and nephew, Kash, during a letter-of-intent ceremony Tuesday. PHOTO: W.G. Ramirez

By W.G. Ramirez

Clark girls basketball star Bobbi Floyd was looking forward to a big week.

Not only was she planning on embarking on her senior season, she had a press conference scheduled to ‘officially’ announce she would be attending Delaware State on a basketball scholarship while her nephew, Kash, turns 2 years old on Dec. 11. She couldn’t have been any happier Sunday night, after a celebration for Kash’s birthday.

That came to an abrupt halt Monday around 3 a.m., when there was a knock at the door at the Floyd household. Kash’s mother, Monique Gittens – Floyd’s sister – died of heart failure.

“I wanted to come to school to get my mind off of it, but it was just overwhelming cause I was thinking ‘I just saw her yesterday,'” Floyd said Tuesday morning at the school. “And just like that, she was just gone.”

Nevertheless, since hearing the news that her sister passed, she’s been to school, practiced with her team and is preparing for Wednesday’s season-opener against Pahrump Valley. Tuesday morning she held a ‘mock signing’ to commemorate the letter-of-intent that is already on file at Delaware State.

Floyd didn’t have a chance to hold an official ceremony last month, and scheduled it for the day before the season, allowing her teammates, coaches, friends, Clark’s administration and all of her family to attend.

All, except Gittens.

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Bobbi Floyd was overcome with emotion when during her letter-of-intent signing, as she spoke of her sister, who passed away early Monday morning. PHOTO: W.G. Ramirez

Floyd spoke briefly to everyone, thanking them, and then she paid homage to the one relative she considered to be her best friend.

“I would like to thank my sister, Monique, even though she’s not here,” Floyd said to the gathering. “I know she’s watching over me.”

The emotional scene got to most everyone there, but Floyd said she’s using her loss as motivation for the upcoming season. Clark was ousted from the Division I-A semifinals last season, when Boulder City outscored Clark 35-7 in the second half, including a dominating 22-2 fourth quarter, en route to a 58-33 victory.

Behind a cast of blue-collar players, and fifth-year coach Mike Moulchin, Floyd is determined to get her Chargers back into the postseason, and into the state tournament.

“She’s out there leading the team this year, she’s actually helped put the (defensive) press in this year,” Moulchin said. “So she’s done a lot of things, like a player-coach, and that’s some great maturity.”

Moulchin has had Floyd on varsity since her freshman season, and said he’s seen plenty of maturity since her first season donning black and gold.

“When we first got Bobbi she crossed over from cheerleading the year before,” Moulchin said. “I saw something in her from the first day, I mean she was like any other (player), some days she was there, others she was not. We had this tall girl that was gangly, (but) we saw she had a shot; she had a lot of upside. From then to now, the big transformation for me was from junior to senior year.”

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Clark’s Bobbi Floyd signed a letter-of-intent last month, to play basketball at Delaware State. Friends, teammates, coaches and family gathered for a ‘mock signing’ to commemorate her signing. PHOTO: W.G. Ramirez

Floyd went from scoring more than 300 points her freshman year, to averaging 19.8 points and 15.6 rebounds per game last season. Add in her near 5 blocks per game, and Floyd is arguably one of the fiercest post players in Division I-A basketball, and quite possibly in the state, all around.

Moulchin said he talked with his star player over summer, explaining about her needing mental toughness for college, since she’ll be roughly 2,500 miles away from home. He explained to her that when she arrives in Dover, it’ll be an entirely different brand of hoops, with at least a handful of players better than her and another seven just as good.

What he didn’t think was she would need a boost of mental toughness to start her senior campaign, due to personal loss.

“I really didn’t expect her at practice (that first night), or for the opener against Pahrump,” he said. “But she said she made a commitment to the team. She’s committed to her family, and she’s going to be there for them too, but she’s become a leader and she’s been very big for help turning the team around.”

Said Floyd: “Now I have more meaning to this season. It’s not just playing this season just to play and ‘oh yeah I got a scholarship.’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to play these first couple of games, but then my older sister asked me ‘do you think Monique would want you to not play?’ This season is for my sister.”

So when she takes the court Wednesday night in Pahrump, she’ll have her sister’s initials on one shoe, and the date she passed on the other shoe.

“When I walk on the court, she’ll be watching me.”

(Tip time is 5 p.m. You can follow’s Floyd’s opening-game progress with the final box score on NevadaPreps.com.)

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2014 adidas Nations

Bishop Gorman’s Chase Jeter Chase Jeter poses for a photo during adidas Nations at Next Level Sports Complex. The 7-footer announced he will play at Duke in college.
Photo courtesy adidas.

W.G. Ramirez

Bishop Gorman’s senior-to-be Chase Jeter announced Monday night he’s headed across the country to play for one of UNLV’s most hated rivals.

After posting a double-double (14 points and 16 rebounds) and being named Most Valuable Player in the adidas Nations third place game on ESPNU, the 7-footer told a nationwide audience he was becoming a Duke Blue Devil.

The Runnin’ Rebels defeated Duke 103-73 to win the National Championship, and the Blue Devils returned the favor one year later in the Final Four, 79-77, derailing UNLV’s undefeated run and quest for back-to-back titles. Jeter’s father, Chris, played for the Rebels during the championship season.

“I took a lot of time to evaluate my decision and I took visits to all the schools on my list, and I felt I was really comfortable with my decision,” Jeter said during the televised announcement. “I just love the feel of the environment, Cameron Indoor is a great place, a great basketball environment and I just felt like it was a great place for me.”

Jeter visited Durham earlier this year, in March, during one of Duke’s annual ACC meetings with rival-North Carolina, which is reportedly listed high on Jeter’s high-school teammate Stephen Zimmerman’s list.

Jeter, an all-state selection last year, averaged more than 14 points and 10 rebounds as a junior for the Gaels playing alongside Zimmerman, also considered one of the nation’s top recruits in next year’s class.

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Chase Jeter averaged more than 14 points and 10 rebounds as a junior for Gorman last season. Photo: W.G. Ramirez

Jeter chose the Blue Devils over UNLV, UCLA and Arizona.

As one of the most sought after recruits in class of 2015, Jeter is ranked among the top 15 in different polls, including No. 8 by Rivals, No. 9 by Scout, No. 10 by 247Sports and No. 13 by ESPN.

Of Duke, Jeter told cbssports.com college basketball writer Jeff Borzello: “I have a great relationship with all the coaches. Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski). Coach (Jeff) Capel. They have great guys, great history. Overall, just a great program.”

Krzyzewski was on hand last weekend to see Jeter compete in the adidas Super 64 event at Cashman Center, and attended the championship game, where Jeter’s Dream Vision lost to Indiana Elite.

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Derrick Rose during an interview after Monday’s practice with the U.S. Men’s National Team. (Photo: W.G. Ramirez)

W.G. Ramirez

I had never met Derrick Rose before this past week, during the U.S. men’s national team opened training camp here in Las Vegas.

In previous years, he’s been dealing with knee injuries, so he hasn’t accompanied Team USA here.

Turns out, the Chicago Bulls point guard and I have something in common.

Forget for a moment I have plenty in common with any other father who loves his son, that’s not the point. While interviewing the 25-year-old professional basketball player, what I realized when speaking to him, is the genuineness he spoke of when relating to his toddler son PJ, who will turn two in October.

On Monday after practice Rose said “I take the game serious, basketball is my life.” But what I’ve come to learn even further, is the one driving force behind Rose wanting to be back on the court – more than winning an NBA title or Gold medal – is PJ. It’s an undying, parental love I fully understand.

I get it.

As a single father of 18 years, I comprehend what it means to dedicate your existence so someone who depends on you can live their life easier. It’s how I’ve been since before my son was born. I had outfits and Nikes picked out before my son came into this world. I knew things he’d be doing, how I’d provide for him and that he’d be my rib once he entered the world.

For Derrick Rose, that’s how it is with PJ.

“Most people in my profession really don’t get the chance to be around their kids,” said Rose, who is one of 10 pure guards competing for a spot on the 12-man roster Team USA will take to Spain for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. “It’s fun to be around him because it takes my mind off of everything. Him playing around, he’s fun to be around.”

That’s why, Rose said, for him to be around PJ as much as he has been, he’s looked at these injuries as more of a blessing in disguise. They’ve allowed him to be a part of PJ’s life at the most crucial time in a baby’s life, the beginning of it. Rose isn’t just a daddy – he’s a father. He’s been able to see PJ’s first steps, enjoy his first words, laugh along with his first giggle and quite possibly, tear up among PJ’s many first-shed tears.

So rather than dwell on the injuries that limited him to just 10 games last season, and clipped him from the 2013 playoffs, Rose has made sure he’s been around his son every other day – if not daily – while rehabbing his knee. He’s called being a father the “perfect distraction” to stay sane and grounded, while the world around him has been in a frenzy about his knee. When he’s not with his son, Rose said he’s most likely been either working out with weights, conditioning his knee or on the court perfecting his game.

“I can’t give up, I have a son that’s looking up to me,” Rose said. “When he gets older and realizes what’s going on, he’s going to look back, and hopefully that’ll give him some motivation, knowing I had to go through so much. I hope that pushes him to be a great individual.”

I know what he means, trust me.

I’ve been through my own trials and tribulations. And though D-Rose and I live two entirely different lives, I can appreciate knowing every thought, during every waking moment, he is thinking about PJ.

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PJ Rose (Photo courtesy: Derrick Rose Twitter/@DRose)

It’s how I think about my son, Jordin.

“Derrick has the highest standards, just like the elite players – (Kevin) Durant, LeBron (James),” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He was an MVP of the league and one of the great players of the league. He’s been out, so Derrick’s going to be on a mission to get back to, not just playing and being good, but he wants to get back to being elite.”

Rose told me he knows this is only the beginning of a long journey – “a long grind,” as he puts it – but he’s ready to put the injury behind him and move forward by continuing to learn daily to become a better leader for not only the men’s national team and Chicago Bulls, but that little boy back in Chicago.

“Like I said, when he gets older, he’s going to look at this and hopefully it’ll make him better,” he said. “He drives me every day, to tell you the truth. I ask about him even while I’m here. I ask about him (and his mother) sends me pictures and videos every day, and that kind of gives me that extra boost when I don’t feel like doing the things I (need) to do like the maintenance on my body, the massages, and getting iced and stuff – I think about him.”

I feel you D. I get it.

By Jesse Granger

Shabazz Muhammad has played the best basketball of his life in Las Vegas.

The second year NBA player lit up the Cox Pavilion scoreboard Thursday for the Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring a game-high 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while adding 3 rebounds and a pair of steals.

Shabazz Muhammad battles for a rebound along with teammate Glen Robinson III.

Shabazz Muhammad battles for a rebound along with teammate Glen Robinson III.

Muhammad has carried his team throughout the 2014 NBA Summer League, averaging 16.2 points per game and is one of the vocal leaders on the court. It’s a giant leap forward for him after a thoroughly disappointing rookie season in Minnesota.

During his rookie campaign, Muhammad averaged a mere 3.9 points per game. He only appeared in 37 games and never started. When he did see the floor, it was brief – 7.8 minutes per game to be exact.

Midway through the year, he was relegated to the NBA D-League for a week. He shined in four games and returned to the Association with a new energy, but still rarely produced on the court.

So Muhammad’s dominant performance in this week’s summer league tournament may shock NBA fans across the country, but it comes as no surprise to Las Vegas locals who watched him rise to stardom just a quick 20-minute drive up the Interstate 215 to Bishop Gorman High School.

In his time at Bishop Gorman, Muhammad led the Gaels to three Nevada State Championships in four years, while the team’s collective record during his tenure was an unbelievable 111-17. His senior season, Muhammad averaged 29 points per game, including his final performance – a 36 point offensive clinic in the state championship game, 30 of which came in the first half.

His play drew national attention and by the time Muhammad graduated he was the No. 2 player in the nation on ESPN’s top-100 rankings, behind only Nerlens Noel.

From there, Muhammad took a one-year trip to UCLA, and landed in the NBA where his career has yet to get off the ground. Maybe a trip to Las Vegas is exactly what he needed to propel his game in the right direction.

“It’s great,” Muhammad said. “It’s obviously a great opportunity for me and my teammates to come out here to Las Vegas and represent.”

In the first game back in his home city, Muhammad produced a double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds, but the experience of returning to Las Vegas has been much more than on-court success.

“My parents live here, and everybody, all of my old friends from high school and middle school,” he said. “It’s always fun to get to see them, and it’s a great opportunity for me.”

While the summer league is often a proving ground where roster spots are won and lost, Muhammad is in no danger of being left off the Timberwolves roster. He currently sits behind only Corey Brewer on the depth chart, and after a year of experience could be posed to earn more playing time.

“I think I gained a lot of experience from last year, even though I was on the bench,” he said. “I learned how to slow the game down.”

Muhammad is listed as a small forward, but standing only 6-foot-6 he is a bit undersized for the position. He feels that his biggest area for improvement in order to become more of a guard is his dribbling and passing.

“I’ve just been working on my ball skills, and just becoming a better guard,” he said. “(Improving on) my shooting can always help, and overall there’s something I can always get better at.”

If he can find a way to keep his Las Vegas form going into the games that actually count, Muhammad could develop into a national star as well.

So much for the old theory of going against NBA teams that play in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the conception they can’t handle the altitude. This used to be a major basketball betting system, going against teams that play the second of back-to-back nights in Salt Lake, or Denver.

And while those numbers are forthcoming, I wanted to take a look at how teams fared when they ended a road trip of three games or more in Salt Lake City, which eight squads have done.

Boston, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Sacramento, Houston and Memphis have all had elongated road trips finish up against the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake. And five of those teams ended their road trips by playing their road game in Utah, on the second of back-to-back nights.

Let’s start there, since the Philadelphia 76ers are doing just that tonight.

Boston, New York, Chicago, Houston and Memphis have all done it, with the Rockets being the only team to lose both straight-up (SU) and against the spread (ATS).

The other four all won both on the hardwood and against the spread.

The other three teams that ended their road trips in Salt Lake City, but did not play the final game on the second of back-to-back nights, were Cleveland, Washington and Sacramento.

The overall tally for those teams concluding their junkets with the Jazz at EnergySolutions is 4-4 SU and 6-2 ATS.

Again those playing that final game on the second of back-to-back nights is 4-1 SU and ATS.

Tonight the Sixers are catching +7-1/2 points from Utah, after winning last night in Sacramento, 117-103.

Philadelphia is in on ATS win streaks of 4-1 versus the Western Conference, 4-0 after an ATS cover and 6-1 overall. Conversely, the Sixers are mired in ATS slides of 8-20 when playing with no rest and 1-6 against the Northwest division.

The Jazz, meanwhile, are in on ATS win streaks of 5-0 after a straight-up loss, 5-1 against losing teams and 4-1 overall.

In this series, the home team has covered six straight, while the Jazz are on a 16-7 ATS roll – including 4-0 in Utah.

With the Jazz looking to stay alive in the Western Conference race, and the Sixers in after an offensively explosive game last night in Sactown, I’ll lay the points as your free winner. Take the Utah Jazz tonight in the NBA!!!