Great NBA Twitter Accounts

Since everybody and their mom is on Twitter, I thought that I would go ahead and list some of those NBA players who have also joined the bandwagon. Now not all of the following players actually tweet every message themselves… some players have ghost tweeters or people that tweet messages for them. However all the following accounts are real and do represent the players themselves.The following list is composed of those accounts which I enjoy following and those which tweet often. A more comprehensive list can be found at Blogs with Balls.nba-twit1

Who will be a better NBA point guard?

For the last month we have been running a poll here that begs the question, Who will be a better NBA point guard between Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings. We just had to throw that question to our readers after Jenricky_rubio_brandon_jennings_slam_magazinenings publicy dismissed Rubio’s hype and ability on the court long before the NBA draft. Then as we all know, Rubio was drafted 5th overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves while Jennings was taken at the 10th spot to the Milwaukee Bucks. After a few NBA summer league games word is that Jennings is looking solid and quite possibly like the player he describes himself to be, which is bascially: amazing, unstoppable, Jason Kidd in his prime-esk. Meanwhile Rubio is deciding if he will be earning enough money to play here in the U.S. since part of his contract goes to his old team overseas…

Personally I expect Rubio and want Rubio to be a better NBA player. I’ve heard too much about Jennings off the court to have respect for him anymore. Either way, here is what you guys thought. In a survey of 40 participants: 75% or 30 particpants feel Rubio will be a better point guard while 25% or 10 participants feel Jennings will rise up.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

Handle of the Week- Peter Robert Casey

It was easy for us to decide who was most deserving of The Handle of the Week award this Friday, Peter Robert Casey. (Handle of the Week award is described at the top of this page in more detail… look above)  Peter is a one of a kind basketball intellectual as well as a networking king. He is all over the internet and has 50k plus followers on Twitter. He also does a great job with his blog, PeterRobertCasey.com, where he recently interviewed Claude Johnson, the founder and president of Black Fives, Inc. Make sure you check out how that Q. and A. went with Mr. Johnson over there and while your at it read about New Heights.

Our Handle of the Week award goes to… Peter Robert Casey.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

Basketball Prank

There is plenty of free-agency and summer league news, and all the great off-season speculation that goes with it.  There are stories mentioning the Clippers interest in AI, even though they already have a complete back court.  There are the reports of Anthony Randolph scoring 48 against the Bulls in summer-league.  There is also the speculation and rumors about Lamar Odom’s dissolving free agency talks… But really, I’m sick of all that stuff right now, and I’m sure some of you are too.  So I give you this, one of the best basketball related pranks of all time.  (I’m sure some of you have seen this.)

The clip is about 6 minutes long, but if you haven’t seen it yet it’s probably worth it.

Jordan Crawford Dunks On Lebron James (tape was found)

News has circulated about Xavier guard Jordan Crawford dunking on Lebron James in Akron, Ohio at James’ summer league camp. Rumor has it that as soon as soon as Crawford surprised James with this amazing dunk that Nike representatives went over and confiscated all the tapes and possible video footage from anybody who could have possibly recorded Crawford’s move. Nobody is allowed to dunk on the King in his own house. Too bad we have the footage of Crawford doing so.

James Harden and Jordan Hill Sign

Arizona’s Jordan Hill and Arizona State’s James Harden have inked contracts for their respected NBA teams. Hnba_logo_2_z-thumbill was the 8th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft for the New York Knicks while James Harden was the 3rd overall pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Details of Harden’s contract were not released yet however it is rumored that Hill’s contract looks something like 4.3 million over the next 2 years. Personally I’m still waiting to hear news about Chase Budinger, another former ex-zona player and Jeff Teague, my underdog pick to turn up huge in the league.

Peter Robert Casey: Director for Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC)

Recently I was given the opportunity to interview Peter Robert Casey, the director of sponsorships and business development for the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. Peter is responsible for the future coordination of the EBC’s  first ever out door AAU tournament and for operating the EBC’s online social media efforts. He has an amazing resume and is a huge name in the basketball realm.

Besides his work with the EBC, Peter is also a freelance Basketball columnist at ESPNthemag.com, Bouncemaruckerjayg.com, and Slamonline.com. He most recently wrote an article on his own blog that is a must read titled, “150 Reasons to love the game basketball.” With that said, lets check out his responses to a few questions I threw at him.

Peter:

1) You are the Director of Sponsorships and Business Development for the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. That sounds awesome but I have no idea what that encompasses? What is it you do for EBC?

Peter Robert Casey: “My role with the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park (herein EBC) has shifted recently. I am now responsible for building an online community for the EBC using a combination of social media tools. My former role focused on researching, targeting, and approaching prospective corporate sponsors to help underwrite our well-recognized summer league and special events. Sponsorship development is just one aspect of marketing. Now, I’m focused more on leveraging marketing strategies to enhance our brand’s reach and to build community with and between our intended audience.

2)You were also responsible for coordinating the first ever outdoor AAU tournament. How was that turn out? Any amazing hoops moments or player appearances? Did the tourney work well outside?

Peter Robert Casey: “The AAU tournament had to be deferred until next year. Our current economic climate forced us to trim down on the number of special events that we could coordinate and execute this year. Unfortunately, the AAU tournament will have to wait.”

3)So you have this great career going for you which involves a ton of basketball. Plus you have the best slogan for your personal website that I’ve ever seen ( 3 first names, one love, basketball). How did you end up with this all of this going for you? Do you think you could give us a quick step by step play of how you came into working for EBC and how you came into coordinating these big events?

Peter Robert Casey: “Funny you ask the former question. The slogan was born out of frustration for having such a common name (Thanks, mom! JK): Peter Casey. While hard to mispronounce, there are already two famous Peter Caseys – an Australian music composer and an American television producer – roaming this Earth and search engines are well aware of it. Pete Casey was too competitive as a keyword and P.R. Casey is a Senate Minority Counsel in the Ohio Senate. Thus, I decided to brand myself with first, middle, and last name (Peter Robert Casey, and each happen to be acceptable first names.

My involvement with the EBC spawned from a LinkedIn connection and follow-up phone call. As you can probably discern, I’m a huge proponent of using social media to build relationships. I start the process online and grow the relationship offline. The greater majority of my writing, consulting, and marketing work in basketball have either started from, or were a byproduct of, relationships forged on social media. The rest carried over from my former playing and coaching days.”

My interview with Peter ended there as I did not want to take too much of his time away from the game we all love so much. I want to again thank Peter for his valuable insight. What I really have taken to heart from his responses is how he explained that he is a huge proponent of using social media to build relationships. Of course he used relationships from former playing and coaching days as well but you get the sense that not all people use social media as effectively as possible. For example, my interview with Peter was done through email. We have never met in person but have now connected and served to help one another out. Peter gave me an interview and I hope to return the favor by giving him a good name and sending readers from here over to his blog. Social Media really makes sense when you use it properly. Perhaps in the future I will actually get to hang out with Peter. It would be great to make it to one of his future events and even better to play him on the court.

Handle of the Week- Talk hoops

Supposedly the footage of Brandon Jennings dismissing the New York Knicks and his fellow teammates on the Milwaukee Bucks was no longer available on Youtube. After checking out TalkHoops.net , I found that to be false. After reading a few more published articles at there site, it was easy to see that they have a great handle on basketball news and it made sense that they were up to date with the Jennings video footage.

Congrats to Talk Hoop. You are… this week’s Handle of the Week award winner.

Oregon Preview

Here is the first review/preview for the upcoming Pac10 Basketball season.  It might seem arbitrary that I’ve chosen a look at the ducks first, but it’s the club I know best and for that reason, will be the easiest to do.  So…O

It’s certainly no secret the Oregon Ducks struggled mightily this past year. Only a season removed from an NCAA appearance, and two seasons removed from an elite eight run, the 08-09 Ducks finished the season with eight total wins.  Of those eight wins, just two came in Pacific 10 conference play.  Why were they so bad?  They were young.  The Ducks had one lone senior available for the entirety of the season, Churchill Odia.  Five freshmen: Michael Dunigan, Josh Crittle, Matthew Humphrey, Drew Wiley, and Garrett Sim played significant minutes as head coach Ernie Kent struggled to find a consistent group.  The young players showed promise at times but were wildly inconsistent. Coach Kent took a lot of heat for the difficulties the Ducks faced and at the end of the year met with former Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny about his future.  Not long after that infamous meeting, Kent decided to let go of his long time assistant Mark Hudson in favor of venerable Arizona assistant Mike Dunlap. Dunlap brings an impressive resume to Oregon, including two NCAA division 2 championships and a stop in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets.  Around Eugene there is a palpable feeling that Dunlap will bring much needed energy and direction to the program.

So what does the future hold for Oregon?  Well, the Ducks only lost three players this off-season.  Seniors Churchill Odia and Frantz Dorsainvil have run out of eligibility while sophomore point guard Kamyron Brown transferred under suspicious circumstances.  (Rumors suggest the coaching staff essentially told him there wasn’t a spot for him.)   But the feeling around the program is that the incoming talent should be more than sufficient to cover the losses. The blue-chip of the class is Wisconsin product, and Rivals top 150 recruit, Jamil Wilson, a 6’7” forward.  Apparently Wilson is the complete package with the ability to play both inside and out.  The Ducks also signed Oregon player of the year E.J. Singler, younger brother of Duke star Kyle Singler.  Most believe he isn’t of his brother’s caliber, but he’s a tough kid and should be a solid player in the future.  Lastly the Ducks signed forward Jeremy Jacob and point guard Malcolm Armstead from powerhouse Florida powerhouse, Chipola junior college.  Obviously the coaching staff is hoping the transfers will add immediate depth and experience to a club that sorely lacked steady hands.

More important than the off-season additions however is the return of every player who either started or saw significant minutes.  With another year under their belts, the young guys should be ready for the grueling Pac10 season.

At center, former McDonalds All-American Mike Dunigan has the sheer athletic talent to be a great player in the league but he needs to improve his footwork, along with his touch around the basket.  Dunigan also has some sort of ridiculous penchant for foul trouble, he can’t seem to stay out of it.  Josh Crittle, the lesser known of the two sophomore centers to-be, actually was more consistent than his more notorious counterpart.  Crittle flashed good touch around the basket and usually managed to stay on the floor.  Reports claim that both of the young big-men have shed considerable weight for the upcoming season.  Either way, after last year’s over-whelming trial by fire, the centers should be ready for the quality and size of players in the conference.  Especially when considering conference stalwarts like John Brockman and Jeff Pendergraph have moved on to the NBA.

The guard spots seem to be the most settled.  At shooting guard is the predictably mercurial Tajuan Porter.  The 5’6” shooter is almost lights out when he’s open off the ball but struggles badly when asked to create for others.  For his size he’s not a bad defender, but has been bothered in the past by rangy defenders.  He has a decent pull-up jumper but is inconsistent when asked to finish in the lane.  Look for Tajuan’s play to improve with growth at the point guard position. Transfer Malcolm Armstead is rumored to be a steady player, and Garrett Sim proved that he was dangerous when “on.”  The competition should certainly help. If the Ducks do manage to get good point guard play, Tajuan will have the opportunity to do what he does best, spot up and shoot.


Predicting the starters at the forward spots is nearly impossible.  Senior Joevan Catron is a leading candidate.  He’s a quick but undersized power forward with nifty moves, but he tends to disappear for long stretches.  Also over the course of the years Catron hasn’t demonstrated the ability to shoot very well.  Chances are, sweet shooting big-man Drew Wiley and newcomers Jamil Wilson and Jeremy Jacob will push for time at the 4 spot.  Wiley plays a bit like a guard and needs badly to improve his strength, especially in his hands.  I can vividly recall rebounds being ripped away from him.  Jamil Wilson may have the ball skills and quickness to pose match-up problems at the 4 spot but as a freshman he probably lacks the strength to handle more mature players.  Jeremy Jacob is reported to be a solid player with a nice mid-range jumper, something the Ducks lacked.  His age and maturity may also be a benefit to him.  At small forward the two established guys are sophomore south-paw Matt Humphrey and junior Lekendric Longmire.  Jamil Wilson could also challenge for time here, as he is rumored to be an athletic slasher.  Humphrey and Longmire are passionate guys and good athletes.  Humphrey is the better shooter and more skilled of the two, but Lekendric seems to make big plays.  Humphrey got more and more minutes near the end of last year and I expect the trend to continue with maturity.  Lekendric could be a very nice energy guy off the bench.  In any event, Ernie should have plenty of options with the interchangeability of the 2-4 positions.

In all reality the Ducks should have plenty of opportunities to do well in the conference, but are they mature enough?  It’s been a tumultuous off-season for the conference, with top teams losing a lot of talent and interesting coaching changes.  Other than Washington and Cal the conference is relatively unproven.  I expect the Ducks to finish in the middle of the Pac(k), but could even see them finishing as high 3rd or as low as 9th.  Since that isn’t much of a prediction, I’ll go on record saying they’ll finish 5th.

All-around the Oregon team should be much improved, because really, how hard is it to be better than they were?  Although Ernie doesn’t have a great track-record of late with developing inside big-men, I believe Dunigan is gifted enough to pave his own way.  Look for both his scoring average to jump up into double-digits and rebound numbers to improve as well.  (If he stays on the floor.)    The Ducks must also find consistency handling the ball, turnovers were a problem last season.  The best sign for the future though was the fact that the Ducks never quit on their season… At times they were certainly frustrated, and it showed, but other than a small incident involving Tajuan Porter there was never a lack of effort.  That effort finally paid off in the end of the conference season with back-to-back wins against Stanford and Oregon State.

Possible Red-Shirts:

1)    E.J. Singler
2)    Teondre Williams
3)    Drew Wiley?

Predicted Starters (really wide open…):

1)    Garret Sim
2)    Tajuan Porter
3)    Matt Humphrey/Jamil Wilson
4)    Jeremy Jacob/Joevan Catron
5)    Mike Dunigan

Chris Denker from NetScouts Basketball

NetScouts Basketball is an organization that specializes in connecting players with professional teams. They work to bring players visibility and the opportunity to play professionally. In the same breath, Netscouts helps to lead teams to the best available players or to those players which would compliment their team. They operate the largest database of collegiate scouting reports combined with player footage and have an organization of basketball gurus who have experience coaching, playing, and scouting.

Today I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Chris Denker, the co-founder and managing partner of NetScouts Basketball LLC. I spoke with him over the phone for half an hour in regards to his wealth and knowledge of the game of Basketball. I learned a great deal very quickly.il1n0s00

The following responses from Chris Denker are summarized as close to his actual responses as possible but in no way may be accounted for as completely accurate.

1). Chris, I see you’re the co-founder of NetScouts Basketball LLC. How did you go about creating such an organization and what led you to do so?

Chris Denker: ” Well I’ve coached basketball for over 20 years now. I coached 14 years at the division one level and I have coached internationally in Europe. I’ve coached both men’s and women’s basketball. I’ve been over in London and have spent a good amount of time in England all together. I ran a few clubs there for men and women’s teams. Before long, people started to get to know me and I became an ambassador of sorts overseas. I began introducing the game to younger kids and players. Of course basketball is not big in some places overases. Soccer comes first and then you have rugby, baseball, and football.  Basketball is growing huge right now however.

Then I came back to the States to coach some semi-professional all-star teams and before long was coaching at a few big camps. Ones with extremely talented players who could potentially turn pro… I started helping some of these players to make their way to a professional level internationally. Then I realized that there was a niche to help players find pro teams. Soon after I helped start NetScouts… it’s great… I have friends who play in the NBA,  I scouted the NBA summer league last year. Met some people who were interested in my scouting and draft reports… started offering scouting as a service. Now I’ve scouted over 1200 players and have reports available for teams on players all over the world… there are so many different professional basketball leagues in Asia and all over…”

2). I see you also act as a shooting and drill instructor for your own basketball camp (Denker Basketball Academy of Instruction). Can you tell us a little about that? Did you play basketball in college any?

Chris Denker: “It’s something I’ve done for a while as a coach. I would run individual workouts. Yes I played in college and started coaching actually while I was still in college. When I graduated I began at the high school level and worked with players to improve their game. Once I moved up to the college level, well I could no longer run workouts for players that weren’t yet in college because of recruiting violations. So I stopped instruction for a while when I coached at the college level and now that I’m not associated with any specific collegiate team, I have began instructing again. Also I’ve met players who have asked for my assistance on the court…”

3). Your speaking in Las Vegas this weekend at the SMWW conference/NBA conference and then your off to scout the NBA summer league. Any players your looking out for?

Chris Denker: ” It’s always fun to see the draft picks play… of course you want to see Blake Griffin… for me I like and this goes along with NetScouts but to watch those players who are on the cusp of playing in the NBA. Not all players go straight from college into the NBA, some have played all over and are working there way back up to the league… all NBA teams have their own scouts so its fun to find those players that they overlooked… this past year Dahntay Jones broke into the starting lineup for the Denver Nuggets but previously was not given a chance to play on the court. (side note- Jones’ salary was under 800k this year as a result of not playing much in the past but after starting with the Nuggets, he was just offered $11 mil over the next four years with the Indiana Pacers.) The biggest story of this past year would probably be Anthony Morrow. He was undrafted out of Georgia Tech and really didn’t play much when he was in college. But last year in the summer league this guy never missed a shot during warm ups. Now granted its warm ups but still you wondered if that would carry to the game. So you got this 6’6″ skinny shooter who doesn’t play in any of the first 3 summer league games but who lights it up in the remaining few games of the summer and earns himself a spot in the NBA. He now plays on the Golden State Warriors… its great just looking for that golden nugget that nobody else sees.”

I stopped bombarding Chris with questions there and want to thank him again for his time and for such powerful responses. Just hearing about everything that goes on inside the scouting world really makes you want to fly out to Vegas immediately  in order to watch these players develop. Hopefully someday… until then I recommend you all follow Chris Denker on Twitter and stay current with news from the NBA summer league by checking out his blog.