3 Draft Picks to Watch

Summer league has passed and it is now that time for draft picks to get antsy if they haven’t signed a contract yet with their new teams. Of course there are many first round draft picks who have signed large contracts and will be players to watch shine the following years to come. However it is often exciting to keep tabs on those players who are unexpected to do well in the NBA.nbadraft2009

1) Chase Budinger- First mention goes to Chase Budinger. For those who know me well of course I’m going to talk about his recent multi-year agreement with the Houston Rockets. Here’s a player that came into Arizona recruited by Lute Olson himself who felt Budinger was the best high school recruit that Arizona had ever landed! That is a big deal coming from coach Olson who had recruited many current and past NBA players to Arizona. Budinger put up great overall numbers in his three years at U of A but never truly reached his potential. Perhaps it was due to having 3 different coaches in his 3 years with the program and off-the-court distractions. Either way he averaged 17 points a game with 5.8 rebounds in his 3 years in the desert. This resulted with him earning the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft. He went from a McDonalds All-American to the 44th overall pick in the NBA draft? The Houston rockets were quick to catch on that Budinger must have had his problems in college but that he was still an amazing player. That is why this past week he was signed to a multi-year contract with the organization after leading the club in scoring through out summer league play. Having watched Budinger at Arizona for 3 years I think he will surprise many with his offensive talent in the league.

2) Terrance Williams With the 1tth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft the New Jersey Nets grabbed Terrance Williams. Now williams did draft quickly and is expected to do well in the league but it seems his talent is still overlooked. Williams averaged 2.3 steals a game this past year at Louisville and is as quick as lighting for a 6’6″ wing. His average of 11 points per game in the 2008-2009 season was the result of playing amongst a team of all-stars in which he did not have to score excessively. With the exclusion of Blake Griffin in this discussion, Williams is my pick to win rookie of the year in the 2009-2010 NBA season. He will certainly have opportunities to shine on the court playing for New Jersey this year which is a huge part of winning the ROY award. Without the chance to play you can’t possibly win the award which is why I’m thinking he’s got the green light.

3) Eric MaynorSet all kinds of records for his college Virginia Commonwealth which might as well be a junior college? Maybe its just hard to keep track of all colleges these days because until the 2009 tourney I had not heard of it or of Maynor. Either way after some research and after watching his first round performance it’s easy to say that Maynor is an amazing point guard. I expect him to have a successful NBA career although I’m not sure if it will happen in Utah behind Deron Williams. Perhaps this first year he will grab some playing time when Williams needs a break and when he does, watch for him to put points on the board in a hurry. It will be fun to see how he does in his first year. Due to his circumstances in college (which was having to carry his team repeatedly against stronger and more talented teams), I  believe the adjustment to the NBA will be that much easier for him.

Who are your NBA rookies to watch for? Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

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Arenas is Ready to Go

Gilbert Arenas is lethal on the basketball court. He has an amazing pull up jumper and a silky smooth drive to the hoop. Washington fans are thankful that his most recent surgery went well and that his recovery is almost complete. Flip Saunders commented this week that Arenas is almost at full strength in the weight room and is basically at full speed on the court. Saunders continued forward to say that his all star point guard/shooting guard will make them an elite playoff team this year. I’m not sure about that second remark but in regards to the first one, it will be great to see this all star back and contending with those other great stars in the league.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

NBA Big-Timmers’ Schedule

As ESPN reports, the schedule for the 2009-2010 NBA season is out and there are a few surprises, but lots of good bait for betting online. There are a some changes from last year however. The Houston Rockets were broadcast plenty in the 2008-2009 season because they were stacked and a force to be reckon with. They pushed the Lakers to a seventh game in the playoffs and all. Amazing how quickly things can change. With Yao Ming and T-Mac injured and sulking on the bench and with Artest NBA-main_Fullhaving left to the defending champions lineup, the Rockets will not receive one nationally televised regular season game this year. Of course they aren’t the only team that is expected to produce boring and lackluster performances. New Jersey, Sacramento, Charlotte, and Milwaukee will also not have a game televised anywhere but on NBA television this year.

That leaves us with the teams that we want to watch and which will receive plenty of  camera time. On October 27th on TNT, the season opener will boast the new look Cavaliers against Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Celtics. Later that evening the defending champs will play their ugly shadow, the Clippers. October 29th will be your best opportunity to see Richard Jefferson dressed in Oakland Raiders attire for his first game as a San Antonio Spur playing against a Chicago Bulls team.  And most importantly we all want to know what we will be unwrapping presents to on Christmas day. We will unwrap gifts to a second consecutive year in which the NBA broadcasts a quintupleheader. For those of you who like me had no idea what that word means; a 5 game match up. That’s right, this year on December 25th we will see the Heat vs. Knicks, Celtics vs. Magic, Cavs. vs. Lakers, Clippers vs. Suns, and the Nuggets vs. Trailblazers. It will surely be an amazing day.

Steve Nash Creates A Global Sports Social Network

Back to Back MVP winner and regretfully not Back to Back to Back MVP winner, Steve Nash, has gone nash_0506mvp_indexahead and created a global sports social network called MakeItPro. I regretfully say not 3 years in a row MVP winner because Nash’s numbers were all better the year following his 2 MVP seasons but the fans were ready for a new MVP and instead voted away from him… anyways Nash has gone ahead and invested money, time, and thought into creating this network that brings together coaches, players, kids, parents, and basically an entire sports community to interact with one another. It is free to join and is a “one stop destination for anyone passionate about sports.” So far I count only 3 professional NBA players that have joined but there are many other pro athletes that have jumped on board from other sports.

A few things lead me to believe this will network will become huge among pros and joes. One, Steve Nash has a personality that people like. Players and fans respect him and appreciate what he represents. Nash is the kind of guy who makes ammends with another player who months before whacked him into the scores table intentionally during a Spurs and Suns Playoff game. Yes I’m talking about Robert Horry. Nash doesn’t make enemies. Se1216horry-autosized258cond, Nash has the power to build this network up very quickly. He has the money and the media to get sponsors and programs involved. Finally everyone is social networking these days as the best means to marketing themselves and potentially their company. Add in an abundance of social media “experts” roaming around and you get a bunch of Internet users who understand that the more networks they take part in, the better they stand to connect with others and market themselves. In other words, people are going to join MakeItPro as soon as they learn it exists.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

Tribute to Lute Olson

It was amazing to speak with Randy Brown about his days coaching alongside Lute Olson.  The way Randy spoke about Lute told you just how much he learned from him and how much he admired the person he is. Randy didn’t simply say Lute was an amazing coach, he said Lute is an amazing person.OlsonGraphic

I met Lute once when I was 13.  I attended his basketball camp in Tucson, Arizona about 9 years back. It was a week long camp which included a personal photo opp with the coach. I’ll never forget that camp simply because the demonstrations from current and past Arizona players were spectacular. It was every kids dream to attend Lute’s camp and you know the man himself wasn’t just trying to make an extra buck by hosting a summer camp. Lute was there to help kids learn basketball correctly and build an audience for the university in which he represented. That is why Lute is awesome and why he is loved by everyone in the basketball community.

On August 8th, 2009 coach Lute Olson is to be recognized for his amazing Hall of Fame Career at the University of Arizona at which he coached. In his tenure with the University he contributed to 11 Pac-10 titles, 23 consecutive NCAA appearances, 4 final fours, and a national championship in 1997. The ceremony will last from 11Am until 12:30 Pm at the McKale Memorial Center in Tucson. The event will include presentations from NBA players that Lute coached as well as a highlight reel of bits and pieces of those 23 seasons in which he led the Wildcats to the Big dance and beyond. The ceremony is free to the public and is sure to be amazing so be sure to stop by with a friend. Thanks again for everything Lute! Arizona fans will never forget you.

Randy Brown: Mentor to over 100 Coaches into the Collegiate Level

This past Friday I spoke on the phone for twenty minutes with coach Randy Brown about his coaching career. I asimagesked him a few questions about the process of becoming a coach. In a moment we’ll take a look at those questions and his responses but before we jump into that interview, lets go over his resume.

Randy is a coach of 30 years, 20 of which were with an NCAA team. He has also done work for F.I.B.A, Winning Hoops, and Coach and Athletic Director Magazine. Randy is nationally published and has mentored over 100 coaches into the collegiate level. He has helped develop 12 NBA players including Steve Kerr, Sean Elliot, and Jaamal Tinsley. Randy even coached a while alongside University of Arizona ‘s Lute Olson. Currently he runs an organization which he created called CoachRB, where he helps to mentor other coaches. If you have any interest at all in coaching, be sure to check out his site.

  1. Randy, you are the owner and founder of Coach RB, a website and program that helps to mentor coaches into the collegiate level. Can you tell us about Coach RB and what it encompasses?

Randy Brown– “Well I’ve been coaching for 30 years now. I spent 20 years coaching at the college level 070605dunkand have been fortunate and lucky to have had experience with a bunch of great programs and coaches. So now I’m returning the favor. I use my resources and contacts to help others. I’m very indebted to those who helped me and now I’m just enjoying returning the favor to those who want to learn. In general my site is free to any coach or visitor that wants to learn more about basketball.  Hopefully I’ve provided info that coaches can use and apply.”

2) You have mentored over 100 coaches into the collegiate level from coaching at a lower level such as high school. When you’re helping a coach transition to the college level, what is your main area of focus? In other words, what is the difference between coaching college and high-school hoops outside of the talent level?

Randy Brown: “I would say a couple things. One, a coach needs to know what they are getting into. I’ll tell you that it’s not ESPN, it’s the most physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding job ever. Those that make it as a coach at the college level I call ten percenters. Because only 1 in 10 coaches that come to me and say they wa29ed869nt to be a college coach actually makes it. The others “want to” become college coaches, but lack the desire, energy, and total commitment it takes to do everything possible to make it happen. This is where over 90% of aspiring coaches fail!…. I would also say that it doesn’t matter what you did at any other level.. It doesn’t matter if you have a record as a high school coach that reads 100 to 1 or 1 to 100. Young coaches like to think that because they are winning 70% of the time that they can handle moving up the ranks to the college level. That’s misguided thinking. Many times I scare away young guys that join my program because I’m real with them and tell them what coaching at the college level is going to be. Getting into college is all about your coaching network and the strength of your coaching tree!

The second thing I would say to a coach or teach to a coach trying to to move up is how to network:  how t57145126o meet coaches, how to find a job, or how to find a future job. You have to know to network. Every coach in this business knows just about every other coach in this business. Once a participant does my program, you become aware of the value of developing relationships. A college coach has to be totally committed to their job in every aspect which includes work off the court. I teach the ins and outs of coaching at the college level that are not expected.”

3) I see you graduated from Arizona and were mentored by Lute Olson himself. My father went to Arizona and still currently resides in Tucson . I’m a huge Arizona Wildcats fan and just have to ask you about your experience working with Lute. What did the experience working with him mean to you and out of the many things you gained from coaching alongside him, what is the number one thing you took away?

Randy Brown: “As a young guy growing up in Arizona , Lute was a huge deal. It crushed the people in Iowa when he 29ed869left the University of Iowa for Arizona . But coaching with Lute Olson was like a dream come true. He is a master of so many things. He has one of the sharpest minds in basketball and one of his greatest abilities is making changes in the midst of the game. He does everything well. He recruited extremely well because he is so personable. He always treated everyone kindly. Lute is the most A to Z person I know. He won over 1000 games at all levels which is just a crazy statistic…

Now this may be a surprising answer but the biggest thing I learned from him was how to be personable. As a young high school coach, I wrote Lute a lot to stay in touch or ask for advise. Amazingly, he always wrote a halute_olson1ndwritten note back. He wrote all hand written letters to his recruits. So I adopted that as a coach. Now I’ve written thousands of hand written letters to all types of people for all reasons. He taught me to use the personal touch to develop relationships to build your program the right way.”

4). For those students who are just graduating college who desire a career coaching hoops, what do you suggest is their best first move? How should they go about working their way to becoming a successful coach? Where is the start to a coaching career?

Randy Brown:  “First of all each state has their own coaching certification process. In our state there are certain      29ed869courses you have to take. Anybody can do that. You don’t have to be an education or PE major to get coaching certification. Number two, you need to get experience. Coach a 3rd grade girls team at the YMCA if you need to. But get experience, there’s no replacement for that. Number three, become a student of the game. Convince yourself that you don’t know anything about the game and really study it. There’s nothing like hands on experience so get out there. Find a mentor. If you’re 20 years old, go to the 60 year old coach at a nearby school and sit down for an hour with him/her. In one hour with that coach he will give you all the wisdom and info that you would learn from reading countless books. I’ve mentored a ton of coaches and have helped many into the coaching position they want. The benefits of having a mentor are countless.”

Alright for those aspiring coaches out there this interview was for you. Lets recap what we learned.

  1. You need a coaching mentor- Randy Brown is offering his services to you so be sure to check out his website.
  2. Networking—this is the #1 key to becoming a college basketball coach and is taught in Randy’s CCN (College Coach Now) program.
  3. Get ready for potentially the most intense job possible..
  4. Be personable. Perhaps write a hand-written letter when possible. (Lute taught us that)
  5. Get some experience wherever possible. 3rd grade girls team works.

Thanks again to Randy Brown for his time and wisdom. Want more hoops news? Follow @DinoGomez.

The Funnist Basketball blog goes to… The Basketball Jones

Last night I went browsing through about 20 different basketball blogs that are atop the list of underground3546209620_6af8e89abd_o publications. Thank god I came across The Basketball Jones. These guys are hilarious and have found great success with their site and tv show as a result. It seems they have taken a break this past week from further publication but what they do in general is just great. Here is one of their most recent recorded episodes about the 2009 NBA offseason.