|A mom’s NBA draft diary: Michael-Carter Williams’ hard work pays off at NBA combine||06.05.13 at 6:58 pm ET|
Hamilton resident Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, the mother of Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and the girls basketball coach at Ipswich High School, is chronicling the days leading up to the June 28 NBA draft through blog entries for WEEI.com. Carter-Williams, who prepped at Hamilton-Wenham High School and Rhode Island’s St. Andrews School before spending two seasons at Syracuse, is projected to be a lottery pick.
We have a few weeks to catch up on in this blog, so the first few may be long. It has gone by so fast and been pretty incredible so far. As much as I am going to miss Syracuse. we are moving forward full steam ahead.
Michael has gotten some great press recently, and although it is hard to know what to believe, we are happy about where he is positioned for the draft so far. As of right now, we are planning for the green room, which means he is slotted to be a top-14 pick. We could find out he slips out of the top 14, and that would be fine.
Michael getting on a team that presents him with an opportunity to prove himself for a second contract is most important. If, for instance, he goes No. 2 he would make more money the first three years, but if he doesn’t play, he risks not getting another contract after his third year and his career in the NBA could be over.
Getting picked in the first round (top 30) is an amazing accomplishment and the dream! We watch the draft every year and this year we are going to be a part of it. His agent, Jeff Schwartz, is working hard to advocate and position him in the right situation. But how Michael performs until June 27th will dictate where he goes in the first round. That’s why for us, picking the right agent for Michael was so important. He has already played a large role by organizing the workouts and getting Michael in front of the right people. There is not a ton of time to prepare for the NBA workouts, and Michael got started a little late.
Michael chose to stay at Syracuse and finish school. A lot of draft prospects leave school to train as soon as their NCAA tournament is over. When this happens, the team can suffer academically if the player does not finish the semester. It sounds strange that a player would choose to leave early and not finish school, but it is common. The rational is that after the tournament, college basketball coaches spend a lot of their time recruiting so they are not around to train the players and prepare them for the NBA draft workouts.
There are also NCAA rules about how much time a coach can spend with a player out of season. There is also the fact that some players value leaving school more than their education. Michael carried five classes and he finished with the highest GPA on the team. It was not easy considering the amount of time his team spent on the road second semester. Syracuse did an amazing job staying on him to keep up with his work when he was on the road. The academic advisor and tutors worked hard to make sure Michael made up all his work. The tough part for Michael was missing class. It is hard to miss the lectures and the actual teaching in the classroom and still do well. It was also up to Michael to take advantage of the tutoring and writing workshops. It was his responsibility to communicate with his teachers. His last three weeks at school were exhausting for him with him attending classes and finishing the makeup work.
|Irish Coffee: 10 Things I Heard About Celtics||06.05.13 at 6:34 pm ET|
This is the worst. An aging Big Three stands in the way of LeBron James and a second straight NBA title — only it’s the Spurs, not the Celtics. Instead, Boston basketball fans are inundated with all sorts of ridiculous rumors. I think Kevin Garnett‘s uncle’s cousin’s brother’s sister-in-law just claimed KG’s coming back. That’s why, on another slow C’s news day in June, we’re revealing the latest edition of 10 Things I Heard About Celtics.
10. Heated rivalry: Speaking of LeBron, he went One on Two with Ahmad Rashad and Ahmad Rashad’s earring before taking on San Antonio. Asked if he considered Kobe Bryant his greatest rival, James waxed unpoetically about Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, ultimately landing on Paul Pierce as the closest thing to a rival (h/t @MrTrpleDouble10). Somewhere, a pajama clad Kevin Durant stoically cleans gutters.
“I would say that I don’t really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce,” said the four-time NBA MVP. “I would say Boston is a rival of mine, because I’ve met them so many times in the postseason. I’ve been able to advance against them, they’ve sent me home fishing a few times, so I would say Boston and Paul Pierce would kind of be that guy if I had to name just one guy.”
9. Trading faces of franchises: “Healthy” and “Pierce” haven’t been mentioned in the same sentence too often over the last couple years, except when Boston Herald beat writer Steve Bulpett recently wrote, “there is reportedly healthy interest in Pierce out on the market.” Now, we don’t know who considers what healthy, but I’m guessing the offers are more of the Kris Humphries ilk than the Eric Gordon variety.
|Grande & Max to host weekly ‘Celtics Summer Cooler’||06.05.13 at 1:27 pm ET|
Celtics radio announcers Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell will be hosting a weekly radio show on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. on the WEEI network called “Celtics Summer Cooler.”
The first edition will air this weekend, and the show will run through Sept. 28, leading up to training camp. Grande and Max have called more than 1,200 games since teaming up for Celtics radio on WEEI in 2001, including the 2008 title. The two expect to have C’s front office personnel, players, beat writers and columnists on the show.
“This is going to be the most interesting offseason for the Celtics since 2007 when [president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] pulled off the big trades for KG [Kevin Garnett] and Ray Allen,” said Jason Wolfe, VP of Programming and Operations for WEEI. “Celtic fans deserve a show that will be devoted to the team’s efforts this summer, and no one knows the strategy better than Grande and Max.”
|Michael Carter-Williams: Playing for Celtics ‘would be a blessing’||05.28.13 at 9:05 pm ET|
Even the most trusted experts can’t agree on where Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams will go in next month’s NBA draft. While many forecast the Hamilton, Mass., native as a top-10 pick, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford slotted him to the Celtics at No. 16 as recently as three weeks ago.
“I don’t really pay attention to any of the mock drafts,” Carter-Williams told WEEI.com’s Ben Rohrbach on his Green Street podcast. “At the end of the day, they’re all pretty much wrong anyway.”
That’s why the point guard was caught off guard when the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett asked him at this month’s NBA scouting combine about playing for the Boston team he grew up rooting for on the North Shore.
“I kind of want to get away and play somewhere else,” he told Bulpett.
Given some time to mull the possibility of playing for his hometown C’s, Carter-Williams sang a different tune on Rohrbach’s podcast this week.
|Phil Jackson says he’d take Bill Russell over Michael Jordan||05.24.13 at 10:35 am ET|
Legendary coach Phil Jackson, on an interview tour to promote his new book, gave a surprising answer when asked which player in NBA history he would choose to start a franchise.
“In my estimation, the guy that has to be there would be Bill Russell,” Jackson told Time magazine. “He has won 11 championships as a player. That’s really the idea of what excellence is, when you win championships.”
Jackson coached Michael Jordan‘s Bulls to six championships and Kobe Bryant‘s Lakers to five more. In his book, “Eleven Rings,” Jackson compares the two, noting that Jordan was a better leader, shooter and defender. Asked which one he’d prefer to have on his team, Jackson played it down the middle.
“I would flip a coin,” he said. “Whichever one came up heads or tails, I’d take that person. They were that good.”
|Report: Nets denied permission to speak to Doc Rivers||05.24.13 at 7:02 am ET|
The Nets asked to speak with Doc Rivers about their coaching vacancy but were denied by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, according to an ESPN report by Jackie MacMullan.
Ainge has said that he expects Rivers to return to Boston next season. Rivers has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract as part of an extension he signed two years ago this week.
“Doc has told me he’s coming back,” Ainge told ESPN Thursday. “I talk to him almost every day about our team and what we are going to do moving forward.”
Ainge would not comment directly about the Nets’ interest, but he acknowledged Rivers is highly regarded around the league.
“We know people want Doc,” Ainge told ESPN. “We know people want [Rajon Rondo] and [Kevin Garnett] and Paul Pierce. They are the Celtics. They’ve all had great success.”
|Jared Sullinger: ‘I’ll be 100 percent’ by September||05.23.13 at 6:43 pm ET|
As the Celtics honored hundreds of middle school students for their perfect attendance at Thursday’s 22nd annual “Stay in School” celebration at Northeastern University, Jared Sullinger shared the lessons he’s learned since undergoing the surgery to repair a lumbar disk that ended his rookie season in February.
“In life, it’s kind of different,” said the recently turned 21-year-old power forward. “Teachers give you a lesson and then the test whereas in life you get the test and then the lesson. I’ve learned that through this situation right now. I’m getting a test of my patience, my discipline … so I’m just learning the lesson now.”
The lesson in patience should be completed by the end of the summer. By his calculations, Sullinger’s 50 percent and on target to return fully healthy before training camp.
“It’s a 10-week process,” said Sullinger. “Every two weeks, we’re going to bump it up 10 percent. By September or October, I’ll be 100 percent to go full. About two weeks ago, I met with the doctor. He said it’s a full go. Our medical staff — [strength and conditioning coach] Bryan Doo, [head trainer] Ed Lacerte — we’re just taking it slow. You don’t want to go right into the pounding, so every two weeks it’s just 10 percent bumping it up.”
Sullinger averaged 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.8 minutes a night over 45 games as a rookie, eventually earning high praise from his teammates for his basketball IQ and a starting role in late January. When he does finally play for the first time since aggravating the injury four minutes into a game against the Kings on Jan. 30, he’s been told the medical issue that’s plagued him since his Ohio State days will be gone.
“Everybody says back with a question mark,” said Sullinger, “but you might as well put an X through that, because I had surgery, I’m taking my time and getting back right. There won’t be a reoccurring injury.”
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