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A mom’s NBA draft diary: Hard to handle a disappointing team workout

06.12.13 at 3:28 pm ET
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Mandy Carter-Williams (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams

Mandy Carter-Williams (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams

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.

Michael left Phoenix and flew to Sacramento this past Friday night. He was in great space and felt really good about his Phoenix workout and interviews with the GM and president. His agent received really positive feedback from Phoenix but reminded us that the positive feedback did not mean Phoenix was going to take him. He told me not to get too high or too low through this process, which we could understand. [Carter-Williams' stepfather] Zach [Zegarowski] and I always tell our kids, don’t ever get too high or too low in basketball. It is a little more difficult not to do this during this process because we feel and have been told a lot will weigh on Michael’s workouts. So after Phoenix, we were looking for houses in Phoenix. Just kidding, but we were happy his first workout went well. Sacramento was a different story.

My family was at a friend’s son’s graduation party on Saturday. I have been friends with Ellen since the fifth grade, so her family is our family. We are very close. We lived with them for a while after our house burnt down. Our kids are best friends. I had actually forgotten Michael was working out because of the time difference, I was not even thinking about when he would be done. I got a text message from him at 4 our time saying: It didn’t go well. My body felt a step behind and I did not defend like I can or shoot as consistently as I have been…..I stayed positive but I did not feel great….

He said he felt dehydrated and had trouble sleeping the night before. I felt sick after reading the text, my stomach dropped. I removed myself from the crowded table I was sitting at and went to an area in the yard where no one was so I could text him back without distraction. I signaled to Zach who was in the middle of a horseshoe game and mouthed, “It did not go well” to him. He continued to play the game, which made the pit in my stomach turn to fire. Is he really not running over here to deal with this, I said to myself!

My fingers were moving furiously as I text Michael he should have been drinking water on the plane the night before and how important preparing yourself physically and mentally is for these workouts. I asked him what the hell he was thinking about and that he must have been distracted. I told him he has to immediately move on from one workout to the next mentally and start thinking about what he needs to do to be ready. The time change, the travel, sleeping in a hotel, he has to adjust quickly and he will need to do that in the NBA. I texted him he has seven workouts in 15 days, he has to be disciplined.

“Mandy, come back and join us,” my friend yelled from what felt like another state as I stood there anxiously wondering how to find out what this means. How bad was the workout? Michael is usually accurate with his self-assessments. I looked over at the table of friends and yelled back, “Michael did not do well in Sacramento,” in a tone that let everyone know not to call my name again. I couldn’t believe it. He just did so well in Phoenix. I glared over at Zach with the threat stare letting him know that either the horseshoe game was going to end or I was going to end it.

I stopped caring about everything else around me and was in my own world. Michael was upset, and I did not have it in me to tell him it was OK. Or that things would work out. I knew Zach could spin it quicker than I could. He has the ability to help Michael learn from things and move on quicker than I do. He doesn’t tell Michael what he wants to hear like a friend would, but he is less intense with his tone and energy than I am, so Michael is more receptive to him. But I don’t care in the moment. It takes me a while to process and regroup. I am working on it, but it’s who I am.

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Read More: Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, Michael Carter-Williams, NBA Draft,

Report: Doc Rivers ‘feels it may be time for a change’

06.12.13 at 11:48 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been quiet this season about his future in Boston, leading to speculation that the popular mentor might be considering other options.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Chris Broussard quoted a source close to the situation as saying there is some truth to the rumors that Rivers remains unsure whether he’ll return.

“Doc loves coaching,” the source said. “He loves coaching in Boston. But he feels it may be time for a change.”

Rivers, who has spent nine years with the Celtics, has three years and a reported $21 million remaining on his contract. The ESPN story stated that Rivers’ close relationship with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is making his decision difficult. Ainge previously suggested that Rivers might need some time to regroup after a challenging season, but that he expected him to return to the bench.

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Rajon Rondo: ‘I still am’ hard to coach

06.11.13 at 10:02 am ET
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Long silent since tearing his right ACL in February, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has begun popping up across the country as he is wont to do in the summertime. Prior to Game 2 of the NBA finals on Sunday, we saw him along with several other stars reading mean tweets from their Twitter timelines.

Does Rajon Rondo look like Franklin the Turtle?

Does Rajon Rondo look like Franklin the Turtle?

Rondo’s line: “Is it me or does Rajon Rondo look like that turtle named Franklin on Nick Jr.?”

Then, Rondo discussed everything from Celtics coach Doc Rivers to Connect Four and algebra with Red Bull Signature Series host Sal Masekela and Sheridan Hoops contributor Brian Kamenetzky on a series of videos promoting the energy drink (h/t NBC Sports). Before we get into Rondo’s dominance of Milton Bradley products and mathematics, let’s deal with the basketball-related discussion centered around Rondo’s coachability.

Rajon Rondo: “I always try to be on the same page as Doc, so I’m always looking at him and reading his mouth, but I pretty much know what he’s going to say. I’ve been playing for him for seven years, and we’ve always pretty much been on the same page, especially now. Each year, we’re growing and communicating better and learning each other more and more.”

Sal Masekela: “A lot of times, you see people who are potentially great players come in the league, and the main problem is coachability. How much of that is on the coach? And how much is it on the player?”

RR: “As a young player, you always think the coach is pretty hard on you, which he should be. If he’s not, that means he doesn’t care. They always say, ‘When I stop talking to you, then you should worry.’

“My first year was pretty rough, but I had great mentors in my life that I could call, and they’d be like, ‘You know what? Just hang in there. You’ve got to listen to your coach.’ So, I was able to make it through that.

“It wasn’t a big deal. We were struggling the first year. We lost 18 in a row that year, so I felt like I could help the team, and you’ve got to look at it a different way. I look at Doc differently now. You don’t look at your coach as trying to hurt you. Obviously, we all want the same thing — to win — so whatever he’s telling me or telling the team, it’s for the betterment of the team, and you have to take yourself out of it and look at it from a team aspect.”

Brian Kamenetzky: “Do you think you were hard to coach earlier in your career?”

RR: “I still am. It’s not that I’m hard to coach; it’s just that I may challenge what you say. I know the game myself. I’m out there playing, so I may have seen something different versus what you saw from the sidelines. I’m going to be respectable. I’m going to let the coach talk. Me and Doc talk all the time; it’s just different dialogue. We’ve built to that relationship, and I’ve been fortunate to play for Doc for seven years. If I have any questions, he’s pretty much got all the answers. And if he doesn’t, he’s always honest with me. I wouldn’t rather play for any other coach.”

There you have it. Rondo isn’t the easiest player to coach, and yet he and Rivers have built a working relationship. All the more reason the Celtics must be weary of Doc’s strange comments about his future in Boston.

Enough about basketball. Let’s get to Rondo’s true passion: Connect Four. In a “Bobby Fischer style” game between Rondo and his two interviewers, we’re treated to this amazing exchange with the four-time NBA All-Star.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, Rajon Rondo

Doc Rivers on Celtics return: ‘I’d rather not say’

06.10.13 at 10:49 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Pressed by The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn on his looming decision about returning to the Celtics bench for a 10th season, Doc Rivers wrote in a text message over the weekend, “I’d rather not say.

Last month, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told The Globe Rivers would return for the third season of a five-year, $35 million contract, but Rivers is yet to confirm Ainge’s statement.

Meanwhile, Rivers continues to oversee pre-draft workouts in Waltham and work with Ainge on the team’s offseason. Still, five weeks after telling reporters in the aftermath of a Game 6 loss to the Knicks, “I’m coming back until I say I’m not,” Rivers’ unwillingness to confirm his return has led to rampant speculation.

Is this tied to the June 30 decision on Paul Pierce‘s contract? Or Kevin Garnett‘s own looming decision? Would Rivers really hold the Celtics hostage as big-name coaches find work elsewhere? All valid questions.

Asked if he would address his future in the coming weeks, Rivers told Washburn only, “Soon.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, NBA

A mom’s NBA draft diary: Strong workouts a boost for Michael Carter-Williams

06.07.13 at 11:45 am ET
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Mandy Carter-Williams (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams

Mandy Carter-Williams (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams.

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.

On May 24th Chad Ford, ESPN Insider writer, came to Glen Cove [N.Y.] to watch Michael and a few other players from Excel [Sports Management] play. He covers the draft extensively and wanted to see Michael, C.J. [McCollum] and Mike [Muscala] work out.

Michael’s shooting has been the talk of his downside, so Chad wanted to come out and see what was going on. Michael did a workout with [trainer] Jay [Fernandez] while Chad filmed it. Having to shoot under pressure in front of a well-respected sports journalist had to make him nervous, but we saw no signs of nerves. The workout was at a local Boys & Girls Club. Michael shot very well. He hit 3-pointers, NBA threes, mid-range jumpers, and was explosive off the dribble getting to the basket.

I had never met Chad before, and both [Carter-Williams' stepfather] Zach [Zegarowski] and I enjoyed talking hoop with him after the workout. We talked about what he was hearing from GMs. He explained how his draft rankings focus more on matching a player with a team need. Because there isn’t a LeBron James in this year’s draft, teams are looking for a player who will fit in with their current roster of players. Some teams say they are going to pick the best player available, but the best player in the top 10 isn’t obvious, it will be more the opinion of the NBA team. Nerlens [Noel], who has been on the top of most draft boards, is injured, and that leaves some questions, but he will definitely go 1 or 2. Nerlens Noel is a close friend of Michael’s and spends a lot of time at our house. It is pretty amazing to have both of them and Ricky Ledo in the draft. Ricky went to St. Andrews [in Rhode Island] with Michael for a year and they have stayed friends since sophomore year.

For Michael, Chad coming to watch him and then write about him was positive. If Michael shot poorly and did not have a good workout I don’t think Chad would have written anything negative but he would have let his readers know through his draft board that Michael has work to do. He said to us that Michael looks way more athletic and explosive in person and that if he performs like he did for him at his NBA workouts, he will be in a great position.

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Read More: Chad Ford, Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke

NBA draft guru Jeff Goodman on Celtics: ‘I’d look at Dennis Schroeder or Shane Larkin at No. 16′

06.06.13 at 5:33 pm ET
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Dennis Schroeder

Dennis Schroeder

After the Game of Thrones-esque series premiere of the Green Street podcast with likely top-10 pick Michael Carter-Williams, NBA draft guru Jeff Goodman joined Ben Rohrbach for Episode 2. For the complete interview, click here.

A former CBS Sports columnist recently hired by ESPN, Goodman knows the Celtics well as a native of the Boston area, and his draft knowledge is beyond reproach. Here are a couple highlights to wet your whistle for an interview that spans everything from potential steals to likely busts of the June 27 NBA draft.

On the draft: “It’s not bad in terms of depth. The problem is the top eight guys normally are guys who you think might be All-Stars, and I’m not sure you can say that about a single guy in this draft. That’s the biggest difference this year.

“There’s decent depth. In the thirties and forties, there’s similar talent level to what you had a year ago or two years ago. It’s really more the top-10 picks that you look at, and you go, ‘Eh, they’re all about the same.’ I don’t see a guy here that’s going to be a No. 1 or 2 guy on a team in the next five years.”

On the Celtics: “They need a little bit of everything. I could see them taking a kid like Dennis Schroeder — the point guard from Germany, who’s fast and athletic. He has a little bit of [Rajon] Rondo in him — the speed, the athleticism. He’s got some red flags from what I’m told as far as his personality is concerned, and he throws the ball around a little bit. He doesn’t always make great decisions.

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A mom’s NBA draft diary: Michael-Carter Williams’ hard work pays off at NBA combine

06.05.13 at 6:58 pm ET
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Mandy Carter-Williams (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams

Mandy Carter-Zegarowski (left) is blogging about the NBA draft experience of her son, former Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams, a Hamilton native.

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.

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Read More: Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, Michael Carter-Williams,
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