|Pat Connaughton ready to prove himself ready for NBA: ‘I think I look pretty good in green’||06.10.15 at 3:32 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Pat Connaughton didn’t lack confidence when he was setting school records at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, and he didn’t lose that swagger while leading the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame to within a breath of the Final Four this spring.
The Arlington resident always has had a swagger about him, and a wicked good sense of sarcasm and wit for a 22-year-old.
Maybe it’s the fact that he is a legit two-sport pro prospect. As a sharpshooter, he was a key part of Notre Dame‘s ACC basketball title this spring. He also can throw a baseball consistently in the mid-90s, which made him an MLB prospect, drafted by the Orioles last year in the fourth round while making his professional baseball debut with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League. His fastball was clocked at 96 mph.
“The way the baseball draft works is if you don’t sign someone you draft in the first 10 rounds, you lose that slot money. I was very clear before the baseball draft that I wanted to go back to school to play basketball,” Connaughton said. “So, whoever drafted me had to know I was going to do that. I think both the Orioles and myself weren’t sure how far basketball would go. I think they were hoping it would end after college. I was just playing it every single day like I normally do and taking it day-by-day because that’s the only thing you can do with two sports. I found myself here and excited to pursue the opportunity.
“I had a great time in Aberdeen. I thought that down the road, whether it’s after a 10-year NBA career or a two-year NBA career, when I put my mind to baseball I can succeed at it. But I wasn’t ready to give up one of the sports. I’ve been harping my whole life that you can do two sports at the highest level, to kind of be a role model for those kids that are pressured into choosing one. It would be kind of hypocritical of me to just be like, ‘By the way, there’s some money in baseball. I think I’ll go do that.’ ”
At the end of July 2014, he informed the Orioles that he was indeed going to leave the IronBirds to return to the Fighting Irish basketball team.
On Wednesday, after working out for the Celtics, he explained why his priority now is focused on the NBA, not MLB.
“For me, I try to take it like I may not get drafted,” Connaughton said after his workout. “I try to work as hard as I can every single day. It’s been such a whirlwind over the last few months. I hope to be drafted. I’m working as hard as I can. I have some confidence in myself that I have a chance to, but we’ll see what happens on June 25. Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Celtics losing interest in Kevin Love||06.09.15 at 10:59 am ET|
Love has stated recently that he intends to return to the Cavs, but he can still hit free agency next month. Were Love to test the market, the Celtics are anticipated to be among the list of suitors. However, according to Bulpett: “The Celtics will very likely wind up an afterthought as Love examines his options in the next two months.”
Celtics‘ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was reportedly enamored with Love last offseason, wanting to pair the All-Star power forward with now-departed point guard Rajon Rondo. Last offseason, Ainge reportedly offered the Timberwolves a deal for Love, yet they were not amused by the offer. Instead, the Celtics went on to make the playoffs without Rondo and Love.
Based on reports, Love has raised some red flags due to persistent health issues. With weak knees and back issues, many in the NBA do not expect his career to last as long as the average player.
“I think he wants to be in a good situation,” one league exec from outside the area told Bullpett. “But I also think he’s concerned about his health, so he wants to get a good long-term contract. I still think he stays in Cleveland.”
|Cady Lalanne would love to channel his inner Kevin Garnett in a Celtics uniform||06.03.15 at 4:00 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Cady Lalanne has his sights set high.
The 6-foot-8 big man from UMass with a 7-foot-5 wingspan would love to model his game after another big man who made quite the impression during his time with the Celtics.
“Since I started playing basketball in ninth grade, KG has been a player I love to watch,” Lalanne said of Kevin Garnett after his pre-draft workout Wednesday with the Celtics. “I remember I used to always go to the park and try his fadeaway that he had when he was with the Timberwolves. When he came here and won a championship, I was really excited. Even right now, I still watch him and try to learn from him.”
What makes him think he can play like KG?
“Rebound the ball and play defense, that’s the strong [parts] right now,” Lalanne said. “I still have a lot to work on. I’m just ready to work. I would love to [emulate him]. He can knock the 15-foot jump shot, hit the three here and there and you can always count on him on defense to get stops.
“I can knock down the 15 to 17-foot jump shot, make threes and give a full effort on defense and offense and do everything I can to help the team win.”
While he’s got a long way to go to match KG’s accomplishments, he’s already traveled quite the road to get where he’s in position to dream the dream.
He was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He went to Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Fla. And he had to overcome not getting into his first choice (University of Georgia) because of academic ineligibility. But that didn’t stop him.
“Originally, it’s because I didn’t qualify. I signed with the University of Georgia and I didn’t qualify to go there. UMass and the whole A-10 is a “Prop 48” program. Coach [Derek] Kellogg started recruiting me so me and my head coach gave him a call. I didn’t get accepted to Georgia. The NCAA wouldn’t let me go to any schools except for the A-10 or the JUCOs. He told me he’d love to have me here so I came here, sat out the first year and was able to play the following year.”
|An absolute mockery of a 2015 NBA mock draft v1.0||at 3:12 pm ET|
I’m not sure whether mock drafts got their name from the false premise that anyone could accurately mock what the front offices of all 30 NBA franchises will do come June 25 or the reality that everyone who projects to know such matters ultimately makes a mockery of themselves. It’s probably a hybrid of the two, but they sure are fun, so without further ado Green Street presents the first of four mock drafts leading up to the real thing in Chicago later this month.
Keep in mind Celtics president Danny Ainge owns two first-round picks in this year’s draft — his own No. 16 selection and the Clippers’ No. 28 pick he received in exchange for letting Doc Rivers out of his contract — and predicting whether The Wolf of Causeway Street will stand pat, trade up or swap out of the draft is like guessing which ridiculous name Ron Artest will use next. Impossible.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentucky freshman PF/C Karl Towns. Remarkably, the Timberwolves will feature the three most recent No. 1 overall picks next season. Unfortunately, one of them is Anthony Bennett. But with Andrew Wiggins and Towns — two tremendously gifted athletes — Minnesota moves on from the Kevin Love era rather quickly.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor. As much fun as it was to see the Lakers field a D-League lineup this past season, it would have been more enjoyable had they fallen out of the top five and been forced to send their pick to Philadelphia. Instead, they land Okafor, a 6-foot-11 offensive juggernaut who would’ve looked awful good in green.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Duke freshman small forward Justise Winslow. With Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric available to fill the 4 and 5 spots for the next decade, Winslow provides the Sixers with a dynamic wing scorer of the future as well. Well, until GM Sam Hinkie decides to trade them all away for future draft picks and cap space, at least.
|Olivier Hanlan has sights set on proving himself a ‘true point’ in NBA, maybe in Boston||at 10:32 am ET|
WALTHAM — Can Olivier Hanlan help the Celtics?
The point guard sensation broke onto the national scene with a 41-point outburst against Georgia Tech in the 2013 ACC tournament, setting a new conference tournament record for freshman scoring in the process. That summer Hanlan worked out at the Celtics’ training facility in Waltham, playing occasional pickup games with the likes of Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo.
Tuesday’s workout was like going back to the future for the 6-foot-4 guard, who led the ACC in scoring this past season at 19.5 PPG.
“It’s definitely fun being back here,” Hanlan said. “I’m kind of used to this place compared to other places.”
In three years at Boston College, Hanlan showed an explosive ability to get to the basket and score from everywhere on the court. It’s that kind of ability from the point guard position that could convince the Celtics to take a chance on the 22-year-old.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens acknowledged that acquiring a guard who can score and knock down the open jumper is high on their priority list heading into the June 25 draft in Brooklyn.
Hanlan not only has New England roots but a Canadian connection that could come in handy on the Celtics as he, like Kelly Olynyk were born in Canada. Hanlan transferred from his home in Quebec to the basketball powerhouse New Hampton School in New Hampton New Hampshire for his junior and senior years of high school.
He was recruited by Boston College and fell into a great situation for the last three years.
“I’ve built a lot of relationships [in Boston], so obviously it would be a dream come true,” Hanlan said. “But you can’t really be picky with these types of things.”
|Celtics to play preseason contest in Italy this October||at 9:49 am ET|
The Celtics will be going international to open their preseason this fall.
The NBA, in conjunction with Euroleague Basketball and RCS Sport, confirmed Wednesday that the Celtics will play a preseason game on Oct. 6 against Olimpia Milano in Milan, Italy, as part of NBA Global Games Europe 2015.
The 17-time NBA champion will play the three-time Euroleague champion and 26-time Italian League champion Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan.
“On behalf of the Celtics organization, we are proud to return to Milan for NBA Global Games 2015,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “I have particularly fond memories of playing in Europe almost 30 years ago, and I am sure our current players will relish this unique opportunity.”
“It is an honor to represent the Celtics and the NBA in Milan,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “I know there are passionate NBA fans in Italy and we look forward to an electric atmosphere on game night.”
“We’ll play in Chicago and New York against Maccabi and then head home to Italy to play the Boston Celtics which will be an exciting week for us as a team,” Olimpia Milano president Flavio Portaluppi said. “We appreciate the opportunity to play such a spectacular opponent in front of our loyal fans.”
This will mark the Celtics’ seventh game in Europe and second contest in Milan, having previously played in 2012. Olimpia Milano features Alessandro Gentile, Samardo Samuels and MarShon Brooks, who was selected 25th overall in the 2011 NBA draft out of Providence. Brooks also was part of the blockbuster deal in July 2013 that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets.
Tickets can be purchased beginning June 8 at ticketone.it.
The Celtics also will play a regular-season game in Mexico City next season as part of NBA Global Games 2015, which will feature additional games around the world, including:
· China: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Charlotte Hornets in Shenzhen on Oct. 11 and Shanghai on Oct. 14
· Brazil: Orlando Magic vs. Flamengo in Rio De Janeiro on Oct. 17
· Mexico: Celtics vs. Sacramento Kings in Mexico City on Dec. 3 (regular season)
· Additional games and locations will be announced at a later date
WALTHAM — As pre-draft workouts continue, the Celtics are hosting another six players on Wednesday at their practice facility.
One day after working out four point guards, the Celtics are turning their focus to six big men, as it widely assumed they will be focused on bringing in a young impact forward/center to help with defense and rebounding in the paint.
Two of the six players scheduled Wednesday are from UMass. The six players scheduled to work out Wednesday are:
Kevin Capers – Florida Southern (D-II)
Maxie Esho — UMass
Alpha Kaba — France
Cady Lalanne – UMass
Larry Nance — Wyoming
T.J. Price – Western Kentucky
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