It's doubtful that Indiana Pacers forward Rakeem Christmas (206-F-91, college: Syracuse) has been to an amusement park lately even though the past few weeks have seen him ride a roller coaster of call-ups and demotions. He's currently being shuttled back and forth as Indiana struggles with injury issues.
On November 17th, Christmas was sent down to play for the Pacers' D-League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. That was where he played most of last season and had seen little playing time for Indiana up to that point.
Just four days later, Christmas returned to Indianapolis because of injuries to both Paul George and C.J. Miles. That tenure was brief, when the second-year player was returned to Fort Wayne on November 25. Just three days later, the continued uncertain status of George and Miles, coupled with knee issues for Kevin Seraphin brought back Christmas following the end of Thanksgiving weekend.
George's health problems have been focused on his sore left ankle, while Miles' is attempting to get through soreness in his left knee. Those two players are vitally important to Indiana's fortunes, with George being a strong defender besides his talent on the offensive side of the ball. Miles helps give new head coach Nate McMillan a key reserve in the lineup, averaging over 14 points per game.
Christmas somewhat helps fill the void of Seraphin's absence, since the Pacers' other alternative is to give major minutes to Al Jefferson. The problem with that strategy is that while the soon-to-be 32-year-old Jefferson gives Indiana a presence in the paint, the aging process doesn't allow him to be effective over the entire course of a game.
That leaves Christmas with the opportunity to see what he can do. Right now, McMillan hasn't chosen to use him much. Following his call-up on November 21st, he played six minutes in garbage during the blowout loss at home to Golden State, scoring three points. Prior to these flurry of transactions, his only other court time came in nearly seven minutes at Chicago on October 29th.
Last season, as noted, Christmas primarily played at Fort Wayne, seeing his first NBA action with six minutes in the regular season finale. In that game, he scored four points and grabbed a rebound.
Christmas was originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 NBA Draft before immediately being dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers. One month later, the Cavaliers came to the conclusion that Christmas would see little, if any, time with a team that went on to win the NBA title. That led the Cavs to deal Christmas to the Pacers on July 23, 2015, in exchange for a 2019 second round selection.
North Texas men's basketball head coach Grant McCasland has announced the hiring of Jareem Dowling as an assistant coaches Friday. Dowling join associate head coach Ross Hodge and assistant James Miller completing McCasland's coaching staff. 'Jareem Dowling has an uncanny ability to help student-athletes reach their full potential on and off the court,' McCasland said. 'He truly cares about our players and helps them grow as men. He has had tremendous success as a head coach and his und... [read more]
North Texas men's basketball head coach Grant McCasland has announced the hiring of Jareem Dowling as an assistant coaches Friday. Dowling join associate head coach Ross Hodge and assistant James Miller completing McCasland's coaching staff.
'Jareem Dowling has an uncanny ability to help student-athletes reach their full potential on and off the court,' McCasland said. 'He truly cares about our players and helps them grow as men. He has had tremendous success as a head coach and his understanding of the game of basketball is a huge asset."
Dowling brings 11 years of collegiate coaching experience to North Texas. Most recently, he spent a year as an assistant coach with McCasland at Arkansas State.
"I'm very fortunate and grateful of the opportunity to work with coach McCasland," Dowling said. "It is a new beginning and we are hoping to strive for greatness one step at a time."
Before ASU, Dowling served as the head coach of the Scotland Performance Institute, a prep school in Scotland, Pennsylvania. While with SPI, Dowling developed several players that went on to earn college scholarships, including three that signed with Division I programs.
Prior to SPI, Dowling spent three seasons at Southern Miss as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He helped the Golden Eagles post a three-year record of 65-37 (.637), while earning a pair of postseason berths. Three players during that span garnered All-Conference USA honors.
In 2013-14, Southern Miss posted a school record 29 wins, claimed a share of the C-USA regular season championship, posted a perfect 15-0 record at home and made its second straight trip to the NIT Quarterfinals. The 2012-13 campaign saw Southern Miss post a 27-10 record and capture its first postseason victories since 1988, as Southern Miss made a trip to the NIT Quarterfinals.
Dowling moved to Southern Miss after spending one season at Morehead State. In his lone season with the Eagles, Dowling assisted with all aspects of the program, including recruiting, practice/game preparation and player development. He was also responsible for monitoring the academic progress of all student-athletes in the program.
He joined Morehead State's staff after three seasons in a similar capacity at Slippery Rock. Dowling helped the Rock to three consecutive winning seasons, including 21-win campaigns in 2008-09 and 2010-11.
Prior to Slippery Rock, Dowling was an assistant to legendary junior college coach Bill Lewit at Cecil College. Dowling's recruiting and scouting contributed to a 97-6 overall record in three seasons from 2005-08.
PAOK Thessaloniki (A1) signed 27-year old Virgin Islander international forward Ivan Aska (201-104kg-90, college: Murray State). He is a dual citizen owning also U.S. Virgin Islands passport. Aska He just played at ET Land in South Korean KBL league. In 25 games he had 14.8ppg, 6.6rpg and 1.3apg this season. Aska also played earlier that season for Ironi Ramat Gan (Winner League) in Israel where in 11 KBL games he recorded very impressive stats: 22.5ppg, 8.3rpg and 2.2apg. He has tried to... [read more]
PAOK Thessaloniki (A1) signed 27-year old Virgin Islander international forward Ivan Aska (201-104kg-90, college: Murray State). He is a dual citizen owning also U.S. Virgin Islands passport. Aska He just played at ET Land in South Korean KBL league. In 25 games he had 14.8ppg, 6.6rpg and 1.3apg this season. Aska also played earlier that season for Ironi Ramat Gan (Winner League) in Israel where in 11 KBL games he recorded very impressive stats: 22.5ppg, 8.3rpg and 2.2apg. He has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2015. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Aska's college team won OVC Tournament in 2010 and 2012. He was also voted Latinbasket.com All-CBC Championships 1st Team in 2015. Aska represented U.S. Virgin Islands at the CBC Championships in Tortola (British Virgin Islands) two years ago. His team won Gold and his stats at that event were 6 games: 15.8ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 39.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 71.4%. Aska is quite experienced player. He has played in five different countries on three different continents (Europe, Latin America and of course North America). Aska has played previously professionally in Belgium (Leuven Bears), Germany (ALBA Berlin), Puerto Rico (Cangrejeros), Greece (AE Ikaros Kallitheas) and Israel (Maccabi Ashdod and Ironi Nes Ziona). He attended Murray State until 2012 and it is his fifth season as a professional player.
Walter Hodge selected the top Virgin Islander playing abroad in last week's games - 2 days ago
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We bring you last week's top performances from Virgin Islanders who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level. This week's number one is an international point guard Walter Hodge (183-86). He led ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket to a victory over the league outsider Entente Orleans 45 in the French ProA in Friday night's game.
We bring you last week's top performances from Virgin Islanders who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level.
#1. This week's number one is an international point guard Walter Hodge (183-86, college: Florida, currently plays in France). He led ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket to a victory over the league outsider Entente Orleans 45 (6-17) 82-78 in the French ProA in Friday night's game.
Hodge was MVP of the game. He scored 20 points and added 3 assists in 28 minutes on the court.
ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (12-11) is placed eighth in the ProA.
Hodge has relatively good stats this year: 13.4ppg, 2.0rpg, 5.9apg, 2FGP: 53.0%, 3FGP: 41.4% and FT: 79.2% in 23 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rican.
Hodge is currently a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands senior national team.
#2. Second place goes to an international center Frank Elegar (208-86, college: Drexel, currently plays in FIBA Europe Cup). He could not help Enisey in their last game on Wednesday. Despite Elegar's very good performance the third-placed Enisey was badly defeated in an overtime 95-79 on the road by the lower-ranked Oostende (#6) in the group P of FIBA Europe Cup.
He recorded a double-double by scoring 17 points and getting 15 rebounds. Elegar also added and 5 steals.
It's Elegar's first season with the team.
He has individually a very good year with high stats. Elegar averages: 16.2ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.3apg, 1.5bpg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 66.9%(79-118) and FT: 70.3%.
He is another player who holds two passports: U.S. Virgin Islands and Guyanese.
Elegar is in the roster of the U.S. Virgin Islands senior national team.
#3. The U.S. Virgin Islands player who performed third best last week abroad was an experienced international forward Victor Cuthbert (197-83, college: Murray St., currently plays in South Korea). He was the major contributor in a 3-point ET Land Elephants' victory against the closely-ranked Samsung Thunders (33-20) 81-78 in the South Korean KBL on Wednesday night.
Cuthbert recorded 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in 26 minutes.
Inchon ET Land Elephants (25-28) are placed sixth in the KBL.
They ended the series of four consecutive loses.
His team will play only one more game in the Regular Season. And that game will be critical.
This year Cuthbert has relatively solid stats: 11.4ppg, 8.5rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1bpg, 1.9spg, 2FGP: 56.6%(228-403), 3FGP: 29.6% and FT: 62.1% in 53 games.
He is also a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands senior national team.
#4. Forward Jordan Murphy (198-97, currently plays college basketball in the States), who plays in the NCAA was not able to help the Minnesota (10-8) in their last game. Despite his very good performance the Minnesota lost 72-81 in Murfreesboro to the Middle Tennessee State University.
Murphy scored 15 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished 3 assists in 31 minutes.
The National Tournament Round 1 already ended in the NCAA.
Murphy has reliable stats this year: 11.3ppg, 8.8rpg and 1.1bpg in 34 games.
He has both American and U.S. Virgin Islands nationalities.
Murphy is also U.S. Virgin Islands national team player.
#5. International center Craig Williams (206-89, college: TCU, currently plays in Japan) was not able to secure a victory for Orange Vikings (24-22) in their last game on Friday. Despite his good performance Orange Vikings (#4) were edged 93-91 in Renova by the lower-ranked Kagoshima (#6) in the West group.
Williams recorded a double-double by scoring 12 points and getting 13 rebounds. He also added and 3 steals.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
Williams' stats this season are: 12.3ppg, 8.4rpg and 1.6apg.
He plays currently for the U.S. Virgin Islands national team.
#6. Center Amadius Der-Weer (201-94, currently plays in NAIA) couldn't help the Talladega College (72-10) in their game against the SW Assemblies of God University (23-9) in the NAIA. Der-Weer cannot count Wednesday's game as one of the best ones.
He recorded only 2 points in 7 minutes on the court.
The Talladega College lost 75-81 in Waxahachie to the SW Assemblies of God University.
The National Tournament Round 1 already ended in the NAIA.
This year Der-Weer's overall stats are: 0.8ppg and 1.3rpg in 12 games.
He is a former U18 international player as he played for the U.S. Virgin Islands team five years ago.
The list of other players, who all have U.S. Virgin Islands passport but never been selected to any of U.S. Virgin Islands national teams:
#1.Rakeem Christmas (206-F-91, college: Syracuse, currently plays in NBA). Christmas could not help the Indiana Pacers (36-35) to beat the Toronto Raptors (42-29).
He scored 6 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
The Indiana Pacers (36-35) were crushed 116-91 on the road by the Raptors.
Christmas' overall stats this season are: 2.4ppg and 2.4rpg.
#2.Deon Edwin (190-G-92, currently plays college basketball in the States), who plays in the NCAA was not able to help the Kent St. (9-7) in their last game. Despite Edwin's very good performance the Kent St. (#4) was badly defeated 97-80 at home by the Univ.of Calif.at Los Angeles.
He scored 18 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 33 minutes.
The National Tournament Round 1 already ended in the NCAA.
Edwin's stats this year are: 13.1ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.4apg and 1.3spg in 34 games he played so far.
#3.Desi Rodriguez (198-F-96, currently studies in the States), who plays in the NCAA was not able to secure a victory for the Seton Hall (10-8) in their last game on Friday. Despite his good performance the Seton Hall was defeated 77-71 on their home court in South Orange by the The University of Arkansas.
Rodriguez scored 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and made 2 blocks.
The National Tournament Round 1 already ended in the NCAA.
Rodriguez has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages: 15.7ppg, 5.2rpg and 1.8apg.
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