Chris Ellis, featured in the last update, has moved from the Ukraine to Romania. Here’s a couple of updates on people already covered;
1) Keon Clark has continued his weekly reviews in front of a drug court….or rather, he hasn’t. At his January 27th hearing, Clark turned up but received a “bad report”, and while I don’t know what that entails, I do know that it meant serving two weeks in PSB (which I believe to mean “prison,” as in “public safety building.”) Clark then didn’t turn up to his February 3rd hearing, and nor did he turn up to prison. I don’t know how a man doesn’t turn up to prison, but Keon didn’t. He is now MIA and an arrest warrant has been issued. (He also managed to get done for both speeding and driving with a suspended license, AGAIN, since the last update was issued. STOP DRIVING, KEON.)
2) The reason Vin Baker is not playing is that he is now an assistant coach at Texas Southern University. So is Nick Van Exel. Texas Southern are playing live on British TV next week. We’ve come a long way.
(There are about 4 times more NCAA games than NBA games shown over here now, presumably because they’re cheaper. It’s good, though. And it would be better if the Lakers weren’t in 80% of the NBA games shown. That figure is only slightly exaggerated.)
Lakers draft pick Elonu is in Spain, playing for Zaragoza. He is averaging 6.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in only 19 minutes per game, shooting 60% from the field. That’s the good news.
But why’s he only playing 19 minutes per game? It’s not because there’s a more talented player in front of him, for Zaragoza are in the Spanish second division. Instead, it’s because he’s fouling 3.6 times per game, in a league where only 5 fouls are allowed in 40 minute games. Elonu has fouled out six times in 21 games, and has played no more than 27 minutes in any game (which, not coincidentally, is also the only game he had less than three fouls in). Elonu declared for the draft after his junior season, despite still not being ready; given that he turns 23 in six weeks and can’t play half of Spanish second division games, he’s got a ways to go yet.
Ely joined the Kings for training camp, but did not make the team. Despite a shortage of size, the Kings felt that the rarely-active Sean May, Kenny Thomas’ expiring contract and the 5’11 Jon Brockman would suffice as backup big man options, and felt they didn’t need Ely. Ely then went to China for some try-outs, at least one of which was with the Beijing Ducks. Ely may even have played a game with the team, and if he did, he totalled 14 points and 9 rebounds. It’s almost impossible to tell, however, because Chinese information (in English) is almost impossible to come across, and running Chinese websites through Google Translate tends to translate the player names as well, which isn’t helping anybody.
What we know for sure is this; Beijing started the year with Cedric Bozeman and James Mays as imports. Bozeman is still there and beasting, but Mays has left after posting roughly 30/11 for a couple of months. Mays was replaced by former Heat big man Ernest Brown, but an anonymous import played in a game a couple of weeks before Mays’ departure. Was that man Ernest Brown, or was that man Melvin Ely, since Melvin was on trial there at the time? I do not know. And that’s all the Melvin Ely news I have for you.
Here’s one thing we do know for sure about the Beijing Ducks, though; 7’9 Sun Ming Ming is playing for them. He has 12 points, 18 rebounds, 2 blocks and 12 fouls in 83 minutes on the season. And he’s still living proof that you can be too big for basketball.
Melvin Ely fact: Melvin Ely has more rings than Karl Malone.
Emmett is also in China, but there’s no ambivalence in his season so far. Playing for Shandong, he is leading the league with a 32.6 points per game average, alongside 8.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals. Emmett scored 151 points in his first three games, and never looked back, not even after a new year slump that saw him average a relatively-terrible 23 ppg in five early January games.
In the last two years, Emmett has averaged 33 ppg in China, 24 ppg in France, 26 ppg in Venezuela and 24 ppg in Belgium. He’s carefully avoided Italy and Spain, and didn’t work out in his couple of NBA seasons, but he’s putting up the numbers. And presumably, he’s stacking paper.
English, who is Canadian, is spending his third season in Spain. In the summer he moved from Gran Canaria to Caja Laboral Vitoria, where he had the unenviable task of trying to replace Igor Rakocevic. After a bad start, English has perked up a bit, but he has struggled a bit against the elite competition – he averages 11.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in ACB competition, alongside 8.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in the EuroLeague, playing 23 mpg in each. He is also shooting a combined 44% from three-point range between the two. However, English has eight single-figure performances in 12 EuroLeague games, compared to just six in 21 ACB games. The ACB is good, but the EuroLeague is better, and while Carl English’s three-point shot is working well for him in both competitions, he gets more one dimensional the further up the ladder you go.
Olympiacos retooled a large proportion of their roster this offseason, as they are wont to do, and this meant they no longer had room for Zoran Erceg. It took a while, and included an abortive move to Maroussi (when the two teams agreed to terms before Erceg refused to go), but they eventually found a place to loan him to; Erceg is still in Greece, now with Panionios, and is averaging 17.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, leading the league in scoring and ranking sixth in rebounds.
When Olympiacos played Panionios back in December, Zoran totalled 16 points in Panionios’ 96-94 overtime victory, one of Olympiacos’s only two Greek league defeats this season. (The other was to Maroussi, yesterday.) Given that the Greek league is a complete two-horse race between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos – which is why their matchups mean so much – that loss was extremely painful. And so, needless to say, Zoran Erceg had the last laugh.
Celtics draft pick Erden is into his fifth season with Fenerbahce, and he’s rebounding better this year. He’s averaging 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 19 minutes per game in the EuroLeague, alongside 21/9.4/6.2 in the Turkish league. Since I have no trivia about Semih Erden, interesting or otherwise, let’s move on to Ebi Ere.
– Ebi Ere
Ere is a Tulsa native and former Oklahoma graduate who has had a good professional career after a bad senior season. He’s a good all-around scorer who lacks that little something to be an NBA player, and by “that little something” I mean “above average size, above average athleticism, and/or above average jump shot.” One of the three would help, a combination even more so, but it’s not to be. This doesn’t stop Ere from beasting all around the world, though, and after beasting in Australia this last two seasons (as well as in Puerto Rico last summer), Ere now finds himself in Italy. Playing for Pepsi JuveCaserta, who currently rank third in the league, Ere averages 15.9 points (6th in Serie A), 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
Eschmeyer retired almost five and a half years ago due to chronic knee problems, and last played almost seven years ago. He briefly went back to Northwestern to complete a law/business double degree, founded an online recruiting agency, and now works in the renewable energy business. Don’t really understand his job, though.
Ewing – who played in 127 NBA games, only 26 less than Eschmeyer, despite having a career three years shorter – is signed with Prokom Gdynia in Poland. Gdynia are a EuroLeague team, and Ewing is averaging 11.8 points and 2.8 assists per game in that competition, alongside 10.0/4.6 in the Polish league. His team mates include Qyntel Woods, Junior Harrington, Ratko Varda, Jan Jagla and David Logan, so we’ll revisit Gydnia a few more times yet.
Patrick Ewing Jr has not played in a game since last March due to injury. Last year he averaged 16.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for the Reno Bighorns, but was waived with an MCL “sprain” that also kept him out of playing in the Knicks’ summer league campaign. One year on, and that injury is keeping him out of action. I’m guessing it was a tear instead of a sprain.
Cavaliers draft pick Eyenga has moved from DKV Joventut’s feeder team in the Spanish third division, all the way to the giddying heights of the first team. His first taste of ACB basketball has been fairly successful; in 11.4 minutes of 16 games, Eyenga is averaging 3.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 0.6 steals per game, shooting 54% from the field and 40% from three point range. For a very raw 20-year-old in a league where kids generally don’t play much, that’s pretty good.
Still waiting for his name to appear on the draft board, though.
For a few years there, Nigerian-Canadian cut-and-shut job Famutimi was on the cusp of the NBA. He signed back-to-back training camp contracts with the Sixers in 2005 and the Spurs in 2006, and was once touted as being the first player to go straight from a Canadian high school to the first round of the NBA draft. (This didn’t happen, though.) Now well into a European career, Famutimi is signed in Turkey and averaging 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game for Oyak Renault Bursa. That’s easily the best offensive season of his career, and shooting 41% from three-point range is a large part of that (and a big improvement from a man who went 6-29 from there in 92 D-League games.)