Gonzaga graduate Josh Heytvelt is one of the best players in Turkey. His team (Oyak Renault Bursa) are third-last in the Turkish TBL with a 6-16 record, but it’s not the fault of Heytvelt, who averages 16.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. The scoring ranks tenth in the league, and the rebounds rank second only to Jamar E. O’Davidson. Bursa won a massive game at the weekend when they beat the high-flying Turk Telekom; Heytvelt played all 40 minutes and put up 26 points and 13 rebounds. (Ricky Davis had 20 for Turk Telekom in his second game for the team. He scored 8 in the first.)
Providence big man Herbert Hill’s professional career has barely gotten going due to knee injuries. He was drafted by the Sixers in 2007 and stayed with the team all season, but never played in a game for them due to knee surgery, and the rehab from that overlapped into last year. Hill initially tried out for Le Mans in August 2008 but was not sufficiently recovered, and did not return to action until February, when he played the last 15 games of the D-League season with the Bakersfield Jam and Tulsa 66ers. Now healthy again, Hill has spent all of this season in South Korea with the Daegu Orions, a team whose name I keep misreading as the Daegu Onions. (Chuck Swirsky would love them.) Hill is averaging 19.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 32.2 minutes per game.
Hill’s American team mate on the Onions is a former Louisiana-Lafayette swingman called Anthony Johnson, which is quickly becoming the most popular name in basketball. Not only is there that Anthony Johnson, but there’s also THE Anthony Johnson (the one with no neck that currently doesn’t play for the Magic), as well as Montana guard Anthony Johnson who scored 42 points in the Big Sky Conference Championship Game. That last Anthony Johnson scored 42 of his team’s 66 total points, 34 in the second half, and his team’s last 14. He was able to create off the dribble at will, using all kinds of craft and panache, and his jump shot looked sweeter than a flambéed cantaloupe. I don’t know what the future holds for unathletic 6’3 scoring guards, no matter how good their jump shot. But I do know that that performance will be remembered for a while.
Hill started the season with Meridiano Alicante, playing his second season for the ACB team that he had helped win promotion from the LEB Gold last year. However, he averaged only 5.9 points in 17.0 minutes per game, and left the team when Serkan Erdogan was brought in last month, moving to Serbia to play for Hemofarm. In his two games for Hemofarm so far, Hill has totalled 48 minutes, 2 points and 3 fouls.
Hill was drafted out of Eastern Illinois by the Mavericks in 2001 with a pick that they had received in 2000 from the Rockets. Houston traded the rights to Eduardo Najera and a 2001 second (Hill) to Dallas in exchange for the rights to Dan Langhi. Dallas then traded those rights back to Houston in 2001 as a small part of the multi-player Glen Rice/Shandon Anderson deal that saw Dallas trading Hill’s rights to Houston and Howard Eisley to New York in exchange for Muggsy Bogues, who never played for the team. It was a salary dump of Eisley’s $41 million salary, but why Dallas had taken on that salary only one year before is a mystery.
Arkansas centre Steven Hill started the year in training camp with the Chicago Bulls, but was waived after a week and appeared in no preseason games. He has spent the season in the D-League, bouncing on and off the roster of the Tulsa 66ers. In the 11 games he has managed, Hill has averaged 8.1 minutes, 1.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 0.6 turnovers and 1.0 fouls. He’s still a seven foot athletic shot-blocker, so he’s still intriguing. But he also still lacks for certain skills to an NBA level.
NC-Greensboro graduate Hines is doing that thing that he does where he puts up a boatload of defensive stats. Playing for Prima Veroli in Italy’s LegaDue, Hines is averaging 18.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, shooting 65% from the field and 56% from the line.
Only six players in the history of NCAA basketball have ever recorded more than 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks for their careers. Those six are David Robinson (1st overall pick, 1987), Pervis Ellison (1st overall pick, 1989), Derrick Coleman (1st overall pick, 1990), Tim Duncan (1st overall pick, 1997), Alonzo Mourning (2nd overall pick, 1992, behind only Shaquille O’Neal) and Kyle Hines (undrafted, 2008).
One of those things is not like the others.
[Incidentally, Shaq was 59 points short of said milestone.]
Hite was playing with JuveCaserta in Italy’s Serie A as recently as last week, but was released this week for reasons not immediately known. He had averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in three games for the team, and in 10 games for Sigma Montegranaro earlier in the year he had averaged 9.3 points and 2.6 rebounds.
Hodge burnt a lot of bridges in Australia last year. He was playing to a LeBron-like standard, outrageously good for a guard without a jump shot, but then he walked out on the Adelaide 36ers amid a wave of controversy. Various reasons were cited ranging from racial taunting in the crowd to a payment dispute; whatever the reasons, things got acrimonious and then some. Yet apparently Hodge didn’t burn every bridge there, because against all odds, he returned to the country (if not the 36ers) to play again this season. In the now-completed NBL regular season, Hodge averaged 17.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the Melbourne Tigers. And in typical Julius Hodge fashion, he shot 49% from the field, 59% from the foul line, and 0% from three-point range.
Hoiberg’s role in the Timberwolves front office is now officially the Vice President Of Basketball Operations. Job titles tend to carry different meanings for different teams; for example, John Paxson is the Vice President Of Basketball Operations for the Bulls while Gar Forman is the General Manager, but while Gar does a lot of the leg work, Paxson ultimately has final say. In contrast, other Vice Presidents Of Basketball Operations include Tom Penn (Portland), Sam Hinkie (Houston) and Mark Warkentein (Denver); the last one is fully in charge, while the other two aren’t. It’s not exactly a uniform title, but in Hoiberg’s case, it means he is second to President of Basketball Operations, David Kahn. As for the difference between Hoiberg’s role and that of General Manager Jim Stack, I couldn’t say. And as for what Rob Babcock does as assistant GM, I don’t know. Either way, there’s no Kevin McHale any more.
Ex-Bulls forward Holcomb was playing in Spain’s LEB Gold with Caceres, but left in January. He averaged 10.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in 17 games, and is currently unsigned.
Holcomb is now a Libyan citizen, turning up randomly on their national team in the summer under the name Raed Farid Elhamali.
As always, J.R. Holden is with CSKA Moscow. This is his eighth season there now, and he has one more left on his contract after this. On the season he is averaging 11.6 points per game in the Russian league, 10.3 points per game in the EuroLeague and 8.5 points per game in the VTB United League. In eight VTB, games Holden has not yet taken a single foul shot; he has only 32 in 37 combined games overall. But never mind that.
No J.R. Holden commentary is complete without this clip of his steal and championship-winning basket in the dying seconds of Eurobasket 2007. Michael Jordan in the 1998 NBA Finals? Nah. J.R. Holden all the way. This is how you do it without a push-off. (Try and overlook how bored the commentator sounds.)
The Ho-Man is the starting power forward for Marousi, Greece’s third-best team who have put on a damn fine showing in their first EuroLeague campaign. As mentioned in the Jamon Gordon entry, Marousi have now been eliminated, but it was a good campaign nonetheless. On the season, Homan is averaging 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in less than 20 minutes per game in the Greek league, and averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in the EuroLeague.
After two years out of the game, Air Force graduate and former Nuggets camp invite Antoine Hood returned to basketball when he signed with the D-League and was drafted by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the 6th round of the draft. Hood was released by the Vipers without playing a game for them, but he moved to the Czech Republic at the start of this month to play for BK Nova Hut Ostrava. In the first four games outside of America in his incredibly short career, and in his first professional games for nearly three years, Hood has averaged 21.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals, good numbers all for a 6’4 guard. He’s had to go to a lower standard of professional basketball to do it, but it’s a start.