I wasn’t initially going to mention this, not until we got to Marko Tomas’s entry at least. But, prompted by Jonathan Givony, I will relent and do it now.
An amusing scandal has broken out in the world of Croatian basketball. A team called Cibona Zagreb are perhaps the best team in the country; they were in the last 16 of the EuroLeague just last month, and currently lead the powerhouse Adriatic League with a 19-5 record. Players on that team include former Bulls centre Dalibor Bagaric (whose name was brutalised into Dalibor Ballagachayridge by English commentator Roy Birch last week), former Real Madrid sharpshooter Marko Tomas, Slovenian shooter Samo Udrih (Beno’s brother and one-time Maverick), and former Mississippi State guard Jamont Gordon (covered here earlier this week). It’s a deep team that also houses upcoming draft prospect Bojan Bogdanovic (a tall wing player with a fine jump shot, if not much else) and Leon Radosevic (a 19-year-old big man who, in true Croatian style, does not rebound). Cibona have long had a strong youth movement, and this continues today.
Cibona Zagreb’s captain is 27-year-old Croatian national team veteran forward Marin Rozic. Rozic is currently injured and has been out of action for the last three months, but this doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping himself busy. News reports out of Croatia claim that, in a homage to former England captain John Terry, Rozic has been knocking off Radosevic’s woman on the side, despite the two being teammates. It was Radosevic himself who went to the press, and, via the awkward medium of Google Translate, here’s the gist of the story:
– I went to training and left to record their conversation. A day later I am still shocked and listen – told 24 hours Radosevic and briefly recounted the contents of their conversation.
– Euphoric spoke as she went with him into the apartment, but apparently nothing happened because they did not have condoms. Only the love.
When he discovered the affair, called the girl and brought the completed act.
– First denied and then I let her recording of the conversation. Picked up the items and left the flat.
The gist of that, confirmed by this English language version of the story, is that Radosevic’s girlfriend told him that a (female) friend of hers was going to come over to their place while he was at practice. This prompted Radosevic to set up a covert recording of their liaison, as he claimed that he ‘liked to hear girls talk.’ When he returned from practice and replayed the tape, he found that his girlfriend’s actual visitor that day was Rozic, with whom she had been making out on the couch. (Although, as you can see above, apparently they avoided bumping uglies due to a lack of wraps. So they’re not animals.)
The seediness of Radosevic’s actions – who seemingly was covertly recording his girlfriend with another woman just to add to his own personal spankbank – has been overlooked by the two reports that instead seem to focus on Rozic’s moral disobedience and general douchebaggery, as well as the girlfriend’s deviance. This is, perhaps, fair enough. Yet I don’t believe it should be overlooked that, if what I can gather from the various reports is correct, Radosevic was illicitly recording other people’s conversations.
Radosevic has asked to be released at the end of the year; fortunately, with Rozic’s injury keeping him away from the team, they should be able to avoid any conflict between now and then. If there’s any justice, Rozic will be the one released, but he’s the better player and that often counts for a lot. So we’ll wait and see.
As for the girlfriend in question, she’s eight years older than Radosevic; in fact, she’s older than Rozic. She seems to be claiming that she and Radosevic had already broken up, and that her and Rozic are just friends. The tape would suggest otherwise. Rozic refuses to comment.
Iowa product and D-League veteran Jeff Horner started the year in Belgium, which is only fitting because he’s American. However, he was released by Aalstar after posting 0 points and 1 assist in 47 minutes, while still recovering from a twice-broken foot. He then took up coaching, starting at Des Moines area high school, moving to Grandview University, and has now joined Iowa University’s player development program.
Jeff Horner fact: Horner was the first player acquired in the history of the Iowa Energy D-League franchise.
Horry last played two years ago, and he’s not coming back now. In retirement, Horry has done a bit of TV work for ESPN, appeared in a reality tv show called “The Superstars” (which sounds like a tacky American imitation of the seminal British classic), and has opened a sports bar in Houston.
The last two years of the Daniel Horton Experience have not gone well. Last year, due to a combination of injuries and Pau Orthez’s struggles, Horton played in only four games all year, averaging 11.3 points and 4.0 assists. And this year has been even worse; now with a different French team (Hyeres-Toulon), Horton played the first three games of the French league season before getting injured. He missed two months of action and only returned in the new year; since then he’s played seven more games. Yet in these ten total games, Horton is averaging only 3.4 points and 3.0 assists in 22 minutes per game. He is shooting 10-46 from the field; 8-33 from two-point range and 2-13 from three. Toulon have now released Horton, who cannot get healthy, and remains unsigned.
Another Hyeres-Toulon player is Pierre Pierce. Now into his second year with the team, the infamous former Iowa player is averaging 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, albeit shooting only 39% from the field, 28% from three and 56% from the line. (The assists rank fourth in the league.) Pierce is more notorious for his criminal history, which is rather well-sculpted; he was released from prison in September 2006 after serving 11 months for assaulting his girlfriend, serving 332 days after pleading guilty to intent to commit sexual abuse, false imprisonment, third-degree burglary and criminal mischief. Pierce is to stay on probation until October 2010, and has to register as a sex offender wherever he goes, and while he played in summer league for the Warriors in 2007 – and played rather well at that – in doing so he violated his probation and served 30 more days.
Fresno State product Hosley signed his first-ever NBA contract this past October when he joined the Portland Trail Blazers for training camp. However, he was an early cut, never challenging for a roster spot. Rebounding from that didn’t take long, as Hosley returned to Turkey and promptly began to beast. On the season for Aliaga Petkim, Hosley is averaging 18.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.9 steals per game. He’s fifth in the league in PPG, second in RPG, first in SPG, and only just outside the top ten in APG (Emir Preldzic is tenth with 4.0 apg). He’s arguably the best player in the country. But due to a lack of domestic support, Aliaga are 12th in the league with a 9-13 record.
Houston was never the compelling protagonist of his own amnesty clause, as was erroneously expected by a large contingent of the mainstream media. This is because he didn’t need to be; the Knicks knew that they could get a retirement exemption thing on Houston’s salary eventually, and they finally did so in October 2005.
Houston wasn’t done, however; he launched two comeback attempts, both with the Knicks, who signed him for training camp in both 2007 and 2008. However, Houston made neither roster, and the comeback attempts appeared to be more in hope than expectation. (If he really wanted to get back in the NBA, he wouldn’t have signed with the Knicks; the roster situation was always against him. Loyalties were a big factor.) It was, however, a more noble way to go out than before. Houston is now working for the Knicks as an assistant to team president , Donnie Walsh. He also co-owns the clothing label UNK NBA, and is a prominent charity event organiser.
Valparaiso graduate Howard is again in the D-League, and again he’s with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. This is his third consecutive season there, and he has improved every time. His first year, he averaged 11.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, rising to 18.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists last year. He has had training camp contracts after the conclusion of both seasons, first with the Bucks and then last year with the Knicks.
This year, Howard – best on the defensive end – has improved his numbers even further. He is averaging 20.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, shooting 46% from the field and 80% from the free throw line. Better still, he’s now shooting threes. In his first two seasons with the team, Howard went 0-16 from three in 95 games and 3,073 minutes, but this year he’s shooting 42-109 from out there, a 39% clip. Howard can’t improve his age (27) or his height (6’5 small forward), and he hasn’t improved his rebounding, but he has improved his jump shot range. So now he’s a 21 ppg defensive specialist. Can’t be bad.
Worse players than him have been called up before. Stick with it, Ron.
[EDIT; Howard left the Mad Ants two weeks ago to go and play in China.]
Like Howard, Hubbard is in the D-League. Like Howard, Hubbard has had training camp contracts the last two seasons; with the Hawks in 2008 and the Bucks in 2009. But unlike Howard, Hubbard is on the cusp of nothing. In 37 games this season, 17 with the Reno Bighorns and 20 with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, Hubbard is averaging 8.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. But to get those numbers, he’s shooting only 37.6% from the field, with 312 points on 314 shots. And that’s as a 6’9 forward. Hubbard is athletic, but he mostly uses that for is to get elevation to take a lot of long twos. And at these percentages, that’s not getting it done.
Hudson last played with the Warriors in the 2007-08 season, when he appeared in only nine games and shot 29%. He has not signed anywhere since. Hudson was trying to make a comeback as recently as August, when he sponsored and played for a team in the Howard Pulley Summer League. The Howard Pulley Summer League is a summer league (obviously) centred around former and current Minnesotans; also involved were Trenton Hassell, Quincy Lewis, Rich Melzer, Khalid El-Amin, and pretty much every member of the current Gopher squad (including Paul Carter, Al Nolen, Ralph Sampson III and Damian Johnson). He also had workouts with multiple NBA teams in the summer, including Detroit. But nothing came of it.
The website for his record label no longer exists, and there’s no word on whether his album’s sales figures ever cracked the three figure mark. However, Hudson continues to pursue an entrepreneurial dream. Hudson still has a website for his own musical endeavours, T-HudOnline.com (although it is remarkably out of date), and Nutty Boyz Entertainment has become Hudson Records, a subsidiary of Hudson’s larger company, Troy E. Hudson Enterprises. Included in Hudson Enterprises are the record label, a sports management firm, and Undrafted Pros, a sports recruitment firm of sorts.
In addition to this dream, Hudson is still “in the streets in every city and hood” promoting his music, and is also writing a book. More on that when it is known. Until such time, would you like to hear a Troy Hudson song? You would? All right. But make sure that you do before you play the following clip.
And if you’d like to see how that musical sensation was created, why not watch this behind-the-scenes video?
That looks like my old bedroom. Or the bedroom of one of many thousands of other teenage boys with musical dreams around the world. Good luck though, Troy.
Raptors draft pick DeeAndre Hulett is a veteran of the Central American leagues, yet he had disappeared from the scene in December 2008 when he left his Mexican team, Potros. Over a year passed, but he eventually reappeared last month when he signed with the Dominican Republic team, Cupes De Los Pepines (which I think translates as “Cucumber Coupés”). Statistics are unavailable.
Somewhere, I read that this transaction also marks the end of Hulett’s two-year ban from Dominican Republic basketball. However, I can’t find where I initially read this, and nor do I know what the ban (if any) was for. Any details welcomed.
Humphrey is playing for Grupo Begar Leon in Spain’s LEB Gold. He’s averaging 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in 26 minutes per game, shooting 56& from the field and 62% from the line. The Magic may once have tried to turn him into a small forward/shooting guard, but it hasn’t happened. And it’s not going to, either.
Brandon Hunter is playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, where it has been my very great privilege to watch him quite a few times this season. For those wondering, he is still really really really strong, still bald, and still an out and out post player that can’t (doesn’t) shoot outside of the paint. And he’s still awesome. On the year Hunter is averaging 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in the Israeli league, alongside 8.2 points and a surprisingly low 3.8 rebounds per game in the EuroCup.
Snap has been in Spain since early 2006, and is currently in his second season with CB Granada. He is averaging 12.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in the ACB, but is shooting only 28% from three-point range. As the one-time CBA Three-Point Shootout Champion, this is quite the drop off.
I am continuously intrigued by the esoterica and minutiae of all the aspects of building a basketball team. I want to understand how to build the best basketball teams possible. No, I don’t know why, either.