Kings Rookie Justin Jackson Talks to Jarod Hector About Adjusting to the NBA And His UNC TarHeels (Video)Read Now
The Sacramento Kings were in Brooklyn on Wednesday night to take on the Nets on the second night of a back to back on their east coast road trip. The Kings blitzed the Nets early, scoring 36 points in the first quarter and never looking back. Despite the win, the Kings appear destined for the draft lottery yet again. The thing about being in the draft lottery is your team has a lot of young talent, and if developed properly your team could be a contender in the future. A bright spot for the Kings is rookie Justin Jackson. The former TarHeel forward is adjusting to life in the NBA and sees what his comp can be.
Following the game Jackson talked about the importance of learning from the veterans on his team, who he sees as someone to pattern his game after, and predictions for his UNC TarHeels.
The New York Giants defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The 12-9 OT victory, was just the team’s second in a disastrous season. The Giants have been plagued with injuries, poor play, and what was called by many including head coach Ben McAdoo, inconsistent effort. Things have gotten so bad in New Jersey it’s safe to wonder whether or not McAdoo has lost the locker room. Two players on the defensive side of the ball, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Janoris ‘Jackrabbit’ Jenkins were suspended earlier in the year. Then there was the anonymous report from a player inside the Giants locker room that said the team had quit after the blowout loss to Rams.
It’s likely the Giants will make some changes at season’s end. But there is no guarantee. Owner John Mara is famous for stability and the franchise often opts for patience and long-term over immediate changes and a shakeup. But something needs to change as the team, despite Sunday’s win, is not very good and there are major talent holes across the roster.
One bright spot has been the play of rookie TE Evan Engram. With the injuries to Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard, he has taken on a lot of the receiving duties. Quarterback Eli Manning is leaning heavily on the rookie. He is still learning, so there are mistakes but Engram is being forged through the fire this season.
Following the game I asked Engram about the importance of the win given the tumultuous week and all the noise surrounding the team. Engram said, “it’s unbelievable and felt good.” You could see the relief on his face. NFL teams only play 16 games and to put your body through that physical toll and not see results manifest on the scoreboard, can be extremely deflating. The Giants are 2-8 with 6 games remaining, there may not be many wins left on the schedule but they will savor this one.
The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Utah Jazz tonight at Barclays Center 118-107. Earlier in the day, the team learned that it will be without starting guard D’Angelo Russell for an unspecified amount of time after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that morning.
The Nets looked good for most of the game against a Jazz team dealing with its own injuries, no Rudy Gobert or Ricky Rubio. Brooklyn looked crisp with their ball movement and finished the game with a season high 27 assists against only 11 turnovers. First year Nets player Allen Crabbe had his best game for his new team finishing with 18 points.
Following the game Crabbe talked about his role on the team with D’Angelo being out, how he is adjusting to a new system, and why he needs to assert himself more in games. He also talked about the balance between going 1on1 and playing within the flow and team concept.
The Brooklyn Nets won their home opener Friday night defeating the Indiana Pacers, 126-121. The Nets battled extremely hard and there were signs of some of the problems that plagued them last year being a thing of the past. They finished possessions, and were able to push the pace off makes and misses. The season got off to a rocky start Wednesday night when the Nets lost to the Pacers and lost starting point guard Jeremy Lin to a season ending torn patella tendon. Friday’s win was a nice way to end the night after receiving the positive news that Lin had successful surgery.
But the season must go on and the Nets must have different players step up to fill the void left by Lin. GM Sean Marks may consider applying for the disabled player exception to help fill the need, but the roster has guys that need to step up. Friday night, Spencer Dinwiddie and Trevor Booker were big contributors. So to was second year guard Caris LeVert who was a +12, scored 9 points, and had 2 steals. With Lin gone for the year starting guard D’Angelo Russell will take on more of a scoring load and he is equipped to do so. But guys like Dinwiddie and LeVert will need to continue to step up and do what they are capable of.
Following the game I spoke to Caris about the win, his slow start after spraining his ankle in training camp, and what the team can do without Jeremy Lin. I also asked Caris if the Nets will be the best team in NYC this season.
Nets HC Kenny Atkinson while happy with the win sees a lot of room for improvement. This is a new group and with Lin out for the year, they need to develop a continuity on the offensive end. Defense was the story though from both LeVert and Atkinson, as the Nets have given up an average of 130 points in their first two games.
I spoke to New York Giants second year corner back Eli Apple after practice today. We discussed the major difference in camp between his rookie and second year, the improvements he’s made personally and how he is able to react faster. We also discuss the Giants potentially being the league’s best secondary and how matching up with the Giants talented receivers everyday in practice is a huge benefit. I also asked Eli about the top three songs in rotation on his iPhone.
My thanks to Eli Apple for spending a few minutes with us.
See our full interview below.
Giants Rookie Khalid Abdullah & TE Jerell Adams Talk to Jarod Hector About Camp, Meek Mill & Family Guy (Video)Read Now
The New York Giants have been at training camp for about a week and will have their first preseason game on Friday against the Steelers. BSO was on hand at camp the last few days talking to coaches and players.
Giants undrafted rookie running back Khalid Abdullah, from James Madison University, is looking to make this team and contribute in any way he can. The young player understands making contributions on special teams will be key.
We spoke to him after practice yesterday for some insight on what it’s like in his first NFL training camp as an undrafted rookie free agent. He also talked about what music artists are in heavy rotation on his iPhone.
Tight end Jerell Adams is definitely more comfortable in his second NFL training camp. The offense is more familiar and he’s able to process and pick up his assignments faster. Makes sense as he had an entire year to learn. Adams says he is continuing to learn and is approaching every practice with the same mindset. Laser sharp focus, learning and getting better every day.
We spoke to Jerell on Friday after a light day of practice. He talked about the difference between a light day and a heavy day as well as his favorite television show.
Ice Cube’s vision of 3-on-3 basketball with high level players is finally here. This afternoon at Barclays Center in Brooklyn is tipoff of the inaugural season of the BIG3 basketball league. The league has eight teams featuring some of the greats in the game of basketball; including: coaches Rick Barry, George “Iceman” Gervin, Julius “Dr. J” Irving and player/captain Allen Iverson. The games will be played half-court, and include a 4 point shot. The season will go for 10 weeks and games are played at the best arenas and venues in the country. 4 games per day with fan events, halftime shows, exhibits and after-parties.
Cube and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz are the league’s founders, Roger Mason Jr. is Commissioner and President. Cube and Jeff’s longtime friend, and former CEO of the Oakland Raiders, Amy Trask serves as BIG3 CEO. This group functions as a true team and are extremely collaborative. In my conversations with them, they are poised and confident that the BIG3 will be a tremendous success not just this season but for many years to come. As we’ve written in the past, legitimacy is key for the new league. It certainly has it with star power on the court as well as on the business side. Once the on court product is competitive and fan friendly, sky’s the limit.
BSO had the opportunity to speak directly with Ice Cube and Amy Trask at Friday’s media day and the excitement was palpable. Both see the league as extremely appealing to fans and former players, as well as a long term viable business. They both noted the addition of 3-on-3 basketball to the Summer Olympics going forward, and know they were a huge driving force behind it.
In my interview with CEO Amy Trask we talked about her initial hesitance in joining and what changed her mind, what she’s learned, as well as why gender is not an issue for her. When tested, her response is to “just pass the test.”
Ice Cube is such a huge fan of basketball and this vision truly started from wanting to see more basketball from some of his favorite players. 3-on-3 is a format that everyone plays around the world. In my interview with Cube we talk about the BIG3 as a viable option for players if the NBA isn’t calling, and how a future Olympic 3-on-3 basketball gold medalist could come from the the new league.
The Indiana Pacers are in Brooklyn tonight to take on the Nets. The Pacers have won four straight and looking to move up in the eastern conference playoff standings. Paul George and Myles Turner get most of the love for the Pacers, but third year guard Glenn Robinson III has been a key contributor for the team over the last few games.
BSO sat down with the son of former NBA star Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson pregame and discussed not taking anything for granted in the “crazy” NBA, the mindset of a young guy in the league, and his 2017 slam dunk contest appearance.
See the video below.
The Brooklyn Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers Friday night, 106-97. Nets got down double digits in the first quarter and were fighting up hill the rest of the game. The team made a valiant comeback attempt and briefly led early in the fourth. Ineffective late game offense and the inability to contain Paul George down the stretch ultimately cost them.
The Nets dropped to 9-41 and this one was a tough pill to swallow. Rookie Caris LeVert made his first start of the season, and didn’t play particularly well. BSO talked to Caris after the game. See video below.
Despite the poor numbers LeVert remains optimistic and is learning valuable lessons his rookie season. The skill and want to is there. With more reps he will be a good player in this league.
Nets second year man Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also spoke to BSO post game and talked about the team’s indecisiveness down the stretch. There is a funny moment when his cellphone alarm goes off during our interview. Anything for laughs, right? See the video below.
The San Antonio Spurs are in Brooklyn tonight taking on the Nets. The Spurs come into the game at 34-9 and sit in second place in the western conference. The Nets are 9-34 and looking towards the future with some young assets.
Before the game, Black Sports Online sat down with the reigning 2x defensive player of the year.
Jarod Hector: Kawhi, thanks for giving us a few minutes. What’s your focus right now as we are a few weeks from the all star break?
Kawhi Leonard: Obviously we want to get over the hump. This is where guys start to get tired [physically and mentally] a bit. We just want to raise our mentality and make sure that it gets through to the entire group. We want to make sure that we keep winning and go into the break well.
JH: For you, your workload has increased this year. It was high last year, but has gone up another level. You are the man on this team. How do you prepare for that mentally? How much more taxing is it from that standpoint?
KL: I mean, it’s something that I want. I prepare my mind all summer and in previous years when I wasn’t the focal point. I just wanted to get better as a player and have an increased role. I have a great group of guys with me on the floor, and they make my job easier. Tony, Pau, Manu. A lot of vets but also some youth.
JH: It’s a Spurs thing, you guys don’t care about individual accolades because the ultimate goal is the NBA championship. But I would love to know what you think. I know you hear the chatter out there. You are a legit MVP candidate and could win it this year. What would that mean to you?
KL: It’s great. It’s a stepping stone in your career and great for your legacy while in this league. It’s a gap in your life and it would be a great accomplishment in this game. I’ve been hearing it since last year. But, like you said, it’s not about me getting that award. I would trade it in for a Larry O’brien trophy [championship] at the end of the day.
JH: And another Finals MVP…
Kawhi is a humble star in this league and is a part of this “golden age” of small forwards that we are witnessing. In speaking with him you can sense he wants to be a great player. It’s the way he carries himself and the way he works at getting better. This is a player that didn’t shoot 3’s in college and now shoots at well over 40%.
Yes, Bron and KD are the gold standard at his position, but Kawhi has a ring, a finals MVP, and is getting better. Kawhi’s name will continue to be mentioned perennially among the league’s MVP candidates. If things break right and he wins one he will certainly be appreciative, but for Kawhi it’s just part of the process.
Our thanks to Kawhi Leonard for spending a few minutes with us today.