Posts Tagged ‘Luke Harangody’

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 8 Recap

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LAS VEGAS – Friday was moving day, as in moving on out for the 14 teams that filled out the consolation bracket of the first-ever Summer League tournament. The day featured seven games in two arenas spanning more than eight hours of basketball.

Eight teams will get back to action in Saturday’s quarterfinals in the Championship bracket with the semifinals on Sunday and the inaugural championship game on Monday night (9 p.m. ET, NBA TV).

Here’s a look at who did what in their final appearance of the summer.

Non-rookie of the day: Austin Rivers, the 10th overall pick a year ago by New Orleans and who now must wonder where his playing time will come in a backcourt that includes Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans left coach Monty Williams with something to remember, scoring 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting, plus three assists in 32:29.

Other notables: Atlanta’s Mike Scott, the 43rd pick a year ago who played in 40 games last season for the Hawks, had a huge day with 25 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. He made all 12 of his free-throw attempts. Denver’s Luke Harangody had 17 points, and Memphis’ Donte Green scored 16 points. Mavs point guard Justin Dentmon, who has toiled overseas and in the D-League with a few 10-day NBA contracts sprinkled in, lit it up late in a loss to Chicago for 23 points while hitting. Trail Blazers guard Terrel Harris finished strong with 25 points on 11-for-19 shooting and six rebounds.

Rookie of the day: We have a tie in this category. Sacramento’s Ben McLemore put on a show with a spectacular 19-point third quarter that helped the Kings get their lone win of the summer over the Hawks. He was 10-for-21 from the floor and had nine rebounds. Spurs forward Hollis Thompson, who played in the  D-League last season coming out of Georgetown, pushed San Antonio to a final-day, 90-80 victory over Milwaukee with a box-score-stuffing stat line: 21 points (8-12 FG, 2-2 3FG, 3-3 FT), four rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal in just 28 minutes.

Other notables: McLemore’s teammate Ray McCallum, a second-round pick, continues to impress with his quickness and smarts. He delivered 12 points and 11 assists (we also must mention Kings forward David Lighty going 8-for-9 from the field for 16 points). Bucks point guard Nate Wolters scored 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting and added five rebounds and three assists in the 90-80 loss to the Spurs. The Knicks got a huge lift from their bench in a 91-80 win over the Clippers. Terrence Jennings, who has played overseas and in the D-League, had 14 points and nine rebounds while D-League rookie of the year Tony Mitchell out of Alabama had 15 points and four rebounds. Bulls second-round pick Erik Murphy, who suffered a broken nose earlier in the week, paced Chicago past Dallas with 19 points (7-for-10 shooting, 3-for-5 on 3s) and 13 rebounds. Teammate Tony Snell, the 20th pick out of New Mexico, had 20 points, seven boards and three dimes.

Coming Up: The quarterfinals of the championship bracket gets started at 4 p.m. ET when the 18th-seeded Heat take on the seventh-seeded Cavaliers. Then it’s No. 3 Phoenix taking on  No. 6 Toronto, the No. 4 D-League Select team against No. 5 Charlotte and finally No. 1 Golden State against No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers.

Separated At Birth, Reunited In Vegas

LAS VEGAS – Chris Paul and “Cliff Paul” are the NBA’s runaway leaders in the Separated At Birth Dept. Marcus Morris and his twin brother Markieff – or vice versa, actually – were reunited in Phoenix last February and spent the Suns’ final 27 games partly reminding folks of the Van Arsdale twins.

But the Summer League got its own dose of doppelgangery Friday evening when Denver’s Luke Harangody and Memphis’ Jack Cooley stormed the court simultaneously at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Jack Cooley (left) and Luke Harangody. Separated at birth?

Jack Cooley (left) and Luke Harangody. Separated at birth?

The resemblance between the two former Notre Dame big men remains startling. It has been ever since Cooley showed up on the Fighting Irish’s campus in South Bend, Ind., as a freshman in Harangody’s senior season and, in time, had those used to hollering “Luuuuuuke!” switching over to “Coooooool!” instead.

Cooley is a little taller (6-foot-9 to Harangody’s 6-7), a little broader (though they’re listed  at 244 and 245 pounds) and, frankly, a little paler. Harangody is two years older and was a second-round pick, No. 52 overall, to Boston in 2010 while Cooley went undrafted last month.

Look, we’re not going to tread into a cultural minefield of “Big Notre Dame guys born in Illinois all look alike,” but when you factor in the brush cuts of their thick, brown hair … well, heck, look at the photos.

“I mean, the joke gets old after a little bit. For both of us,” Harangody said, unsmiling, after scoring a game-high 17 points in less than 22 minutes off the Nuggets’ bench. “When Jack was a freshman, it was hard for him to go on the road. He’d hear it from the crowd too. And I think it’s nice that Jack has grown out of that shadow and become his own player. It’s not just people comparing him to me anymore. He’s Jack Cooley, not the kid who looks like Luke Harangody.”

That’s how well Cooley played for the Grizzlies squad. He opened some eyes with his jump shot and might have whipped up a job market for himself for an offer from overseas or an invitation to an NBA camp, averaging 14.7 points and 9.2 rebounds while shooting 52.7 percent (39-for-74) in six games. His numbers in four years at Notre Dame: 8.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg and an average of only 5.3 field-goal attempts.

“I was trying to show people I could shoot the ball a little more. I think I did a good job of balancing it,” Cooley said. “The way I had to play there was a little different from the way I could play – I wasn’t required to shoot as much. It didn’t fit the system. Now it’s like, ‘Oh, Jack can shoot the ball.’ Because I’m in an offense in the NBA where that’s required.”

Said Harangody: “I wish I could have seen him play more here. Every time I look at the box score, he’s having a great game. The way he was shooting the ball, that’s something I don’t they saw a lot at Notre Dame. He’s got a helluva motor – I think that’s one thing that’s going to keep his career going.”

The alumni association was reciprocal Friday night. While Harangody – who averaged 11.3 points and hit eight of his 14 3-pointers – said he has “a couple nice options overseas” for this season, he too is hoping to stir up interest from the league. Cooley considers that a no-brainer.

“I think he’s still extremely effective,” the Memphis big man said. “He was playing the ‘three’ out there and hitting shots like a shooting guard. He can play offense with some of the best of ‘em. I think he should get another chance and then [both of us] can be in the league.”

OK, but if that happens, the old clone clowning surely will rev up.

“I don’t mind it at all – Luke’s a great player and he’s an even better person,” Cooley said. “If you’re going to be compared to somebody, you might as well be compared to somebody who’s really good.”

Roaring Out Of The D-League

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HANG TIME, Texas — After attacking the rim and filling up the basket last week in Reno, Damion James became the first player to get a call-up after the NBA D-League Showcase and will join the Nets on Sunday night when they host Indiana.

A 2010 draft pick by Atlanta, the 6-foot-7 James was asked what he could bring back to the NBA.

“Heart,” he said. “You can’t draft that. (I’m) a warrior. A lion.”

Here are two more fistfuls of players that might be ready to roar at the next level. They caught my eye, impressed scouts and execs at the Showcase and could make the jump to the NBA in the coming weeks, along with breakdowns from D-League experts Kevin Scheitrum and Anthony Oliva.

Travis Leslie, G, 6-4, 205 — An athletic specimen even by NBA standards, Leslie’s raw talent has grown more refined in the NBA D-League, with the Georgia grad turning into one of the league’s most efficient scorers and a far above-average rebounder for his position. Fast and explosive, Leslie belongs among the league’s elite. Played just one game at the Showcase and suffered a groin injury.

Chris Wright, G, 6-1, 210 — One of the few true point guards in the NBA D-League, Wright excels in orchestrating an offense and setting up his teammates for easy buckets. The Georgetown product is also a capable scorer who can hit from outside, though he does most of his damage by getting into the lane and finishing or drawing contact.

DaJuan Summers, F, 6-8, 240 — Summers has the size to compete in an NBA lane and the touch to spread out a defense. He does have difficulty creating his own shot, often relying on his teammates to set him up, but the veteran of 81 NBA games has shown a newfound commitment to rebounding in the NBA D-League.

Chris Wright, F, 6-8, 235 — Wright can get it done on both ends of the floor. Though he still needs work from 3-point range, his strength and explosiveness combined with a mid-range game make him a threat from 18 feet and in. A hungry rebounder and a sheriff in the paint, Wright can jump out of the gym.

Courtney Fortson, G, 5-11, 185 — Fortson surprised a lot of people when he left Arkansas early. Then he surprised even more people when, after going in the 4th round of the 2011 NBA D-League Draft, he earned two NBA Call-Ups. Fast as a rumor, he can get into the lane as well as anyone, though he can be prone to forcing shots once he’s there. Undersized at 5-foot-11, Fortson makes up for it with energy and athleticism.

Andrew Goudelock, G, 6-3, 200 — once near the top of the nation in scoring while at the College of Charleston, Goudelock is now one of the best pure scorers in the NBA D-League. Dubbed “Mini Mamba” by Kobe Bryant himself, Goudelock can stretch the defense and also slash and get into the lane.

Jerome Jordan, C, 7-0, 253 — Big and active, the Jamaica-born Jordan finished his career at Tulsa as the C-USA leader in blocked shots. Still in need of polish on the offensive end, despite a high career field goal percentage, the former Knick ranks in the top flight of big men in the NBA D-League.

Tim Ohlbrecht, C, 6-11, 255 — The 24-year-old center from Germany has proven to be tougher on the inside that many had originally thought. With Rio Grande Valley he’s starting to learn how to throw around his 6-foot-11, 255-pound frame and he’s developed into a solid rebounder and efficient scorer from the low block.

Shelvin Mack, G, 6-3, 207 — Back after a call-up to the Wizards — the team that drafted him in 2011 — Mack is back in the NBA D-League as one of its most dangerous point guards. Still evolving as a creator (though he’s made strides), the former 2-guard’s combination of athleticism, power and finishing ability can tie a defense into knots.

Luke Harangody, F, 6-8, 240 — The former Notre Dame star tore up the NBA D-League last year when he was on assignment from the Cavs, going for a double-double nightly. His skill has never been in question. But he’ll need to develop an outside game to make up for a lack of height and raw athleticism.

Can Hustle Get Harangody Back To NBA?

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RENO, Nev. — There are Swiss watches that aren’t as reliable as Luke Harangody. No need to wind him up. He rebounds, he hustles, he gets to the foul line.

Harangody played back to back games at the NBA D-League Showcase, averaging 22.5 points and 14 rebounds. Tick, tick, tick.

All the things that made him a former Big East Player of the Year are still there every time he steps onto the court. So, too, are the questions. At 6-foot-7, he can tear up the D-League. But can he take the step back up to a permanent place in the NBA?

A second-round pick in the 2010 draft by the Celtics, Harangody was traded to the Cavaliers where he appeared in 42 games over two seasons. He averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15 minutes a game. But he was cut in November, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and recently was traded from the Canton Charge to Ft. Wayne.

“It wasn’t really a negative considering what’s happening in Cleveland and with the organization,” Harangody said. “It’s good to be in Ft. Wayne with a good group of guys. I’ve only been with them about a week, and I’m still learning about how other guys play and they’re still learning about me. It’s been an easy transition for me.”

He plays the game in the manner that made him familiar and successful at Notre Dame, with a nose for the ball, ability to clean the glass and a willingness to mix it up on the inside. It was that style that enabled Harangody to average 19 points and 12 rebounds in 19 D-League games last season, almost getting Canton to the finals.

But it would seem in order to find a place in the NBA, Harangody is going to have to develop a more consistent mid-range game or 3-point shot and that’s still not there. He’s 5-for-15 from behind the arc in his first five games with the Mad Ants. And with his lack of size, he has trouble making defensive stops in the lane.

“I’m working on my outside shot, but that’s really no different than the work I do on the rest of my game,” Harangody said. “I think coaches always know what they’re gonna get from my game. I have to be more consistent at times. What I do out there is what they see — hustle, energy, getting on the glass. Just getting there and mixing it up for the team, doing the dirty work.”

It’s consistent. It’s tough. It can be devastatingly effective in the D-League. But will it be enough to ever carve out a place in the NBA?

Make Room For The C’s In VIP

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – A quick rundown of the favorites to win the NBA title this season includes the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers from the Western Conference and the complete team makeover Miami Heat from the Eastern Conference, with several others considered contenders but not necessarily favorites.

It might be time to tinker with that list now that the Boston Celtics are on the verge of clearing up the only remaining hole on their roster. The addition of the league’s only active O’Neals (Jermaine O’Neal was added weeks ago and Shaquille O’Neal could have his deal completed as early as today) pushes the Celtics right back into the thick of the chase.

The Heat no doubt boast one of the best superstar trios in the league in Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. And the Lakers are obviously stacked with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom leading the charge.

The Celtics still have the original Big 3 — and despite evidence to the contrary early on in the 2010 NBA Finals, Kevin Garnett still has plenty of game left.  But it’s not just the addition of Shaq that puts the Celtics in a great place. It’s the sum of their summer activity (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and the underrated Nate Robinson kept in the fold, the quality draft night additions of Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody and the all-important Doc Rivers coming back for another season, etc.) that keeps them around the top spot in the East.

And thanks to the schedule-makers, we won’t have to wait long to see how the Heat and Celtics match up since the Heat will open against the defending Eastern Conference champ Celtics in Boston on TNT Oct. 26. (The Lakers and Rockets will handle the nightcap on TNT on opening night.)

Go ahead and circle the date now, because it’s entirely possible that we will get an Eastern Conference finals preview on opening night, though we’re sure Orlando and Chicago expect to have a say in who makes it that far.

As star-studded as the Heat crew is, it’s hard to fathom a more complete team (when healthy) than the Celtics. Their collective experience and the shared championship experiences gives them an edge that only the Lakers can match, in terms of seasoned veterans with championship experience (and the Celtics actually might have the edge there).

If their aging legs hold up and the chemistry is right, we might need to make room for the Celtics in the VIP section of Club NBA this season.

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