Derelict. Derelict in our duties. That is the only phrase that can describe what has happened here at Cuse Country. There has been a ridiculous span of time that has passed since we last checked in with former Orangemen around the globe. Entire seasons were played during that time. While we did recently give you a peek into the NBA Summer League, where Rautins, Johnson, Flynn, Harris, Nichols, Watkins, and Greene were all on various rosters, there is still a lot of unfinished business to be told from the 2009-10 seasons.
Every Cuse alum in the NBA whose team made the playoffs was bounced in the first round. Carmelo, Warrick, Etan Thomas. The big news right now is contracts. As you probably heard, Hakim Warrick signed a 4-year contract with Phoenix to replace the departed Amare Stoudemire. Melo has been offered a 3-year, $65 million extension by the Nuggets, but he has yet to sign it. There is a lot of speculation that he will instead play out his deal this year and test free agency next summer, looking to get out of Denver where it seems that they will never be able to put a championship-caliber team around him. On the other hand, there are serious collective bargaining issues facing the NBA after this season, and when summer 2011 rolls around, it might be impossible for Anthony to get even close to the money that Denver is currently offering. The other Cuse free agents out there are Etan Thomas and Jason Hart. Etan’s name has been tossed around in speculationary form by bloggers and such whose teams need a couple more big bodies, but he has not signed a deal yet; Hart is also still hoping to land somewhere.
Eric Devendorf’s championship-winning season in New Zealand was well-chronicled by Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, so we will direct you to that fantastic site for all the details. What he overlooked was the season that Josh Pace had down there in Kiwiland. Pace’s Hawks were eliminated in the playoffs by Devendorf’s Saints by a score of 98-92 in the semifinals, despite Pace’s 30 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds. Devo had 22 points and 6 assists of his own in that game. For the season, Pace averaged 22 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds per game, with a high of 38 points (14/15 shooting) back on May 21. Devendorf averaged 24 points in 7 games for the Waikato Pistons, before moving to the Wellington Saints where he averaged 23 points in 9 games.
Ryan Blackwell’s Osaka Evessa finished first in the West division this past season with a 34-18 record. They made it all the way to the finals but lost a squeaker, 84-56, to Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix. Blackwell ended the season averaging around 12 points and 6 rebounds per game for Osaka, including a 19-point, 10-rebound effort on May 4 as the regular season wound down. He had 9 points and 7 boards in the championship game. But the biggest news was that recently Ryan was hired to be Osaka’s next head coach. As for Terrence Roberts, he had 18 points and 8 rebounds in his final game for Saitama on May 1, and averaged nearly 12 points and 8 rebounds for the season. It’s unclear why he did not play in his team’s final three games.
Elvir Ovcina’s season in Germany ended with him averaging 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds for the year. His German squad did not make the playoffs, and in fact were really terrible all year, finishing with a record of 10-24. Kristof Ongenaet did not get into another game for his Italian League team. For the year he appeared in four games, totaling 28 minutes played, 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 fouls.
We already saw how Demetris Nichols did this NBA summer. But he also helped his French team to the league semifinals. After scoring only 14 points combined in the team’s last three games of the season, he turned it up for the playoffs. He had 11 points in their first quarterfinal game, a two-point win. He had only four points in the second game of the quarters but it was a blowout win for his side so no big deal. The semifinals went the full three games. Nichols had 15 points and 6 rebounds in game 1, and 13 & 5 in game 2. But he came up short in the deciding game, with only 4 points on 1-6 shooting.
In the last update I said this:
Matt Gorman and the Sheffield Sharks are headed for a postseason showdown. They finished in the #2 position in the standings. They, along with #1 Newcastle, are clearly head-and-shoulders above the rest of the league, and I expect those two teams will meet for the championship.
The famed Cuse Country Jinx has reared its ugly head again, because both Sheffield and Newcastle were bounced in the semifinals. Gorman had 23 points in Sheffield’s quarterfinal win (no box score handy). In the first game of the semis, he had 14 points and 8 rebounds in a three-point win. In the second game, he had 12 points and 5 boards in an eleven-point loss. And that was all she wrote, because they decide the two-game series on aggregate score difference rather than playing a third, deciding game. European basketball - catch the fever!
Oh, and the team that Sheffield lost to is the Glagow Rocks. Honest:
Apparently rocks in Scotland spontaneously catch fire.
Preston Shumpert also failed in his quest for another Turkish League championship. His team, Efes Pilsen, made it all the way to the finals where they fell in six games to Fenerbahce Ulker. He had 15 points in the first game of the quarters and 13 points in the second, shooting a perfect 3-3 from deep to continue his amazing shooting season. He missed his team’s first semifinal game but was back for the second; he only had five points in that game but his team won and moved on. The finals went six games, and Efes lost 4-2. Preston did not play his best ball in this series. He averaged just 5.5 points per game in the finals, and shot 6/19 from long range after being a 56% 3-point shooter over the course of the season.
The final tally for the former Orangemen: 10 playoff appearances (including 2 by Josh Pace), and 7 of those got to the semifinals or beyond. Four players made it to their league’s finals and two came home with championships - Devendorf in New Zealand and Pace in the ABA. Not a bad set of results all told.
That more or less concludes our Orangemen Professionals coverage for the 2009-10 basketball season. We’ll keep you up to date sporadically during the summer on player movements, and get back into full gear once NBA training camp and various European leagues begin in October.