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Alright Hamilton! CHD interviews Georgia State legend Rodney Hamilton

Georgia State has not made the NCAA tourney in more than a decade, but after winning 25 games last season they were on the doorstep before a heartbreaking one point overtime loss in the Sun Belt tourney title game.  They bring back one of the best backcourts in the country in Ryan Harrow/RJ Hunter, but the best guard in school history now roams the sidelines a few hours away in Tennessee.  Rodney Hamilton was a star player for the Panthers back in the 1990s, and was good enough for the school to retire his number.  After a pro career overseas he has spent several years as an assistant coach at various schools: this year he will be a trusted assistant for new Tennessee State head coach Dana Ford.  CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Rodney about dominating the Atlantic Sun Conference despite standing only 5’9″. 

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Why did you choose to attend Georgia State? I chose Georgia State because it was located in the city of Atlanta. Basketball was the primary sport on campus during the 1990s, and I had the opportunity to come in as a freshman and compete immediately for the starting PG position.

In December 1996 you had a career-high six blocks in a loss at Winthrop: how on earth does a 5’9” guy who is the best point guard in school history block six shots in a game?! As a PG I never thought about blocking shots so when those happened I was as shocked as anyone else. I just ended up being in the right position at the right time. I was able to hide behind the taller guys and sneak up behind them and block more than a few that night. I felt like I was 6’9” that game! Continue Reading

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One Proud Poppa: CHD interviews Iowa legend Roy Marble

Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble was selected 56th overall by the Denver Nuggets in last month’s NBA draft.  However, this summer marks the 25th anniversary of the first Roy Marble from Iowa to ever be drafted.  Roy Sr. was a high school All-American before deciding to become a Hawkeye, where he helped lead his team to 4 straight NCAA tourneys and became the all-time leading scorer in school history.  Now they are poised to join a long list of fathers and sons who have each played in the NBA: Henry and Mike Bibby, Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Jr., Dolph and Danny Schayes, etc.  CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Roy about switching positions, losing a tourney game in double-OT, and why the 4th of July holds a special place in his heart. 

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In 1985 you were named a McDonald’s All-American: which of your fellow high school seniors impressed you the most (Sean Elliott/Danny Ferry/other)? I remember both Elliott/Ferry being prominent players at that time. Continue Reading

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Instant impact or bench-warming bust: CHD’s analysis of all 30 first-round picks

Last year’s rookie class was rather underwhelming, with only four players averaging 10+ points in their first year (Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr.). Carter-Wiliams (6.2 rebounds per game) was the top rebounder among all rookies…despite being a 6’6″ point guard! Of the first six overall picks, one missed the entire year due to an injury (Nerlens Noel) while three others scored less than five points per contest (Anthony Bennett, Otto Porter Jr., Alex Len). CHD’s Jon Teitel reviewed the first round and has made his predictions regarding who will succeed and who will fail (and why).  Feel free to share your thoughts at the bottom.

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1. Cleveland: Andrew Wiggins (SF-Kansas): with free agent SF Luol Deng headed out of town, Wiggins should step right in as the Cavs’ go-to scorer and has to be a favorite for ROY…assuming that Kyrie Irving is willing to share the ball.
2. Milwaukee: Jabari Parker (SF/PF-Duke): the Bucks were the worst team in the league last year, so you can probably pencil in Parker as a starter, although I am unsure if he can coexist with a former Tar Heel like future frontcourt teammate John Henson.
3. Philadelphia: Joel Embiid (C-Kansas): the hot rumor this weekend is that Embiid is going to miss the upcoming season, which sucks if it is true, but if there is anyone in the league who can teach him how to cope with sitting out for a year as a lottery pick, it is his new teammate Nerlens Noel.
4. Orlando: Aaron Gordon (PF-Arizona): as a Wildcat alum I knew that Gordon would go in the top-10, but never dreamed that he would be the fourth overall pick.  After the Magic traded leading scorer Arron Afflalo to Denver the morning of the draft, Gordon will get to take a lot of shots as a great addition to an exciting 23-years-old-or-younger nucleus of Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic.
5. Utah: Dante Exum (PG/SG-Australia): I hate when teams use first round picks on the same position in consecutive years, so if they want Exum to play point guard while Trey Burke sits then shame on the Jazz, and if they want to play them side-by-side and continue to have Alec Burks providing instant offense off the bench or dangle him as a trade chip, then I hope they know what they are doing.
6. Boston: Marcus Smart (PG-Oklahoma State): Smart cannot play shooting guard at 6’3″, and Rajon Rondo is an All-Star caliber point guard when healthy, so unless the Celtics want to play very small ball, then it looks like the writing may be on the wall as far as Rondo’s future in Beantown.
7. LA Lakers: Julius Randle (PF-Kentucky): assuming that free agent Jordan Hill takes his talents elsewhere, and if Randle’s right foot heals up over the summer, then he has a good chance to be in LA’s starting lineup in the fall thanks to his NBA-ready body.
8. Sacramento: Nik Stauskas (SG-Michigan): the Kings used their 7th overall pick last year to pick Ben McLemore, but instead of finding some size to put next to DeMarcus Cousins down low, they took Stauskas and hope he can combine with the recently-opted-in Rudy Gay to outscore a slew of high-scoring teams in a deep Western Conference.
9. Charlotte: Noah Vonleh (PF-Indiana): the Hornets are not ready to give up on the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist experiment after one year, so they will put Vonleh next to Al Jefferson and hope they can all wreak some havoc in the paint.
10. Philadelphia: Elfrid Payton (PG-Louisiana Lafayette): the 76ers traded him to Orlando, where Magic point guard Jameer Nelson will turn 33 in February, so Payton will spend they year being groomed to take over the starting spot in 2015 as part of the team’s youth movement.
11. Denver: Doug McDermott (SF-Creighton): the Nuggets traded him to Chicago, which should be an excellent fit because the Bulls already have the #1 defense in the league and McDermott was the best scorer in college basketball last year.
12. Orlando: Dario Saric (SF/PF-Croatia): the Magic traded him to Philly, but he is expected to play in Turkey for the next couple of years, but when he and Noel and Embiid are all healthy and all playing in America in 2017, look out world!
13. Minnesota: Zach LaVine (PG/SG-UCLA): the Timberwolves spent most of the past decade drafting point guards, so the one thing we know for sure is that LaVine will be used primarily at the two-spot, and if surrounding Kevin Love with fellow UCLA Bruins is the key to keeping him around, then LaVine + Luc Mbah a Moute + Shabazz Muhammad =  a good start.
14. Phoenix: TJ Warren (SF-NC State): the Suns are in desperate need of some frontcourt scoring so Warren should be a perfect fit for them, and he arrives with an outside chance of being the team’s second-leading scorer next year.
15. Atlanta: Adreian Payne (PF-Michigan State): the Hawks are already set with big men like Al Horford/Paul Millsap, so while Payne’s skill set can be a nice complement to those two, I think it would have been better for them to draft the best available SG or SF to provide some scoring punch.
16. Chicago: Jusuf Nurkic (C-Bosnia & Herzegovina): the Bulls traded him to Denver, and unlike some other international players he is expected to join his new team immediately, so we can see how scoring 12 PPG in the Adriatic Leagued translates to the NBA.
17. Boston: James Young (SG-Kentucky): the Celtics have not had a lot of size in their backcourt for several years now, but the 6’7″ Young will help them out tremendously regardless of who is running the point.
18. Phoenix: Tyler Ennis (PG-Syracuse): if the Suns lose Eric Bledsoe to injury or free agency, then Ennis might get a chance to get his feet wet early; if not, then he will get to spend at least 30 minutes/game next year closely watching Bledsoe…from the bench.
19. Chicago: Gary Harris (SG-Michigan State): the Bulls traded him to Denver, which does not make a lot of sense after Denver acquired Afflalo to play the same position earlier that day, so I am not expecting Harris to get a lot of significant minutes as a rookie.
20. Toronto: Bruno Caboclo (SF/PF-Brazil): best case scenario is “the Brazilian Kevin Durant”; worst case scenario was the quote of the night from Fran Fraschilla: “he is 2 years from being 2 years away”!
21. Oklahoma City: Mitch McGary (C-Michigan): the Thunder might be only one player away from winning a title, but McGary is not that player, although after watching Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins get eaten alive in the playoffs, he should get a chance to play a lot of minutes if he can stay healthy on the court and adopt some good habits off the court.
22. Memphis: Jordan Adams (SG-UCLA): the Grizzlies used a shooting guard platoon last year of Tony Allen (defense) and Courtney Lee (offense), but since Adams scored 15+ points and had 2+ steals per game during each of his two years in college, perhaps he can become a great contributor off the bench after getting tutorials from the 2 veterans ahead of him.
23. Utah: Rodney Hood (SF-Duke): Gordon Hayward was the best Jazz player last year, so if he leaves via free agency then Hood will try to replace him, but if Hayward stays in Utah then they will probably regret not taking a big man to help out Derrick Favors down low.
24. Charlotte: Shabazz Napier (PG-UConn): the Hornets traded him to Miami, which will make LeBron James happy if the King ends up staying on South Beach, and will make all Heat fans happy after watching Mario Chalmers score a whopping 6.4 PPG in this year’s playoffs.
25. Houston: Clint Capela (PF/C-Switzerland): the Rockets are not going to bring Capela to the states anytime soon, so if he ever surpasses Thabo Sefolosha as “best NBA player from Switzerland”, it will not be until much later this decade (if at all).
26. Miami: PJ Hairston (SG-Texas Legends): the Heat traded him to Charlotte, where he will hopefully avoid all the bad habits that he encountered 150 miles away in Chapel Hill while trying to take the job of former Duke SG Gerald Henderson.
27. Phoenix: Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG-Serbia): another Adriatic League star a la Nurkic, the Suns expect him to stay abroad for at least one more year before he decides which side of the Atlantic Ocean he prefers.
28. LA Clippers: CJ Wilcox (SG-Washington): Wilcox is very athletic and can make shots from behind the arc, but with 6th Man of the Year Jamal Crawford taking most of the backcourt minutes off the bench, I do not expect Wilcox to get a lot of playing time next season.
29. Oklahoma City: Josh Huestis (SF/PF-Stanford): see McGary entry above.
30. San Antonio: Kyle Anderson (SF-UCLA): the champs did not appear to have a lot of holes in their lineup after beating the Heat in five games, but there is no team that appreciates good passing more than the Spurs, and if he can feed Duncan in the post and Danny Green behind the arc then he will find a way to get onto the court.

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CHD 2014 NBA mock draft (version 4)

The NBA draft is tonight, so it is time to see if we know our stuff. See below for CHD’s fourth and final round of predictions regarding which teams will draft which players. If you have any opinions, feel free to let us know in the comments section. We will be reviewing the actual draft in the week ahead.

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# TEAM PICK POS SCHOOL/COUNTRY
1 Cleveland Cavaliers -  Andrew Wiggins SF Kansas
2 Milwaukee Bucks -  Jabari Parker SF Duke
3 Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid C Kansas
4 Orlando Magic - Dante Exum PG/SG Australia
5 Utah Jazz - Noah Vonleh PF Indiana
6 Boston Celtics - Marcus Smart PG Oklahoma State
7 LA Lakers - Julius Randle PF Kentucky
8 Sacramento Kings - Aaron Gordon PF Arizona
9 Charlotte Hornets -  Doug McDermott SF Creighton
10 Philadelphia 76ers -  Nik Stauskas SG Michigan
11 Denver Nuggets -  Gary Harris SG Michigan State
12 Orlando Magic - Rodney Hood SF Duke
13 Minnesota Timberwolves -  Zach LaVine PG/SG UCLA
14 Phoenix Suns - Dario Saric SF/PF Croatia
15 Atlanta Hawks -  Elfrid Payton PG Louisiana Lafayette
16 Chicago Bulls -  Kyle Anderson SF UCLA
17 Boston Celtics Adreian Payne PF Michigan State
18 Phoenix Suns -  TJ Warren SF NC State
19 Chicago Bulls -  Jusuf Nurkic C Croatia
20 Toronto Raptors -  Tyler Ennis PG Syracuse
21 Oklahoma City Thunder -  James Young SG Kentucky
22 Memphis Grizzlies - Shabazz Napier PG Connecticut
23 Utah Jazz - Jordan Clarkson PG/SG Missouri
24 Charlotte Hornets -  Cleanthony Early SF/PF Wichita State
25 Houston Rockets -  Clint Capela PF France
26 Miami Heat -  PJ Hairston SG Texas Legends
27 Phoenix Suns -  Jerami Grant SF Syracuse
28 LA Clippers -  KJ McDaniels SF Clemson
29 Oklahoma City Thunder - Jordan Adams SG UCLA
30 San Antonio Spurs -  CJ Wilcox SG Washington

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Stan the Man: CHD interviews Arizona super-recruit Stanley Johnson

Arizona came within one possession of making the Final 4 last March, and there was some doubt about whether they could make another deep run after losing Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson to the NBA draft.  One guy who hopes to get the Wildcats back to the Elite 8 is incoming freshman Stanley Johnson.  He had a scintillating spring including his fourth straight state high school title, the California “Mr. Basketball” award, and an appearance on the West roster in the McDonald’s All-American Game.  His summer plans are looking pretty sweet too, as he made the official 12-man roster for the USA U18 national team last weekend that will be playing in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship later this month in Colorado Springs.  CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Johnson about going undefeated, picking the Wildcats, and playing for Coach Sean Miller. 

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Your mother Karen was a Hall of Fame basketball player at Jackson State and later played professionally in Denmark, Italy and Sweden: what kind of influence has she been on you both on and off the court? She has been a great influence on me: it always helps to have a Hall of Famer in the family. Continue Reading

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CHD 2014 NBA mock draft (version 3)

The NBA draft is just over one week away, so we will keep predicting which teams will draft which players. See below for CHD’s third round of predictions. If you have any opinions, feel free to let us know in the comments section. We will be updating this for the final time next week.

draft

# TEAM PICK POS SCHOOL/COUNTRY
1 CLE Joel Embiid C Kansas
2 MIL Andrew Wiggins SF Kansas
3 PHI Jabari Parker SF Duke
4 ORL Dante Exum PG/SG Australia
5 UTA Noah Vonleh PF Indiana
6 BOS Julius Randle PF Kentucky
7 LAL Marcus Smart PG Oklahoma State
8 SAC Aaron Gordon PF Arizona
9 CHA Doug McDermott SF Creighton
10 PHI Nik Stauskas SG Michigan
11 DEN Gary Harris SG Michigan State
12 ORL Dario Saric SF/PF Croatia
13 MIN Zach LaVine PG/SG UCLA
14 PHO Rodney Hood SF Duke
15 ATL TJ Warren SF NC State
16 CHI Kyle Anderson SF UCLA
17 BOS James Young SG Kentucky
18 PHO Cleanthony Early SF/PF Wichita State
19 CHI Elfrid Payton PG Louisiana Lafayette
20 TOR Adreian Payne PF Michigan State
21 OKC Jusuf Nurkic C Croatia
22 MEM Jerami Grant SF Syracuse
23 UTA Jordan Clarkson PG/SG Missouri
24 CHA Glenn Robinson III SF Michigan
25 HOU Tyler Ennis PG Syracuse
26 MIA Shabazz Napier PG Connecticut
27 PHO Mitch McGary C Michigan
28 LAC KJ McDaniels SF Clemson
29 OKC PJ Hairston SG Texas Legends
30 SAS Clint Capela PF France

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The Cure for what ails you: CHD interviews Detroit legend Earl Cureton

All basketball fans are familiar with Hall of Famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, but only true fans know Earl “The Twirl” Cureton.  After attending two different colleges (Robert Morris and Detroit) he spent a majority of his pro career playing in some of the most notable playoff series in NBA history: the 1981 Eastern Conference Finals (Philly vs. Boston), the 1984 Eastern Conference first round (Detroit vs. New York), and the 1994 Finals (Houston vs. New York).  He played with such legends as Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and won a pair of rings over a decade apart.  After retiring from the NBA he coached in the WNBA, did some color commentary, and finally got his college degree.  As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of his final NBA title, CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Earl about his signature spin move, teaming up with his idol, and keeping a promise that he made to his mother. 

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Your nickname was “The Twirl” due to your great spin move: who gave you the nickname, and how did you like it? I got it in college from Dick Vitale: he came up with nicknames for everyone. Continue Reading

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Pass me the Cornbread: CHD interviews Charlotte legend Cedric Maxwell

Cedric Maxwell has won almost every award you can think of: MVP of the 1976 NIT, conference POY in 1977, and NBA Finals MVP in 1981.  Everyone is talking about the crushing heat after the air conditioning broke down at the AT&T Center during Game 1 of the 2014 Finals between San Antonio and Miami, but that is nothing new for a guy like Maxwell who helped the Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 5 of the 1984 Finals at the 97-degree Boston Garden (aka “The Heat Game”).  As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of that legendary game on June 8th, CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Maxwell about going undefeated at home in college, being one of the best shooters in NBA history, and that nifty nickname.

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You allegedly got the nickname “Cornbread” from your college teammate Melvin Watkins after he saw the movie “Cornbread, Earl and Me”: did you really look like the title character (Jamaal Wilkes, who you later faced in the NBA Finals), and how did you like the nickname? I thought it was kind of weird. Another teammate (Jerry Winston) had just arrived on campus from New Jersey, and he said he thought I looked like the guy in the movie. I finally saw it and I could see that Jamaal and I had a similar frame and played the same sport, but we had different eyes. I never thought about it until the 1976 NIT, when my friends kept using the nickname when talking to reporters about me. Some reporter used it in his story, and that is when it started to become a big deal. Continue Reading

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Cow-abunga dude! CHD interviews Hall of Famer Dave Cowens

It takes quite a while to get through all the highlights on the resume belonging to Dave Cowens: All-American at Florida State, all-time leading rebounder in school history, drafted one spot behind Pete Maravich…and that’s all before he even joined the NBA!  As a member of the Celtics the hits just kept on coming: Rookie of the Year in 1971, MVP in 1973, and a pair of titles before turning 30 (including a win in one of the most famous games in NBA history).  When the Hall of Fame came calling in 1991, it served as a beautiful bow on a captivating career.  As the 2014 NBA Finals get underway this week, CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Dave about all of his accomplishments while looking back on the 40th anniversary of his 1st NBA title back in 1974. 

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After going to high school in Newport, KY you decided to go to college at Florida State: how on earth did Coach Adolph Rupp fail to make you a Wildcat? I wanted to go a bit further away than 80 miles from home, and Kentucky had signed a guy that year named Dan Issel to be their center.

You remain the all-time leading rebounder in school history despite only playing three years on the varsity: what is your secret for being a great rebounder, and do you think that anyone will ever break your record? I doubt that anyone will break the record due to the way the game is played now. I really liked rebounding and it was what I did best.

In 1970 you were named All-American: what did it mean to you to win such an outstanding honor? I was on the second-team and was happy to have been chosen and recognized for my efforts. Continue Reading

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CHD 2014 NBA mock draft (version 2)

The NBA draft is just over one month away, so it is time to start predicting which teams will draft which players. See below for CHD’s second round predictions. If you have any opinions, feel free to let us know in the comments section. We will be updating this many times over the next several weeks.

draft

# TEAM PICK POS SCHOOL/COUNTRY
1 CLE Joel Embiid C Kansas
2 MIL Andrew Wiggins SF Kansas
3 PHI Jabari Parker SF Duke
4 ORL Dante Exum PG/SG Australia
5 UTA Noah Vonleh PF Indiana
6 BOS Julius Randle PF Kentucky
7 LAL Marcus Smart PG Oklahoma State
8 SAC Aaron Gordon PF Arizona
9 CHA Doug McDermott SF Creighton
10 PHI Dario Saric SF/PF Croatia
11 DEN James Young SG Kentucky
12 ORL Jusuf Nurkic C Croatia
13 MIN Gary Harris SG Michigan State
14 PHO Nik Stauskas SG Michigan
15 ATL Rodney Hood SF Duke
16 CHI TJ Warren SF NC State
17 BOS Zach LaVine PG/SG UCLA
18 PHO Kyle Anderson SF UCLA
19 CHI Tyler Ennis PG Syracuse
20 TOR Adreian Payne PF Michigan State
21 OKC Kristaps Porzingis PF/C Spain
22 MEM Jerami Grant SF Syracuse
23 UTA Jordan Adams SG UCLA
24 CHA KJ McDaniels SF Clemson
25 HOU Elfrid Payton PG Louisiana Lafayette
26 MIA Shabazz Napier PG Connecticut
27 PHO Clint Capela PF France
28 LAC Glenn Robinson III SF Michigan
29 OKC Mitch McGary C Michigan
30 SAS PJ Hairston SG Texas Legends