Posts tagged ‘NBA’

Calvin Booth Is Heading to Denver

Photo via @PennStateMBB

Former Penn State basketball star Calvin Booth ’98 has accepted a job as the assistant general manager of the Denver Nuggets.

Booth moved into management after his 10-year NBA playing career came to an end in 2009: He has worked in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ front office since 2013, and held the role of director of player personnel for the last two years.

Jon Krawczynski of the AP notes that Booth has “quietly emerged as a respected evaluator of talent,” and that his new role will give Booth a voice in molding one of the league’s brightest young squads—Denver missed the postseason by just one game last year.

Booth appeared in 115 games for the Nittany Lions from 1995-99. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.7 blocked shots per game for his career, and his 428 career blocks remain the most in Penn State history.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm Leave a comment

Ambassador Amaechi, Reporting for Duty

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John Amaechi ’94 will add a new job to his already impressive resume: European Ambassador for the NBA. The new initiative will try to help expand the league’s youth development across the continent, and unsurprisingly, Amaechi was selected to be the ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Amaechi (seated, above, in glasses) will be involved with two of the NBA’s most notable programs: NBA Jr. and NBA Cares. The former is the league’s global youth participation program, while the latter is its global program that looks to address social issues.

In a press release, Amaechi said “I am delighted to work with the NBA to grow the game of basketball. The NBA is dedicated to creating engaging programs for young people, providing them with a deeper understanding of the game through fun, interactive experiences with the sport. I am honored to work alongside my fellow ambassadors in this exciting program.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

 

October 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

Tim Frazier, Playing Like He Means It

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Sitting quietly at his locker on Tuesday night, 90 minutes before tip-off, Tim Frazier was busy with one of the NBA’s most enduring pregame rituals: filling out envelopes.

Frazier was in Philadelphia with the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans for a mostly meaningless late-season games against the Sixers; “meaningless,” of course, being a relative term. Neither team will make the playoffs this season, so it didn’t mean much in the standings. But for Frazier ’13, ’14, a second-year player looking to establish himself as an NBA regular, every game—every possession, really—is a chance to prove himself worthy. For guys like Frazier, every game matters.

He didn’t seem to be feeling the pressure before the game, filling out envelopes for the comp tickets he was leaving for some friends. Times like these, Frazier looks like a seasoned vet, calmly handling one of the NBA’s more mundane tasks. His focus now is on showing that same sort of veteran composure and production on the court.

His story should be familiar to Penn State fans: Undrafted in 2014, he spent most of the 2014-15 season in the NBA’s developmental league, where he was nothing short of dominant, winning D-League Rookie of the Year and MVP honors. That effort earned him brief call-ups last season with the Sixers and Blazers, and it was Portland that signed him for the 2015-16 season. But the Blazers’ backcourt depth mostly relegated Frazier to the bench this season, and he went back to the D-League, nearly averaging a triple-double for the Maine Red Claws in eight D-League games.

Signed by the injury-ravaged Pelicans three weeks ago, he’s been better than good so far in New Orleans, posting a career-high 19 points and 13 assists last weekend in a win over Brooklyn. He was slated to start against the Sixers, the team that gave him his first, brief NBA opportunity. In the locker room pregame, seeing a familiar face from his days at Penn State—where he finished his career as the Nittany Lions’ all-time assist leader and one of the most complete players in program history—he’s happy to take a minute to look back, and to look ahead.

He says he keeps as close an eye on his alma mater as his schedule will allow, talking regularly with coach Patrick Chambers, who made the drive down to Philly for the game. He’s heard plenty about the Nittany Lions’ incoming recruiting class, potentially the best in program history, and a group loaded with Philly talent. He speaks regularly with teammates from his time in Portland; he and Damian Lillard, the Blazers’ star point guard with whom Frazier became particularly close, are in daily contact, and he says Lillard will watch his games and offer advice and critiques.

It’s suggested that the biggest difference in Frazier’s game this season is simple confidence. “So much,” he concurs, his eyes going big with acknowledgment. Unlike the rookie who was called up late last season and thrown into the NBA fire, he understands the importance of looking for his own shot. His on-court unselfishness worked against him at times last season, as he almost never looked for his own shot, even when left open. As he showed with that 19-point outburst last weekend, or his 10-point first quarter against the Sixers Tuesday night, it’s one of the many lessons Frazier has learned since.

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He also had five assists in the first quarter Tuesday, and for all practical purposes he was the best player on the floor as the Pelicans built an eight-point lead. But they lost it when he went to the bench for a breather, and as the game went on, the Pelicans looked every bit like a team with its top six scorers out injured, fielding a roster of unfamiliar call-ups in their place. The Sixers ended up running away with the game, winning 107-93. Frazier’s stat line—12 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals—was probably the most impressive on the team.

His contract with New Orleans guarantees him a spot through the end of the regular season, now just a week away. Asked if he has a hunch about what happens next, Frazier is blunt: “July 1,” he says. That’s the date NBA teams can begin negotiating with free agents. Until then, he’ll keep looking for chances to make his case.

Ryan Jones, deputy editor

April 6, 2016 at 3:08 pm 3 comments

Kirk Goldsberry’s Going Pro

For years, Kirk Goldsberry ’99 has been one of the most widely respected analytical minds in all of basketball. His work was prominently featured on ESPN websites, most notably the now-defunct Grantland (you might also remember that we featured him in our May/June 2015 issue). Goldsberry became famous for making maps that charted how NBA players shot from various areas of the floor. Here’s an example:

When he wasn’t writing about basketball, Goldsberry was a visiting scholar at Harvard; his projects included geographic education, space-time graphics, and mapping food environments and healthcare environments.

Now, Goldsberry has decided to commit full-time to hoops. He’s joining the San Antonio Spurs, long revered for being one of the more forward-thinking teams in the NBA when it comes to advanced statistical analysis. Goldsberry hasn’t said exactly what he’ll be doing for the five-time champions, but don’t be surprised if his expertise helps keep them near the top of the league.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

March 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

Up the Ranks

Former Penn State basketball standout Calvin Booth ’98 is moving up the ranks as an NBA executive. Booth, the Nittany Lions’ all-time leader in blocked shots (428), this week was promoted by the Minnesota Timberwolves to director of player personnel.

With his playing days behind him, Booth joined the Timberwolves two years ago as a scout and director of player programs. The 6-foot-11 forward/center enjoyed a 10-year career in the league, and had stints with seven different clubs. In 366 career games, including 83 starts, Booth averaged 3.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. He retired in the summer of 2009.

Booth was hired by the Timberwolves in June 2013 and previously worked as a scout, both pro and collegiate, with the New Orleans Hornets during the 2011-12 season.

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

September 25, 2015 at 10:00 am 3 comments

Let Tim Frazier Teach You How To Dance

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Penn State basketball fans will always hold a special place in their hearts for Tim Frazier ’13. Besides being a great athlete, he was a model student and an exceptional member of the Penn State community.

As it turns out, Frazier is also a spectacular dancer. He’s currently a member of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, and during a recent trip with a handful of teammates, Frazier started doing a dance that “has been the latest dance craze in Rip City.” It was recorded by one of Frazier’s teammates, and it involves Frazier sticking both of his arms out, curling in his thumb, middle, and ring fingers, and moving his arms in a circle while he shakes his head really fast.

The whole thing is delightfully silly, and we cannot recommend taking a minute to check out the Storify that the team put together of Frazier’s moves.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

September 3, 2015 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

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