Dwane Casey’s Media Scrum Before Game 7

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Dwane Casey had some great stuff during his pre-game media scrum about exceeding expectations, the team being embarrassed in Game 6, his now infamous TTC ride to the arena this morning, and how Toronto can battle Brooklyn’s experience.

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Dwane Casey Explained Why He Took TTC To Game 7

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“I got stuck in traffic. I was sitting there in traffic for like 30 minutes and I wasn’t moving. I did a u-turn in the middle of the street and went back home. I jumped on the subway. Good ole reliable subway. I don’t think anyone expected us to be playing today when they planned to have a marathon and a Game 7 on the same day. I got stuck. Believe me, you don’t want to be on a subway going to a Game 7. You saw the pictures and everything. I didn’t think anybody would recognize me but you saw the pictures (on twitter) and everything. I think the shirt gave me away.”

Photo courtesy of Arvin Mednoza on twitter.

Raptors Podcast: Toronto Hangs On To Win Game 5

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Here’s audio from DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Joe Johnson, Dwane Casey and Jason Kidd after Toronto held on to beat Brooklyn 115-113 in Game 5 of their first round series.

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Dwane Casey’s Pre-Game Media Scrum Before Game 5 Against Brooklyn Nets

Dwane Casey 2014 NBA Playoffs Raptors

Dwane Casey chatted with the media about if he or his players are feeling any pressure tonight, nursing Kyle Lowry through injury issues, and he shared some areas of growth he has seen from his players so far in the playoffs.

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Sophomore Year or One-and-Done? Big Choices for Basketball’s 2013 Freshman Class

Over one year ago, Jabari Parker put on a Duke uniform and started his college basketball career. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior in high school, and he led his high school basketball team to four consecutive state championships. Parker had a great season at Duke, despite the team’s disappointing loss first round NCAA tournament loss.

In fact, Parker’s season bore a strong similarity to the one that Kevin Durant had at the University of Texas in 2006-2007: great numbers, disappointing tournament.

Parker, along with other members of 2013’s outstanding freshman class including Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Julius Randle (Kentucky), have officially joined the ranks of the “one-and-done.” Because of the NBA’s minimum age rule, outstanding high school athletes must play at least one year of college basketball before they’re allowed to join the draft.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he wants to raise the minimum age to 20. To those who love to bet on NBA basketball, Silver’s stance might look like another chance for the players’ union and NBA officials to have a giant confrontation.

For now, the minimum age is still 19, and most of 2013’s notable freshmen have already made their choices.

Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)

If Jabri Parker has conjured up images of Durant, then Andrew Wiggins has caused basketball fans to reminisce about a younger LeBron James in the pre-season. Looking back, Wiggins ended up with good stats in Kansas, although his results weren’t as godlike as people anticipated: 17.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and a third-round NCAA tournament loss in which Wiggins went 1-for-6. Wiggins still makes a solid No. 2 or No. 3 draft pick behind Parker, although as an introvert, he might not be the out-of-the-box leader that NBA coaches want.

Julius Randle (Kentucky)

Kentucky didn’t need Julius Randle to step up as much as Duke needed Jabari Parker, but Randle had a good season, averaging 15.4 points per game, 10.4 rebounds and 27 double-doubles. His physically imposing play in the NCAA tournament propelled the Wildcats to the final, where they lost to Connecticut. No doubt, Randle will end up in the top three NBA draft slots, and John Calipari’s 2014–2015 team will have to figure out how to play without him.

Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)

A few NCAA coaches still complain about one-and-dones wanting to make millions in the NBA; however they themselves make millions coaching college basketball because of the excitement that the one-and-dones provide.

One of those coaches is Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who publicly implied that Tyler Ennis could use another year of development before heading to the NBA.

Ennis will be a first-round pick, and although Boeheim suggested that being in the middle of the first round is “nothing.” Ennis averaged 12.9 points per game, 3.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists during his one-and-done season with the Orange.

Aaron Gordon (Arizona)

It’s hard to imagine a height of 6 feet 8.5 inches tall could be “too small” for the NBA, but Aaron Gordon is pretty small compared to many other power forwards. However, what he lacks in heft he makes up for in speed, explosiveness and outstanding athleticism.
Gordon may not be a top five pick, but he could go around No. 7 or No. 8. As Gordon improves his ball handling, he’s earning more and more comparisons to L.A. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin.

Gordon, like Griffin, struggles with the two-point jumper, but once he improves his fluidity, he’ll be a formidable force.

Is Anyone Staying in School?

Pretty much everyone from 2013’s “Year of the Freshman” class who has a first-round shot is headed for the NBA draft. Others might be staying in school. Players like the Harrison twins in Kentucky aren’t in first-round contention. Dakari Johnson would go in the second round, or he could sneak into the first round if he’s lucky. Joel Embiid had a great freshman season for Kansas, but he sat out the NCAA tournament with a back injury, which might affect his NBA hopes.

As much as NCAA coaches complain about one-and-done, having these talented freshmen, even if just for a year, greatly increases the excitement and the visibility of their programs. Time will tell whether Jabari Parker does become the next Kevin Durant or whether he gets lost in a very talented pack.

Raptors Pocast: Toronto Holds On To Even Series At 1-1

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Here’s audio from Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan, Deron Williams and Dwane Casey after Toronto won Game 2 of their first round series against Brooklyn.

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Dwane Casey’s Media Scrum Before Game 2 Of Series Against Brooklyn Nets

Dwane Casey 2014 NBA Playoffs Raptors

Dwane Casey was in rare form tonight talking about getting five votes for Coach of the Year, Rob Ford and Jimmy Goldstein attending the game tonight and making adjustments for Game 2.

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NBA Playoffs Chat On “The Home Stretch”

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I joined Justin Hull on “The Home Stretch” this afternoon to chat about the opening weekend of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.

We reminisced about the NBA on NBC, talked about the high amount of home teams losing Game 1, debated what teams could pull off an upset in the first round, analyzed what has gone wrong for the Indiana Pacers and talked about the Milwaukee Bucks having new owners.

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The Dwyane Wade Story

This is a No-Look-Pass guest post from Hardwood Posters – which dishes out professionally framed, authentic NBA artwork from California.

It’s difficult to imagine now that he’s become one of the NBA’s best players, but after an impressive senior year at Harold L. Richards High School in Chicago, Dwyane Wade received scholarship offers from only three schools.

The lack of major interest in Wade was predominantly due to academic issues, which would also cost him his freshman season as a Marquette Golden Eagle.

Many would fold in surrender after being told that they were ineligible to play their first year of college ball, but throughout his career Wade has shown his strength of character by refusing to give up when faced with an obstacle.

Instead, Wade focused his energy on both his game and his education, and he joined the Marquette squad for the 2001-2002 season determined to make up for lost time.

Wade led Marquette in scoring with 17.8ppg as a Sophomore and the following season established himself as one of the best players in all of college basketball, earning All-American honors while leading the Golden Eagles to a Final Four appearance. He declared shortly thereafter for the stacked 2003 NBA Draft and the Miami Heat eagerly took him with the fifth overall pick.

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by fellow rookies LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, Wade immediately made his presence known in the professional ranks, averaging 16.2ppg and leading the Heat to the second round of the playoffs in his first season. He soon became one of the quickest ballhandlers in the league, using a deft crossover that would allow him to pull up before stumbling defenders or use his speed and leaping ability to attack the rim.

The 2004 offseason featured the arrival of future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal in a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. Wade was forced to adapt his playing style to fit with O’Neal’s large frame and even larger personality. He gladly accepted this challenge and instantly jelled with his new big man, making his first All-Star game in 2005 and leading the Heat into the NBA Finals the following season against the Dallas Mavericks.

After dropping the first two games of the Finals, Wade found his team down by 13 points in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Fortunately for the Heat faithful Wade thrived under the pressure of the big stage, and he responded by scoring 15 points in the quarter to lead Miami to a stirring comeback win en route to a 4-2 series win.

Wade averaged 34.7ppg in the series to capture the Finals MVP trophy.

The next five years had their ups and downs for Dwyane Wade – the successes of a scoring title and Olympic Gold Medal were offset by a series of frustrating injuries and disappointing team results.

Miami’s fortunes would turn during the summer of 2010, when all-star free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh agreed to sign with the Heat (with some convinced that Wade’s salesmanship deserved much of the credit for the two joining the team).

With the best pair of teammates he’d ever played with, Wade faced a new challenge; even when he played alongside O’Neal, Wade was able to dominate ball possession and let the offense run through him. With James on board, Wade had to suppress his ego and play the role of second (and occasionally third) option. Once again he was up to the task and helped the Heat to three straight NBA Finals, including championship wins in the past two seasons.

Through academic ineligibility, injuries, and the repeated need to adapt his game to his teammates, Dwyane Wade has consistently had to overcome obstacles to achieve greatness. Success must be earned, and he continues to do just that.

It wasn’t easy, but that’s what makes him Dwyane Wade.

Check out the artwork here: Dywane Wade – If it were easy

Raptors Podcast: Nets Hold On To Steal Game 1 Against Raptors

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Here’s audio from Kyle Lowry, Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd and Dwane Casey after Brooklyn beat Toronto 94-87 in Game 1 of their first round playoff series.

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Kyle Lowry Talks About 2014 NBA Playoffs

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Kyle Lowry compared this to his last time in the NBA Playoffs, his journey with as a Toronto Raptor, Toronto’s lack of playoff experience, and how the fans at the ACC can act like a sixth man this afternoon.

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Jason Kidd With Some Lofty Praise For Dwane Casey

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“He’s a competitor. For one, he’s a great person as a coach and off the court too. When you talk about him as a human being he’s as good as it gets. I’m glad he got this second opportunity (to be a head coach in the NBA). He’s never going to quit no matter what the circumstances.  He’s going to fight. When he had a group of guys that believe in what he’s saying you can see that on the floor. You can see that with this current Raptors team that they are going to fight to the end.”

Jason Kidd talking about Dwane Casey

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Podcast: Raptors Show Signs Of Defensive Slippage But Still Beat Sixers

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Here’s audio of Dwane Casey, DeMar Derozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez talking about Toronto’s win over Philadelphia.

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Catching Up With Brett Brown

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Brett Brown talked with the media about Philadelphia fighting for respect, having to coach 28 different players this season, what he’s proud of accomplishing this season and how importance confidence is.

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Podcast: Raptors Hold On For Win Against Rockets

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Here’s audio from Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez and Dwane Casey talking about Toronto’s win over Houston.

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