October 31, 2013
Benkku, Benkku Harris, Benny Dees, Bernard Harris, Buffalo Braves, Chuck Noe, Forssa Koripojat, Gerald Lee, Get In The Game, Jesse Dark, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, New York Knicks, Supernard, Turku NMKy
Bernard Harris (center) with Gerald Lee Sr. (right) and Ervin Latimer (photo credit Gerald Lee Jr.).
Although the wild, expansive afro from college is long gone, Bernard Harris doesn’t appear far removed from the 6-foot-9 string bean from Roanoke who helped guide the VCU Basketball program through its formative years.
Now 62, Harris could pass for a man 10-12 years his junior. His lean frame is intact, but with some added muscle.
“I guess my conditioning is partly good genes, and the fact that I enjoy playing and working out,” Harris said recently, via email. “It’s not easy!”
He’s aged well, but not just physically. Harris’ career has also remained vibrant over the years. Nearly a decade removed from his days as a player and coach in Finland’s top pro league, where he became a star and earned national celebrity, Harris seems to have transitioned smoothly.
VCU fans may still know him as “Supernard”, but these days, Harris is more commonly referred to as Benkku, an oft-mononymous Finnish basketball institution who came ashore more than 30 years ago.
Benkku is how most of the kids of the Get In The Game program, Harris’ 10-year-old youth sports initiative sponsored by Finland’s Ministry of Education, know the former VCU star. That, and the and children’s book on basketball he wrote in the late 80s and the spin-off cable TV program that ran for two seasons in the 90s.
Get In The Game, for which Harris serves as president, aims to use athletics to promote fitness and healthy living, while steering kids clear of drugs and alcohol. Harris conducts tennis and basketball summer camps and also speaks at high schools about the dangers of substance abuse. According to the organization’s website, Get In The Game has made visits to more than 250 schools in the last 10 years. The program has produced a number of TV programs with Finnish sports stars to the same end, including “Benkku’s All-Star Bowling“. Get In The Game has also held a number of youth tennis camps in Finland with VCU Tennis Coach Paul Kostin.
For a guy whose basketball career looked at one point as if it would continue in perpetuity, he seems to have comfortably eased into this stage of his career, one which blends teaching, wellness and health activism.
October 18, 2013
Houston Rockets, NBA, Troy Daniels.
Troy Daniels is still shooting for the NBA. The former VCU 3-point gunner signed with the Houston Rockets today, the team announced.
It’ll be interesting to see if Troy sticks with Houston. With the Daniels signing, the Rockets are now carrying 18 players on their roster, and according to HoopRumors’ Luke Adams, 13 are inked to guaranteed deals. Several Houston writers and bloggers have already speculated this move was made with the D-League in mind, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Daniels would have the opportunity to get playing time and develop with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Weiner has more insight on his Twitter timeline, if you’re so inclined. Hopefully, Daniels will get some preseason burn with Houston. The Rockets’ next two preseason games – Oct. 21 vs. Dallas and Oct. 24 vs. San Antonio, will be televised by NBATV and TNT, respectively. In the meantime, here’s a gif of Daniels’ NBA meal ticket.
October 2, 2013
Ben Gordon, Charlotte Bobcats, Gerald Henderson, Mark Price, NBA, Steve Clifford, Troy Daniels.
Troy Daniels averaged 12.3 points per game and shot .403 (124-of-308) from 3-point range for VCU last season. He’s in training camp this fall with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Unless you’ve been maintaining radio silence since the end of last season, you know that Troy Daniels is in training camp with the Charlotte Bobcats this week. Like most undrafted free agents, Daniels will face an uphill battle in order to actually grab a roster spot. VCU fans justifiably want to know what kind of shot Daniels has of making the team. Let’s have a look.
Factor No. 1: Roster space.
NBA rosters consist of 13 active players, plus two inactive spots. The Bobcats currently have five guards – Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions, Jannero Pargo and Ben Gordon – signed to guaranteed contracts.
While Charlotte could certainly choose to carry three shooting guards, don’t expect them to drop a point guard to free up the space, according to Bobcats’ beat writer Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
October 1, 2013
Baseball, Field Hockey, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, VCU Athletics, Volleyball
Charlotte Bobcats, Cincinnati Reds, Eric Maynor, John Daly, Larry Sanders, Mark Berman, Milwaukee Bucks, MLB, NBA, Roanoke Times, Sean Marshall, Troy Daniels., Washington Wizards
Happy Shak-tober, VCU fans. This month is good for many things, among them (in no particular order): foliage, NBA training camps, candy corn, postseason baseball, marzen, candy corn, Atlantic 10 Conference races and, finally, candy corn. How does VCU Athletics fit into all of this? I’m glad you asked, even if you didn’t.
RAMS IN CAMP
NBA training camps are underway, which means three former Rams are in action, each with a different task in front of them.
Troy Daniels is in Asheville, N.C. with the Charlotte “soon to be Hornets” Bobcats. Troy earned a camp invite after playing on the Bobcats’ summer league squad in Las Vegas. Now would be a good time to remind Michael Jordan that Charlotte was 27th in the NBA in 3-point shooting last year, and Troy Daniels (feel free to use the Around The Horns-approved #TreyD3 hashtag) hits threes in his sleep. If he was a dinosaur, Daniels would be a triceratops. If he was a TV station, he’d be ESPN3. If he was a stadium, he’d be Three Rivers.
Trust us, Daniels was born for this. We recently slowed down some film of Daniels shooting at training camp and captured his expression right at the moment he’s about to catch and shoot. Check it out:
Three, coming right up.
August 20, 2013
Larry Sanders, Larry Sanders contract extension, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA
There was a famous banner that made the rounds during Larry Sanders’ VCU career that read, “Larry Sanders has a posse.” Well, now he can afford one.
Sanders, who had one year remaining on his original rookie contract, officially signed a multi-year extension with the Milwaukee Bucks – who drafted him 15th overall in 2010 – on Tuesday. Terms have not been disclosed, but multiple outlets have reported that the extension is for four years and $44 million, and incentives could push it to as much as $48 million. Alex Boeder of “Bucks Beat” wrote a nice piece on why that’s a good thing for Bucks’ fans.
Sanders signs his contract extension Tuesday (photo via Instagram)
If you saw Larry Sanders the first time he stepped onto the floor at the Verizon Wireless Arena in 2007, your first impression would likely have been something like, “well, he’s tall.” Discovered in Fort Pierce, Fla. by then-assistant Tony Pujols, Sanders had been playing organized basketball for only a couple of years, and was, without a doubt, raw. It was tough to throw the ball to Sanders in the post because he wasn’t very good at catching it, and when he did, he wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it. But for all the things he hadn’t been taught, there were so many skills he possessed that you can’t teach.
Sanders was starting halfway through that season and eventually averaged 4.9 points and 5.2 rebounds on an NIT squad. He averaged 11.3 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore and became a viable sidekick to Eric Maynor. The performance of those two in the 2009 CAA Championship Game, Maynor lobbing to Sanders (18 points, 20 rebounds, 7 blocks) for dunks, Sanders blocking everything in sight, was an eye-opener for fans and scouts alike.
At that stage, it was pretty clear Sanders was going to end up in the NBA someday. After a junior season in which he led the Rams in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg), Sanders entered the draft. He wasn’t a finished product by any means, but his draft stock was soaring. In a league with a dearth of centers, Sanders’ combination of length and athleticism was coveted. After two occasionally frustrating seasons in Milwaukee, Sanders broke out last season and averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. He’s just 24, and he’s starting to come into his own. The Bucks were smart to sign him now, rather than take their chances after the 2013-14 season.
July 22, 2013
Charlotte Bobcats, Charlotte Bobcats Summer League Statistics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, Jamie Skeen, Kent Bazemore, Las Vegas NBA Summer League, NBA, Troy Daniels.
Former Ram Jamie Skeen scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a win over the D-League select team Saturday.
The NBA Summer League finished up for Troy Daniels, Jamie Skeen and the Charlotte Bobcats last night in a 75-67 loss to the Golden State Warriors (and ODU alum Kent Bazemore) in a semifinal matchup. After neither Daniels or Skeen played much (or not at all) in the Bobcats first three games in Las Vegas, both former Rams got plenty of run in the final three. After posting a double-double Saturday, Skeen wasn’t able to knock down shots last night. Daniels fared better, scoring 13 points while knocking down 3-of-5 from three.
It’s hard to say if either showed enough to merit an invitation to training camp, but even if Charlotte declines, another team could step in. Both Daniels and Skeen had their moments; Daniels not only hit 42 percent of his threes in Vegas, but he even put the ball on the floor and got the the rim a couple of times. However, his 6-of-24 shooting from 2-point range could be a problem. Skeen, meanwhile, looked lighter and eager to shoot the three, but also rebounded the ball pretty well. If Skeen, whose biggest problem as it relates to the NBA is that he’s always been a bit of a power forward in a small forward’s body, was hoping to show teams he can play the three, I think he made a decent case.
July 2, 2013
Eric Maynor, NBA, Washington Wizards
I was able to track Eric Maynor down today, but he says he’s not at liberty to discuss his agreement with the Washington Wizards at this time. I’m sure there’s probably still a physical to pass and a dotted line on which to sign. He did say he’d be able to talk more about it next week, so I’ll get you more on that after the Fourth of July Weekend.
As far as the fit and the deal itself go, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver has a terrific, thorough writeup HERE, which includes:
The strength of Maynor’s game lies in his ability to run a halfcourt offense in a controlled fashion. A pass-first point guard, Maynor is adept at moving the ball, operating in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situations, finding shooters after breaking down a defense, and generally keeping his wits about him. Not known as a scorer or a true long-ball threat, Maynor played both guard positions for the Blazers, backing up Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and playing alongside him in a dual point guard lineup.
Golliver writes that Maynor’s deal is for two years.
Meanwhile, if you can’t wait to see what Eric will look like in a Wizards uni, here’s where 15 minutes of Photoshop got me.
July 1, 2013
Baseball, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Basketball
2013 World University Games, Atlantic 10 Conference, Columbus Crew, Dominic Oduro, Eric Maynor, Ian Thomas, Mississippi Braves, MLS, NBA, Portland Trailblazers, Quanitra Hollingsworth, Sean Marshall, Shaka Smart, Sherman Hamilton, Treveon Graham, Washington Wizards
In case you missed it, Treveon Graham is going to be playing for the United States at the World University Games July 7-16 in Kazan, Russia. Only 12 players in the country can say that. It’s a big deal. The last Ram wear USA Basketball red, white and blue was Eric Maynor, who did so in 2007 at the Pan Am Games, after “The Dagger” and before his junior season. Graham will be the youngest player on this year’s squad.
VCU rising junior Treveon Graham, bottom right, wearing jersey No. 10.
Meanwhile, VCU Coach Shaka Smart has been serving as an assistant for the USA Basketball U19 squad in Prague.
More on that HERE.
The NBA free agency period began Monday at midnight. It sounds like Eric Maynor will be looking for a new team.
But don’t worry, he should have suitors.
Edit, more Maynor:
June 28, 2013
2013 NBA Draft, 2013 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, Charlotte Bobcats, NBA, Troy Daniels.
Troy Daniels, who hit 218 three-pointers the last two seasons, will play for the Charlotte Bobcats in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League.
RICHMOND, Va. – Troy Daniels shuffled onto campus Friday a man at ease. Wearing a white t-shirt, basketball shorts and sandals, the former VCU sharpshooter met with reporters to discuss his NBA future, a future which will run through Las Vegas and Charlotte, N.C. He appeared relaxed, and for good reason.
Daniels revealed Thursday night he’d signed a free agent deal with the Charlotte Bobcats. The Roanoke, Va. native will play for the Bobcats’ summer league squad in Las Vegas July 12-22. If Daniels performs well in Vegas, he can earn a training camp slot with the Bobcats. Daniels said his deal with Charlotte does allow for the possibility to play for another franchise in the Orlando Summer League July 7-12.
Thursday’s topsy-turvy NBA Draft was full of surprises, from the Cavaliers’ selection of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall to David Stern’s mischievous crowd prodding. But Daniels’ evening was much predictable. While he held out hope that he’d be drafted, Daniels knew he could fall back on a standing agreement his agent had struck with Charlotte recently if he wasn’t.
In the days leading up to the draft, Daniels was confident a team would give him a shot, one way or another.
“I knew I would get my opportunity, I made the best of my first and second opportunities, and it just carried its weight over to these opportunities,” Daniels said. “Maybe a lot of people are surprised that I’m in the summer leagues and teams are really interested in me, but not me.”
Daniels, who averaged 12.3 points per game and hit a school-record 124 three-pointers this year, participated in workouts with a number of NBA teams in recent weeks, Houston, Indiana and Boston among them. He did not work out for Charlotte individually. Daniels was involved, however, in a predraft workout at Barclays Center that was said to include representatives of all 30 NBA franchises.
“My agent said they really, really liked me,” Daniels said. “They just didn’t have a second round pick, so that’s probably why it didn’t work out for them.”