Sunday, July 22, 2018

McDonald's Takeaways: Atlanta July Live Period tournaments

Tre Mann
Nick Lucero/
The second live period in the Atlanta area continues to bring out many of the top players in the country, which means top college coaches won’t be far behind. split time between the On The Radar Hoops Super 6 and the Best Of The South on Friday and Saturday to take in all the action.


6'4" 170 LBS PG
Earlier this spring and summer, top 30 guard
 appeared to be closing in on a college decision. He cut his list down to Florida, Kansas and Tennessee, and took official visits to Florida and Tennessee. He had his decision date set as well. But after more thought, that’s no longer the case.
“I’m opening it back up to everybody,” Mann said.
The Florida native mentioned Iowa State, North Carolina and NC State as three schools he’s heard from lately, and maintains that Florida, Kansas and Tennessee are still in play. Roy Williams and an assistant were courtside for Each 1 Teach 1’s game Saturday afternoon.
“They’ve just they want to build a relationship with me and get to know what kind of person I am before they offer me. They have a great program. They got a great coach who is a winner. He’s been there for a while and has experience.”
Mann said there is no timetable for visits or a decision in his recruitment.


6'10" 235 LBS C
Fresh off competing for Team USA followed by winning the Nike EYBL championship at the Peach Jam last week, five-star power forward 
 is spending the second live period playing in Atlanta in the Super 6. On Saturday morning against Team Breakdown, Bacot was up to his normal tricks being a bully in the paint in the big win.
Afterwards, he talked about where he’s at with the recruiting process as we approach his senior year, which he will spend at IMG Academy.
“I have my top 10, but Kentucky has been reaching out and Georgia is another school that has been talking to me a lot,” Bacot said. “I plan on releasing my top five sometime in August, probably in the middle of August. I’ll probably make my decision after my official visits unless I just get that feeling before I’m done with them all. I plan on signing early."
Bacot’s top 10 consisted of Duke, Georgetown, KansasNorth CarolinaOklahoma StateUCLA, VCU, VillanovaVirginia and Virginia Tech. Of those schools, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech had head coaches in attendance to see him on Saturday morning as did Georgia.


6'9" 200 LBS PF
The rise of 
 has been pretty remarkable over the past couple months. He’s gone from a prospect who was on the radar of high-major coaches in April with no firm offers to a prospect with over 30 offers. The most recent to join the mix was Florida State earlier this week with Kansas, Syracuse and Providence putting scholarships offers out last week.
“I’m still in the early stages. It’s been a fun process. I’m just taking it slow and trying to find the best fit for me,” Jones said. “All the schools are great. I’m blessed to have a lot of choices, but right now I’m just focused on getting better. I’ll probably narrow my list down and take my visits starting next month and most likely sign during the early signing period.”
The Florida State offer has his attention.
“It was great. It’s a good school. Before I started playing basketball, it was a school I was working really hard to get into. So now it’s kind of a blessing to have a scholarship offer from them. It’s kind of surreal.”


Along with making the trip to Atlanta for Tre Mann and his teammate 
Roy Williams and assistant Brad Frederick watched Team Takeover vs Team Breakdown to catch Armando Bacot and Kai Jones. They were also seen watching North Carolina natives   and  .
Speaking of Patrick Williams, continues to bring impressive number of head coaches out to his games. Today, he had Buzz WilliamsLeonard HamiltonJim LarranagaTony BennettChris Mack and Danny Manning.
Kentucky had an assistant keeping tabs on 
, who was suiting up for Team Thad this week. He also watched five-star guard  . Florida State has long been considered a leader for Edwards and had Leonard Hamilton on hand to see him.
Alabama had at least one assistant at every one of CJ Walker’s games. Miami’s Jim Larranaga watched him Saturday afternoon as well.
 had Brad Brownell, Buzz Williams and a number of high-major assistants tracking him. Georgia had coaches at all his games and offered the legacy recruit Saturday night.
It was either an SEC coaching convention on Court 4 at the LakePoint Champions Center on Friday afternoon or four-star 2020 shooting guard 
 was playing. Bryce DrewRick BarnesMike WhiteKermit Davis and Bruce Pearl were all in attendance along with other SEC assistants. Tony Bennett was also spotted.
Xavier’s coaching staff appears locked in on a pair of Georgia prospects. Travis Steele and assistant Jonas Hayes have been seen at all of 
’s game and all of  ’s games. The Musketeers are in a strong spot with each.
Mississippi State assistant George Brooks was a regular at Team Thad’s games for four-star wing 
Ben Howland was in the building on Saturday. The Bulldogs are considered the favorite for his commitment.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lebron leaves Cleveland....inks mega deal with Lakers

LOS ANGELES -- LeBron James' next NBA chapter will be set on the West Coast.

James will be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $153.3 million contract. He will try to bring the storied franchise another championship.
The announcement was made through his agency, Klutch Sports Group, which announced the deal as $154 million.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that the fourth year is a player option. It is the longest deal James has signed since inking a six-year contract with the Miami Heat in 2010. His previous three deals were three years or shorter.
James leaves his hometown team as a free agent for the second time in his career. Four years ago, James had stated his intention to finish his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whether the four-time MVP and 14-time All-Star does that or not, he certainly has left his mark on his city.
James, 33, thanked his home area in an Instagram story. He wrote in text overlaying a photo from the Cavaliers' 2016 NBA title victory parade, "Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons. This will always be home."
He delivered the first championship to the sports-obsessed city in 52 years and did so with storybook gusto, helping the Cavaliers become the first team in NBA Finals history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit to win it all. The team he took down, the Golden State Warriors, had the best regular-season record in league history, at 73-9. 
"Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio," Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said in a lengthy statement thanking James. "None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land.
"LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife, Savannah, his mother, Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron's connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families.
"LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line ..."
James leaves the Cavaliers franchise as its leader in nearly every major statistical category: games played, points, rebounds, assists and steals.
If 2017-18 was his final act in Cleveland, what a show he put on -- playing in all 82 games for the first time in his 15-year career and capping it off with a postseason performance as dominant as any playoff run James has ever been part of. play

Windhorst says L.A. was the desired location for LeBron

Brian Windhorst details how LeBron James came to his decision to leave the Cavaliers for the Lakers.
James becomes the first player in NBA history to lead a postseason in scoring and switch teams the following offseason.
He joins the illustrious list of NBA legends to play for the Lakers, some of whom have already welcomed James to the family.
I am sure the Lakernation is rejoicing The acquisition of LeBron James means that the Lakers are just a smidgen away from being real contenders. Congrats to @MagicJohnson & @LALakersLive et al. Cross your fingers for news from San Antonio.
NBA players past and present reacted on Twitter too.
James' agent, Rich Paul, called Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson minutes before he sent the announcement tweet, a source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Paul then called Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman as soon as he got off the phone with Johnson.
Then the tweet was sent.
The Lakers, after failing to get a meeting with free-agent target Paul Georgeprior to George's announcement that he would re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, have secured free agency's most coveted player.
In the franchise's biggest free-agent splash since Shaquille O'Neal became a Laker in the summer of 1996, Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have delivered a major piece of the plan they plotted when they joined the Lakers in February 2017. Johnson took the job largely to restore the franchise's glorious past and recruit elite superstars to Los Angeles -- something the franchise had struggled with in recent years. James joins the league's second-youngest team when weighted by playing time from last season. The Lakers have an up-and-coming young core of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.
Which of the Lakers' young prospects will stay to play alongside James remains to be seen. The Lakers have been trying to acquire Kawhi Leonard, who reportedly is unhappy with the San Antonio Spurs and would prefer to play for the Lakers. The Spurs would surely want as many prospects and assets as possible from the Lakers in exchange for the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
A source told Shelburne that the Lakers felt a sense of urgency this week to find a co-star to play alongside James, either through free agency with George or through a trade for Leonard. Johnson went to one of James' houses in Los Angeles late Saturday night and met with him for several hours, sources told Shelburne. However, when Johnson spoke to James and James' camp at the opening of free agency, James assured the Lakers that this was a long-term play for him and his decision wouldn't be affected by a single transaction the Lakers could make under time pressure.
James made it clear that this latest NBA-altering decision would be made with his family in mind. James has two homes in Los Angeles, where his off-the-court business interests can thrive.
Johnson and Pelinka will continue to work to surround James with more talent in order to challenge the Warriors and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference. But Johnson has landed the biggest fish he was trying to catch.
Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss said she had ultimate faith in Johnson and Pelinka, but she also said last week that she wants to see the Lakers, who went 35-47 last season, return to the postseason for the first time since 2012-13.
Johnson said last week that if he failed to add stars to the Lakers by next summer, he would step down from his job.
That is moot with the team landing James.playLeBron chooses Lakers for next chapter
Mark Schwarz breaks down LeBron James' path to the Lakers, with whom he will continue to chase Michael Jordan's GOAT title and the dynasty of the Dubs.
"No pressure on me," Johnson said last week when asked if he felt urgency to add a star in this free agency. "I am going to do my job. I have always done that. ... Do you know how many Finals I have been in [as a player]? So you think I am worried about this? I have played against Larry Bird in the Finals. I mean, come on, man. I have been in nine Finals. I have been in college NCAA championships."
When told that this is a different job than being the point guard who orchestrated the Lakers' "Showtime" dynasty, Johnson reminded people of who he is.
"I'm Magic Johnson. I am still the same dude," he said. "I am not going to change. No pressure on me. I am going to do my job. That's what I do. I do my job. I'm excited. It's fun. I am looking forward to it."
And enjoying it.
ESPN's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.