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June 5, 2009

Young Up, Blair Down

Filed under: Basketball,Draft,NBA — Chas @ 1:46 pm

Like stocks, so too are the status of Sam Young and DeJuan Blair.

DeJuan Blair seemed to be barging his way into the lottery, possibly a top-ten pick. That seems in question with leaked medical stuff (insider subs).

However, the news became much grimmer for Blair when the results of the medical testing came back. Multiple NBA teams are saying Blair’s knees have been red-flagged.

Blair tore both of his ACLs in high school, and the preliminary word from the physicals is that his knees aren’t in great shape.

How bad they are depends on who you talk to, but the range wasn’t good. I heard everything from “devastating” to “troubling.”

Blair’s agent, Happy Walters, doesn’t feel words like “devastating” are accurate in describing the report he saw.

“From what I saw, it’s not that bad,” Walters told Insider. “People tend to get overexcited about this. Some teams will make a big ado about it and draft him anyway. It’s all a game. Some teams want him to slide.”

“He had ACL problems in high school. Everyone knew that. He’s never missed a game in college from his knees. It hasn’t affected his play at all. We’ll look further into it. We’ll check it out and have other specialists look at it, too. But it’s something you can’t do anything about. We’re not hiding anything.”

Whether the concern ends up being a small or large factor in Blair’s draft stock, it’s a shame when you consider the momentum he has had since the season ended. With so few bigs in the draft, he was looking at a potential late lottery pick. That now seems less likely.

Now Blair did miss a game against Belmont last November because of swelling in the right knee. There was nothing wrong according to X-rays and an MRI. By all accounts, he could have played and felt no pain. It’s just that there was no reason to risk Blair in that game.

Of course, it could very well be that the GMs and scouts leaking stuff to Ford are just trying to drive down Blair’s draft value as another account is less hyper.

MRI’s in Chicago revealed some minor concerns about his knees as Blair had both ACL’s repaired in high school. The irony of the concerns is Blair has not had a single knee related issue since the surgery in high school, did not miss a single game or practice at Pitt and has had no soreness or knee related issues. That won’t stop some teams from passing on Blair, or using the chance of future knee issues – which is almost silly considering how common knee tears are these days – as a reason to pass on Blair. One league source commented that if teams were just now hearing about Blair’s ACL’s they apparently did not do their homework on him…

Very true. There has been no secret about his past surgeries. In fact, it was a rather compelling reason for Blair to go pro now. You just never know.

Sam Young, though, has seen his value increase with group workouts where he has shone.

Several league sources say Sam Young was by far the most impressive player coming out of the Oakland and Minnesota group workouts, if any one player seems to have generated positive buzz from the workouts it was Young although several players did well, Young is the name most mention as the best player they saw.

Here are the comments from the Phoenix Suns Senior VP of Basketball Ops, David Griffin on Young.

“Sam played incredibly well. Sam helped himself, showing himself more capable of getting to the rim than you might have expected in that setting. And he did it repeatedly. He made jumpshots from every range and moved well laterally. Sam’s a bit older, so he has a maturity level you wouldn’t expect to find in the younger players. In terms of making a statement, Sam did that. He had a severe injury in Toronto during the workout campaign, where he jumped into the Vertec measuring apparatus and got a screw lodged under his bicep. They removed the screw, and we’re not even 10 days past that and he’s dominating the workout. He’s a very tough kid.”

I’m not saying it was a good thing to have the freak accident in Toronto, but it sure isn’t looking like a negative. People seem genuinely impressed with how he dealt with it and has not let it stop him.

Standing in Comfort

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Marketing — Chas @ 9:11 am

If you are following my Twitter, then you already know that the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) picked up a new sponsor for insoles and socks.

What made me take notice of the absurd press release was the quote from a coach.

“The care, comfort and health of our feet are concerns for coaches and players in all sports, but especially basketball,” said Jamie Dixon, head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. “We need to be proactive in the care and prevention of foot injuries to our players. At the same time, coaches are on their feet for long periods during practices and games and want to be as comfortable as possible.”

I’m just going to assume that when SofSole was preparing the press release they drafted this and then went to the NABC to have them select a coach to credit the quote. Clearly Coach Dixon got the short straw.

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