Villanova's Wright considered for NBA gig

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After the way Villanova needed to come from behind to force overtime against 15-seed Robert Morris, and then barely escaped with a win, you can see why NBA teams are hot for Wildcat’s coach Jay Wright.

But that’s the rumor — and if you want rumors you go to Peter Vecsey and the New York Post.

“Sources say the 76ers approached him a summer or two ago, but advances were rejected. Guaranteed, they will come calling again, as well as intensify their interest, in mid-April immediately after Eddie Jordan is fired, a conclusion no longer in doubt, I’m assured by a Philadelphian with a strong pulse on everything 76er-related…

In the meantime, Wright additionally can expect to be romanced by the Nets. If Rod Thorn remains team president, as it appears he will when incoming majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov finally gets approval from the NBA’s Board of Governors, “look for Jay to be on the top of the list when he presents his suggestions.”

Coaching in the NBA is a completely different animal than coaching in college, and most coaches don’t make the adjustment. In college, it is all about the recruiting — your ability to draw top talent matters more than anything. You can develop and mold that talent, but John Calipari is a success because he gets the talent to come to him.

But in the NBA coaches have far less control over who makes up the roster. Plus the Xs and Os — the preparation — is far more detailed. In college the coach is the king of the program, in the pros star players carry more power than any coach not named Phil Jackson (and if Jerry Buss had to choose between Bryant and Jackson, the coach would lose again). The egos are larger and harder to manage. Most college coaches fail to make the adjustment.

If you were the Sixers or Knicks, do you want to trust your massive rebuilding projects — and in the case of the Nets opening in a new stadium — to an unproven coach at the NBA level? It might work, so long as the Nets don’t play Robert Morris.

Giannis Antetokounmpo to tell his story on 60 Minutes this week (preview clip)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo grew up hocking wares — clothes, sunglasses, whatever — on the streets of Athens, Greece. He easily could still be living there, the tallest salesman in a poor part of a country with high unemployment and real challenges.

Instead, he is a multimillionaire living comfortably in the United States, and is one of the 10 best basketball players in the world — and still improving. In a few years we may well be saying he is the best player on the planet.

Antetokounmpo will be telling his story on the legendary television news magazine 60 Minutes this week, and the show released a clip. Check it out.

This is the best missed free throw to game winner you will ever see

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We’ve all seen this situation before at every level of basketball: A team down three points gets fouled in the final seconds and has two free throws, so the shooter aims to make the first free throw then miss the second and create a rebound he or a teammate can grab then throw back in to tie the game. It works about as often as an NFL Hail Mary — either the shooter makes the shot anyway or the defense gets the board — but what other choice is there?

Nobody has ever pulled it off as well as Paulinho Boracini of the Brazilian league team Cearense.

Intentional or not (and I lean not), he banked the second free throw off the rim toward the corner, ran it down himself and hit the game-winning three.

Damn. That’s impressive.

(If Boracini and Cearense sound familiar, you win the award for “watching too much Knicks preseason basketball” because they played New York in a 2015 exhibition.)

Giannis Antetokounmpo doubtful with ankle injury for Bulls game

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MILWAUKEE (AP) The Milwaukee Bucks say Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful for Friday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls with a sprained right ankle.

The All-Star forward got hurt in the second quarter of a 127-120 loss on Wednesday to the Los Angeles Clippers when he appeared to trip over teammate Shabazz Muhammad under the Bucks’ basket.

Antetokounmpo is fourth in the league in scoring at 27.3 points a game.


Anfernee Simons declares for NBA draft straight out of high school (kind of)

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Anfernee Simons spent the last year playing high school basketball. But because he did so as a fifth-year prep after technically graduating from high school last year and turns 19 in June, he’s eligible for the NBA draft.

Following a path taken by Thon Maker and considered by Jonathan Isaac, Simons – as expected – is turning pro.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN:

Anfernee Simons will forgo his collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2018 NBA draft, he informed ESPN.

Simons informed ESPN that he will sign with agent Bobby Petriella of Rosenhaus Sports Representation

Simons looks like a mid-first-rounder, though his range is quite wide considering how large of a jump he’s making. Teams can learn relatively more about him in workouts and interviews.

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard who specializes in scoring, Simons is quick on his feet with a quick release off the dribble – with range from beyond the 3-point arc to an impressive floater game. Those floaters will be important, because Simons isn’t nearly strong enough for the NBA. He’s also a lackluster passer, though because of physicality concerns, no team will count on Simons to run an offense anytime soon, anyway. He’ll have time to develop as a distributor.

By signing with agents, Simons loses his college eligibility. Drew Rosenhaus, a big-name football agent, isn’t certified with the National Basketball Players Association. Petriella’s only NBA client has been Diamond Stone, a 2016 second-rounder who’s out of the league. They’re all in this bold venture together now.

As the NBA considers changing its draft rules for young prospects, Simons will be an interesting case study. He obviously meets the draft-eligibility requirements in the one-and-done era, but he’s also jumping from prep-school competition to the NBA. The league’s strength and nutrition programs should serve him well. His overall development could influence the wider debate.