Kobe Bryant impressed by Frank Robinson at Drew League championship (VIDEO)


The Drew League gained quite a bit of fame when the NBA’s top players took their talents to the Charles Drew Junior High School in Compton, Calif., during the 2011 NBA lockout.  The annual summer league doesn’t only host talented players during lockout years, however, as proven during Tuesday night’s league championship game featuring the “Kings of LA” being upset the eighth-seeded squad called Hank’s Blazers.

The Hank’s Blazers squad doesn’t have the recognizable names that most of the tournament’s teams had considering Los Angeles Clippers backup Ryan Hollins was flanked in the starting lineup by Frank Robinson, Malcolm Thomas, Kyle Gibson and 5-foot-6 point guard Horace Wormely. Their lack of name recognition didn’t preclude them from picking up a 104-99 victory over a team that featured NBA players  Amir Johnson and Dorrell Wright along with Wright’s younger brother Delon and former NBA players Jeff Adrien and Mike Taylor.

The eventual champions ended up going through a slew of talented players to get to that point in the tournament, knocking off Bobby Brown — his former college roommate and one of the most talented scorers currently outside of the NBA — along with a group of recognizable names that included former Connecticut Huskies star Marcus Williams, Jordan Hamilton, Taj Gibson, Brandon Bowman and Hassan Adams.

Tuesday night’s game typically wouldn’t have received much recognition on a national website, but when Kobe Bryant shows up somewhere and is impressed by the talent around him, it’s hard not to take notice … and judging by the video below, the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar was suitably impressed.

The most impressive player on the championship squad was Frank Robinson, a talented 6-foot-4 guard out of Cal State Fullerton who has managed a very good European career intermingled with an NBA training camp invite by the Atlanta Hawks along with NBA Summer League appearances with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. The 29-year-old is currently weighing his options for the upcoming season, but his clutch 28-point, five-assist performance against NBA players likely gave him a few more teams to choose from — especially with Kobe giving his stamp of approval.

“I noticed that they were going under the pick-and-rolls to start the game so I decided to exploit that,” Robinson told Pro Basketball Talk on Wednesday. “I shot and made my first two three-pointers and, from that point on, the momentum of the game just carried me and my teammates.

“The fourth quarter got a little crazy, but I demanded the ball in the last two minutes and ended up scoring nine of my 28 points to finish the game — including a walk off three right in front of one of my favorite players, Kobe Bryant,” Robinson said of his end-of-game heroics. “I looked over my shoulder and saw that he was giving me the ‘monkey nuts’ gesture, which all players know that is the stamp of approval!”

With his time at the Drew complete, Robinson’s next step is focusing on his next stop. Whether it’s in Europe, China or an NBA training camp is anyone’s guess, but the veteran guard is ready for whatever life throws at him next.

“Its been a great summer for me, man, because I started working with shooting and skills development coach [and former Laker] Mike Penberthy and strength coach Jamaal Rashad since it was time for me to step up and change the direction of my career,” Robinson said. “I battled injuries starting in the second month of last season and, as you know, a ten month European season is no joke — especially when you’re not at 100 percent.

“Right now I feel the best I have felt in years and I’m ready to show what I can do at any level. My love of the game cannot be questioned and I know this season will be a great one wherever I end up.”

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.