Orlando Magic v New York Knicks

Jameer Nelson on Victor Oladipo: ‘He’s faster than a hiccup’


Victor Oladipo is a lot of fun.

Everywhere he’s gone, his teammates love playing with him, and it’s easy to see why. He’s an explosive athlete who plays with a ton of passion – an awesome combination.

The Orlando Magic are 10-29 as we reach the time of year when bad teams fall into ruts. It can get miserable playing out the rest of the season when you know the playoffs are virtually impossible.

But Oladipo is still providing joy, even to a veteran teammate who once helped the Magic reach heights he surely knows this edition has no chance of even nearing.

Jameer Nelson, via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

“One thing about Vic: He’s faster than a hiccup, man!” Nelson said after the game. “Did you see how fast he gets to that basket? When you blink, he’s gone. He just takes advantage of the seams, and he’s doing a better job of recognizing what’s going on, how teams are playing him. He made some good shots and some good plays for us tonight.

“He has to stay in attack mode, whether it’s for himself or for the rest of the team. We believe in him. He’s a guy [for whom] we put the ball in his hands a lot. He’s going to have his growing pains, just like anybody else. But that’s what it’s about. It’s about us, when he does have those growing pains, picking him up and not getting discouraged.”

That’s quite the simile and definitely one I’ll put in my back pocket. But former Negro League player/manager Buck O’Neil still has my all-time favorite description of a speedy player. Joe Posnanski:

I think of Buck O’Neil and what he used to say whenever someone would ask him: How fast WAS Cool Papa Bell anyway? Buck would smile and say: “Faster than that.”

Former UCLA, NBA player Dave Meyers dies at 62

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Dave Meyers, the star forward who led UCLA to the 1975 NCAA basketball championship as the lone senior in coach John Wooden’s final season and later played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, died Friday. He was 62.

Meyers died at his home in Temecula after struggling with cancer for the last year, according to UCLA, which received the news from his younger sister, Ann Meyers Drysdale.

He played four years for Milwaukee after being drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Shortly after, Meyers was part of a blockbuster trade that sent him to the Bucks in exchange for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The 6-foot-8 Meyers led UCLA in scoring at 18.3 points and rebounding at 7.9 in his final season, helping the Bruins to a 28-3 record. He had 24 points and 11 rebounds in their 92-85 victory over Kentucky in the NCAA title game played in his hometown of San Diego.

Meyers Drysdale also played at UCLA during her Hall of Fame career.

Meyers assumed the Bruins’ leadership role during the 1974-75 season after Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes had graduated. Playing with sophomores Marques Johnson and Richard Washington, Meyers earned consensus All-America honors. Meyers made the cover of Sports Illustrated after the Bruins won the NCAA title.

“One of the true warriors in (at)UCLAMBB history has gone on to glory,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Dave Meyers was our Captain in `75 and as tenacious a player ever. RIP.”

Johnson recalled in other tweets how Meyers called him `MJB’ or Marques Johnson Baby when he was a freshman, and later in the NBA, Meyers was nicknamed “Crash” because he always diving on the floor for loose balls.

As a junior, Meyers started on a front line featuring future Hall of Famers Walton and Wilkes.

Meyers was a reserve as a sophomore on the Bruins’ 1973 NCAA title team during the school’s run of 10 national titles in 12 years under Wooden. The team went 30-0 and capped the season by beating Memphis 87-66 in the championship game, when Meyers had four points and three rebounds.

In 1975, Meyers, along with Elmore Smith, Junior Bridgeman and Brian Winters, was traded to Milwaukee for Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley.

During the 1977-78 season, Meyers was reunited with Johnson on the Bucks and averaged a career-best 14.7 points. He missed the next year with a back injury. Meyers returned in 1979-80 to average 12.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in helping the Bucks win a division title.

Born David William Meyers, he was one of 11 children. His father, Bob, was a standout basketball player and team captain at Marquette in the 1940s. The younger Meyers averaged 22.7 points as a senior at Sonora High in La Habra, California.

Meyers made a surprise announcement in 1980 that he was retiring from basketball to spend more time with his family. He later earned his teaching certificate and taught sixth grade for several years in Lake Elsinore, California.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, whom he married in 1975, and daughter Crystal and son Sean.

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.