Tag Archives: nba

Bill Russell Considers Offer from USF, Turns it Down Due to Quality of Cafeteria Food

An unlikely alum showed his face on USF’s main campus on Sunday, March 23. 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell visited his alma mater to discuss his unfinished USF degree with the university’s president, the Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J. USF and Bill Russell have had bitter relations in the past because of a dispute over tuition, but San Francisco hoped to reconnect the NCAA and NBA champion with the school he once played for.

The hamburger that Bill Russell took a large bite out of is unfinished, much like Russell’s USF education.

The hamburger that Bill Russell took a large bite out of is unfinished, much like Russell’s USF education.

Russell, The Dons’ spindly basketball player that led them to back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles in 1955 and 1956, accepted Privett’s offer to come back to USF and discuss the completion of his degree. Unknown to many, Russell did not graduate from USF because he was 16 credits shy when he made his transition to the NBA.

Upon arrival at USF, Russell seemed pleased to return to the place that kickstarted his career.However, the pleasure was short-lived. Russell could not bear to eat the cafeteria’s food, and declined Privett’s offer after taking a single bite of lumpy orange chicken and limp cauliflower.

Sitting in the back corner of the cafeteria, unrecognized by many students, the six-foot-nine Russell towered high above the university’s president, eyeing his food. Russell selected food from the cultural foods section of the cafeteria, ordering servings of orange chicken, spring rolls, and mixed vegetables. He sat with Privett, discussing the logistics of his future at the USF. Russell looked distraught as he peered down at his food, hesitant to take a bite.

Several students had spotted Bill Russell at this point, and word spread that the NBA legend was in USF’s cafeteria. Curious students looked on as Privett talked with Russell, who was still avoiding his food. Noticing the gathering onlookers, Russell summoned the courage to take a bite.

The courage quickly dissipated. After Russell’s bite of the cafeteria food, he reached across the table and grabbed Privett’s hamburger, desperate to get the taste out of his mouth. However, his reacted to the burger was no better. After a single bite, Russell stood up, murmured something to Privett, shook his hand, and walked out of the cafeteria without saying another word.

Privett sat in shock. Students watching the entire scene sat in bewilderment, eyeing their own food and wondering if it was really that bad.

Russell was not to be found. Phone calls were made to try and convince him to return and give USF another chance. Russell could not be reached by phone, however, and his whereabouts were unknown. Once again, USF found itself trying to track down the man that made the school legendary.

Russell later released a statement summarizing his visit.

“My relations with my alma mater are just as bitter as the orange chicken I ate on the day I decided to return to University of San Francisco,” Russell said via his newly installed twitter account. I will not be completing my education at USF.”

DISCLAIMER: This piece was printed as part of The Foghorn’s April Fool’s Day issue on April 1st, 2014. This article is intended to be satirical.

College is Not the Place for Athletes Who Want an NBA Career

The best college basketball teams from around the country will take the court today to kick off the NCAA Tournament. Every college basketball fan in the nation wants to know who will move on in their brackets, but what no one seems to be asking is whether or not some players whose end goal is to play in the NBA should even be in college at all right now.

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Former Don Angelo Caloiaro Plays in German League All-Star Game

 

Angelo Caloiaro donned a USF uniform for four years at the Hilltop before taking his talents to Europe, where he has excelled in Bulgaria and Germany. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Angelo Caloiaro donned a USF uniform for four years at the Hilltop before taking his talents to Europe, where he has excelled in Bulgaria and Germany. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Many basketball players are unable to find their way onto an NBA team after completing college, but for those who wish to continue pursuing their dream, forging a career in Europe is an attractive alternative. Former USF Don Angelo Caloiaro recently enjoyed a standout season playing for Mittledeutscher Basketball Club (BC), a team in the Beko BBL (Basketball Bundesliga), a professional basketball league in Germany. Caloiaro, who played for San Francisco from 2008-2012, was selected to participate in the Beko BBL All-Star Game, which took place Jan. 18 this year. The 6-8 forward’s All-Star nod was the culmination of his blazing start to the 2013-14 season, where he has averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds through the first 18 games.

In the All-Star Game, Caloiaro totaled four points, eight rebounds, and three assists to help Team International top Team National 121-116. He was named to the squad as a replacement for FC Bayern’s Nihad Djedovic, who sustained an ankle injury that would keep him out of the event. Ranking eighth in the Beko BBL in scoring, and shooting an impressive 52.8 percent from the field, Caloiaro arguably should have made Team International in the first place, rather than being chosen to fill in for an injured player. In the end, however, he was awarded the honor of competing amongst the best players in the league in just his second year of playing professional basketball.

“Any all-star event is something to be proud of and I am even more blessed to be participating with such a talented group,” Caloiaro told Lefteris Moutis of eurohoops.net.

At USF, Caloiaro went from a key role player as a freshman to a member of the All-WCC First Team in his senior year. The San Jose, Calif. native earned All-WCC honors after putting up 14.2 points and 6.0 rebounds during the 2011-2012 season, and completed his collegiate career ranked third all-time at USF in three-pointers made, and 19th in points scored. As a senior, he helped lead the Dons to a 20-14 record and an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational.

After graduating, Caloiaro spent a season playing for Rilski Sportist, a team in the Bulgarian National Basketball league, before signing with Mittledeutscher BC in the summer of 2013. While he has undoubtedly created a niche for himself in the world of European basketball, there are still challenges that lie ahead. Mittledeutscher BC currently has a record of 8-10, and Caloiaro will need to step up and cement himself as the leader of the team if they hope to qualify as one of eight teams that make the league playoffs.

Still just 24 years of age, Caloiaro’s youth and skill may also give him the opportunity to eventually sign with a more well-known European team. However, for now he is focused on the present.

“I try to stay concentrated during the season and devote all my attention to the team I am on,” Caloiaro told Moutis.

From San Francisco to Germany, it’s safe to say that the Beko BBL All-Star has been quite successful in doing just that.

Don’s Basketball Alumus Bill Cartwright to Coach in Japanese Pro League

Although no longer affiliated with college basketball or the NBA, former USF basketball star Bill Cartwright continues to be a part of the sport in a unique way, continuing to show his dedication and love for the game. On January 22, Cartwright was hired as head coach for Osaka Evessa, a professional team in Japan’s BJ (Basketball Japan) league. The 55 year old will now be responsible for returning the once-elite Japanese franchise to relevancy, and proving that he can make a home for himself and build a reputation as a top-notch coach, all in a foreign country.

Cartwright arrived at USF in 1976 and immediately had a positive impact on the basketball team. After putting up solid numbers as a freshman, the 7’1” center developed into a standout player as a sophomore, leading the Dons to a 29-2 record. In 1978 and 1979, his last 2 years at USF, the team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, and as a senior Cartwright averaged 24.5 points and 15.7 rebounds while leading the team to a record of 22-7.

After completing his decorated collegiate career, Cartwright was selected with the third overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft. He went on to have a memorable 16-year NBA career, highlighted by the three championships that he won as a member of the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls from 1991–1993. He retired in 1995, but was not ready to say goodbye to the game of basketball, and it wouldn’t be too long until he was back in the Bulls locker room as an assistant coach. In the middle of the 2001-02 NBA season, Cartwright was named head coach of his former team. He maintained that position until the 2002-03 season, when he was fired after the team got off to a 4-10 start.

Upon being dismissed by the Bulls, Cartwright spent many years serving as an NBA assistant coach, first for the New Jersey Nets and later the Phoenix Suns. However, until accepting the job for Osaka Evessa, he had not assumed the position of head coach since his days in Chicago. Becoming a coach for a team in a Japanese league is somewhat unorthodox by the standards of former NBA players and coaches, but Cartwright views this new chapter in his life as one of opportunity and possibility, and, as told to Ed Odeven of The Japan Times, one that brings  “great challenge and fun…personally, I love a challenge.”

This challenge that Cartwright speaks of will be no small one. Osaka Evessa stood at a dismal 5-19 when Cartwright took over as coach, good for ninth place in the 10-team Western Conference. In order to make the playoffs, the team will have to reach sixth place in the conference by the end of their 52-game season. Despite the odds stacked against them, there have been recent signs of hope. In the games that Cartwright has coached since his arrival, Osaka Evessa has gone 2-0. Although their back-to-back victories were 89-79 and 83-73 wins that both came against the last-place Miyazaki Shining Suns, Cartwright is optimistic about the team’s future.

“The team has, I believe, played well in meaningful situations,” Cartwright said to Odeven.

“In close games, we’re really not that far away. The goal for this season is to develop our team into the best team we can be.”

If Cartwright is able to inject a shot of energy into Osaka Evessa, the results certainly have the potential to be exciting. The team is not without talent, as it has recruited both former NBA and collegiate players from the United States. Forward Rick Rickert played college basketball at Minnesota, and was taken as the 55th pick in the 2003 NBA draft. Guard Dwayne Lathan was a standout at Indiana State. If Osaka Evessa can put the pieces together and rally around their new coach, they have an outside shot to make the playoffs. For a franchise that won three championships in a row after its inception in 2004, this may seem like a somewhat meaningless accomplishment, but for the current team that has seen three coaches in the past two seasons, it would be a promising step forward.

By taking the job as head coach in Japan, Cartwright rejoins the group of USF basketball alums who are still involved with the sport. KC Jones, who won a pair of NCAA championships with the Dons in 1955 and 1956, is presently a color commentator for Hartford University’s men’s basketball team. Bill Russell, who played with Jones during the most successful stretch in USF basketball history, has remained involved with NBA basketball throughout his life. He has maintained close relationships with players on the Boston Celtics, and in 2009 the NBA Finals MVP was named the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award.

Although immediate prosperity may not be the most likely outcome of Cartwright’s new coaching role, he is ultimately eager to become immersed in a new culture and learn the ways of basketball in a country that he had previously been unfamiliar with.

“I’ve always wanted to come here (to Japan),” Cartwright told Odeven.

And, while getting used to a new life and a new team to monitor and teach, the former Don will surely use the knowledge he gained from his years in San Francisco and Chicago to bring better days to a struggling team.

“Basketball is a great sport,” he said. “And we are hoping to teach the people of Japan that it’s a very exciting sport. Every kid has a chance to do it and do well. Hopefully with our style of play, people will want to come out and watch a very exciting team.”

Handing Out Oscars for Drama-Filled NBA Season

Things are starting to get interesting in the NBA. Carmelo Anthony finally got his wish, the Utah Jazz took a preemptive strike and traded star point guard Deron Williams and the Celtics may have cost themselves a shot at the title by trading enforcer and beloved teammate Kendrick Perkins. Needless to say, the trade deadline was full of drama, the perfect appetizer for the dramatic main course- the playoff run. Thankfully we have a way to rate and award drama through the Academy Awards. In honor of the bald, golden statue I’m dishing out awards for the NBA’s top performers and masterpieces.

Best Actor Award for the League’s MVP: Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose has been carrying the Bulls all season long through the team’s adversities ( lack of a dependable shooting guard and the injuries to Boozer and Noah) like a great actor carries a movie despite a clash with a director. Rose’s performance isn’t honored because he is carrying a bad team, the Bulls are among the best in the league, it is because without him, the Bulls would be an 8th seed at best. He does it all, sets the tone on defense while also completely controlling the offense. No one means more to their team than Rose does, not even LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, Rose has been that good so far this season.

Best Director for Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau

Just like the King’s Speech, the top two awards come from the same movie or in this case, the same team. The long time assistant coach finally got his chance to lead a team this season and he is excelling in his new role. In his first year as head coach Thibodeau has Chicago 2 games back of his former team, the Boston Celtics for 1st place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have a 40-17 record and are looking like a dangerous playoff team. Not bad for Thibodeau’s first picture.

Best Picture for the team that everyone should fear: San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have been the best team in the NBA all season and they have no signs of slowing down. San Antonio is like one of those movies that comes out of the blue and wins best picture, no one though the Spurs would be this good this year. Usually the Spurs coast through the early part of the regular season before going on a late season run but not this year. Poppovich has changed his offensive strategy in a drastic way; this is no longer your boring, slow-paced, half-court offense. The Spurs push the ball up court, rely more on Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and bomb threes with regularity. Just like everyone watches the top pictures after the Oscars, people should start watching this team before the playoffs come and go.

Best Screenplay for the season’s most dramatic moment: Detroit Piston Mutiny

Has there ever been a weirder story about a team turning against its head coach? I’m sure there has been but nothing in recent memory. The drama started last week when seven Pistons boycotted a team shoot around leading to a suspension for each player involved. Things got even more mutinous last Friday when the players sitting on the bench laughed at coach John Kuester after he was ejected from a game, yikes. Things could get much uglier; but at least it’s an entertaining story.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

One All-Star Game That Can’t Be Missed

A few weeks ago I was channel surfing — the Warriors were taking a shellacking, I didn’t feel like doing homework, and it was too early to watch reruns of “Sex and The City” on E!. I went with almost every young man’s back up channel, ESPN.

ESPN was not showing the NHL All-Star game, but I could tell it was something NHL All-Star related.

Two players were firing pucks at some poor sap made to play the role of mock goalie. The players hit the back of the net on virtually every attempt. Then after they finished, they looked at each other with confused expressions, then skated off the ice as a voice urged the crowd to “give it up!”

It was one of the dumber things I’ve seen on television in a long time. Not as dumb as “The Cleveland Show,” but not as good as “Hot In Cleveland.”

And I’m not knocking hockey. I know it’s a tough sport that involves incredible amounts of skill and athleticism. I know hockey has tons of dedicated fans and even more people who hate sports yet claim to be huge hockey fans.

It’s just the state of All-Star festivities for most professional sports are pretty grim.
Nobody watches the NFL Pro Bowl, and given the recent discussions surrounding the dangers that pro football players face whenever they step onto the field, it’s becoming obvious the game isn’t even worth playing.

The MLB All-Star game is OK if you have four hours to dedicate to a baseball game that means nothing. Well almost nothing. Bud Selig recently decided to award the winning league home field advantage in the World Series in a desperate attempt to increase ratings. The Home Run Derby was always tons of fun to watch until the Mitchell Report revealed there was enough juice behind each ball to fill every Odwalla display case, in every grocery store in California, including co-ops. Now the whole Home Run Derby concept seems so un-PC, like naming your team mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa.

The NBA All-Star game, on the other hand, still has some life to it, and this year in particular looks like it will be exceptional.
One thing the NBA does well during the All-Star weekend is showcasing the young talent. Like Apple presenting the iPad to a room of investors, on Friday night, the NBA’s youngest show ponies will take the court to show hoop fans there is good basketball in their future. Check it out, if only to watch the local superstar, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors do his thing against the Washington Wizards John Wall, one of the best rookies the NBA has ever seen. For those of you from in and around Palo Alto, Landry Fields, formerly of Stanford, will be representing the New York Knicks for the Rookies.

The Dunk Contest, as always, will be impressive. Every year someone comes up with something new and unseen. This year Blake Griffin, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, and JaVale McGee are the participants. Everyone loves Griffin, but I predict an upset — Javale McGee will win. From the University of Nevada, McGee is 7 feet tall, with long arms and could probably jump a Muni bus. If you don’t know him, check him out on Youtube.

The game itself, on Sunday, will be good. There are a lot of first time selections that will come out gunning, trying to prove to the veterans they belong. Kevin Durant will score big and walk away the game MVP.
If you are new to NBA basketball, this weekend will be a nice introduction.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach