Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pat's career reached a Summitt truly larger than life

Shown here with son Tyler after winning one of her eight national championships, Pat Summitt reached heights in life that immortals are resigned to aspiring for. (Photo by the Tampa Bay Times)


Think of Pat Summitt, and the mind’s eye projects the image of her triumphantly raising the nets, all smiles after capturing yet another national championship. We have seen it through numerous media, and it remains so vivid in our consciousness.
Pat Summitt passed away peacefully Tuesday morning. Loved ones were nearby, and those loved ones included family and former players. To Summitt, though, the young ladies she coached and mentored WERE part of her extended family.

Pat Summitt’s first game as a head coach was on December 7, 1974, a loss as Mercer prevailed, 84-83. She had signed on as a graduate assistant. When the head coach left before the season, the 22-year-old Summitt, barely older than her players, was promoted to the head coaching position. These were the dark ages, the formative years of women’s college basketball. There was no recognition by the NCAA. Her salary was a princely $250 a month. Her duties included doing team laundry and driving the team van.

Win number one came over a month later, a 69-32 triumph over Middle Tennessee State on January 10, 1975. Her first group in Knoxville finished 16-11. She would never have a losing season.

Her coaching career was incredibly outstanding, so much so that some fail to realize Pat Head (her maiden name) was a standout basketball player. She was a star at Tennessee-Martin, and later played on the 1975 Pan American title team and won a silver medal in the 1976 Olympics. In fact, year two in Knoxville saw her fashion a 16-11 record while studying for her Masters in physical education and training for the Olympic Games.
Her storied career included eight NCAA titles, an Olympic gold medal in 1984, as well as 16 SEC regular season and tournament titles. Eight times, she was chosen SEC Coach of the Year, and on seven occasions, NCAA Coach of the Year. Her legacy transcends a career of 1098 victories.

Pam Chvotkin, a sports production coordinator and Tennessee alum, was an undergrad. She was helping her dad, Rich, on one of his Georgetown radio broadcasts at Madison Square Garden. It was January 2006, and the three of us engaged in pregame chatter and coffee  before the Hoyas took on St. John’s. On hearing she worked as a student intern in the Tennessee athletic department, my first question to Pam was if she was involved with the Lady Vols basketball program. She was, and spoke highly of Summitt. “Coach Summitt has such a commanding presence,” Pam said. “She can walk through the athletic department hallway and you can hear a pin drop. She just has that presence about her.”

That presence. Coaches like the late Dean Smith and Bobby Knight had it. Walk into their postgame pressers, and you could sense the aura they had and attention that was commanded. Summitt was the same. I had the good fortune to cover a few of her games. Postgame, you wanted to hang on every word, a lesson in basketball 101. When her voice went up a decibel or two to emphasize something like, “we did not rebound well and will address that in practice,” you would literally feel for those young ladies in her charge. The next practice would not be easy, nor end until they rebounded the right way. The Summitt way.   

The late Bonita Spence addressed officials at an officiating camp in the fall of 2000. Her topic was coach-official relations. Spence was a veteran, but recalled as a relatively young (experience-wise) Division I official, she was assigned to a game in Knoxville. “This was Tennessee, the Lady Vols, the crowd, and the matriarch of women’s basketball, Pat Summitt,” Spence recalled. “I was nervous to say the least.” She was paired with two veterans. In the traditional pregame greeting of  the coaches, Summitt knew Spence was the rookie among the three. “She went out of her way to be cordial and put me at ease,” Spence noted. The crew did a solid job. Tennessee won, but the point was Summitt, who could be rather tough on those in stripes, read the situation and used her outstanding‘people skills to ensure the entire crew was ready to work as a team.

A tireless worker, Summitt was in virtual perpetual motion until the time the dreaded Alzheimer's disease afflicted her roughly five years ago. Given her phenomenal success, she remained a student of basketball, constantly studying the game to increase a basketball knowledge arguably second to none.  

To little surprise, forty-five of her former players and/or assistants went into coaching, most notably Sylvia Hatchell and Carolyn Peck. Both captured NCAA titles, Hatchell at North Carolina while Peck guided Purdue.

This past Sunday, on a day the New York Liberty celebrated their 20th anniversary, those in attendance directed their thoughts and prayers to the ailing Summitt. Swin Cash of the Liberty was almost moved to tears discussing Summitt. Cash was part of those UConn-Tennessee battles. She was a Huskie, but still respected and admired what Summitt did not only during her UConn days, but for decades of dedication to the game.   

Diana Taurasi of the visiting Phoenix Mercury and another UConn standout, told women’s basketball guru Mel Greenberg about playing in an AAU tournament in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and knowing from the crowd reaction that Summitt entered the gym. Once again, that distinctive presence.

Finally, UConn mentor Geno Auriemma told how Summitt and Tennessee shaped his program, not by simply competing against and eventually defeating the Lady Vols, but rather a case of emulating them. From his earliest days in Storrs, Auriemma utilized Summitt’s philosophy and program blueprint as a model for building the juggernaut in place at UConn today.

UConn-Tennessee was a Hatfields vs. McCoys of the women’s game. To hear the praise of Summitt by those who were on the UConn side of those battles speaks volumes, a true testimony to the respect they had for Summitt, a relentless competitor and contributor to the game in general.

Candace Parker. Tamika Catchings. Chamique Holdsclaw. Kara Lawson. The list of those to don the Tennessee orange goes on. The packed Thompson-Boling Arena, the championship banners, the almost endless litany of accolades. All part of the Pat Summitt legacy.

In the final analysis, she was a teacher, her classroom the 94-by-50 court. She imparted life lessons before the term became a catchy phrase.
Pat Summitt left us too soon. The lessons she imparted, the contributions and everything she embodied will continue to remain with us.

We can all say thank you to Coach Summitt.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nets introduce Isaiah Whitehead in Coney Island press conference

Isaiah Whitehead models No. 15 Brooklyn Nets jersey in press conference introducing Coney Island native to his new NBA franchise. (Photo by

The dream-come-true feeling surrounding Isaiah Whitehead's acquisition by the Brooklyn Nets has not subsided in the days following his selection in the NBA Draft and subsequent trade to his hometown team.

In fact, it seems to have grown stronger.

Whitehead, the phenom who led Seton Hall to a Big East championship and NCAA Tournament before taking his talents to the professional level, was introduced in a press conference held Tuesday afternoon outside the Nets' team store in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, just steps from where Whitehead grew up, launched his career, and honed his craft.

"I look at it as a positive," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said of the impact his rookie point guard has a chance to make in his first NBA season. "What a great thing for the Brooklyn Nets, to be able to draft a local guy. I think it's a great thing, and I think we all realized when we interviewed him that he's a guy who can handle that pressure."

"I'm real confident," Whitehead told Zach Braziller of the New York Post when addressing whether or not he is NBA-ready after just two years at Seton Hall. "That's one of the traits about me. I would never back down from anyone."

Whitehead, who will continue to wear the No. 15 he has donned throughout his career at both Lincoln and Seton Hall, was lauded by his new head coach as equal parts playmaker and scorer.

"When I watched film on him, that's the first thing that stood out," Atkinson said in regard to Whitehead's ability as a facilitator. "He can pass the ball with both hands, and he made his teammates better. He obviously can score, we all knew that, but what really attracted him to me was his ability to see the floor, and I still think he can get better there."

Whitehead's maturation into a full-fledged point guard during his sophomore season was key for Seton Hall in the Pirates' run to their first Big East championship since 1993. Initially met with skepticism as to how he would handle being the floor general at the beginning of the season, Whitehead prospered, and the patience Kevin Willard had in his budding star paid off in the long run.

As far as his ability to handle the stage of playing in his hometown, well, that does not seem like it will be much of a factor.

"We wouldn't have drafted him if we didn't think he could handle it," said Atkinson. "We did a lot of work on him and watched a lot of his games. We're thrilled that we got him in the position we got him."

"This kid has proven he's a winner at various levels," Atkinson added. "Now it's time for him to prove it at the NBA level."

*Josh Adams of College Hoops Digest contributed to this story.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Mercury 104, Liberty 97: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

New York City - Momentum is fleeting.

Teams aspire to gain it, yet there is no guarantee it will be sustained. The New York Liberty found that to be the case on Sunday, as the Phoenix Mercury exited Madison Square Garden with a 104-97 victory that required an extra session.
The Liberty fell behind by double digits early. They gradually battled back, built a lead and appeared headed to a seventh consecutive victory before the extra five minutes was needed to settle the outcome.

The Liberty had the home crowd, the excitement of the WNBA 20th anniversary and the members of the first Liberty team on hand. On the court, Tina Charles was her assertive self and Sugar Rodgers was finding the range. In the end, all the feel-good positives could not add up to victory. Phoenix had Diana Taurasi. Ever the competitor, Taurasi hit several big threes and calmly canned three from the charity stripe with seconds left, necessitating overtime.  

In a cruel turn of events, Phoenix opened the overtime period going on a 6-2 run, seizing that momentum. They closed out the victory without another serious challenge.

The stat sheet showed Candace Dupree pacing the Mercury with 26 points. In all due respect to the former Temple standout, this win was courtesy of Taurasi. One player cannot do it all, Taurasi would be first to admit that. Still, her presence was the proverbial difference maker at crunch time. The former UConn and Olympic great scored 24 points, a number of which went a long way toward changing the course of momentum and the game itself.

The news of Pat Summitt’s grave condition had a profound effect on all in attendance Sunday. Taurasi, a prominent figure in some of those UConn-Tennessee battles, remembered the 2002 Final Four. “We defeated Tennessee in the semifinals, and afterwards, coach Summitt came to our locker room to congratulate and wish us well in the finals. It really showed me as much a competitor she was, it was evident she was even a better person.”

The original New York Liberty team from 1997 meets at center court. At the far left is former general manager Carol Blazejowski:
A baseline view of Madison Square Garden:
Carolyn Swords of the Liberty, defending Brittney Griner in the low post:
One more of Griner, in deep thought during the game:
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma chats with "The Guru," Mel Greenberg:
Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer meets the media:
With the Liberty game in the books, the train station at Secaucus Junction is inundated with Argentina fans heading to the Copa America final at MetLife Stadium:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mercury 104, Liberty 97: Tempo-Free Analysis

Diana Taurasi, moments before tying game at free throw line in waning second of regulation. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

New York City - Riding the momentum of a six-game win streak, the New York Liberty hosted the Phoenix Mercury. Included in the streak were three road triumphs for New York, posting their their longest win streak since 2010. Phoenix ventured to Madison Square Garden below .500. Little of those details mattered, as the Mercury prevailed, 104-97, in overtime.

First quarter: Diana Taurasi opens with a three. The first Liberty set ball goes into the low post. Tina Charles, defended one-on-one by Brittney Griner, misses a fall-away jumper. The Liberty still go inside, while the Mercury can four threes in just over two minutes. The Mercury win the first four minutes, 18-7, largely due to their perimeter prowess. Those treys are falling, but in time, could prove to be fool’s gold for the Mercury. Off the bench, Kiah Stokes is playing some solid defense on Griner. Offensively, the Liberty moved Charles, still a threat from 12-15 feet, to the high post, opening some lanes for penetration.  
Score: Phoenix 28, NY Liberty 20

Second quarter: In just two minutes, the Liberty begin with an 8-0 spurt to tie the contest. New York got a lot out of its double post set with Stokes and 6-5 Amanda Zahul B, giving Charles the chance to get about a five-minute rest. The Mercury have cooled off from the perimeter, and the Liberty has stepped up the offense. Regardless, Phoenix still hangs tough and with their motion and constant screening, proves to be a team demanding constant defensive attention.
Halftime: Phoenix 47, NY Liberty 46
Possessions: Phoenix 41, NY Liberty 43
Offensive Efficiency: Phoenix 115, NY Liberty 107
  • The efficiency allowed by New York was considerably higher than coach Bill Laimbeer’s liking. A consolation was limiting the Mercury to zero offensive rebounds.
Third quarter: Phoenix looks inside to Griner. Carolyn Swords defends with a double-team coming on a catch. The Liberty get a good start, winning the first four minutes 6-4. Perspective. Not a highlight film reel resulting in a 52-51 lead at the six-minute mark, but decidedly better than the four minutes to open the game. The Liberty spurt late in the quarter to open a six-point lead. When Brittany Boyd enters the lineup, she energizes the attack on both ends of the floor.  On one sequence, Boyd seemed to overdribble before feeding Zahui B. with a pinpoint pass, stretching the lead to eight.
Score: NY Liberty 67, Phoenix 57

Fourth quarter: General observations so far: Griner is very ordinary today. Boyd, as noted, is a spark, while Charles and Sugar Rodgers are reliable as usual. I just get done writing this and Taurasi buries another three. You cannot give her any daylight on the perimeter. With six minutes left, the Liberty hold a 75-72 lead. Griner is starting to assert herself at this most opportune juncture. Rodgers comes up with another big three. It is 82-76 Liberty heading into the final three minutes. Up five with two minutes to go, the Liberty are in an attack-the-basket mode. Taurasi cuts the Liberty lead to one with just over a minute left. Shavonte Zellous answers with a floater over Griner. The Phoenix interior threat answers before Charles’ penetration gets the lead back to three with 20 seconds to go. Taurasi is fouled from three with seven seconds to go, and cans all three to force overtime.  
End of regulation: NY Liberty 89, Phoenix 89

Overtime: Both teams come out at a good up-and-down pace. Taurasi is now a target. After getting a screen, she hits a wing (usually Candace Dupree) cutting backdoor. Very effective. Stokes fouls out with 1:50 to go. Swords is in, but the story here is a few poorly used possessions on the part of the Liberty. The Mercury scored six of the first eight points here in overtime, and the Liberty seemed to rush things rather than rely on their regular offensive sets. Phoenix hits their free throws to close out the victory.
Final score: Phoenix 104, NY Liberty 97
Possessions: Phoenix  90, NY Liberty 81
Offensive efficiency: Phoenix 116, NY Liberty 97

eFG%: Phoenix 55, NY Liberty 49
Free Throw Rate: Phoenix 47, NY Liberty 17
Offensive Rebound%: Phoenix 13, NY Liberty 32
Turnover Rate: Phoenix 9, NY Liberty 12

What Phoenix did well: Hit the big shots and free throws, mostly courtesy of Diana Taurasi, in the stretch while getting the vital stops to force the extra session.

What New York did well: Limit the Mercury on the offensive boards for a raw number total of four, and regrouping after an early double-digit deficit.

Notes: Phoenix is 6-9 while the Liberty, off on a road trip, are 10-5. The Mercury placed five in double digits. Taurasi added 24 points and the game’s third highest EF at 30. The Liberty led 54-38 in points in the paint. Both teams knocked down seven three-pointers. The big difference was the charity stripe. Phoenix was 27-of-33, while the Liberty were 12-of-15 for 80%. Penny Taylor of Phoenix had a solid effort with 16 points, seven assists and no turnovers. Dupree, a quietly effective contributor on this afternoon, Charles and Stokes shared rebounding honors with eight each.

Leading scorers and EF:
Phoenix: Candace Dupree 26 points, EF 36
New York: Tina Charles 26 points, EF 37.

Final Thoughts:
“Frustrating. Seemed the whole fourth quarter, they scored from the free throw line. Frustrating because they kept going to the line. Some were fouls some you could disagree with. They came out and shot the ball well. Taurasi is a multiple Olympian. She’s tall and smart, and shoots the ball well.” - NY Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer

“I went up and knocked down those three shots. There was absolutely no nervousness. At this point of my career, nervousness is long gone. Obviously a great win for us, but anytime you win on the road in this league, it is special.” - Diana Taurasi

Friday, June 24, 2016

Looking back at Rider's season

Kahlil Thomas' breakout junior season kept Rider in contention for a top-five finish through most of MAAC regular season. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)

By Brandon Scalea (@brandonscalea)

The only question mark heading into Riders 2015-16 campaign was how head coach Kevin Baggett was going to fill the void left by the departure of center Matt Lopez.

After all, the once-promising 2014-15 squad self-destructed after he went down with a torn ACL late in the season. 

Junior Kahlil Thomas, seldom used in his first two seasons with the Broncs, surprised a lot of people with his play, and had a lot of Rider fans forgetting Lopez ever donned the cranberry and white. He finished the season with 12 double-doubles, and was a presence in the paint the Broncs desperately needed, especially with an offense that still revolved around a big man. Thomas led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in field-goal percentage and finished second in rebounding, behind only Sienas Brett Bisping.

The 6-foot-7 Florida native said he wasnt trying to replace Lopez, but he learned a lot from him the year before.

I wouldnt say I was filling his shoes or anything like that, but when we played together we kind of played side by side,” he said. But I was just trying to be myself out there. I just go out and play as hard as I can for as long as I can.” 

Despite Thomas’ breakout year, Rider still managed to struggle offensively at times. It also struggled mightily with closing out games, a key in its 8-12 conference record — 12-19 overall. That record was good for an eighth-place finish in MAAC play. 

Some games, we looked like this All-America team,” Thomas said. Other times, we didnt. To keep the consistency [for next season] we just need to keep having good practices, keep working on getting better. We cant be sluggish one night and then great the next. Weve got to be ready to play every night.
The game that essentially defined Riders up-and-down type year was a Feb. 12 contest against eventual regular season champion Monmouth. The game was televised on ESPNU, and Alumni Gym was pulsating over an hour before tipoff.

In the first half, the Broncs struggled to keep up with the high-flying Hawks, but managed to keep the deficit to just nine at halftime. In the second half, Rider came out of the gate and played its best basketball of the season, going on an incredible 31-9 run in which it made seven consecutive three-pointers. They led by as much as 16, but it still was not enough. All it really had to do was hang on to the ball in the final minutes, but a late collapse ended with a Justin Robinson game-winner with three ticks left. 

Exhilarating and heartbreaking could define that game and most of Riders season. According to Thomas, there were a lot of positives to take out of that game, despite the loss.

That Monmouth game was the best game I ever played in my life,” he said. I dont know if well ever have that type of atmosphere and that type of game again. We know our best basketball came out that night and we know we have the potential to play like that consistently.”  

Two weeks later, the Broncs were blown out at Monmouth before a third meeting between the two in-state rivals in the quarterfinal of the MAAC tournament. The Hawks won that one, too.  

Like the rest of the team, graduate guard Teddy Okereafor had his highs and lows in his final collegiate season. In some games he was the best player on the court, most notably in a double-overtime win over Marist. In a career night, he broke a conference record for made free-throws in a single game with 25. He also finished with 38 points, including the game-tying lay-up with 1.4 seconds left in regulation. On other nights, however, he was simply ineffective. He earned third team All-MAAC honors at seasons end. 

In 2016-17, the Broncs will only return five scholarship players: Thomas and fellow seniors Jimmie Taylor and Xavier Lundy, as well as junior Anthony Durham and sophomore Kealen Ives. They have recently picked up two transfers: Devine Eke from Maine, and Norville Carey from Southern Mississippi. Carey is immediately eligible.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Isaiah Whitehead drafted in second round, traded to Nets

Brooklyn native Isaiah Whitehead will not have to travel far to begin NBA career, as Seton Hall guard was acquired by Brooklyn Nets after being selected 42nd overall by Utah in NBA Draft. (Photo by Seton Hall University Athletics)

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn's native son is staying home.

Isaiah Whitehead, the Coney Island native who bet on himself after two seasons in which he resurrected Seton Hall basketball and brought the Pirates to their first NCAA Tournament since 2006, was acquired by his hometown Brooklyn Nets during Thursday night's NBA Draft.

"It's a dream come true," he gushed when meeting the media for the first time as a professional. "Since Brooklyn got here, I always wanted to play for them."

Whitehead was officially selected by the Utah Jazz in the second round with the No. 42 overall pick, but his rights will be traded to the Nets in exchange for the No. 55 overall pick; which turned out to be North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige, and cash considerations. He is the first Seton Hall player drafted since 2001, when Eddie Griffin and Samuel Dalembert went at No. 7 and No. 26 overall, respectively, and is the first New Jersey college player drafted since Rutgers' Hamady Ndiaye was a second-round choice in 2010.

"There's no pressure," Whitehead told SNY's Adam Zagoria moments after being selected. "It's just basketball. I'm just going to try to take it by storm."

When addressing his second-round draft status, the fearless floor general was brutally honest when revealing that he will play with a chip on his shoulder.

"I always dreamed about being a first-round pick," Whitehead said, "so it's definitely motivation."

In his sophomore season, Whitehead garnered first team all-Big East honors as he led Seton Hall to its first conference championship since 1993, averaging 18.2 points and 5.1 assists per game for the Pirates, while also shooting 37 percent from three-point range. He also captured the MBWA Haggerty Award, given to the best player in the New York metropolitan area, the first Seton Hall honoree since the award was bestowed upon Adrian Griffin in 1996. However, skepticism was still prevalent over his decision to leave South Orange halfway through a career that seemed to be blossoming into one of the finest in program history.

"Once you make a decision like that, there's no looking back," he declared. "I can't go back and say, 'I should have done this, I should have done that.' It's done. I said, 'hey, if I get picked, I'm blessed.'"

2016 NBA Draft: A Running Diary

The tradition continues for a fifth consecutive year.

While the actual festivities at Barclays Center take place 20 minutes away from our home base in Queens, we will cover the 2016 NBA Draft from Daly Dose headquarters, making observations on the 60 players selected, the storylines surrounding them, and of course, our man-crush on Fran Fraschilla.

Here we go, and we hope you join us for the ride.

7:02 - Rece Davis introduces the panel. First up, Jay Bilas, (ugh) who uses the word "potential" within his first minute. No wingspan or tipping it back just yet.

7:02 - Michael Wilbon joins the set this year with Davis, Bilas and Jalen Rose, replacing Jay Williams. Hopefully Mr. PTI is a lot more bearable than Williams and Bill Simmons before him.

7:04 - Chris Broussard is following the 76ers tonight. No mention of his sources so far.

7:06 - Andy Katz and Marc Stein updating everyone on trade rumors and possible news to watch during the course of the night. Stein is in for Jeff Goodman, who handled this last year.

7:12 - While scrolling through the Twitter before shutting it down for the next few hours, the great Josh Newman; who you may know from the Asbury Park Press, SNY, and his occasional Monmouth podcast hits on this site with yours truly, tweeted the following picture:

7:15 - Not gonna lie, as a Ranger fan, it reminds me of this:

7:17 - First "wingspan" reference from Bilas, coming on the pregame show.

7:24 - ESPN comes back from break with video of the Porzingis selection. What a difference a year makes.


7:26 - The people's champion of international prospects:

7:28 - Always great to see Tom Penn explain the salary cap. Really love what he brings to the table.

7:32 - Adam Silver makes his way out to the usual chorus of boos, which still seem mild compared to the classic David Stern reception.

7:32 - Silver gets booed a little louder after congratulating the Cavaliers and Warriors on their NBA Finals performances.

7:34 - The Philadelphia 76ers are now on the clock. Let's see how long it takes to get the card with Ben Simmons' name on it.

7:36 - The Sixers were reportedly looking to move up to No. 3 overall. Marc Stein reports that Philadelphia is offering their two late first-round picks, No. 24 and No. 26, plus Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington, to the Boston Celtics.

7:37 - Here's Adam Silver.

7:37 - With the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Ben Simmons, forward from Louisiana State University.

7:37 - Still no "trust the process" chants from the Sixers fans in attendance at Barclays Center. However, I covered Simmons in that very arena during the Legends Classic last November, and didn't see anyone more deserving of No. 1 overall all season.

7:40 - The draft hats aren't as brutal as I expected. Neither is Lisa Salters doing the interviews.

7:41 - Before the Lakers take Brandon Ingram at No. 2, here's Tom Penn with a breakdown of the Sixers' cap and roster situations.

7:43 - As expected, Brandon Ingram goes second overall to the Los Angeles Lakers, announced by fellow Dukie Adam Silver.

7:43 - Ingram booed, maybe because of his Durham connections. Or are they saying Boo-urns?

7:44 - Hashtag wingspan.

7:46 - Bilas' Duke pride didn't show for Ingram as much as it did for Jahlil Okafor last year. Maybe he's toning it down. He's also said "wingspan" just twice tonight.

7:48 - Here's Boston on the clock with the third pick. This is where the draft takes a turn. As Mike Francesa would say, "da witchin owah" begins here:

7:51 - Boston will make the pick, but will they trade it? Here's the commissioner.

7:51 - Boston takes Jaylen Brown of Cal third overall. CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein said the Celtics had done extensive research on Brown, so maybe this isn't as much of a surprise even though the vast majority of experts thought Kris Dunn was a lock in that spot.

7:52 - A third wingspan reference, but no drinking game mention.

7:53 - Jaylen Brown playing for Brad Stevens will be a lot of fun to watch if Boston keeps this pick.

7:54 - As well-spoken as Brown seems to be, he looks like a Las Vegas blackjack dealer with that suit.

7:56 - We go now to the Phoenix Suns, who are on the clock fourth overall. Their backcourt seems solid enough, so Dunn might not be the call here. Marquese Chriss, the burgeoning big man from Washington, is a possibility. Dragan Bender, this year's highest-rated international prospect, might be in play as well.

7:58 - Dragan Bender looks like a 7-1 Jeff Gordon, with Kurt Busch's ears. Sorry, I watch a lot of NASCAR.

7:58 - Bilas quotes Hyman Roth from "The Godfather," saying "this is the business we have chosen." Everytime I hear that line, it reminds me of Jimmy Patsos, who always finds a way to get it into almost every interview he does with me.

7:59 - Bender goes to Phoenix.


8:00 - Fran Fraschilla for the first time. Life is beautiful.

8:01 - Bender's trying out for a scholarship.

8:04 - ESPN, trying its best not to tip the pick, shows Buddy Hield as they cut to break. It's worth noting that Adrian Wojnarowski said Hield was probably going to be the guy earlier this afternoon. Then again, Woj may not have expected Kris Dunn to still be on the board at this juncture.

8:06 - For the sake of avoiding scoops, I'm not going on Twitter to find out if Dunn's past shoulder woes are the reason why he's fallen this far.

8:06 - Kris Dunn goes to Minnesota at No. 5. Scoring point guard and lockdown defender. Tom Thibodeau just won the Super Bowl with this pick.

8:09 - Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Kris Dunn. With or without Ricky Rubio, and with Al Jefferson as a supporting cast member, Minnesota is going to be scary good.

8:13 - Buddy Hield, who was pegged for Minnesota before Kris Dunn fell outside the top three, lands in the Big Easy, going sixth to the New Orleans Pelicans.

8:14 - Have no fear, Buddy's here.

8:16 - The suits in Bristol head to break with Jamal Murray in plain sight of the cameras. The Canadian marksman is a target for the Denver Nuggets, who pick seventh.

8:20 - Denver has this pick thanks to the Carmelo Anthony trade. Always love a good pot shot at Dolan.

8:21 - Jamal Murray is indeed the pick for Denver, extending the streak of a Kentucky player going in the top seven to seven years. That's every season under John Calipari, who came to Lexington in 2009.

8:23 - Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay, with Kenneth Faried down low. Watch out for Denver next season.

8:25 - Expect the run on forwards to start with this next pick, as the Sacramento Kings are on the clock at No. 8. A multitude of options awaits here, including Marquese Chriss, Domantas Sabonis, or even Deyonta Davis.

8:27 - Marquese Chriss, who shot so far up the draft board that some analysts had him as high as third, heads down Interstate 5 from Seattle to Sacramento, as he is the Kings' choice at eighth overall.

8:28 - Andy Katz breaks in to confirm that Chriss will be traded to the Phoenix Suns, who were heavily rumored to select him at No. 4. However, Dragan Bender will remain in Phoenix, so the Suns will walk out of Brooklyn with two top 10 picks.

8:28 - Phoenix has two more first-round picks, No. 13 and No. 28 overall. Expect one or both to be made for Sacramento later on.

8:29 - It takes Rece Davis to mention the Bilas drinking game after an hour. Shocking on Jay's part, but we play on.

8:33 - Toronto on the clock. Everyone expects the Raptors to take a big man with the impending loss of Bismack Biyombo on the horizon.

8:33 - Adam Silver confirms the suspicions. The Raptors have selected Utah's Jakob Poeltl ninth overall.

8:34 - It's pronounced YAHK-ub PURT-uhl, with Poeltl sounding like "turtle."

8:34 - I like turtles.

8:36 - Expecting homegrown talent Henry Ellenson to stay in his native Wisconsin with the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 10. A guard here wouldn't be shocking, though.

8:40 - One-third of the way through now. Milwaukee shocks the world by taking Thon Maker, the high school phenom who some thought may not have been eligible for the draft in the first place, tenth overall.

8:41 - This is where my inner Orlando Magic fan comes out. If Rob Hennigan is reading this, he needs to go for Domantas Sabonis or Henry Ellenson.

8:42 - Fran Fraschilla reminding everyone that Milwaukee rolled the dice on Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it paid off. If anyone can sell me on this pick, it's Fraschilla.

8:43 - I actually can't believe I got Antetokounmpo correctly without having to spell check or Google it. I've been a good speller over the years, but that one was always a challenge.

8:45 - Orlando made a smart decision hiring Frank Vogel. What are the odds that Hennigan goes 2-for-2 this offseason?

8:46 - I feel like my good friend Sean Brennan whenever I write about the Magic here. If you don't remember, Sean was in charge of the NFL recaps for the New York Daily News every Monday, and always included an amusing anecdote on the Cincinnati Bengals. That's kind of how I approach Orlando every draft night.

8:47 - Here it is.

8:49 - This was my official reaction to the Magic drafting Domantas Sabonis:

8:51 - Arvydas Sabonis gets interviewed moments after his son. I was nine years old when he debuted with the Blazers in 1995. I feel old now, but so does everybody else.

8:54 - And the Magic have reportedly traded Sabonis, along with Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka.

8:55 - Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz, drafting for Atlanta, take Taurean Prince at No. 12 for the Hawks.

8:55 - Going back to Orlando for a second, the latest Draymond Green-esque kick to the groin just occurred for Magic fans.

8:59 - Oklahoma City is going to be LOADED next year. Hot damn.

9:02 - If Chris Russo were a Magic fan, he'd revise his classic "ONE TIME" rant:

9:03 - Drafting for Sacramento, Phoenix takes Greek center Georgios Papagiannis at No. 13 overall. At least we get Fran Fraschilla here.

9:04 - Your usual table, Mr. Papagiorgio?

9:08 - While the Chicago Bulls are on the clock, let's ask the public: What was Rob Hennigan thinking? Was he doing his Brian Sabean impression? You know, when Sabean traded Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski?

9:09 - Chicago takes Denzel Valentine at No. 14. Could Jimmy Butler be on the move?

9:10 - Henry Ellenson is still on the board.

9:14 - Welcome to the post-lottery portion of tonight's program. The Denver Nuggets are back on the clock, in search of a complement for Jamal Murray.

9:15 - Andy Katz says Chicago is keeping Valentine. Solid backcourt with Jimmy Butler.

9:17 - Denver is first to the potential stash picks, taking Juan Hernangomez of Spain at No. 15 overall. Fran Fraschilla, take it away.

9:18 - Fraschilla totally buries Bilas' assertion than Hernangomez is a stash pick, citing his experience overseas makes him NBA-ready right now. Highlight of the night for me given the Sabonis debacle.

9:26 - The international run continues on, as Boston takes French power forward Guerschon Yabusele at No. 16. A double dose of Fraschilla is never a bad thing.

9:32 - So much for Memphis promising Malachi Richardson at No. 17 overall. The Grizzlies get their point guard of the future, going for Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin IV.

9:33 - Obligatory reminder that friend of the site Jon Alba called a high school game with two future first-round picks, as Baldwin joins Karl-Anthony Towns.

9:34 - Drink up, baby! Tip it back!

9:36 - Detroit on the clock at No. 18, and the pick is in.

9:37 - Stan Van Gundy and former Marist head coach Jeff Bower with the steal of the draft thus far, taking Marquette's Henry Ellenson.

9:44 - Denver back on the clock a third time at No. 19, presumably with a stash pick if all the mock drafts, which went up in flames an hour ago, are right.

9:45 - Like I said, the mock drafts went up in flames. The Nuggets take Malik Beasley of Florida State in the No. 19 spot.

9:46 - Love when Bilas busts out the advanced stats, mentioning Beasley's 50 percent adjusted field goal percentage last year at FSU.

9:47 - Indiana on the clock, but the pick will be traded to the Brooklyn Nets along with a future second-round pick in exchange for Thaddeus Young.

9:48 - Seton Hall fans, get ready. The Isaiah Whitehead watch begins now.

9:51 - The Pacers go for somewhat of a shock, taking Michigan's Caris LeVert at No. 20 and shipping him to Brooklyn.

9:51 - If not for his foot injuries over the past two years, LeVert is a Top 10 pick. Guaranteed.

9:58 - Into the final third of the opening round. Atlanta's second pick is DeAndre' Bembry, going No. 21 overall after winning Player of the Year honors in the Atlantic 10 with Saint Joseph's.

10:00 - The Hawk will never die.

10:02 - I may have ticked off some Villanova fans with that last one. Hey 'Nova Nation, I'm sorry. Consider this my apology:

10:03 - The Charlotte Hornets are on the clock here at No. 22, but Sacramento will ultimately get the pick once the trade involving Marco Belinelli gets approved by the commissioner.

10:04 - Syracuse gets on the board, as Malachi Richardson gets drafted by Charlotte for Sacramento.

10:06 - Shoutout to Bilas for the effective field goal percentage reference.

10:06 - Just checking on the pace here, and we're a couple of minutes ahead of last year, when the 23rd pick wasn't made until 10:12.

10:07 - Malachi Richardson mentioning the need to trust the process. He's not going to the Sixers, though, at least not yet.

10:08 - For the third time tonight, the Boston Celtics are on the clock. For the third time tonight, we all get to bask in a Celtics pick without Bill Simmons opining on how it affects his life.

10:12 - Boston's third pick is the Celtics' second international player, as Danny Ainge takes Croatian center Ante Zizic. The stage is yours, Fran Fraschilla.

10:14 - A stash pick, but Fraschilla says Zizic is a steal for Boston. They've had a solid night thus far.

10:14 - Simmons may have just channeled his inner Chase Utley, wherever he is. Don't count your chickens before they hatch yet, big guy. (WARNING: This clip may be, as the kids say, NSFW)

10:15 - God, I miss Harry Kalas. Rest in power, good sir.

10:17 - Pick No. 24, the second 76ers pick, is French shooter Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. For the record, our mock draft has missed on every pick since Brandon Ingram.

10:18 - Fran Fraschilla going back to back. Shoutout to Drake.

10:21 - The Clippers, who went for a North Carolina Tar Heel when they drafted Reggie Bullock, have just selected Brice Johnson 25th overall. Excellent pick.

10:25 - As a longtime UNC fan, personally speaking, that last pick was another proud moment.

10:27 - Tom Penn making some sense out of the Oklahoma City cap scenario. Loved it all the way up until the notion of Kevin Durant possibly going to the Knicks.

10:29 - With their third pick of the night, Philadelphia selects Turkish swingman Furkan Korkmaz at No. 26. Fran Fraschilla for the win, and points out the likely stash by the Sixers.

10:32 - The great Kevin McNamara, who covers Providence and all things New England sports for the Providence Journal, just tweeted that this year's draft ties a record with twelve foreign-born first-round picks. David Stern's vision of a global game can take a well-deserved bow tonight.

10:33 - I'll throw this out there now: If you see a prolonged gap between entries later on tonight, it means Isaiah Whitehead got drafted and I'm working on that story once it happens.

10:34 - Deyonta Davis, Skal Labissiere, and Dejounte Murray, all of whom were projected as lottery picks in some capacity, all remain on the board.

10:35 - John Calipari, dead silent. How often do we see that?

10:36 - Toronto breaks the international first-round pick record with Pascal Siakam, a Cameroon native who played at New Mexico State.

10:44 - Phoenix is back on the clock, and ends the slide for Skal Labissiere, taking the enigmatic Kentucky big man at No. 28 to join Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss.

10:48 - San Antonio makes their first appearance on the clock. Should be interesting to see where the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NBA, always drafting the best fit as opposed to the best available, go with this one.

10:50 - Dejounte Murray, a talented freshman from Washington, becomes the second Huskies player drafted. His reward? Being groomed to replace Manu Ginobili after San Antonio selects him 29th overall.

10:51 - With the 30th pick on the clock, our token tribute to David Stern:

10:56 - Not gonna lie, the thought of Kevin Durant in Golden State in a sign-and-trade might get me to watch the NBA more regularly.

10:56 - Adam Silver's swan song for the night moments away.

10:57 - The Warriors end the first round by taking Vanderbilt center Damian Jones 30th overall.

10:57 - For the second year in a row, Adam Silver refers to the home of the Nets as "the Barclays Arena." Take a look at the signage outside, Adam. It's those big blue letters than even Stevie Wonder can see.

10:58 - Deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, better known as Not Russ Granik, will conduct the second round. The Isaiah Whitehead watch intensifies.

11:01 - We Want Granik. Also, We Want Whitehead.

11:03 - Off topic somewhat, but this Lincoln commercial with the blues cover of "Midnight Rider" has to go. The Allman Brothers are on that list of groups whose repertoire should never be covered, because no version will ever do the originals justice.

11:04 - Deyonta Davis, projected as a Top 10 pick, slides all the way out of the first round.

11:05 - Jeff Goodman, covering the Celtics tonight, announces that Boston has traded the No. 31 and 35 picks to Memphis. Goodman also inadvertently tips the first pick, scooping Deyonta Davis for the Grizzlies.

11:07 - Another one of the Four Factors makes its way into Bilas' analysis, as he mentions Davis having ranked in the Top 50 in the nation in offensive rebound percentage.

11:08 - Boston gets Memphis' 2019 first-round pick in exchange for their first two second-rounders.

11:09 - We've fallen somewhat behind schedule compared to last year, but the Lakers draft Croatian center Ivica Zubac 32nd overall as a likely stash. Fran Fraschilla raves about Zubac defending Duke commit and potential 2017 No. 1 overall pick Harry Giles in the process.

11:11 - The Los Angeles Clippers are having a low-key solid draft night, taking Kansas' Cheick Diallo at No. 33 to pair with Brice Johnson. Diallo, like Deyonta Davis, was projected as a first-round talent almost everywhere, so this is somewhat of a steal.

11:13 - Phoenix adds to their haul with Kentucky's Tyler Ulis going 34th overall, taking the Wildcat dynamo to join fellow Lexington standout Eric Bledsoe in Earl Watson's backcourt.

11:14 - Bilas breaks in to report Cheick Diallo may be on his way to New Orleans. Waiting to hear the particulars.

11:15 - Celtics drafting for Memphis at No. 35. Still no Whitehead as we go to break.

11:15 - It's worth noting that Cleveland drafted Sir'Dominic Pointer during a commercial break last year, so there is some precedent when it comes to the locals having their moments fly under the radar.

11:19 - Milwaukee gets a second-round steal and an immediate impact player, drafting reigning ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon 36th overall.

11:20 - While we were away at that last break, Boston drafted Serbian forward Rade Zagorac for Memphis. The Celtics keep the 37th pick for the moment, and they draft Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku.

11:23 - Milwaukee on the clock for the second time in three picks, and they draft UNLV's Patrick McCaw at No. 38.

11:24 - Andy Glockner, (check out his book, "Chasing Perfection," which I will finally finish my review of soon) the reputed Mountain West Conference guru, reports that McCaw will be traded to Golden State. Awaiting his thoughts on that pick.

11:26 - New Orleans takes French point guard David Michineau at No. 39 overall.

11:27 - I hear Michineau, and I'm reminded of Taka Michinoku. Here's one of his matches against Dean Malenko. Two of the most underrated wrestlers out there.

11:28 - With their second consecutive pick, New Orleans takes Maryland center Diamond Stone at No. 40.

11:29 - The Diallo to New Orleans trade is indeed happening. David Michineau and Diamond Stone are heading to the Clippers.

11:29 - Looks like the Magic will make this pick during the break. Maybe it's for the best after how the Sabonis debacle played out.

11:30 - Adrian Wojnarowski reporting the Brooklyn Nets have traded the No. 55 pick and the ever-popular cash considerations to the Utah Jazz for the No. 42 overall pick. Whitehead could be staying home.

11:31 - If my phone starts blowing up, Whitehead is the pick. Keeping a close vigil.

11:32 - Orlando takes UNLV center Stephen Zimmerman 41st overall.

11:33 - Utah will draft Isaiah Whitehead 42nd and send him to the Brooklyn Nets. The barrage of text messages I just received confirmed this.

11:36 - Houston takes Chinese power forward Zhou Qi 43rd overall.

11:36 - Whitehead is the first Seton Hall Pirate drafted since Eddie Griffin and Samuel Dalembert were first-round picks in 2001.


11:41 - At No. 44 overall, Atlanta takes French guard Isaia Cordinier. Fraschilla compares him to Austin Rivers.

11:43 - Demetrius Jackson to the Celtics at No. 45 in a second-round steal.

11:44 - Sorry for the brevity here, as I'm working on the Whitehead piece.

11:45 - A.J. Hammons to Dallas at No. 46 overall.

11:48 - Maryland's Jake Layman goes to the Magic with the 47th pick.

11:51 - German forward Paul Zipser to Chicago at No. 48 overall. Detroit, with the 49th pick, drafts Syracuse guard Michael Gbinije to join Henry Ellenson. Two solid picks for the Pistons.

11:54 - The Pacers get a second-round steal at No. 50, taking Iowa State forward Georges Niang.

11:56 - Another second-round steal at No. 51, as Boston takes Providence forward Ben Bentil.

11:59 - Remember the Patrick McCaw trade we briefly mentioned? He went to the Warriors for cash considerations. Utah takes Joel Bolomboy 52nd overall shortly thereafter.

12:03 - Denver takes French forward Petr Cornelie 53rd overall. Fraschilla likens him to Channing Frye.

12:04 - Kay Felder to Atlanta at No. 54.

12:05 - ESPN's Chad Ford reporting Felder is on his way to Cleveland.

12:05 - Drafting for the Jazz at No. 55, the Nets take Marcus Paige out of North Carolina.

12:08 - UConn's Daniel Hamilton to Denver at No. 56 overall.

12:13 - Chinese center Wang Zhelin to Memphis with the 57th pick.

12:14 - Another Iowa State Cyclone comes off the board, as Abdel Nader heads to the Celtics with the 58th overall pick.

12:15 - The Sacramento Kings have the penultimate pick, and they select Mount Vernon native Isaiah Cousins, who played for Bob Cimmino in high school before a stellar collegiate career at Oklahoma.

12:16 - Who is this year's Mr. Irrelevant?

12:18 - Cal point guard Tyrone Wallace is the 60th and final player selected, taken by the Utah Jazz.

12:19 - One last wingspan reference from Bilas as we await word on where A.J. English, Jameel Warney and Juan'ya Green, among others, sign or receive Summer League invitations.