Players Bulls Should Target: 2018 NBA Draft


Congrats to the Phoenix Suns for getting the first overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. This is a first for their franchise to own the premier pick. If they don’t end up trading the top pick for Karl Anthony-Towns or something catastrophic, the Suns will end up taking either the hometown kid DeAndre Ayton, from Arizona, or European sensation Luka Doncic. Either way, both players will be going to Phoenix or Sacramento (Kings), pending a blockbuster trade. Marvin Bagley III out of Duke seems destined to be drafted by the Atlanta Hawks at this point.

Phoenix, Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, and Orlando pick in front of Chicago (in that order). Even if the Bulls don’t make a move to get one of the players mentioned above, the following prospects can make an immediate impact to this young Bulls roster.

Michael Porter Jr. was projected to be the number one overall pick in this year’s draft before suffering the back injury during his freshman year at Missouri that sidelined him for majority of his college career. The 6’10” swingman can fill a major need in the Bulls rotation. There are no major weaknesses in his game and he has NBA size, shooting and athleticism to be productive out the gate. Memphis would be the one team that could take him before falling to Chicago at 7. Porter was coached under former NBA all-star Brandon Roy at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle.

Mohamed Bamba already has potential to be an All NBA defender, but his 7’10” wingspan that was recorded at the NBA combine solidified that notion. He is still raw on offense but fills a need at center for the Bulls. The star out of Texas can be a long term defensive anchor for this team, something the Bulls hasn’t had since a healthy Joakim Noah. I mentioned the other day on Twitter that you will always be relevant with a 7’10” wingspan. Dallas and Orlando both need centers so it may be a long shot to have Mo Bamba available when it’s time for the Bulls to make their selection.

Mikal Bridges was a critical piece for the Villanova Wildcats, who won the NCAA National Championship 2 out the last 3 years. Who wouldn’t want a 2 time national championship on your team? The last time the Bulls had a player of those credentials was Joakim Noah. His offense, specifically his catch and shooting from behind the arc is his greatest strength, and probably the Bulls biggest need. His defense isn’t bad either. Bridges has the potential to be a great two-way player in the NBA one day. He can’t create his own shot and will need to add some weight but would be an immediate impact in an offensive-minded Fred Hoiberg offense. Memphis may take him at 4 or Orlando at 6.

Jaren Jackson Jr. is special. He has the highest celling for bigs in the draft and is already the best two-way. He can shoot and defend the 3, protect the rim, and his size and frame fits today’s game (6’11”, 242 pounds). Personally, would be very surprised if he falls to Chicago. Every team could use Jackson without hesitation. The sky is truly the limit for him.

BIG3


There’s been a lot of buzz going around of Ice Cube’s new basketball league called “BIG3”. Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz have co-founded the new league. The newly formed basketball league will feature retired NBA players in a 3-on-3 halfcourt setting. Former deputy executive director of the NBA Players Association, Roger Mason Jr., has signed on as the commissioner to make this summertime basketball league a reality.

From left: Kwatinetz,  Lewis, Iverson, Cube, Martin, and Mason Jr. attend Wednesday's introductory press conference.
Left to right: Kwatinetz, Lewis, Iverson, Cube, Martin, Mason Jr.

The “BIG3” will feature 8 teams consisting of 5 players (3 starters and 2 bench players). Ice Cube has gotten NBA Hall Of Famer Allen Iverson to join as a player-coach. Other former NBA players that have expressed interest or have signed aboard include:

  • Rashard Lewis
  • Kenyon Martin
  • Jason “White Chocolate” Williams
  • Mike Bibby
  • Stephen Jackson
  • Bonzi Wells
  • Chauncey Billups
  • Jermaine O’Neal
  • Al Harrington
  • Ricky Davis

NBA Legends Gary Payton, Rick Barry, Clyde Drexler, Rick Mahorn, and George Gervin will coach but will not play.

The league is scheduled to start June 24 and will tour for 10 weeks throughout the summer. Personally, I’m excited to see the players that I grew up watching play basketball again in a competitive setting. Even if it is just 3-on-3, I get to relive some of my childhood just a litter longer. More news on the league will follow over the next few months. What do you think about the new summertime basketball league?

Ball Is Life: Circle Of Men Athletics


If you ever lived in Northwest Indiana and have been involved in sports, you will know that this area is called “The Region”. The Region has produced many pro and collegiate athletes in different sports over the past few decades like former MLB center fielder Kenny Lofton (East Chicago, IN). He was a 6x all-star and a 4x gold glove winner. Another is current Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawaan Short (East Chicago, IN). In 2015, he was named to the Pro Bowl and was second-team All-Pro.

However, Indiana is known as the Hoosier State. There’s been plenty of successful basketball outcomes from The Region like Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson (Gary, IN), who happens to be an alum from my high school, Roosevelt, in Gary. Robinson was the number 1 overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft (to the Milwaukee Bucks). He averaged over 20 ppg for his career, was a 2x all-star, and won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005. Over the past 10 years, more players have been exposed to the NBA like Glenn Robinson III (Gary, IN, and currently with the Indiana Pacers), E’Twaun Moore (East Chicago, IN, and currently with the New Orleans Pelicans), Robbie Hummel (Valparaiso, IN), Branden Dawson (Gary, IN), and Mitch McGary (Chesterton, IN).

We even have athletes now that are already in division 1 or division 1-bound. Charles Cooper, a senior guard at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, helped the Phoenix during the 2015-16 season reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. Dana Evans, senior guard at Gary West Side High School, is currently ranked #3 at the point guard, and #7 overall for the 2017 class by ESPN. She has committed to Louisville.

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Dana Evans

My friend Leroy Cooper, who is also a part of our basketball network and former intramural basketball teammate, is the co-founder (along with Mr. Daniel Baker) of Circle of Men Athletics (COMA; @Circle_of_Men) . Every since I met Leroy, he has always been the type to lead and show support for others.

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COMA is an organization in Gary Indiana focused on the development of inner city athletes on and off the court…1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Leroy, who played his last two years of college basketball and spend the following year as assistant head coach at formerly Purdue University Calumet (now Purdue University Northwest), wants help student-athletes on and off the court.

The purpose is to instill life beyond talent for inner city athletes…provide mentorship, training, life skills and exposure to guys with athletic abilities.

In this day and age where violence seems to be at an all-time high (especially the way the city of Chicago is right now), it’s wonderful to know something like COMA is taking place within The Region. However, this organization has plans on spreading the helping hand.

Our vision is to take our not for profit worldwide and change the world through God’s anointing. Changing lives and giving people opportunities to advance through life is God’s kingdom on earth. Our staff is really passionate about our organization, and we have a great success rate so far. We started the organization in 2014 and have placed 78 guys in college on athletic scholarships. Our next showcase is April 22nd, 2017.

The more I looked into COMA, the more impressed I’ve become. This organization has the chance to become something iconic. Sending 78 young men to college in that short amount of time is the one thing that’s sticking out to me. I support anyone that’s trying to do something positive with the youth and the community. Leroy, continue striving for excellence with this program and don’t let any obstacle prevent you from your vision.

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JGOOD

Ball Is Life: Windy City’s Spaniards


Last week, I mentioned that I was part of a basketball network at Purdue University Northwest. Apparently, some people within this unofficial fraternity has experienced some unbelievable moments and rare opportunities. A prime example of this is my good friend Angel Martin de Soto, who was the personal assistant of Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic. I’ve known Angel since 2011 when he first came to the United States from Spain.

He’s one of the best all-around basketball players I ever played with (intramural basketball teammates). From his home country of Spain, Angel has been playing basketball since the age of six. He has played with the youth teams of Unicaja Malaga, one of the Top 5 teams in Spain. Angel has also played 4 years semi-pro in the 3rd Division in Spain.

If you don’t know, Nikola Mirotic is from Spain as well. The 6 foot 10 inch forward was drafted by Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall pick in 2011, but his draft rights were ultimately traded to the Chicago Bulls. Mirotic stayed in Spain until 2014, where he and Real Madrid (basketball team in Spain) reached a buyout of his contract.

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I’ve been a Bulls fan ever since I can remember. When Angel first told me about his unusual opportunity back in April of 2015, I was stunned (I actually have that  conversation saved on Facebook).

The reason why I worked for him, it is because Nikola was looking for an assistant that help them with their daily basis in his freshman year. I have a really good relation with his agent and he called me to have a interview.

Even though this job was an experience of a lifetime, just like any job, it came with some hard work and some inconvenient duties.

Everyday was different. It was basically 24/7 on call for whatever they (him and his wife) might need. I usually help them with their personal documents, travel arrangements, game day assistance, like hosting the guests, get their tickets and passes. Also, few times we did some shooting practice in his days off.

On the positive side, just like any job, there are a few benefits that make it worth your time there.

 

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Black Mamba warming up

 

The fact that both Angel and Nikola Mirotic are from Spain was probably the icing on the cake during their time together. To have someone with you from the same country when trying to adjust to another country’s culture makes the transition less hectic. Angel stopped working for Nikola Mirotic this past August to move back to Spain, but he has truly helped Mirotic adjust to the American culture. As long as Nikola Mirotic is a Chicago Bulls player, I will continue to cheer for him, especially knowing one of my friends has assisted him off the court.

JGOOD

Ball Is Life: Alex Richman


When you’re in college, you tend to meet a lot of people. At Purdue University Northwest (formally Purdue University Calumet), we built a network for basketball players for open gym sessions. I’ve seen plenty of talent come and go over the years, but Alex Richman is one of a kind. He’s very instinctive, has a high basketball IQ, underrated ball handling and court vision, and has one the best jump shots I’ve ever witnessed with my own eyes. Richman is a true competitor that doesn’t take kindly to losing and demands the best out of his teammates.

Before coming to Purdue, Alex went to Praire View A & M, a mid-major Division I school. Here’s some footage of Richman against other D1 schools, such as Hawaii and Baylor below:

Richman played for Praire View A & M for two years before ending up at Abilene Christain University and ultimately Purdue University Calumet for his senior season. The Melbourne, Florida native also played soccer (team captain) for the Peregrines during his last year of his college eligibility.

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Alex Richman with former Purdue Calumet Men’s Soccer Coach James Drzewiecki

Basketball after college didn’t stop for Richman, as he played semi-professionally with the Arizona Scorpions of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the Florida Flight of the Florida Basketball Association (FBA). Here are some highlights below from each team.

As you can see from the highlights, the 6 foot 2 guard has the ability not only to make shots and score the ball, but he has the vision to consistently find his teammates. After his stellar performance in the FBA in 2015 (29.2 ppg, 4.6 apg, six 35+ point games, 2nd consecutive all-star appearance), Richman was able to get a tryout and eventually signed with the Harlem Globetrotters for their international 90th-anniversary world tour.

Yes I’m still with the globetrotters. I’m what they call a “taxi” player. If they need a man for a tour then they would call me. I am still working with an agency as well and would pursue an overseas opportunity if it did end up happening. As of now I’m happily content with the globetrotters because they are one of the best in the business world at what they do and take care of their players with great respect.

Everything that Richman has achieved cannot be matched by many, and that’s a testament to his hard work ethic and love for the game. What makes the Florida native the ultimate teammate is that he started “F.A.I.T.H.” (Faith Allows Innovative Training Here). F.A.I.T.H. is an elite basketball training program in Brevard County, Florida.

My vision is to impact as many lives as I can in the community I grew up in. Brevard county isn’t known for basketball but there is so much hidden talent with no one searching. Not only do I train them to reach their full potential but I’m also a mentor to them and help them get to the next level of basketball they want to pursue. I have a great little circle of college, prep, and aau coaches who keep in contact with me and keep an eye on kids I post.

Alex Richman has worked with several high school athletes to prep them for the next level of their athletic careers. Some of the drills are very unique, but all of them are strenuous.

Richman also doesn’t allow his trainees to establish bad habits such as disrespect, a bad temper, lack of promptness, laziness, and selfishness. These 5 attributes are something that college coaches don’t want to see and will not tolerate from their players.  If you have Instagram, follow his page @faith.basketball and check out the videos of the intense workouts.

When you able to share your talents and gifts to help others become better, you are truly achieving greatness. Personally, it takes a humble person to display such acts. I hope Alex continues to use his resources for the greater good, shows humility, and stays a role model for the younger generation. I wish F.A.I.T.H. and your basketball career nothing but that best. Keep up the good work!

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JGOOD

FireFan App


FireFan is a new app that will allow you to play along with live sports on your mobile device. The app will be dropping this week, just in time for Thanksgiving when you’re stuck on the couch watching football because you’re too full to get up (We’ve all been there).

The app is FREE to download. You will need tokens to play. You can either watch a quick Ad to receive a token or spend money if you want to bypass the advertisement. However, if you CLICK HERE to preregister before the app releases, you’ll be awarded 12 Bonus Tokens using the promo code: JGOOD. This app is not considered gambling and is simple enough to where the average sports fan can play and be intrigued by it. You can play amongst others or by yourself. Also, you will be given points, where can redeem for prizes! (Everybody likes prizes).

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If you’re a fan of basketball, football, hockey, baseball,  and soccer, this app is for you! Here’s the intro video so you can get an idea of what it’s about.

Personally, I’m excited to play it this week. I love sports and I play games on a daily basis so this is like an early Christmas present to me. Hopefully, some of you all will sign up so we can play against each other. If so, let me know what you’re user name is after the app is released and we can play!

JGOOD

See Red Into A New Era: Chicago Bulls


A new beginning is upon us in the Windy City. The Bulls organization has made some significant changes over the summer that have transformed the shape of the team. The Bulls officially traded away their franchise (and my favorite) player, Derrick Rose, to the New York Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon (thankfully we cut him), and Jerian Grant (Former Chicago Bull Horace Grant’s nephew). In free agency, we elected not to bring back Pau Gasol (signed with San Antonio) or fan favorite Joakim Noah (signed with New York to play with D.Rose).

The Bulls front office, at the time, said they wanted to get “younger and more athletic”. We eventually drafted Denzel Valentine out of Michigan State. However, things got interesting when the Bulls decided to sign free agent point guard Rajon Rondo. The biggest and most unexpected news was the signing of free agent shooting guard, and Chicago native Dywane Wade. The Bulls pursued Wade in the summer of 2010. There were actual signs that Dywane Wade was going to sign with Chicago, but that changed at the 11th hour when Lebron James decided to take his talents to South Beach.

With that being said, the initial plan of rebuilding has turned into a retooling phase. Recently, the Bulls traded Tony Snell to the Milwaukee Bucks, for former rookie of the year winner Michael Carter-Williams. With all the changes, Chicago has one of the more interesting teams in the league. They lack 3 point shooting, but have better defense and can attack the basket. We did get somewhat younger but added veteran leaders and championship experience. We’re not quite a championship contender and not good enough to beat Cleveland. However, if we make the playoffs, we won’t be an easy out either.

It’s definitely a different vibe with the team because this is a new era with the Bulls. Last season was the beginning of the transition when they fired Tom Thibodeau and hired Fred Hoiberg. This year, we enter a grey area in which we don’t really know the outcome. We can finish as low as probably the 11th or 12th best in the Eastern Conference, or we have the ability to challenge for a home court advantage in the first round. One thing is for sure, I’m going to be here for the ride. I’ll have my Dywane Wade shirt ready for when we start our season against Boston. Let’s see what happens!

JGOOD