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UPDATE: The Jamont Gordon Experience In Italy

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 15, 2008

Former Mississippi State Bulldog, Jamont Gordon, handles the rock for Fortitudo Bologna in Italy

Former Mississippi State Bulldog, Jamont Gordon, handles the rock for Fortitudo Bologna in Italy

The last we left Jamont Gordon, he was having an impressively productive preseason with his Italian team, Fortitudo Bologna. The team was just about to travel to Athens, Greece for the preseason Varikas tournament.

In their first game against Panionios on September 26, Gordon led Fortitudo with 20 points and also snagged 8 rebounds. However, his team, without the services of former NBA center Earl Barron, could not defend the paint. Former Maryland Terp, Lonny Baxter, “terrified” Fortitudo with 26 points and 13 boards. Italian translated reports also indicate that Fortitudo had a lot of trouble with the pressing defense of Panionios.

The next day, Fortitudo went up against Russian powerhouse, Dynamo, which features former NBA players Jannero Pargo (New Orleans Hornets, also a former Arkansas Razorback who used to kill the Bulldogs) and Bostjan Nachbar (New Jersey Nets), along with former Oklahoma star, Hollis Price. Fortitudo played a much better game than against Panionios. Gordon once again led his team with 22 points, but unfortunately, the Italian team fell to the Russian team 78-75.

The indication seems to be that Jamont Gordon has been the ‘go-to’ guy in crunch time for Fortitudo, which is rare for an American rookie. According to team GM Zoran Savic, most knew that Jamont could score, but team officials are rather surprised at his defense, rebounding, and tough attitude.

The Italian League

Draft Express has a great run-down/preview of Italian League basketball. Unfortunately, the league has hit on some tough times as two members, Naples and Capo D’Orlando, were lost as a result of a tax-evasion scandal. This dropped the number of teams from 18 to 16. Fortitudo Bologna is picked by Draft Express to finish seventh in the Italian League.

Fortitudo opened their season on October 12th against Snaidero. Already short-handed with Qyntel Woods  and Earl Barron out due to injury, and star Brazilian point guard, Marcelo Huertas, experiencing passport issues, Fortitudo was hoping to lean on Jamont Gordon and former UNC Tar Heel, Joe Forte, in the opener. Unfortunately, Gordon went down with a sprained ankle after scoring only two points. Forte picked up the slack with 33 points en route to a 90-72 Fortitudo win.

Gordon is being monitored and is currently considered day-to-day. Fortitudo’s next match will be this Saturday against Lottomatica Virtus Roma. Lottomatica features former Villanova guard, Allan Ray, and the well-known American high-schooler, Brandon Jennings. Jennings is famous for skipping an opportunity to attend the University of Arizona (he was not eligible for the NBA draft because of the new age limit), and opted for money in Italy before trying his hand at the NBA.

Stay tuned for updates on Jamont Gordon’s status and his pro basketball Italian experience.


Posted in Bulldog Basketball, bulldogs overseas, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Update: Jamont Gordon in Italy (not Greece)

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 26, 2008

The difference between Jamont Gordon, a basketball player who attended Mississippi State University, and Jamon Gordon, a basketball player who attended Virginia Tech, may be as evident as the letter ‘T’ to you and I, but not to everyone.

Recently, a hubbub was created on international professional basketball scene when JaMON Gordon signed with AS Trikala 2000 BC, a team based in Greece. Confusion ensued and popular international basketball site, EuroBasket.com, reported that JamonT Gordon was leaving his team in Italy, Fortitudo Bologna, to head to Greece, when actually, it was the other Gordon.

This whole issue was cleared up today in a story from BasketNet.it, the title google translates to: Case of names, Jamont Gordon will not move from Bologna. (EuroBasket still has Jamont Gordon playing in Greece on his profile, so I sent an email requesting a correction to an otherwise stellar site – they changed it to no team, but I ensure you that Jamont is playing for Fortitudo Bologna.)

So now that I’ve cleared up an issue you probably weren’t even aware of, how is Jamont Gordon doing in Italy?

First, you can go check out a video of Jamont’s Italian press conference, which was posted on the Mississippi State Sports Blog.

Jamont Gordon, Earl Barron, Joe Forte and Qyntel Woods enjoy the Italian countryside - www.fortitudo.it

Jamont Gordon, Earl Barron, Joe Forte and Qyntel Woods enjoy the Italian countryside - http://www.fortitudo.it

August 30: The Fortitudo coaches hosted their new players, along with the rest of the team and staff, to a retreat in the Italian countryside, featuring a “mega-barbecue,” sandwiches, art history, and the general lay-of-the-land.

September 7: In their first preseason game, Fortitudo beat Trenkwalder Reggio Emilia 83-75. Reggio Emilia features former Auburn Tiger, Bryant Smith. In his debut, Jamont Gordon scored 18 points. Unfortunately for Fortitudo, American center, Earl Barron, who spent time with the Miami Heat last season, went down with an ankle injury.

September 10: In their second preseason game, Fortitudo defeated Benetton Treviso 101-97. Qyntel Woods, recovering from back problems, scored 23 points. In a tight game, Jamont Gordon impressed fans and staff alike by scoring a team-high 25 points, 17 coming in the 4th quarter.

September 13: Fortitudo was defeated by Pallacanestro Cantù (featuring former Georgia Bulldog, Sundiata Gaines) 86-78. Joe Forte led Fortitudo Bologna with 25 points, Jamont Gordon netted 23.

September 14: Faced with injuries and having to integrate new American players, Fortitudo lost to Upea Capo d’Orlando 103-95. Translated articles cite defense as the problem. Jamont Gordon scored 25 points.

Jamont Gordon Slams It Home for Fortitudo

Jamont Gordon Slams It Home for Fortitudo - http://www.fortitudo.it

Fortitudo traveled to play in the preseason Memorial Pirazzi Tournament in Verbania, Italy

September 20: In a game against Cimberio Varese (which features former Wake Forest guard, Randolph Childress), where the translation of the description of Gordon includes, “physical and mental strength that does not stop to amaze,” and, “terrifying,” Jamont scored 33 points en route to a 106-76 win for Fortitudo. Evidently, Jamont closed out the game by scoring 16 consecutive points and igniting the crowd with a variety of dunks and ‘and 1’ baskets.

September 21: Fortitudo defeated Pallacanestro Cantù 100-78. Jamont only scored 9 points, Qyntel Woods impressed with 30, and Joe Forte was dubbed the “assist man.”

After those two victories in the Memorial Pirazzi Tournament in Verbania, Foritudo returned home for some two-a-day workouts before they head to Athens, Greece to participate in Varikas, and international tournament sponsored by Panionios F.C., which features former Maryland Terp, Lonny Baxter, and former Kansas Jayhawk, Aaron Miles.

Stay tuned for more updates on Jamont Gordon’s Italian job.

[UPDATE] For a rundown on the Italian League in general, head over to Ball in Europe.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, bulldogs overseas, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jamont Gordon Says Arrivederci America, Ciao to Italy – Charles Rhodes Too?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 27, 2008

Jamont Gordon is headed to Basket City, otherwise known as Bologna, Italy, to pursue his hoop dreams. As first reported on the Clarion-Ledger’s MSU blog, via an August 23rd team press release (you might need the Google Translator), Gordon will be suiting up for Fortitudo Pallacanestro Bologna, also known as UPIM Bologna after its chain department store sponsor.

While Bologna will be vastly different than Starkville, Gordon will still be apart of an intense rivalry à la Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Fortitudo, known for attracting top American talent, has a traditional rivalry with Virtus, also based in Bologna. Both teams consistently compete for the Italian Cup, and the Euroleague title. Hence, the enthusiasm denizens of Bologna are known for gives the city its moniker of Basket City.

Currently Qyntel Woods, of Northeast Mississippi Community College and pit-bull fighting/NBA trouble fame, is on the roster of Fortitudo. Joe Forte, of infamous NBA bust fame, and the poster child for not leaving college early (hey, at least Forte was drafted when he mistakenly left North Carolina after two years), is also on the team.

Notable Fortitudo alumni include Auburn’s Moochie Norris, UCLA’s Tyus Edney, current Chicago Bulls coach, Vinny Del Negro, and Dominique Wilkins, among dozens of other players who are either currently in the NBA or have spent time playing college or professional ball in the United States.

But What About Charles Rhodes?

The latest report from the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey is that neither reaching out to Rhodes’ agent, nor text messaging Charles himself, has provided any newsworthy results.

However, another site, tuttobasket.net, which offers a hodgepodge of coverage for European/Italian basketball, cites an August 18th article from La Repubblica, Italy’s largest circulation newspaper, which insinuates that Rhodes is in negotiations to team up with Jamont Gordon on Fortitudo. (Once again, you’ll need the Google Translator.)

The most interesting quote about Jamont Gordon from the translation: “In any case, an element can create from scratch game well, although to date the first for himself and later for others.”

So while it looks like Jamont Gordon has gotten himself an Italian job, Charles Rhodes is in a wait-and-see situation. Stay tuned……

Posted in bulldogs overseas, charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports, starkville | 2 Comments »

Update on Mississippi State Bulldogs in NBA Summer Leagues

Posted by Kyle Weidie on July 16, 2008

We’ll start with the oft-covered Charles Rhodes.

What the Web is Saying:

“Charles Rhodes has looked extremely impressive on the offensive end, but hasn’t been able to stay out of foul trouble.”hoopsworld.com

“‘Chuckie’ Rhodes, I won’t lie, I want to see this guy on the court with J-Kidd and The Big German! Rhodes is a beast, with a large body. for the past 3 games he has been a real eye opener.”All about the Mavs

“[Charles Rhodes] A bit of a surprise, but played a very solid game. Scored 10 on 5-8 shooting and had six boards off the bench. Defended the pick and roll nicely and demonstrated nice shooting range. Could turn heads if this play continues.”Dallas Dedicated

  • Game 1: Mavs vs. LA Clippers – Rhodes had 10 points on 5-8 shooting and six boards in 21 minutes of play. He did have six fouls, but that seems to be the norm in summer league play. I’m glad to see that Charles only committed one turnover.
  • Game 2: Mavs vs. Golden State Warriors – Rhodes had 12 points on 4-5 shooting and 4-4 from the FT line, six rebounds, two assists and a block in 17+ minutes on the court. However, Rhodes was still successful at picking up fouls (5), and the turnovers (5) returned to his repertoire.
  • Game 3: Mavs vs. Minnesota T-Wolves – Rhodes, getting slightly less time with 16+ minutes and still coming off the bench, scored nine points on 4-5 shooting along with two boards, two assists, and a steal. He committed less fouls (4) as his time narrowed, but Rhodes realized that room for mistakes was limited and didn’t commit one turnover.

NBADraft.net and Draft Express both compare Charles Rhodes to Brandon Bass. In comparing each of their final seasons at their respective schools (Bass left LSU after his sophomore year in 04-05), PPG and FG% are close, but Bass was a better FT shooter and rebounder, although Bass’s edge comes on the defensive boards. Other stats such as assists steals and blocks are negating, but Rhodes did turn the ball over more. One thing about Brandon Bass is that his game is mostly facing the basket and doesn’t always display true quality low post moves. I believe that Charles Rhodes has a more diverse inside/outside game than Bass. However, Bass has been known to be a good one-on-one defender, something I can’t really say about Charles Rhodes.

In any case, the Dallas Mavericks seem like they are looking for another Brandon Bass, but Rhodes doesn’t qualify as he doesn’t have previous NBA experience. Hoopsworld thinks that James Singleton might be the next Brandon Bass. Mavs.com says not yet. As for Brandon Bass himself? Expect to hear more from him in 08-09, it’ll be a contract year.

The Dallas Mavericks will play the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday the 16th at 5 pm central time. Visit NBA.com to catch the action.

Jamont Gordon

What the Web is Saying:

The Games:

  • Game 1: 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors – Jamont started at guard along with Junior Harrington out of Wingate. Gordon scored 11 points on 3-8 shooting and 5-6 from the FT line, along with five assists, a rebound, a steal, and a block with three turnovers in 28+ minutes.
    • “We have Jamont Gordon and Dawan Robinson running the show, and it seemed like they were making bad decision after bad decision out there, it was tough to watch.”sixer soul
  • Game 2: 76ers vs. Denver Nuggets – Gordon started at the helm once again, playing just under 30 minutes. During his time, he had 12 points on 5-8 shooting (2-6 from the FT line), six rebounds, five assists, and a steal to go along with four turnovers.
  • Game 3: 76ers vs. LA Lakers – Playing in just under 29 minutes, Gordon scored eight points on 2-7 from the field and 4-6 from the FT line. He also had four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and only one turnover.
    • “One of the Lakers’ guards thought it’d be funny to randomly scream and Jamont Gordon while playing defense at the top of the key. Well, he thought right. He scared Gordon enough to jump back a little. I thought it was funny.”sixer soul

So far, Jamont Gordon’s per game summer league numbers do show his versatility. Shooting is still a glaring concern as he has gone a combined 0-5 from three-point territory. Turnovers aren’t terrible at 2.67 per. Jamont is doing a good job in getting to the free-throw line, averaging a FT attempt every 4.8 minutes. However, going 11-18 from the charity stripe will not help Gordon’s cause.

I’ll be getting an up close look at Jamont Gordon tonight as the Philadelphia 76ers take on my beloved Washington Wizards.

Walter Sharpe

Sharpe is seeing decent action for the Detroit Pistons so far. He’s started in all three games, averaging 22.7 minutes, 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per. He’s not shooting well from the field (30.4%), but is knocking down free-throws (85.7%). Look for Sharpe’s Pistons to take on Charles Rhodes’ Mavericks on Thursday the 17th.

What the Web is Saying:

  • “Sharpe was active on both ends of the court, but was caught out of position much of the night. He was aggressive on the defensive end and was rewarded with 3 steals for his efforts. His shot was off and all of his points came from put backs or free trows. Since this was his first taste of NBA level pace and talent, it’s hard to judge how much was nerves and how much was inexperience. Sharpe looked to have the skills that Dumars has promised that he has. Sharpe needs to work on finishing around the basket and needs to relax when shooting. We are going to have to see more of him before there can be any kind of judgment, but Walter got off to a shaky start.”Pistons Full Court Press (after the July 11 Laker game)
  • “Having another poor shooting night was Walter Sharpe, who went 2-8 from the field. But that wasn’t what left the biggest impression from the young forward. It was Sharpe’s leaping abilities and the way he can handle the basketball and bring it up the court. Sharpe looked smooth out there and seemed to be relaxed when he had the ball in his hands.”Pistons Full Court Press (after the July 13th Clippers game)
  • “Walter Sharpe continued to impress coaches and fans alike with his play. Sharpe showed his versatility and looked very comfortable in the Pistons offense and defense. If Sharpe continues to improve at his current pace, it’s hard to imagine that he can’t fight his way into the Pistons rotation, depending on what changes are made to the current roster. Sharpe finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 23 minutes of play.”Pistons Full Court Press (after the July 15th Bucks game)

Marcus Campbell

As for our friend Marcus Campbell, he received DNP-CD’s (did not play – coach’s decision) for all five Miami Heat games in the Orlando NBA Summer League. A report in the Sun-Sentinel said that Campbell was limited by injury.

Posted in bulldogs in nba, charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why The Mavericks May Be Charles Rhodes’ Best Shot

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 30, 2008

Rhodes will try his ten-gallon hat in Big D

It’s been reported in the Dallas Morning News that Charles Rhodes will join the Dallas Mavericks summer league team in Las Vegas. Bulldog Killer….Vanderbilt’s Shan Foster, taken 51st overall in the draft, will be among others vying for a spot.

Why a potential good fit for Rhodes.

Assuming that Eddie Jones does not opt-out of the final year of his contract, he must do so by Tuesday, the Mavs are left with only seven players signed for next season. Just two of those players are big men in former Bulldog, Erick Dampier, and Hasselhoff fan, Dirk Nowitzki. It looks like the Mavericks will attempt to use their full MLE (mid-level exception) on DeSagana Diop (whom Dallas traded to New Jersey to get Jason Kidd). Diop would serve as a two headed monster along with Big Damp at the five spot.

The Mavs will still need a post player with scoring ability as Diop and Dampier are often estranged from the hoop. Rhodes has the capability to provide buckets in a variety of ways, given he doesn’t force the issue and learns to distribute as a team player. Rhodes’ biggest competition among other post players in Vegas will be Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Pape Sow, and Marcus Slaughter.

New Dallas coach, Rick Carlisle, is known to be demanding of players. But his appreciation of offense and defense should allow Rhodes to show his diverse skills, as long as he works his butt off.

Ideal Big Man Camp?

The Clarion-Ledger had a feature on Jarvis Varnado in Sunday’s edition. Varnado recently participated in one of Nike’s invitation only Skills Academies. Steve Nash has a point guard camp, Kobe Bryant has a shooting guard camp, Vince Carter has a wing forward camp, and Amare Stoudamire has a big man camp.

These Nike camps serve as a pseudo grassroots campaign initiated to instill fundamentals back in USA basketball. Varnado was one of around a dozen or so players at his position invited to participate in Stoudamire’s exclusive camp. The college participants in turn acted as instructors to top high school prospects, also invited to improve skills for their respective position.

MSU coach Rick Stansbury should be ecstatic about Varnado’s participation. He had an excellent chance to go against elite college bigs such as UConn senior Jeff Adrien, Pitt sophomore DeJuan Blair, Notre Dame junior Luke Harangody, and Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin. Amare Stoudamire is a great talent. But between you and me, I’d rather hear that the camp be led by the likes of Bill Russell, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett, or Tim Duncan….much better examples to headline where the American big man game should be going.

Free Throw Conditioning

Every time clips of last second March Madness heroics are shown, should missed free-throws be responsible for setting the scene, they should be prerequisite viewing along with the buzzer beater. The importance of FT shooting needs to be further indoctrinated somehow.

Case in point: I was flipping around the tube on Saturday afternoon and came across the last two minutes of the 1998 tourney match-up between Ole Miss and Valparaiso…you know, the Bryce Drew game. With 4.1 seconds left and Ole Miss up 69-67, Ansu Sesay had a chance to ice the match at the charity stripe. Clang. Timeout. Clang. Rebound tipped out of bounds by Ole Miss with 2.5 seconds left and the distance of the court to go. The rest is history.

The latest and greatest example for the Mississippi State Bulldogs? Try the three-point buzzer beater West Virginia hit to win the March 2007 NIT semifinal game in Madison Square Garden. Live Angle. Game Highlights. And then the video showing Jamont Gordon missing the second of two FTs which would have put the Bulldogs up three, 63-60.

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, ole miss rebels, rick stansbury, sec basketball, vanderbilt commodores | 2 Comments »

Mississippi State Represented in NBA Draft, but not by Jamont Gordon or Charles Rhodes

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 26, 2008

The initial headline I had for this post was Two Mississippi State Players Taken in 2nd Round. Unfortunately, it’s not me who comes out on the wrong end of that assumption. Neither Jamont Gordon nor Charles Rhodes were taken in the 2008 NBA Draft. Rhodes going undrafted was expected, but Gordon’s absence from the big board was a shocker.

Mississippi State Bulldog representation? Do you remember Walter Sharpe?

I certainly do. I got The Rock eyebrow when my favorite NBA team, the Washington Wizards, hosted Walter Sharpe for a workout. Both eyebrows raised when the Wizards worked Sharpe out a second time. If your memory of Walter Sharpe is still not refreshed, go read this post, The Brief History of Walter Sharpe, on Bullets Forever, a Washington Wizards blog.

The Washington Wizards held the 47th pick in the second round. Before the draft, I figured that if Sharpe were available there, they may take him, depending on what the Wizards did with the 18th pick (they chose big man project JaVale McGee out of Nevada). But how surprised was I when Walter Sharpe was taken by the Seattle Supersonics with the second overall pick in the 2nd round, #32? The Sonics, in turn, traded Sharpe to the Detroit Pistons.

Wow…..if NBA scouts think that highly of the kid, I can’t help but imagine the outcome if Sharpe had been able to fully develop as a Mississippi State Bulldog. My depression falls worse when Monta Ellis and Travis Outlaw come to mind. Then I start to wonder if Jonathan Bender would have avoided NBA injury trouble with college experience. I know, unreasonable dreams about woulda, coulda, shouldas.

So what happened to Jamont Gordon? Stay tuned for the fallout. 

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, sec basketball, walter sharpe | 2 Comments »

Bulldog Draft Day Hope – Charles Rhodes

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 26, 2008

Jamont Gordon may be nervous while watching tonight’s NBA Draft from his home in Nashville, even though it’s a given that he will be selected. The problem for Gordon is that the first round position he craves comes with a guaranteed contract while the more likely status as a second rounder does not.

Charles Rhodes is in another boat. There’s a decent chance he gets taken in the 2nd round, there’s a better chance that he does not. Either way, he knows that in the near future he will need to fight hard for the job that he craves.

The Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons, and New Orleans Hornets are among the teams Rhodes has had private workouts for. You can see a video of his workout with the Washington Wizards here.

Some say it’s better to go undrafted at all rather than in the second round. That way, a player (and his representative) can be selective in regard to the best opportunity as a free agent attempting to win a roster spot. However, since yesterday was Charles Rhodes’ birthday (along with yours truly), I’m pretty sure that hearing his name called on draft night would be a pretty nice belated present.

At this point, Charles Rhodes is considered a sleeper. He can knock down buckets, block shots, is fairly agile, and surprisingly quick. Check out his 3/4 court sprint time from Draft Express; his 3.13 is much closer to guard territory than big man land.

But that’s the problem. Rhodes doesn’t have all the measurement traits that most NBA scouts are looking for in a big. His hops are adequate at 33.5 in the max vert, which is less than caucassian big man Maarty Leunen, who Charles matched up against when the Bulldogs played Oregon in the NCAA Tournament, but Charles’ max vert was higher than Memphis’ Joey Dorsey.  While Rhodes measured at 6’8.25″ (in shoes), an inch taller than Dorsey, Joey has more strength (about 20 pounds worth), and more reach (a 7’1.75″ wingspan) in comparison to Rhodes (a 6’11.25″ wingspan).

My Prediction:

The phone of Charles Rhodes will be ringing off the hook tonight with calls from NBA teams, but not because he has been drafted. Rhodes has NBA talent, but this 2008 NBA Draft is very deep. General managers looking to optimize chances at upside potential will most likely frown upon the physical traits of Rhodes. Doesn’t mean they are right, and it doesn’t mean that there won’t be an abundance of invites for Charles to participate in summer league play or training camp tryouts.

Good luck to both Charles Rhodes and Jamont Gordon this evening. I have high hopes for both of these aspiring hoopers and expectations that they will exert the effort needed to represent the Mississippi State basketball program well.

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft | Leave a Comment »

Bulldog Draft Day Hope – Jamont Gordon

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 26, 2008

The day has finally come and soon it will be gone. Stomachs are churning and veins are probably not filled with ice water for most NBA hopefuls. Even the lottery guarantees are probably nervous about to which city they will soon be moving. But for Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes, there are no guarantees.

The last time Bulldog Maroon & White covered Jamont Gordon, he had private workouts for five NBA teams (Raptors, Bobcats, Clippers, Hornets, 76ers), in addition to the mass workout held at the facilities of the Golden State Warriors.

Since, Gordon has worked out for the Washington Wizards (picks 18 and 47), Indiana Pacers (picks 11, 41, and now 17), Milwaukee Bucks (picks 8 and 37), Boston Celtics (picks 30 and 60), Cleveland Cavaliers (pick 19), and Memphis Grizzlies (picks 5 and 28).

My Prediction:
The Bobcats and Clippers seem to be the front runners for Jamont Gordon’s services with their 2nd round picks (38 and 35 respectively)……but that all depends on who they draft with the 9th and 7th picks (respectively) as the current Draft Express Mock has combo guards Jerryd Bayless (Arizona) going 7th and Russell Westbrook (UCLA) going 9th.

Indiana just traded for a PG in T.J. Ford, but still might have interest in Gordon considering that they want to get rid of Jamaal Tinsley. Memphis also has a log jam at the point, but are possibly looking to trade Kyle Lowry.

Going 28th to Memphis is Gordon’s best shot at the first round. If not, the Clippers take him at 35, but Jamont doesn’t slip past the Bobcats at 38.

What others are saying about Jamont:

Other coverage:

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft | 3 Comments »

It’s Official: For Jamont Gordon, It’s NBA or Bust

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 16, 2008

The NBA deadline for those still eligible to serve basketball duty in college has come and gone. As expected, former Mississippi State Bulldog, Jamont Gordon, has chosen to remain in the draft. DraftExpress reports that Gordon might have hired agent Charles Grantham of Ceruzzi Sports and Entertainment Group.

I’ve questioned Gordon’s readiness for the NBA, especially in terms of playing the toughest position by far to learn, point guard. I’ve also been critical of his curious choice to not participate in the NBA Pre-Draft camp held at the end of May. But at this point, Jamont is making the best decision for himself, even if he doesn’t get selected in the first round.

As I’ve stated before, Gordon didn’t really have much to gain by returning to Mississippi State. He wasn’t going to magically learn the point guard skills he needs to make it on the ultimate level. Jamont might as well get the jump on his pro career, whether it be fighting for a spot during NBA summer leagues, team training camps, the NBDL, or abroad.

It’s hard to gauge whether Gordon would have really improved his standing among NBA scouts at the pre-draft camp. Perhaps he and his handlers actually did make the right decision as his mediocre point guard skills could have been exposed during game play. Instead, Jamont Gordon has opted to show his stuff during individual team workouts.

Most NBA teams only allow for limited media exposure to private workouts. We may not know Jamont’s actual standing until draft night. Franchises are certainly interested in what Jamont Gordon has to offer. Here are a couple of the workouts he has had to date:

Here’s what the WWW is saying about Gordon:

  • Ryan Anderson [a PF from Cal] and Jamont Gordon both have a good shot of getting a commitment from a team late in the first round. Anderson has been praised at workouts for his shooting ability despite questions about what position he’d play in the pros. Meanwhile, teams that think Gordon can make the transition to the point believe he has first-round potential. [Chad Ford, ESPN.com]
  • JaMont Gordon measured out at a chiseled 6-3 ½ and 230 pounds, and reportedly got to wherever he wanted on the floor, but shot the ball extremely poorly, played a bit selfishly and even displayed some bad body language. [Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress reporting on a mass workout of around 24 prospects at the Golden State Warriors practice facilities featuring representatives from 17 NBA teams.] (Sounds like the Jamont Gordon I know…..not sure of the meaning behind DraftExpress capitalizing the ‘m’ though.)
  • Rush The Court dubs Rick Stansbury a “loser” as a result of losing Jamont Gordon, and cites the case of Kennedy Winston leaving Alabama as a similar situation. However, Winston (who was from the outskirts of Mobile, Alabama and was actually ever so close to signing with Mississippi State) only suited up one year for Alabama…..at least Rick got three out of Jamont Gordon. Kennedy Winston went undrafted in 2005 and is now playing in Greece.

In other news:

  • Jamont Gordon’s brother, Eric Gordon, is a pretty damn good athlete himself, but a footballer and not a hoopster. Eric Gordon, a high school senior to be, is ranked the 11th best cornerback in the country by Rivals.com. Eric hopes to make even more noise for Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008. He is being recruited by the likes of Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Texas Tech, Colorado, Louisville, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and of course, Mississippi State.
    [Read about Eric Gordon in the Nashville City Paper]
  • ProFantasySports.com ranks the Top 10 SEC basketball players heading into the 2008-2009 season. Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado comes in at #10, Scotty Hopson comes in at #9….ouch.

Posted in jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, sec basketball | 4 Comments »

Charles Rhodes Just Wants A Job

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 4, 2008

Lost amongst the buzz around Jamont Gordon opting not to participate in the Orlando NBA pre-draft camp (to his detriment in the opinion of most), was the fact that Charles Rhodes was invited to show his skills for NBA scouts and the likes.

In the two weeks before the camp was to begin, Draft Express did not project Rhodes to get the invite by the NBA powers-that-be. Meanwhile, Charles continued to prepare himself for the future at St. Vincent Sports Performance Center in Indianapolis, Indiana with the likes of current NBAers Greg Oden, Josh McRoberts and Jarrett Jack (all of the Portland Trailblazers), Rodney Carney (Philadelphia 76ers), and NBA hopefuls Luke Zeller (Notre Dame), JaJuan Johnson (Purdue), Mike Green (Butler), Mario Chalmers (Kansas), and Randal Falker (Southern Illinois).1

I’ve criticized Jamont Gordan once or twice for opting not to participate in the Orlando NBA Pre-Draft Camp, and speculated as to the reasons. But perhaps in an unselfish act on the part of Gordon, his loss became the gain of Charles Rhodes, who probably needed the chance to show his wares more than Jamont. So, how did Rhodes fare at the camp? I’ve been unable to find any official box scores, but here are some accounts from the web:

Day 2: Charles Rhodes (11 pts, 2 reb, 2 blk) put up good numbers off the bench, and added some nice defensive stops. [HoopsHype] Rhodes’ Team 4 blew out Team 3, 94-81 in the last game of the day.

Day 3: Charles Rhodes had a nice game, but will force things from time to time. He showed a nice midrange jumper and some smooth post moves, but got a little too confident in his range. [Matthew Kamalsky, HoopsHype]

What others are saying about Charles Rhodes:

Fox Sports (Rhodes is listed in the 20-40 range of ‘NBA-ready’ players)
He is an intriguing package with his height, length and athleticism. It looked like he put on some muscle between Portsmouth and Orlando, and he looked to be in good shape. A big problem with him is that he prefers shooting 15-footers as opposed to battling on the blocks. He is also somewhat of a black hole — whenever the ball gets into his hands, it will take a near miracle for him not to hoist it up immediately. [Aran Smith and Borko Popic/NBADraft.net, Special to FOXSports.com]

Well, it seems like Charles Rhodes is playing true to the form that we came to know at Mississippi State. Charles seems to be his usual candid self off the court as well:

NBA officials held a meeting at the start of the camp, asking players what they wanted to get out of the week. Of the five or six dozen players in the room, one – Charles Rhodes of Mississippi State – offered the most succinct answer. “I want a job,” Rhodes said. [Tim Reynolds, AP – USA Today]

We all knew that Rhodes possessed the talent to procure workouts for individual NBA teams. Hopefully, he will be able to take advantage and further boost his stock. Good Luck Chuck!

Charles Rhodes Scheduled Workouts:

Additional reading on Charles Rhodes from Bulldog Maroon & White:

1The IndyStar.com

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, sec basketball | 2 Comments »

Big Surprise: NBA Hopeful Receives Bad Advice

Posted by Kyle Weidie on May 28, 2008

I wasn’t exactly sure how to convey the sarcasm intended by the first two words in this post’s title. I could’ve gone with the oft-used quotes, but I’m inexperienced in using them within titles, usually opting to place abundantly within the body of text. The resolution? This cumbersome paragraph.

Back to the matter at hand……How many years will this story rehash itself? Perpetually I suppose. No matter how many barriers to entry David Stern instills to safeguard basketball talents from being horse-blinded by dollar signs, similar mistakes are doomed to historically repeat themselves on an annual basis.

The 2008 NBA draft is no exception as there is not one, but two “eyebrow-raisers” (in this case, the quotes serve their natural intention), and one of them is Mississippi State’s Jamont Gordon.

Draft Express, in their Day 1 NBA Pre-Draft coverage, has denoted Jamont Gordon, along with Kyle Weaver (a G/F out of Washington State) as their “eyebrow-raisers” for pulling out of the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando. I can’t speak for Kyle Weaver, but if you know Gordon’s game like I do, his move is a lot more brow furrowing and head shaking than eyebrow raising and head scratching. The big difference between the two seems to be that Weaver, being a senior, cannot return to school, while Gordon has one year of eligibility left at Mississippi State. However, signs point to Bulldog head coach Rick Stansbury already moving past the Jamont Gordon era.

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s Bulldog Maroon & White post about Jamont Gordon pulling out of the NBA pre-draft camp, where I speculated that the reasoning behind the decision was either an injury, or that Gordon received a “promise” from a team (in the second round I assumed).

Not so fast……Gordon spoke to the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey late Tuesday and the word on Jamont’s street is that his stock has been rising, so much that he might be considered a late first-rounder. Wow, such acceleration without even formally working out in front of NBA scouts. As it’s been reported, Gordon has been training in Houston, Texas with John Lucas II. Now, the name Jerry Meyer has surfaced as being tied to Jamont’s NBA interests.

From Kyle Veazey’s blog entry:

Jerry Meyer, who described himself as Gordon’s trainer and is also a Rivals.com scout, said there was little to gain in the trip.

“He’s been down in Houston working out with coach John Lucas, been doing extremely well, playing well against some guys projected ahead of him,” Meyer said. “The feeling was, really, going to Orlando could only hurt him and we feel confident he’s a first-round pick.”

Meyer said about 10 teams have contacted Gordon about setting up workouts.

Gordon said Tuesday he didn’t know what the chances of a return to MSU might be, but Meyer offered a more stark prediction.

“He’s almost 100 percent set on staying in the draft,” Meyer said.

Talk about an eyebrow raiser which begs a lot of questions.

1. Who exactly is this Jerry Meyer cat?
Well, we know that Jerry is the son of Don Meyer, the current head basketball coach at Northern State University in South Dakota. Don Meyer is also the former coach of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. Not only did Jerry play basketball at David Lipscomb High School, but he also attended the University to play for his father in 89-90. Jerry Meyer broke Lipscomb and NCAA assist records, but ended his college basketball career playing his senior season at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (D2). During his time at Lipscomb, Jerry was once named an NAIA All-American (Lipscomb U has since become an NCAA DI school).

Don and Jerry Meyer also penned a book together in 1999, Basketball Skills and Drills, which was edited by former Chicago Bulls GM, Jerry Krause. Jerry Meyer is, as mentioned by Veazy, a national recruiting analyst/scout for Rivals.com (which was acquired by Yahoo in June ’07). Meyer’s input and expert opinion is constantly sought out by national and local media outlets.

2. Ok, so Meyer sounds more than credible, but who exactly has Jamont Gordon been boosting his rankings against in Houston?
Wouldn’t you like to know? Well, the world wide web gives us some hints.
This article from CSTV tells us that Gary Forbes of UMass and DJ Augustin of Texas have been working out with Lucas II, along with NBAers Sean Williams, T.J. Ford, Cuttino Mobley, and Jeremy Richardson.

3. That sounds fine, but wait…..Jerry Meyer’s job is to be an unbiased scout of pro-prospects, but he proclaimed himself as Jamont Gordon’s trainer…..isn’t that a conflict of interests?
Hmmm….that’s an interesting question. It seems like a gray area…..but what’s not a gray area in the money game of amateur pro basketball?

On one hand, Jerry Meyer has seen Jamont Gordon up close and personal for however long they’ve been working together….while most pro scouts probably only have Gordon’s performances at Mississippi State as their basis for assessment.

On the other hand, those in the know, such as the aforementioned Draft Express and Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline, including an NBA assistant with whom Gary recently spoke about Jamont Gordon, seem to be under the impression that Gordon has been the recipient of bad advice.

You make the call. My considerations are that Jerry Meyer is probably not training Jamont Gordon pro bono. Maybe he’s not getting paid, as footballer Randy Moss would say, ‘straight cash homey,’ but I bet Meyer is getting something out of it…..if not exposure to prospects for his Rivals.com reports.

I will also consider the implication, by Meyer himself, that he is actually training Jamont Gordon. It would seemingly behove Jerry Meyer that a certain buzz about Gordon sneaking into the first round would be generated. Perhaps one way or the other, Meyer’s reputation as a trainer, or a scout, may be affected. And that’s where my perception of conflicting interests comes into play……you can’t necessarily be the former while being unbiased as the latter.

Either way, the fact that Gordon may be receiving bad advice is not necessarily a knock on his skills. Rather, it’s a numbers game. There are too many other prospects vying to get into the first round, not to mention those who are already virtual locks to be selected among the first 30 picks. Which all makes Gordon’s move to pull out of the NBA pre-draft camp even more curious. If Gordon and his handlers are truly confident in his skills and rising stock, then they would want to prove it to the world by matching up against more than what’s in Houston…..as opposed to creating negative speculation among NBA draft insiders. Stay tuned.

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Jamont Gordon Pulls Out NBA Pre-Draft Camp

Posted by Kyle Weidie on May 27, 2008

In a surprise move, dubbed as a “what in the world are you thinking” act by Draft Express, Mississippi State junior Jamont Gordon has pulled out of the NBA Pre-Draft Camp which is scheduled to jump off today, May 27th, at the Walt Disney Sports Complex outside of Orlando, Florida.

Generally, top NBA draft prospects do not participate in the pre-draft camp, rather they attend as ‘physical only’ invitees. Most feel that these top 15-20 prospects need not stack themselves up against the competition in a pick-up game style atmosphere, as many elect to participate in individual team workouts, which are now only allowed to take place after the conclusion of the Orlando camp. Many agents also feel that their bread-winning players have a greater chance of getting injured or exposed if they play against a field which is desperate to improve their draft standing. The 64 invitees scheduled to actually play must compete for 40-45 open NBA draft slots.

Jamont Gordon’s move comes as a surprise because many still expect him to remain in the draft, while most mock drafts list him as being selected in the second round, if all all. The general consensus has been that while Gordon may not be NBA-ready, his game doesn’t necessarily stand to benefit from returning to college for one more year.

Jamont Gordon has yet to “officially” hire an agent. The Clarion-Ledger reported on May 22 that Gordon had been working out with John Lucas II twice daily in Houston, and would leave for Orlando on May 27th. Lucas II, who is a former NBA player and coach, has become well known for helping players with addiction problems, something he himself dealt with as a member of the Houston Rockets in the late 1980s. Lucas II has also been a basketball mentor, assisting many players with training for the NBA. John Lucas II has close ties with former Mississippi State basketball player, Lawrence Roberts, who played with his son, John Lucas III, at Baylor before both players transferred from the tumultuous Bears program; Lucas III ended up at Oklahoma State.

Another hurdle to a possible return to Mississippi State for Jamont Gordon is his grades. Since the conclusion of the season, Jamont missed several classes at the beginning of April, and I’m sure countless more while he has been preparing for a chance to earn a salary from playing basketball.

One could speculate all day as to why Gordon has pulled out of the NBA pre-draft camp. An injury is certainly a valid possibility. Through the years, many NBA teams have purportedly made promises to select certain players if they are still on the board when said team is on the clock. In many cases, promises are the fodder of agents trying to increase buzz around their players.

However, rumors of promises have dwindled in recent years as teams have discovered by trail-and-error (Shelden Williams supposedly had one from the Atlanta Hawks in the 2006 NBA Draft) that promises to unproven players are foolish, especially considering the unpredictable nature of the selection process. Aside from the dying practice of first round guarantees, second round promises are more of a rarity.

Gordon, who has been speculated many times over from being drafted in the mid-to-late second round to not at all, couldn’t have circumvented the pre-draft camp because of a second round promise…..could he? First of all, second round contracts are not guaranteed. Second, even if Gordon has received a 2nd round promise, it would be a horrible mistake for him to forgo the chance to either miraculously play himself into the first round, or at least get more exposure in front general managers and scouts, from domestic and abroad.

Like I said, one could wonder about Gordon’s curious move from morning to night. Only time will tell how his pursuit of the NBA will play out.

Continued Reading

From Bulldog Maroon & White:

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