FORTE MAKING SOME CHANGES
* Former Tar Heel star and Co-ACC Player of the Year Joseph Forte has now played 10 games in the NBDL for the Asheville Altitude (17 mpg, 4.9 ppg). The tenth game was yesterday in front of about 40 NBA scouts in the league's inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Showcase in Columbus, Georgia (all six teams involved in six games over two days). Asheville (11-8) got by the Columbus Riverdragons (14-3) 78-72 as Forte came off the bench for four points (1-1 FG, 2-2 FT), two boards and three assists in 17 minutes.
Forte had vowed that he wouldn't be a D-leaguer at one point, according to a recent Washington Post article about the former NBA first-rounder that has fallen on troubled times. "But the truth is, this is the only way I can get everything back. I want back in the NBA. This is the place where that all has to start," Forte told the Post. After taking last season off after being released by Seattle, Forte finally signed with the NBDL. He was in the player pool for two weeks before Asheville head coach Joey Meyer agreed to give him a chance on December 14.
"Financially, I'm cool or else I would have to go overseas and play for money," Forte said to the Asheville Citizens-Times. "I'm just trying to do the best thing I can to get back to the NBA, which is [play in] the NBDL." As Forte works to regain his form and restore his reputation as a basketball player, part of that process includes more contact with his former North Carolina coach, Bill Guthridge. "I talk to Coach Guthridge probably more now than I did in my two years in the NBA," Forte said with enthusiasm to The Fayetteville Observer last week. "He's just been filling me with the Carolina vibe and energy. I can't get enough of it."
Asheville Altitude point guard Brandin Knight (Pittsburgh) is the most recent NBDL player to get a call-up to the NBA. Knight is on a 10-day contract with the Houston Rockets. Forte will be back on the court today in Columbus, Georgia at 11 a.m. when Asheville meets Fayetteville in day two of the NBDL's MLK Showcase. "Time will tell," Forte told the Citizens-Times. "My story is not done yet."
RODL NAMED INTERIM HEAD COACH
* Former Tar Heel Henrk Rodl has taken over as the head coach of the ALBA Berlin team that he played for and captained for many years in Germany.
The club announced last Thursday that Emir Mutapcic would no longer be the coach after ALBA Berlin (4-5) failed to advance to the elimination round of the ULEB Cup league, Europe's second-best club team competition. Berlin is 11-4 and in fourth-place in the German League.
Rodl was serving as head coach of the Berlin youth team, Tus Lichterfelde, and also was an assistant coach for ALBA Berlin. Rodl currently has the job on an interim basis.
UNC TRIO GRAB A ULEB CUP VICTORY
* Randy Wiel, along with assistant coach Walter Davis and point guard Derrick Phelps, finally got his team, Nijmegen EiffelTowers (Netherlands), into the win column in the ULEB Cup's Group B. Nijmegen moved to 1-8 last week and avoided a winless campaign with a 67-66 defeat of Le Mans (5-4), currently the top team in France.
"I am very happy, we played one of our best games," said Wiel. "Gert Kullamae shot really well. Derrick Phelps is a good point guard. He controls the game and the clock." Phelps scored 11 points in 38 minutes with five rebounds and five assists. Gert Kullamae provided scoring from deep with 7-for-15 on three-pointers.
"It was a team effort tonight. If we play consistently like this we will be a hard team to beat," Phelps said, according to ulebcup.com.
The one-point upset win by Nijmegen leaves Le Mans with very little chance to move to the elimination round with one game left in group play. "This is the most disappointing moment of my career," said losing coach Vincent Collett. "In the first half we did not play our best defense. The second half we defended better even though Kullamae hit his crazy shots."
The EiffelTowers continued their winning ways on Saturday in domestic league play with an 89-84 victory. Phelps had 12 assists and three steals to help his club improve to a 7-8 league record.