SMITH, PLAYERS AID KATRINA VICTIMS
* Tracy McGrady, Dwyane Wade, Steve Francis, Carmelo Anthony, Jermaine O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jerry Stackhouse, Allen Iverson and Amare Stoudemire were among the NBA stars to participate or attend yesterday's NBA Players' Hurricane Relief Game in Houston, Texas. The game was held to benefit Louisiana residents that have been relocated to Houston following the damage and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The charity event was organized by TNT basketball analyst and former Tar Heel Kenny Smith, and was played before a crowd that included at least 5,000 evacuees who were given free passes to the event. Smith said each of the players participating have donated a minimum of $10,000 in money or supplies to the relief effort, according to Associated Press reports.
In addition to playing in the game, former Tar Heel Jerry Stackhouse sang a "spirited rendition" of the national anthem before the game, as reported by AP
The game was played early Sunday evening at the Toyota Center in Houston and was aired via tape-delay on TNT at 11 p.m. (ET). Commentary during the game was provided by Kenny Smith along with his regular cohorts from TNT's "Inside the NBA," Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson. The telecast provided many reminders for viewers to continue to make donations to the relief effort.
EUROBASKET '05 FEATURES OKULAJA, CALABRIA
* The attention of European basketball fans, and many NBA teams and scouts, will be on the FIBA European Championship (aka EuroBasket 2005) when games begin on Friday in several cities throughout Serbia and Montenegro.
North Carolina basketball fans can also look forward to EuroBasket '05 for the participation of Ademola Okulaja for Germany and Dante Calabria with Italy's national team.
As a matter of fact, the former Tar Heels will get together on the first day of the competition (Friday, Sept. 16), when Germany and Italy meet in a Group A preliminary round match. Russia and Ukraine are also in Group A.
Stars such as Dirk Nowitzki (Germany/Dallas), Tony Parker (France/San Antonio) and Andrei Kirilenko (Russia/Utah) are among several NBA players scheduled to appear.
With one country still to be decided for the field of 16, EuroBasket '05 has nine teams with at least one NBA player. Overall, 22 EuroBasket players are currently on an NBA roster. The national team of Serbia and Montenegro leads with six NBA players followed by Slovenia with four. Former ACC player Iker Iturbe from Clemson is on Spain's national team roster.
The top six teams from EuroBasket '05 will earn a berth in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan. You can visit www.eurobasket2005.com from Sept. 16 through Sept. 25 to follow the action.
WILLIAMS HELPS GEORGIA, BARCELONA
* Former Tar Heel guard Shammond Williams scored 18 points and distributed six assists for Georgia (3-2) last Wednesday in a 73-60 win over F.Y.R. Macedonia (4-1) in a EuroBasket Division B qualifying game played in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Georgia hosted and easily defeated Luxembourg (0-6) on Saturday, 87-63. Zaza Pachulia (Atlanta Hawks), a former teammate of Williams with the Orlando Magic and the one that got him interested in playing for the Georgian national team, led the attack with 30 points and 21 boards.
Williams did not play for Georgia on Saturday, instead he was in Spain and played for the first time for his new team, F.C. Barcelona, in a preseason game. Williams played 30 minutes, scored five points and consistently controlled the flow of the game in a 78-62 win over the Bakken Bears of Denmark.
Williams completed his EuroBasket Division B run playing in five games with 39.4 minutes, 20.0 points, 7.4 assists and 2.4 steals per contest for the Republic of Georgia's national team.
BELL TO ISRAEL
* Former Tar Heel women's star Nikita Bell has signed to play in Israel for Elizur Belisima Holon, according to eurobasket.com.
Bell was chosen in the 2005 WNBA Draft by Detroit, but was released prior to the start of the season and will make her pro debut overseas.