TAR HEEL ROOKIES READY TO ROLL
* The real games don't start until November, but the NBA has plenty of preseason games throughout October to test the new wave of Tar Heels to hit The League –– Marvin Williams of the Atlanta Hawks, Sean May, Raymond Felton and Jason Capel of the Charlotte Bobcats, Rashad McCants of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jawad Williams of the San Antonio Spurs.
A look at their early preseason schedules --
... The Spurs: tonight at Miami in the Hurricane Katrina Relief Game; Wednesday versus Philadelphia in Columbia, S.C.; against Washington, with Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood, in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Thursday.
... The Timberwolves: Wednesday at home against Milwaukee; a three-game roadtrip to Indiana (Friday), Detroit, with Rasheed Wallace (Sunday), and Chicago (Oct. 17); Indiana in Billings, Montana on Oct. 20.
... The Hawks: a home game on Tuesday against Orlando; Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama; at Charlotte on October 17 (Monday, 10:00 a.m.); the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets in Little Rock, Arkansas on October 18 (Tuesday).
... The Bobcats: Wednesday against Atlanta in Birmingham, Alabama; Thursday at home versus New Jersey, with Vince Carter and Jeff McInnis; Saturday at Miami; Atlanta on October 17 (Monday) in a game listed with a 10 a.m. start time at Charlotte.
And the Bobcats end training camp in Wilmington, N.C. today with a scrimmage game that is open to the public at 5 p.m. at Trask Coliseum, according to yesterday's Charlotte Observer.
EUROLEAGUE PREVIEW: TAR HEEL TALK
* Europe's highest level of competition, Euroleague, will begin in November and the 2005-06 edition has five Tar Heels scheduled to participate at this time.
Here's an edited and condensed version from the team previews at the league's official website that include former Tar Heels:
Armani Jeans Milano: "Italy's Milano is back in the continent's top competition – Euroleague – for the first time in seven seasons in 2005-06. Famous fashion designer Giorgio Armani led a group of investors who have helped the club earn a Euroleague berth in just one year.
Center Joseph Blair (Arizona), the Euroleague regular season MVP from 2002-03, and shooting guard Dante Calabria will be joined by several talented free agents. Calabria exploded as a prime-time scorer in the Italian League playoffs last season, especially in crunch time.
With a balanced roster and talented, experienced players at most positions, Armani Jeans has all it needs to be competitive in the 2005-06 Euroleague."
Union Olimpija Ljubljana: "Among the new crop of motivated players at Ljubljana (Slovenia) are the likes of rebounding specialist Vasco Evtimov and veteran ace Jimmy Oliver (Purdue).
Olimpija may have found a leader in Oliver, a 36-year-old veteran who contributes all over the court. Oliver is an elegant shooter who also collects rebounds, assists and steals in bunches. Evtimov was the Spanish League's top rebounder as recently as 2003-04 and is always a fan favorite for giving 101% on court. His energy and rebounding skills will be appreciated in Ljubljana."
Winterthur FC Barcelona: "This Spanish team has undergone some significant roster renovation since last season. Five players who were mostly fulltime starters on Euroleague teams in Italy last season - Milos Vujanic, Michalis Kakiouzis, Bootsy Thornton (St. John's), Gianluca Basile and Denis Marconato - have arrived. So has an electric playmaker, Shammond Williams, whose job it will be to distribute the ball among them and key returnees Juan Carlos Navarro, Gregor Fucka and Rodrigo De la Fuente.
Williams makes his Euroleague debut after having been among the assists leaders in the Russian League last season. Expect his passing numbers to rise with so much talent around. Thornton, also on the perimeter, is an intense guard who can help at both ends and is not only a good scorer, but is also an intense defender. There is no denying that Barcelona rebuilt itself with immediate Euroleague success in mind."
Ed Cota, of Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania), and Derrick Phelps, of GHP Bamberg (Germany), are also slated to play in Euroleague this season, but team previews have not been posted yet.
Visit euroleague.net to keep up with the latest on Euroleague basketball.
CLASS IS IN SESSION
* As Larry Brown began his first training camp as coach of the New York Knicks last week in Charleston, South Carolina, the New York Post noted that some interested observers were on hand.
"To watch the master at work, Larry Brown's first Knick practice was attended yesterday by college coaches, [Kelvin] Sampson (Oklahoma), Pete Gillen (formerly at Virginia), Billy Donovan (Florida), Larry Eustachy (Southern Mississippi) and former Bucks coach Terry Porter," the Post reported from the College of Charleston.
This week Brown will go national when he guests on the "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m.) Thursday on CBS with Adam Carolla ("Too Late" on Comedy Central) and singer Ricky Martin also scheduled.