COTA AND WILLIAMS TOGETHER AGAIN
* After being released by Lithuanian club Zalgiris Kaunas three weeks ago for conduct detrimental to the team, European basketball veteran Ed Cota has found a new team.
Cota, 29, has signed a contract with Winterthur FC Barcelona in Spain. "Barcelona is a club that has a great reputation. I know that we have good players and I hope to be able to help them win games and to be champions," said Cota upon arriving in Barcelona on Saturday, according to the team's official website.
Cota joins his former North Carolina backcourt-mate Shammond Williams on the FC Barcelona squad and stated he was looking forward to seeing him at practice. Williams is the starting point guard for the club that is currently in first-place in the Spanish League (ACB) after 20 games (15-5).
Cota has been added to the team as a replacement for injured back-up point guard Milos Vujanic, a New York Knicks draftee in 2002. The current agreement with FCB is for two months. Cota commented that his game will determine whether he will continue beyond that period with Barcelona.
Winterthur FC Barcelona also competes in Euroleague Basketball. Barcelona is among 16 teams that have advanced to the next round (Top 16) of Euroleague games that will begin on February 22.
PHELPS LAUDED BY COACH
* Thanks to the "Fan Mail" feature posted by Euroleague Basketball, IC's Tar Heel Pros News & Notes took advantage of the opportunity to ask GHP Bamberg (Germany) head coach Dirk Bauermann, a former player at Fresno State, what it's been like "having veteran point guard Derrick "The General" Phelps on his team this season?"
"He's been a great addition. He leads by example. He's a true professional who comes to work every day, plays hurt. With his experience and his court savvy, Derrick has made us a much better basketball team," Bauermann explained.
"He's also the perfect combination with Stefan Hamman, our up-and-coming German point guard, who has energy and athletic skills, always plays hard, but sometimes plays out of control. So they are a perfect combo at that position for us. And of course, without Derrick, we wouldn't have [advanced to the Euroleague] Top 16. He made the crucial shots on the last possession twice for us, in Slovenia and in France, to win games. If he doesn't make them, we wouldn't be where we are."
Bauermann, the current German national team coach and silver medalist winner at the 2005 European Championsip, was also asked what impact the next generation of players would have on the German national team that is currently dominated by veterans?
"First of all, this generation has been extremely successful. No matter how good the next generation is, it will be very difficult to match this one. You'd have to say that without Dirk [Nowitzki], Ademola Okulaja and Patrick Femerling (Washington), who have basically carried the team for the last six or eight years, it's going to be difficult," Bauermann replied.
"We have good up-and-coming talents, but European basketball has gotten so unbelievably strong that we'll probably have to take a step back for a couple of years before we can start challenging top teams again. Without those three, especially without Dirk, it's going to be hard. After they retire, we'll have difficulties staying in the top eight in Europe. We'd have to find a diamond in the rough here and there, but to medal without them will be very, very difficult."
Phelps and Bauermann currently have Bamberg (15-4) in a battle for first in the German League with Henrik Rodl's ALBA Berlin (16-3). Bamberg has also advanced to Euroleague's "Top 16" phase which begins another round of group play on February 22.
CARTER, WALLACE 2006 NBA STARS
* Vince Carter (New Jersey Nets) and Rasheed Wallace (Detroit Pistons) were recently added as reserves to the Eastern Conference squad for the 2006 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday (Feb. 19, 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT) in Houston, Texas.
Carter is making his seventh consecutive All-Star Game appearance. Wallace is being recognized as an All-Star for the third time. Here's a look at the history of Tar Heels that have reached All-Star status in the National Basketball Association (1951-2006) and the American Basketball Association (1968-1976).
TAR HEEL ALL-STARS AT A GLANCE
NBA selections ...
- Vince Carter: 7 ('00 - '06)
- Billy Cunningham: 4 ('69, '70, '71 & '72)
- Brad Daugherty: 5 ('88, '89, '91, '92 & '93)
- Walter Davis: 6 ('78, '79, '80, '81, '84 & '87)
- Antawn Jamison: 1 ('05)
- Bobby Jones: 4 ('77, '78, '81 & '82)
- Michael Jordan; 14 ('85 - '93, '96, '97, '98, '02 & '03 ... MVP in '88, '96, & '98)
- Bob McAdoo: 5 ('74, '75, '76, '77 & '78)
- Charlie Scott: 3 ('73, '74 & '75)
- Lee Shaffer: 1 ('63)
- Jerry Stackhouse: 2 ('00 & '01)
- Rasheed Wallace: 3 ('00, '01 & '06)
- James Worthy: 7 ('86 - '92)
A total of 62 NBA All-Star Game selections by 13 former Tar Heels.
ABA selections ...
- Larry Brown: 3 ('68, '69 & '70 ... MVP in '68)
- Billy Cunningham: 1 ('73)
- Bobby Jones: 1 ('76)
- Doug Moe: 3 ('68, '69 & '70)
- Charlie Scott: 2 ('71 & '72)
That's 5 players with a total of 10 ABA All-Star Game selections.
Since Cunningham, Jones and Scott played in All-Star Games in both leagues, that makes it 15 players from North Carolina with 72 NBA/ABA All-Star Game selections.
Note: The NBA All-Star Game was not held in 1999 due to a lockout by the owners.