LIVING THE DREAM
* ... There was a lot of tension for Tar Heel David Noel as the NBA Draft approached last Wednesday. Noel was anxious to see if his name would be called from the podium at Madison Square Garden in New York City to announce that he was selected by an NBA franchise.
Noel was in New York last year to watch his UNC teammates from that championship season -- Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants -- all be chosen during the first 14 picks. That got him to thinking that he wanted to have that feeling and be among those drafted in 2006.
Instead of another trip to NYC (reserved for those picked in the first round and guests), Noel watched this draft on TV in a hotel room in Durham and waited alone to see if it would happen.
"I just wanted to isolate myself from everybody else," said Noel to the Herald-Sun. "I knew my family would be getting a bunch of calls, and I didn't really feel like talking to anybody."
Late Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks made David Noel's dream come true when they selected the North Carolina small foward in the second round with the 39th overall pick.
"It was nerve-racking, but once they called my name, I just put my head down and started to cry," said Noel about the moment when his dream was realized.
Noel told the Herald-Sun he had reason to think the Bucks might call his name. "They said they really liked me and that I was in their top two or three, if I was still around then. But you never know until you actually hear your name," he said.
Noel met the media in Milwaukee on Thursday. He thinks he'll fit in the NBA as a cross between the "excitable" Desmond Mason, a former Bucks player now with the Hornets, and San Antonio Spurs defensive specialist Bruce Bowen.
"That's definitely what I'm going to try to live up to," Noel said. "I've already put it out there, and it's my job to live up to it now."
The next step for Noel will be to improve his offensive skills to go along with his highly regarded leadership and athleticism attributes.
* ... Noel will most likely sign a non-guaranteed contract with Milwaukee at or near the league minimum of $398,762. That's what Von Wafer (Florida State) earned last year as the No. 39 selection of the Los Angeles Lakers along with several other second-round draftees, according to the NBA salary information published by USA TODAY. (For those wondering, the second-year minimum salary is $664,209.)
Noel was one of seven ACC players taken in the 2006 NBA draft. The others were Shelden Williams of Duke (No. 5, Atlanta), J.J. Redick of Duke (No. 11, Orlando), NC State's Cedric Simmons (No. 15, NO/OKC), BC's Craig Smith (No. 36, Minnesota), Alexander Johnson of Florida State (No. 45, Memphis) and Miami's Guillermo Diaz (No. 52, L.A. Clippers).
* ... The Milwaukee Bucks appear to be the only team in the NBA that will not be involved in a summer league. The Bucks did have a free agent camp prior to the draft from June 22-24 in St. Francis, Wisconsin.
That camp included former Tar Heel Kris Lang, Obinna Ekezie (Maryland), Sharrod Ford (Clemson), Bryant Matthews (Va. Tech) and NC State's Marcus Melvin among the 18 players invited.
HANNERS, FORD STAYING? KUESTER GOING?
* ... Now that Larry Brown has been removed as coach of the New York Knicks, the status of New York assistant coaches Dave Hanners and Phil Ford still seems to be unresolved. Hanners and Ford both have three years remaining on the four-year contracts they signed when they went with Brown to New York from Detroit.
Isiah Thomas has taken over as coach of the Knicks. He was asked last week by the New York media, "What will your coaching staff look like?"
"I like the guys that we have now. I've yet to talk to Phil Ford. I've had a great discussion with Dave Hanners and he wants to stay on board, and I'd like to keep him on board. Phil hasn't returned yet from Carolina. When he returns, I'll sit down and talk to him. We will keep everything as is," Thomas responded.
However, there have been reports in the New York press that Hanners and Ford will be reassigned from assistant coaches to other duties.
* ... The Philadelphia Daily News reported last week that "a source confirmed that assistant John Kuester will be leaving the 76ers."
Kuester is expected to join the the Orlando Magic coaching staff, where former Sixers colleague Randy Ayers is already an assistant to head coach Brian Hill. Kuester could not be reached for comment at the time of the report.
Kuester has two years remaining on his contract with Philadelphia, the report noted, and has yet to sign a new deal with the Magic.
Kuester was a Sixers assistant from 1997 to 2003. He then moved on to the Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets, then returned to Philadelphia for the 2005-06 season.
* ... The addition of international pro basketball veterans Ed Cota and Ruben Garces (Providence) makes Panama a very experienced team as they will host the 2006 Centrobasket Tournament from July 4-8.
Panama will play Group A rivals Costa Rica (July 4), Virgin Islands (July 5) and Dominican Republic (July 6). Qualifiers will then advance to meet qualifiers from Group B, which consists of Puerto Rico, Mexico, Jamaica and Cuba.
Jamaal Levy of Wake Forest is also on the roster of the Panamanian national team that has a berth in the FIBA World Championship that will be held in Japan in August.
Cota is eligible to play for Panama since his parents were born there.
SUMMER LEAGUE HAPPENINGS
* ... NBA summer league season is upon us again, with the action slated to begin in Las Vegas for 16 teams starting on July 6.
Several former ACC stars will be on the teams playing in the Vegas Summer League including Maryland's Nik Caner-Medley (Detroit), John Gilchrist (Denver) and Chris McCray (Houston); Wake Forest's Eric Williams (New Jersey), Justin Gray (Toronto) and Chris Ellis (Denver); NC State's Anthony Grundy (Dallas) and Josh Powell (Dallas); and Duke's Sean Dockery (Portland) and William Avery (Toronto).
DraftExpress.com posted a roster for the Vegas Summer League-bound Los Angeles Clippers that includes former Tar Heel Jawad Williams, Daniel Ewing (Duke) and Chris Carrawell (Duke). The Clippers first game is on Saturday against Golden State featuring Will Bynum (Georgia Tech).
Williams played last season in Spain and also with the now-defunct Fayetteville Patriots of the NBDL.
The Orlando Summer League starts on July 10 with six teams including the Charlotte Bobcats. Former Tar Heel Sean May is on the summer roster announced by the club. May's rookie season was limited by a knee injury.
Charlotte starts a mini-camp today at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena training center.
The Southern California Summer Pro League has four NBA entries (Lakers, Mavs, Grizzlies and Wizards) scheduled from July 8-19 in Long Beach, Calif. Von Wafer (Florida State) and Nick Horvath (Duke) are on the Lakers' summer team.
The final NBA summer league is the six-team Rocky Mountain Revue hosted by the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 14th to the 21st.
Several NBA teams still have not made summer-team rosters available.
* ... Here is a list of former Tar Heels that were born in the month of July ...
- July 2: Brian Reese (35)
- July 4: Geoff Crompton [1955 - 2002]
- July 6: Cherie Lea (25)
- July 7: C.J. Hooker (23)
- July 10: Ademola Okulaja (31)
- July 18: York Larese (68)
- July 21: Phillip McLamb (25)
- July 24: Rick Fox (37)
- July 25: Brian Morrison (24)
- July 26: Dick Grubar (59)
- July 27: Bill Guthridge (69) and Kenny Harris (35)
- July 31: Derrick Phelps (34)