Pro Speak 7-8: NBA Summer Camps and NFC North

With NBA summer leagues kicking off in Orlando and Las Vegas this week and Salt Lake City next week, Professionally Speaking turns its focus to roundball. We also have a couple of notes on former Buckeyes in the NFL's NFC North.

First, let's get the most obvious question out of the way: Greg Oden will not be representing the Portland Trailblazers on the court at any summer league. He continues his rehab – check out his progress here if you wish - and the team's trainer told the Portland Tribune that Oden is on track to play in preseason games in September .

"We're biding our time with Greg," Jay Jensen told the paper. "Our goals this summer with him (include) maintaining his weight, strengthening his legs and letting the healing process continue without him taking a hard pounding.

"He's not fragile, but it has been a long process for him. He has been getting antsy to get back out there, and we have been holding the reins on him."…

That may be the cheeriest news involving the three-member 2007 draft class from Ohio State.

Daequan Cook is expected to miss the entire week's worth of games his Miami Heat will play in Orlando after suffering a separated left (nonshooting) shoulder last week. According to the Associated Press, Cook was injured July 3 and will be out for 2-4 weeks.

Cook, a 6-5 shooting guard, averaged 8.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while shooting 38.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three-point range in 59 games as a rookie last season. He made 19 starts and averaged 24.4 minutes per game…

While Cook watches in Orlando, Mike Conley Jr. is suiting up for the Memphis Grizzlies in the league's Las Vegas summer league.

As a 2007 lottery pick, Conley's status on the roster should presumably be pretty safe for a while, but there is a glut of young players at his position on the Memphis roster.

The situation became more curious when the Grizzlies acquired rookie O.J. Mayo in a draft-night trade. Mayo is multiskilled 6-5 combo guard some scouts think has the ability to run an NBA team for years, but Memphis already had Conley, Kyle Lowry, Marko Jaric and Javaris Crittenton prior to the Mayo acquisition.

That leads Sean Deveney of the Sporting News to speculate that moves are on the way .

"That situation is a mess," Deveney reports an agent for one of the point guards told him. "We're going to do what we can to get our guy out of there. But we're not the only ones, so, who knows what will happen?"

Other media outlets have reported that the Grizzlies are looking to trade at least one of the youngsters, and there was a rumor out there that before the draft Memphis might send its first round pick along with Conley or Lowry and another player to Miami for a package that would have included the No. 2 pick in the draft and perhaps Cook.

Lowry, Mayo and Crittenton are among the Grizzlies playing in Vegas this week.

Conley averaged 9.4 points, 4.2 assists and 1.7 turnovers per game last season. He logged 46 starts among 53 games played.

One more interesting note: Mayo told reporters at his introductory press conference that he has known Conley since the two were 9 years old…

Finally, this year's first round pick from Ohio State, Kosta Koufos, figures to make his pro debut at the Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City next week…

As we transition to our weekly football talk, we find that CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco recently picked 30 potential breakout players for the 2008 NFL season, a list that includes two former Buckeyes back to back.

At No. 17, Prisco tabbed Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk.

"The Packers expect big things from Hawk in his third season," Prisco writes. "He showed improvement last season, but needs to play more instinctively. With two years under his belt, look for that to happen."

Next up: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

"He had 52 catches last season, his second with the team, but watch out in 2008," says Prisco. "This could be his Pro Bowl year. It's certainly going to be the season he takes over as the No. 1 guy for Hines Ward."

Topping the list was Cincinnati Bengals tackle Stacy Andrews…

Hawk is not the only former Buckeye lining up in the NFC North, but he is close. Stalwart defensive lineman Ryan Pickett joins Hawk on the Packer defense, while fans can expect the see Antonine Winfield turn in another stellar season in the defensive backfield of the Minnesota Vikings.

The only other former Buckeye in the division, though, is Kirk Barton. A seventh-round draft pick last spring, the loquacious former OSU captain and four-year starter is one of three rookie offensive tackles on the Bears roster this offseason.

Joining him are Chris Williams of Vanderbilt (a first round pick, No. 14 overall) and Cody Balogh of Montana (undrafted).

The other two Bear tackles are nine-year veteran John St. Clair and 10th-year man John Tait

Chicago also drafted guard Chester Adams from Georgia in the seventh round.


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