The newest member of BK Prostejov takes some time to introduce himself, talk about his experiences and what he looks forward to accomplishing this season. Jamar Smith (191-G-87, agency: KMG Sports Management, college: S.Indiana), 6-3, 195lbs is coming off his first professional season spent in the NBA D-League with the Maine Red Claws. The former University of Illinois and Southern Indiana star had a stellar rookie season, being named to the D-League All-Rookie Second team after starting 45 of 48 contests and averaging 13.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 46.7% from the field, 43.2% from three and 88.9% from the free-throw line. Jamar picked himself back up after a tumultuous end to his time at Illinois by re-grouping at Southern Indiana and putting together two incredibly impressive seasons at the NCAA2 school before going undrafted at the 2010 NBA Draft. However, his refined shooting, especially from behind the arc, was too good to go unnoticed and he earned a training camp invite with the Boston Celtics prior to heading to Maine and the D-League. For reference, an abbreviated 21 game sophomore season at Illinois is the only time in his brief career where he failed to shoot at least 40% from three (31.7%). His chances cut short at joining the NBA this season due to the lockout, Smith is continuing his maturation as a player and person as he begins his European career in the Czech Republic. Now, as one of the key members of a re-tooled Prostejov squad, Smith will be counted upon by new Head Coach Zbynek Choleva to carry a big scoring load as he teams with returning center Yemi Nicholson, captain Jaroslav Prasil (201-F-80) and several other newcomers to try and return the team to its established levels of prominence over the past two seasons.
Q) First of all, thank you for taking the time for this interview. What was your first thought when you found out that you would be heading to the Czech Republic to play this season?
A) I was excited for the opportunity to play in another country and adapt and learn a new culture.
Q) Do you know anyone who has experience playing or living in Czech? What advice have you gotten so far on what to expect?
A) I don't know anyone personally who has played in Czech. Just to be open minded to the culture and enjoy the experience.
Q) Your new team has a completely different look from the last two seasons, when they were second-place finishers each of the last two seasons. Essentially you will be coming in and expected to put your stamp on the team right off the bat. Is this something you are accustomed and look forward to?
A) Definitely because my whole career I have been a scorer and then this past season I had to become more of the distributor, so I'm excited to get started.
Q) Asked to be primarily a shooting guard and scorer during your time in college, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make to your game to adapt to running the point at the pro level?
A) As a point guard you look to distribute first so it was just understanding when to look for my shot and the adjustment of running the offense.
Q) Obviously, you picked up the nuances of the position quickly, averaging 5.0 assists per game as a rookie starter for Maine last season. Under Austin Ainge (son of Boston Celtics Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge) what did you learn about yourself and your game while in the D-League?
A) That I could make any adjustment when it comes to the game and I feel now I can play either guard position just as effectively.
Q) Back to the connection to Boston, what was it like to be in training camp with all of those Future Hall of Famers?
A) It was a positive learning experience getting advise from guys like Rajon Rondo and his knowledge of the PG position.
Q) When we look back at your collegiate career, as a native of Illinois, what did it mean to you to play for Bruce Weber and the Illini? How did it affect you when you lost that opportunity to play for Illinois?
A) It was a disappointment; I'd always dreamed of playing there but when I lost the opportunity it bettered me as a person and I will always be very grateful to the University of Illinois for the opportunity.
Q) What led you to choose to transfer to Southern Indiana? How did your two seasons there help you develop and grow?
A) It was a school that was relatively close to home and a new opportunity for me. From the start I had to earn everything at Southern Indiana, nothing was given to me. I had to prove that I would not let anyone out work me and I wanted to be the leader of the team.
Q) Going into this season, what are your goals for yourself and the team?
A) Win the Czech Championship and perform very well in the EuroCup and EuroChallenge games.
Q) As the NBA is of course a goal for everyone, what are your thoughts on the lockout? Will the season start on time?
A) I'm not really sure because I haven't thought much about it. I try to really focus on what I can control and that is the upcoming season with BK Prostejov.
Maine Red Claws agreed terms with 23-year old forward Abdel Nader (198-102kg-93). He just graduated from Iowa State University (NCAA). Nader has played there for the last three years. In 33 games he had 12.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.6apg and 1.0spg last season. Nader helped them to make it to the NCAA Sweet 16. Quite impressive season as he was named to All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and All-Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Team. This summer he was drafted by Boston Celtics (NBA) in second round (58... [read more]
Maine Red Claws agreed terms with 23-year old forward Abdel Nader (198-102kg-93). He just graduated from Iowa State University (NCAA). Nader has played there for the last three years. In 33 games he had 12.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.6apg and 1.0spg last season. Nader helped them to make it to the NCAA Sweet 16. Quite impressive season as he was named to All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and All-Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Team. This summer he was drafted by Boston Celtics (NBA) in second round (58th overall). Nader just graduated from Iowa State University and it is his first season in pro basketball. His college team won Big 12 Tournament in 2015.
Los Angeles D-Fenders to hire Coby Karl as head coach - 6 days ago
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The Los Angeles Defenders are set to hire Coby Karl as their new head coach. The Defenders are the NBA D-League affiliate for the Los Angeles Lakers. Karl was an assistant with the Westchester Knicks in the D-League last year. Karl is the son of longtime NBA head coach George Karl . Courtesy of: hoops247.com [read more]
The Los Angeles Defenders are set to hire Coby Karl as their new head coach. The Defenders are the NBA D-League affiliate for the Los Angeles Lakers. Karl was an assistant with the Westchester Knicks in the D-League last year. Karl is the son of longtime NBA head coach George Karl . Courtesy of: hoops247.com
Northern Arizona Suns Announce Basketball Staff - 8 days ago
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The Northern Arizona Suns today announced the club's basketball operations and coaching staffs. The finalized basketball operations staff includes Bubba Burrage as general manager, Louis Lehman as assistant general manager and Dylan DeBusk as director of basketball operations/player personnel. On Head Coach Tyrone Ellis ' coaching staff, Bret Burchard, Tyler Gatlin and Brandon Rosenthal have been named assistant coaches and Jonathan Mak has been named head athletic trainer/head strength a... [read more]
The Northern Arizona Suns today announced the club's basketball operations and coaching staffs. The finalized basketball operations staff includes Bubba Burrage as general manager, Louis Lehman as assistant general manager and Dylan DeBusk as director of basketball operations/player personnel. On Head Coach Tyrone Ellis ' coaching staff, Bret Burchard, Tyler Gatlin and Brandon Rosenthal have been named assistant coaches and Jonathan Mak has been named head athletic trainer/head strength and conditioning coach. Burrage remains the team's general manager, a position he also held for the previous two seasons with the Phoenix Suns' former NBA D-League affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam. In addition to serving as general manager for the NAZ Suns, Burrage remains director of player personnel for the Phoenix Suns. Possessing 23 years of experience in the NBA, Burrage initially joined the Phoenix Suns prior to the 2011-12 season as the team's head pro personnel scout. Lehman likewise joins the NAZ Suns in a position he previously held with the Jam, as assistant general manager. Additionally, Lehman will continue to serve as manager of basketball operations with the Phoenix Suns. Debusk also comes over from Bakersfield, now promoted to director of basketball operations/player personnel after being director of basketball operations with the Jam. Ellis, officially announced as head coach last week, joins the NAZ Suns after spending the 2015-16 season as the lead assistant with Bakersfield. It marked Ellis' fourth season as a lead assistant coach in the D-League, previously working one season each with the Grand Rapids Drive (2014-15), Reno Bighorns (2013-14) and Tulsa 66ers (2012-13). Ellis entered the coaching ranks following a successful 11-year pro career as a player in the D-League and internationally. Burchard is promoted to assistant coach with the NAZ Suns following two seasons as head video coordinator for the Phoenix Suns. Gatlin makes the move to the NAZ Suns from Bakersfield after also serving as an assistant coach with the Jam in 2015-16. Rosenthal joins the organization after working in the Houston Rockets' video department last season. Mak also joins the NAZ Suns from the Jam, holding the same position of head athletic trainer/head strength and conditioning coach that he served in during the 2015-16 season. Mak initially joined Bakersfield's staff as an assistant athletic trainer/strength and conditioning coach prior to the 2013-14 season. Courtesy of: dleague.nba.com
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