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Outback Steakhouse and Magic Combine to Fight Youth Hunger

2015 September 1
by Adam Papageorgiou

bocart

As part of the Orlando Magic’s Hoops for Hunger program and to tip off Hunger Action Month, the Magic and Outback Steakhouse teamed up on Tuesday with Victor Oladipo, as well as Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, to unveil the Magic’s second Love Pantry in Central Florida. This one at Rosemont Elementary.

 

 

Oladipo, Anderson, Outlaw, FOX Sports Florida broadcaster Jeff Turner, Outback Steakhouse Sanford Proprietor Amy Briscoe, Christian Service Center Executive Director Robert Stuart, and Magic volunteers stocked the Magic’s Love Pantry with food and hygiene items for local families in need. They also handed out groceries to youth. The Magic’s first Love Pantry debuted at Hungerford Elementary and Magic staff members joined earlier in the morning to stock that Love Pantry.  

 

 

The Love Pantry is an initiative of the Christian Service Center in partnership with Orange and Seminole County Public Schools. Since the program’s inception in 2011, more than 8,000 family members across 63 different Love Pantries in Orange and Seminole County schools have been provided food, hygiene items, and community resource information.

 

 

Each participating school is provided with a lockable cabinet supplied with emergency food and basic hygiene items which is replenished on a weekly basis by volunteers. When a student or family is in need, the school’s staff member can go to the cabinet to provide enough food for one or several family meals.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

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Canada Suffer Disappointing Defeat at Hands of Argentina

2015 September 1
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo: Daniel Cardenas/FIBA Americas/Imago7

Photo: Daniel Cardenas/FIBA Americas/Imago7

Not the ideal way you want to start the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship if you’re Canada. They fell to – most likely their toughest opponent in Group B – Argentina on Tuesday, 94-87. Canada got out-rebounded 45-39 and only shot 68% from the free throw line.

Orlando Magic players Andrew Nicholson and Melvin Ejim both came off the bench. Andrew had 2 points (1-of-1) and 3 rebounds in just under ten minutes of action. The lack of playing time was certainly a bit befuddling considering Kelly Olynyk – who started in place of Andrew – struggled with an awful 4-for-13 shooting performance. Melvin played more than ‘Drew, tallying 7 points and 2 rebounds in about twelve minutes of action. Ejim went 5-of-7 from the free throw line, the most makes and attempts on the team.

Canada actually led 20-17 after the first period, despite the team looking tentative and almost clueless at times throughout the contest in Mexico City. Argentina led 46-42 at the break. Canada jumped out to a 7-0 run to open the second half…and then 35-year-old FIBA legend Luis Scola happened. Scola – who is a new Toronto Raptor – dropped 18 of his 35 points (also had 13 rebounds) in that 3rd period. Argentina led entering the final 10-minute session and didn’t look back the rest of the way.

 

 

Nicolas Laprovittola (20 points), Andres Nocioni (15 points), and Facundo Campazzo (10 points) carried Argentina over the finish line. They’re 2-0 as they beat Puerto Rico on Monday. Argentina could win the entire thing, but Canada really should have won if they had a decent game plan. Canada got out-hustled, and that can’t happen against an older team like Argentina.

Ejim is a good defender, but the rest of Canada were abysmal in attempting to stop Argentina. I think more disappointing than Nicholson not getting more minutes was that Andrew Wiggins only took 9 shots. This guy should be averaging over twenty points per contest, not settling for an efficient 13 points. It was a very frustrating defeat for Canada, and I blame the coaching staff for not finding better solutions in the second half.

Canada is 0-1 and goes from facing their toughest group opponent, to probably their easiest as they’ll take on Cuba at 3:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday. I expect Nicholson and Ejim both to get a boost in playing time as Jay Triano will have to be smart about resting certain players in what should be an easy victory.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

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Andrew Nicholson and Melvin Ejim 2015 FIBA Americas Preview

2015 August 31
by Adam Papageorgiou

nichej

I felt like putting these two Orlando Magic men together because Andrew Nicholson is beginning his ’15-’16 campaign most likely as a 3rd-string big man, and Melvin Ejim very well may not make Scott Skiles‘ 15-man roster come the beginning of the Magic’s regular season in late-October. But on Team Canada, both men are quite valuable on Jay Triano’s 12-man roster.

Canada begins their FIBA Americas Championship Group B action on Tuesday afternoon in Mexico City, but the tournament itself actually began on Monday. In their pool, Venezuela easily beat Cuba and Argentina defeated Puerto Rico with a strong second half showing as international basketball-lifers Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni dominated with double-doubles. Rick Pitino is going to miss not having Maurice Harkless‘ defensive abilities for P.R.

Top 4 in each group move onto the second round where another group stage occurs. It’s safe to say that Cuba will be the one going home early from Group B unless something crazy happens to one of the other four teams (including Canada).

So here’s the Group B schedule for Canada this week:

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WATCH: Mario Hezonja Puts Omri Casspi in Spin Cycle

2015 August 30
by Adam Papageorgiou

casspi

Mario Hezonja is a freaking magician, and not just in the Orlando Magic sense of the word. Anyone that has seen the 20-year-old Croatian play knows he’s not just a perimeter player. I’m here to provide you more highlights to prove that.

Croatia beat Israel 86-76 on Friday to go 9-0 in their EuroBasket exhibition warm-up preparation. Mario Hezonja got in some foul trouble, so he only managed 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists, but he still put on a show.

 

 

Along with the beautiful dunk, Hezonja decided to put 6-season NBA veteran Omri Casspi in the spin cycle on this gorgeous and-1 transition play.

mariospincasspi

hez2omri

Oh yeah, and Mario had a fantastic no-look tip pass as well.

no look tip pass

‘Super Mario’ is looking just that this offseason, super. EuroBasket is less than a week away.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

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Nicholson and Ejim Make Canada 12-Man FIBA Americas Squad

2015 August 29
by Adam Papageorgiou

nichbrazil

There wasn’t any doubt, but it’s official now, Orlando Magic players Andrew Nicholson and Melvin Ejim have made Canada’s finalized 12-man roster for the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship that will take place in Mexico August 31st through September 12th. Top two countries from this 10-team tournament gets an automatic qualification into the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil – as Olympic hosts – get an automatic Olympic spot next summer no matter how they perform over the next few weeks.

Below is Canada’s full FIBA Americas 12-man roster that also includes Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk, Anthony Bennett, Brady Heslip, Nik Stauskas, and Cory Joseph.

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Elfrid Payton Enjoys Special Day at Gretna Middle School

2015 August 29
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Brett Duke, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune

Photo by Brett Duke, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune

Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton was on familiar soil on Friday. The 21-year-old was in his hometown of Gretna, Louisiana giving out free school supplies to about 700 students at Gretna Middle School. Payton attended classes there and also played basketball. It was supposed to be only a charitable-type visit for Elfrid. However, the school had other ideas. Trey Iles of NOLA.com put together a wonderful story.

Payton, about to enter his second year with the Orlando Magic, got a surprise when his old school retired his No. 4 jersey during a school assembly Friday morning.

“That’s huge for me,” Payton told the student body. “You almost made me cry.”

 

Along with expressing his gratitude for the jersey retirement, Elfrid talked about how comfortable he is playing in the NBA and improving his shot.

“It’s (NBA compared to college) definitely different,” Payton said. “But it didn’t take me that long to get used to it. By the end of December, first of January the game started slowing down for me and I was able to do what I do best, penetrate the paint, play defense, things like that.”

“I think my shot will be better this year,” Payton said. “Picking my spots, knowing when to take my shot. That’s the biggest thing that will be better. Just having experience, understanding the game more, will help as well.”

Payton is expected to do big things in his upcoming sophomore season under the guidance of new Magic coach Scott Skiles due in large part to a very strong 82-game rookie campaign where he averaged 8.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.5 apg, and 1.7 steals per contest. Despite the large expectations, he’s still as humble as ever. The man from Gretna has hung tight to his roots.

According to the NOLA article, Elfrid is expected back in Orlando on Tuesday to begin preparation for next month’s training camp.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

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Jordan Sibert to Join Orlando Magic at Training Camp

2015 August 29
by Adam Papageorgiou

sibert

Add another player to the Orlando Magic training camp roster. David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News reports that Jordan Sibert was in Florida in Friday and that the 23-year-old Dayton Flyer is expected to be officially announced as an addition to the Magic squad very soon. No contract terms are known at this time.

The 6’4″ 187-pounder can shoot the rock well from the outside, and he’s not afraid to be the guy to take a final shot. Sibert played 3 games for Orlando ‘Blue’ on the back-end of the Orlando Summer League back in July, and posted some solid games including an 18-point showing. Sibert in his 3 games averaged 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, and 1.0 spg on 45.8 FG% and 42.9 3PT% (6-of-14).

His odds of making the 15-man roster are not good in my opinion. This very well could be a situation where Sibert ends up in the D-League with the Erie BayHawks. Sibert is certainly excited for his Magic opportunity.

 

New journey, same mission. Next up is training camp, I’m blessed! 🙌🏾🏀✈️

A photo posted by Jordan Sibert (@smooth_jordan) on

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Facebook and our post-only Twitter profile***

WATCH: Mario Hezonja Drops 24 Points in EuroBasket Tune-Up Game

2015 August 27
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo: Igor Kralj/PIXSELL

Photo: Igor Kralj/PIXSELL

Orlando Magic #5 Draft pick Mario Hezonja chose a great time to have an outstanding contest for his Croatian national team with EuroBasket just over a week away. Croatia defeated Bosnia Herzigovina 97-79 in a friendly on Thursday. ‘Super Mario’ scored 24 points on 5-for-6 3-point shooting. The 20-year-old also racked up 6 rebounds and 2 assists. It’s by far Hezonja’s best international performance so far this summer.

 

 

Coach Velimir Perasovic should be pleased with how Hezonja was able to step in for #1 scoring option Bojan Bogdanovic. The 6’7″ Brooklyn Net got injured – he should be fine for EuroBasket – and that opened the door for more Mario touches in this contest.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Facebook and our post-only Twitter profile***

Our Favorite ‘F’ Word is Right Around the Corner

2015 August 25
by Adam Papageorgiou

redfourn

Let’s show some maturity, Orlando Magic fans. It’s not that word. It’s also not ‘football’. And it’s not even ‘FIFA 16’. Let’s ‘FIBA’. Welcome to my favorite part of the NBA offseason: FIBA action. Specifically, FIBA’s Americas Championship and EuroBasket tournaments. To most Americans, they’re only viewed as pre-Olympic qualifying tournaments for Brazil in 2016. To the rest of the world, winning gold at these FIBA tournaments can be as important as taking gold at the Olympics. And I love it.

The 17th FIBA Americas Championship runs from August 31st through September 12th. It is taking place in Mexico. Team USA won’t be participating because they already won last year’s FIBA World Cup and have the automatic Olympic bid. Going across the pond, we have the more prestigious and larger 39th FIBA European Basketball Championship – commonly known as EuroBasket – which runs from September 5th through the 20th.

Magic fans should pay attention over the coming weeks to these two FIBA tournaments because potentially four Orlando men will be competing. Can’t recall the last time the Magic had four players participating in international competition in one summer.

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Orlando’s 2015-2016 Preseason Schedule

2015 August 24
by Adam Papageorgiou

Magic_Heat_Basketball.JPEG-

You already know about the 82-game regular season schedule, but here is also the Orlando Magic 2015-2016 preseason campaign. It begins at Amway Center against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday October 3rd. Orlando opens training camp on September 26 at Amway Center.

The Magic will play a total of eight preseason games, including four at Amway Center.  The other three home games are Tuesday October 13th against the Miami Heat, Wednesday October 21st vs. New Orleans, and Friday October 23rd vs. Memphis.

Orlando will also participate in NBA Global Games Rio 2015, when they take on Brazilian champion Flamengo on Saturday October 17th at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Magic’s first road game comes October 7th in Louisville, Kentucky against the Miami Heat. Double the sunshine state rivalry in one week.

The entire schedule is below.

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