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Oladipo is Dunking and Dancing Through the Summer

2015 July 29
by Adam Papageorgiou

feathery

Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo has been keeping active in unconventional ways this week. The 23-year-old decided to mix up his usual offseason workout routines, and put on his fun hat.

First off, Oladipo along with folks like former Magic player and current community ambassador Bo Outlaw as well as Stuff the Magic mascot combined to debut the Magic Fit Shuffle.

Bo’s still the man.

 

More importantly, Oladipo made a guest appearance on ESPN’s SportsNation. Vic decided to please the crowd and embarrass Marcellus Wiley in the process by dunking all kinds of nastiness over and through him.

 

 

  😱 Via @sportsnation: @vicoladipo puts Marcellus Wiley on a poster! #PureMagic   A video posted by Orlando Magic (@orlandomagic) on

 

I don’t care how big the basketball or hoop are, it’s always fun to throw down a windmill on another human being. Along with creating that beautiful posterization, Vic apparently wants another shot at the slam dunk competition.

 

 

As long as Zach LaVine continues to participate in that event, it’s tough to think anyone will overthrow him any time soon.

Don’t worry, Vic’s spending a lot of his summer on the courts and watching a lot of basketball film to improve himself.

 

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

 

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Shabazz Napier Being Recruited By Puerto Rican National Team

2015 July 28
by Adam Papageorgiou

fiba15

The Orlando Magic very well could still have two of their players participate at the August 31st-to-September 12th FIBA Americas pre-Olympic qualifying tournament after all. Andrew Nicholson – coming off a strong Pan Am Games – will most likely represent Canada in Mexico. Puerto Rican national team coach Rick Pitino came out in June and stated he was recruiting Maurice Harkless. Moe of course was recently traded to Portland.

Now comes news of the Puerto Rican national team also recruiting new Magic man Shabazz Napier. elnuevodia.com reports that the president of the Puerto Rican national basketball federation, Carlos Beltran, revealed that Coach Pitino is trying to negotiate with Napier and the Magic to allow the 24-year-old to train and play at the FIBA Americas Championship for them.

Napier is half-Puerto Rican as his mom is ethnically Puerto Rican. Harkless has a grandparent that’s from P.R. The national team is training in Louisville currently – where Harkless will report this week – which is convenient for Pitino since he’s the coach of the Cardinals college basketball program. Enough of Moe, he’s a Blazer now.

Napier hasn’t actually played for the national team on this large of a stage. He’s come close. We’ll see if ‘Bazz ends up playing for Puerto Rico next month. Again, I’m always in favor of these younger professional athletes playing international ball. It brings them new perspective on the game.

The top 2 team finishers at the FIBA Americas tourney receive automatic qualification to the Olympics next year in Brazil. Team USA already has their automatic bid, which is why they won’t compete in a month. Both Canada and Puerto Rico are in Group B of the FIBA Americas competition. Canada plays Puerto Rico on September 4th in the group stage.

Here’s a nice highlight video of what Napier may be able to do.

 

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

 

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Orlando to Acquire Shabazz Napier from Miami

2015 July 26
by Adam Papageorgiou

Sha08 Heat Dep Hmg

The Orlando Magic are in the process of completing a trade with the Miami Heat that will bring guard Shabazz Napier to O-Town in exchange for…almost nothing. This as first reported by Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has the details of what the Magic are giving in return.

 

 

A top-55 protected 2016 Draft selection in exchange for the 24th overall pick in the 2014 Draft. A now 24-year-old player who led UCONN to winning the championship that year. Sounds like Rob Hennigan took advantage of Miami needing to save some money with their luxury tax issues. Depending on what rumors you like reading about, Napier was somewhat on Orlando’s radar in that ’14 Draft with their #12 pick before doing the Dario SaricElfrid Payton deal.

Before signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James gave his endorsement of the Heat front office selecting Napier. That explains why Miami gave up a decent amount of assets to trade up two spots with the Charlotte Hornets to take Napier. So if you relish in seeing Orlando’s sunshine state rival make bad moves, savor this deal because they wasted some pieces with Napier’s Miami departure.    

 

 

In 51 games and 10 starts, Napier averaged 5.1 ppg, 2.5 apg, and 2.2 rpg on 38.2 FG% and 36.4 3PT% his rookie campaign in Miami. The 3-point shooting is the most promising part of Napier’s game that could immediately help Orlando.

As for what Napier does to the Magic’s picture, a couple of thoughts come to mind.

Orlando still remains under the salary cap as Napier is only getting paid about $1.3 million in the ’15-’16 season. Shabazz has team options for ’16-’17 ($1.35 million) and ’17-’18 ($2.36 million), so the Magic hold a lot of power in regards to what they can do with Napier. If he has a bad training camp and preseason, the Magic could decline the team option for next season, or even – more drastically – cut him and only worry about the $1.3 million owed to Napier this season while giving someone else the roster spot.

Napier is coming off a sports hernia surgery in March that ended his rookie campaign. The 6’1″, 180-pounder did look good playing for Miami’s Summer League team earlier this month. I don’t view Napier as a good defender. A feisty guy who will bring effort, but a lot of inconsistencies in his game. It’s a low-risk, possible high-reward situation in acquiring Napier.

 

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Canada and Andrew Nicholson Claim Silver at Pan Am Games

2015 July 26

silver

Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson and the Canadian national team had to settle for the silver medal on Saturday in the Pan Am Games senior men’s basketball final. They fell to Brazil 86-71. Nicholson tallied 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting (1-of-2 on triples) and 3 rebounds. Canada as a whole shot a terrible 32% from the field including 6-of-24 on triples. Just not the ideal contest to shoot ice cold.

For as fantastic as the Canada-USA semifinal was with that electric Toronto atmosphere, there was little drama and a lot of frustration for anyone supporting Canada in the Gold Medal Game. Brazil led 26-13 after the first period, and Canada never could quite make a game of it.

Overall, the 25-year-old Nicholson had a fantastic 5 games in 5 days. ‘Drew averaged 18.2 ppg and 8.0 rpg on 51.6 FG% (33-of-64) and 38.9 3PT% (7-of-18). Plenty of confidence gained for the Mississauga, Ontario native.

 

 

Silver is still an outstanding accomplishment for Canada, it’s their best finish ever at a Pan Am Games competition. It continues to confirm that coach Jay Triano has that country on the rise in basketball.

Next comes the FIBA Americas tournament which runs from late-August through mid-September and takes place in Mexico. Top two teams in that competition earn automatic qualification into the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nicholson will definitely be on that 12-man roster, but it’s unknown if he’ll continue to be a starter depending on what players get selected.

 

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

 

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Nicholson’s 31 Points and 10 Rebounds Carry Canada to Gold Medal Game

2015 July 25
by Adam Papageorgiou

drew

Don’t tell me the Pan Am Games don’t matter. Look at those faces full of emotion. Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson has an opportunity to win his first medal in international play. That’s because the 25-year-old tallied a remarkable 31 points and 10 rebounds in a 111-108 overtime semifinals victory over Team USA on Friday at the Pan Am Games. Nicholson shot 12-of-20 from the field, including 3-for-9 from behind the 3-point line. What a thriller of a game.

Jamal Murray had 22 points. More importantly, the 18-year-old scored each of his 8 field goal makes in the fourth period and overtime. He pushed Canada to force overtime. This kid is going to be a fun prospect at Kentucky. Anthony Bennett added 18 points and 14 rebounds. Canada’s main advantage was the 50-29 rebounding gap. In defeat, Bobby Brown led USA with 25 points while Anthony Randolph (you remember that guy) had 21 points.

 

 

Nicholson separated a tight first half with crucial back-to-back 3-pointer to give Canada a decent 47-40 lead late in the second period. It makes you wonder why Andrew doesn’t get even more touches. No one has been able to stop him on the post and on the perimeter.      

 

Jay Triano’s Canadian squad led 52-47 at the half as Nicholson had already notched 16 points and 7 rebounds by the break. Out of the locker rooms, Andrew would assert himself often during the 3rd ten-minute session. Nicholson posted a 13-point third quarter.

Nicholson would drive in for smooth and-1 with 2:56 left in the 3rd period to put Canada up 68-67. Unfortunately for Andrew, that put him at 29 points. So Nicholson would only score two more points the rest of the way. USA – behind some hot 3-point shooting – went ahead 80-74 entering the fourth period. Andrew did his part carrying Canada for the majority of the regulation. It was time for the baton exchange. Thankfully for Canada, that’s when Jamal Murray and Anthony Bennett took over while USA cooled off from the perimeter.

Andrew’s final points came on a running floater to put Canada ahead 90-86 with five and a half minutes remaining in regulation. The atmosphere at the Ryerson Athletic Centre was fantastic. What a seesaw battle late. And it got even better after Jamal Murray drained a ridiculous step-back triple with 37 seconds remaining to eventually send the game to overtime at 97-97. This guy is only eighteen!

In the 5-minute overtime, Canada began the session with a 5-0 run. USA didn’t back down, going on a 6-0 run of their own. Murray would drain another crazy shot, then Randolph drilled a 3-pointer for USA before Murray drained another 3-pointer as Canada led 107-106 with 1:29 left in the overtime. Clutch shot after clutch shot, but Canada would not relinquish the lead from there. Another Murray step-back 3-pointer with 55 seconds left was essentially the dagger.

A scary situation occurred for Andrew in the final minute. Nicholson was about to go up for a rebound but his leg got tangled up with Ryan Hollins under the rim. Andrew stayed on the ground getting his left leg worked on by the Canadian training staff. It was a foul against Hollins, but Nicholson couldn’t finish the contest with 43.9 seconds remaining so Carl English had to take his free throw attempts. Team USA had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but Bobby Brown missed the open corner triple and the celebrations were on in Toronto.

It seems Andrew was just cramping up, and he will be fine for the title game.

 

 

Team USA now has to settle for playing the Dominican Republic in the Bronze Medal Game. That’s Saturday at 11 a.m. EST.

Canada is 4-0, they will face the also 4-0 Brazilian national team in the title game at 4:30 p.m. EST on Saturday. The fifth game in 5 days for both teams. Both squads will be on the podium at the conclusion of this contest, it’s just a matter of who stands a little higher. Andrew is going to play an enormous role once again in determining the outcome. We’ll see who walks way with silver, and who claims gold.

 

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

 

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MBO Roundtable: Orlando 2015 Free Agency Edition

2015 July 24
by Adam Papageorgiou

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The 2015 NBA Free Agency is still ongoing, but the Orlando Magic appear to be mostly done with moves and signings. We start chatting about what type of squad Scott Skiles is going to have for the 2015-2016 campaign. Welcome to another edition of MBO roundtable. I’m Adam Papageorgiou and joining me for this fearsome foursome chat are Brian SerraSpenser Strode, and Juan Toribio

 

What restaurant in Orlando would you have taken Paul Millsap to, and what are you ordering to seal the deal?

Brian Serra:

My initial pass at this was to take him to something that I love, that everyone should love. Take him to K! Take him to Prato! But you don’t take basketball players to these places – unless they are named Jonathan Clay. So I went with a basketball player staple, that is still Orlando-centric… Christner’s. After a quick tour of the RDV, Millsap could have been kidnapped for the evening and personally bathed himself in the drawn butter of his fresh lobster before washing it down with the filet. Full? Of course not! Send the man down the road for the best beignets south of New Orleans at Tibby’s! (Side note: he should really eat at Prato.)

 

Spenser Strode:

I’m not going to pretend to be (cue Chris Farley) “cultured” or “rich” or “know how to read a menu” or “have friends to enjoy an evening out on the town with”, so this question may not be in my wheelhouse. If I had my druthers, I’d have taken Millsap to the fabulous Hawkers Asian Street Fare and ordered several shareable dishes that keep the proverbial exchange of ideals and lines of communication open throughout the meal. If things are going well, we might cue up an UberX and slide downtown for tiki drinks at the quaint Aku Aku and finish the night with a stroll around Lake Eola whereupon we agree to a gentleman’s handshake deal.

All things considered, I think the Magic really missed a prime opportunity to take Paul Millsap and his family over to Texas de Brazil, pump him full of protein and have him slip into a meat-induced coma until 12:01am July 9th. They could have promptly shook him awake and had him sign a grease-stained contract that would have prevented him from returning to Atlanta and rocketed us into the playoffs. Damn it.

 

Adam Papageorgiou:

I would’ve reserved a lunch table at the cramp but delicious King Cajun Crawfish. Get the bibs, the mallets, and let’s get grimy. There’s no better way to chit-chat than over shareable portions of food. I’m talking a few pounds of crawfish, crab legs, shrimp, throw some corn and potatoes and all the bread you could want to dip into those tubs of godly flavor. If there’s time for some strolling around: Winter Park, Lake Eola, and/or the Harry P. Leu Gardens arboretum are more than fine choices.

If we’re talking dinner, then Artisan’s Table is my choice after a nice visit to the Amway Center. I’m sealing the deal by reserving speakeasy Hanson’s Shoe Repair at night. You can hear the buzz of Downtown Orlando, but all you see is clear Central Florida skies while enjoying outstanding cocktails on a rooftop. Hungry? Bring over some Gringos Locos tacos, a bit of sushi from Shakai, and a few Jeremiah’s Italian Ice gelatos.

 

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Nicholson with 11 Points and 10 Boards; Canada Ends Pool B Play 3-0

2015 July 23
by Adam Papageorgiou

ryerson

Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson notched yet another Pam Am Games double-double as Canada concluded Pool B play 3-0 following a comfortable 96-76 victory over Mexico. Canada didn’t need to win this contest – having locked up a semifinals spot – so coach Jay Triano only played Nicholson 18 minutes. Still, Andrew racking up an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double is respectable. The 25-year-old didn’t shoot the ball particularly well with his 3-of-9 shooting (1-of-2 on triples), but again his country didn’t need a big outing from him on this evening.

Brady Heslip led Canada with 20 points. He along with 18-year-old Jamal Murray (14 points) have really carried that backcourt up to this point. Canada shot 52% from the field while holding their Mexican opponents to just 39%. It’s been a similar story this week. Canada also drained 13-of-28 on 3-pointers. If that hot shooting continues, Canada has a strong chance to take gold as they will now enter the knockout semifinals stage.

Before the game, the Canadian national team’s Twitter account announced Andrew had won Player of the Week for the men.

 

 

It’s been 3 games, but I can safely conclude that Nicholson looks trimmer and a bit more mobile than he did in April. I’d say he’s already a lock to make the 12-man FIBA Americas roster come the start of September. For now, it’d be awesome if Nicholson can bring some glory for his nation this weekend.

Now it’s semifinals time! Canada takes on Team USA Friday at 6 p.m. EST at the Ryerson Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Winner obviously heads to the title game while the loser would fight for bronze on Saturday. Brazil actually beat Team USA on Thursday to snag first place in Pool A from America, thus setting up this intriguing matchup. Canada can win because Team USA has college guys and non-NBA professionals on that roster. I expect louder and more packed crowds than what we’ve seen so far from the host nation.

 

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

 

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Nicholson Drops 24 Points and 12 Rebounds in Win Over Argentina

2015 July 22

 

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All smiles for Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson and the Canadian national team squad. After a very lackluster first half, Nicholson proved why Canada can win the Pan Am Games. ‘Drew led Canada to an 88-83 victory over Argentina that included a 29-17 fourth period. Canada shot 45% from the field including another decent 8-for-20 three-point shooting display, and out-rebounded Argentina 35-26.

Nicholson posted monstrous second half numbers, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting. The Mississauga native played a vital role in sparking the double digit comeback. Canada also got 20 points from soon-to-be Kentucky Wildcat freshman guard Jamal Murray as well as 17 points from Anthony Bennett. In defeat, Argentina got 23 points from Facundo Campazzo and 22 points out of Nicolas Laprovitola. Two very talented Argentinian guards. The Pan Am Games home nation is now 2-0 in Pool B action.

Other than Anthony Bennett’s 15 points and 18-year-old Jamal Murray draining buckets, Canada got very little offensive help the first twenty minutes. It’s why Argentina was up 50-44 at halftime. Andrew had a very difficult six points in the first half and even got dunked on early in the contest. Bennett was in foul trouble though – and was also get punished defensively – so coach Jay Triano had the guts to keep Bennett on the bench to start the second half.

The stats won’t show it, but Melvin Ejim, Junior Cadougan, and the mammoth 7’5″ center Sim Bhullar really ‘mucked up’ the contest the entire third period, slowing down Argentina’s game flow. That would set the stage for a fun fourth period despite Canada still trailing 66-59 entering that last ten-minute session.

Andrew completed the double digit comeback, draining a huge 3-pointer – the only 1 to go in out of his four attempts – to put Canada up 70-69 with six and a half minutes left in the 4th period. It was good enough to make the 25-year-old smile at least (see pic at the top). Campazzo for Argentina drilled some huge shots. Nicholson tied the game again at 76-76 with a steadfast step-in post-up hook shot to split the double-team, leaving 2:54 remaining in regulation.

Nicholson powered home a putback dunk to raise Canada to an 80-76 lead with 1:37 remaining in the 4th period. What a second half from Uncle ‘Drew. It was an impressive outing in a very physical game that saw a few moments of pushing and other extracurricular activities occur.

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Whether it was a charge or not, Brady Heslip poured in a 3-pointer to reclaim an 83-80 Canada lead with 37 seconds on the clock. A few Heslip free throws, and Canada continues Pool B action undefeated.

Canada takes on Mexico on Thursday – again at 6 p.m. EST on the Watch ESPN app – and don’t absolutely need to win as they’ve basically clinched a semifinal berth in their four-team group.

 

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

 

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Orlando to Play January 14, 2016 Regular Season Game in London

2015 July 22
by Adam Papageorgiou
Courtesy of NBA.com

Courtesy of NBA.com

That would be in England. The Orlando Magic will return to London to play a regular season game against the Toronto Raptors at The O2 arena on Janaury 14, 2016 as part of NBA Global Games. This will mark the league’s sixth regular season game in London. Tickets for the game in London will go on sale at the beginning of the 2015-2016 NBA season. Orlando personnel will be keeping their passports active, as the Magic are already heading to Brazil for an October 17th preseason game.

 

 

Toronto and Orlando have each already played twice in the United Kingdom. For the Magic though, it’s their first non-exhibition contest there. The Magic, led by Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee Hardaway, Jeff Turner, Scott Skiles and company, first visited London for a pair of preseason games in 1993. They beat the Atlanta Hawks in the first contest, but lost in the second exhibition meeting. More recently, the Raptors played back-to-back games in London in 2011, making them NBA’s first regular season games in Europe.  

 

 

This contest will actually be a ‘home’ game for the Magic. So instead of 41 regular season games being played at Amway Center in the ’15-’16 campaign, it’ll only be 40. If you’ve bought season tickets, the Magic’s ticketing department has already stated that partial refunds will be credited.

This trip makes a lot of sense for Orlando. An abundance of British tourists show up in Orlando each year, and this trip can strengthen those ties even more. There also exists a very underrated Magic fan base in the U.K., numbering in the few thousands. The Magic would have played in London during the 2011-2012 season, but that trip got cancelled due to the Lockout.

It’s the first regular season game for Orlando being played outside of North America since November 7th and November 8, 1996 when the Magic beat the New Jersey Nets twice in Tokyo, Japan.

Along with the on-court action, NBA Global Games London will feature a variety of off-the-court activities, including NBA Cares community programs and interactive fan events.

Alex Martins:

“We’re honored to participate in the NBA’s Global Games and look forward to representing the Central Florida community and showcasing our team. From our past experience of playing in London in 1993 we know the passion of the fans and look forward to this amazing opportunity.”

Head Coach Scott Skiles:

“On behalf of the Magic organization, we are looking forward to returning to London for NBA Global Games 2016. I remember playing in London with the Magic in 1993 and I am sure our current players will relish this unique opportunity.”

 

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

 

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Erie BayHawks D-League Player Tryouts Announced

2015 July 22
by Adam Papageorgiou

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The Erie BayHawks, in partnership with the Orlando Magic, have scheduled their player tryouts for September 13th in Orlando at Barnett Park, and September 20th in Erie, PA at Penn State-Behrend’s Junker Center. Interested participants are required to complete the registration forms that can be found here.

Forms must be submitted by September 8th with a money order or cashier’s check payable to the Erie BayHawks. The registration fee is $150 and can be paid by registering online. Pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Both locations are one-day tryouts and participants will be evaluated by Orlando Magic personnel. It’s a very similar process as last year.

 

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

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