Full Court Press

Noon Update: According to a tweet from the Portland Trail Blazers, the team has officially signed Jeff Pendergraph.

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Hats off today to SJ and Coup from Rip CIty Project. The blogging duo scooped the entire Blazers media yesterday morning with the news regarding Jeff Pendergraph's hip injury, and they weren't extended so much as a name-check in numerous reports about the injury and surgery, including Oregonlive.com's and Columbian.com's.   This is a damn shame.  

Ironically, between the two of them, SJ and Coup have more quality contacts in basketball than just about any mainstream beat writer I've come across. They thoroughly research their stories and hold themselves to the highest credibility standard.  They don't take months off.  They also happen to be really nice guys. I was lucky enough to meet them at this year's Summer League, where they provided tweets and reports on every game, attending at their own expense. I trusted their word yesterday morning site unseen and I would do it again today.  I don't say that about too many sources.

I guess the moral of this story is: "Blazers Insiders" get their news from Rip City Project.  Hopefully that's more satisfying than a name-check. Follow RCP on Twitter.

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PostscriptRandomly, Bill Simmons happened to tweet this morning about the mainstream media story-jacking bloggers.  Passing along his interesting read.

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This Jeff Pendergraph situation really has me thinking about how sticky the situation is for 2nd round draft choices.  They are expected to play in Summer League, no questions asked.  They are encouraged to participate in full-contact off-season camps.  They do so at their own risk of injury without a contract.  Scary stuff.  

The whole situation reminded me of this must-read short story by Thomas Beller, who participated in and then wrote about a USBL tryout.  Beller was recently featured again on TrueHoop with his latest, a story about playground basketball.  Do check that out here.  If you missed it last month on TrueHoop, do yourself the favor of setting aside some time to read it today.

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Did you guys notice Casey Holdahl going all out in his EuroBasket coverage?

If you're loooking for even more from EuroBasket, be sure to check out The Painted Area.  

Brother Wendell Maxey with a story on Robert Pack, aka "Bayless before Bayless."

As Pack can attest from his rookie year, it's best to expect the unexpected. After going undrafted out of USC, Pack made the final roster spot as a free agent for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1991. That season, Pack played in 72 games on a team that advanced to the NBA Finals on the shoulders of "Blazermania" before losing to the Chicago Bulls, 4-2. A couple seasons later in Denver, Pack played an instrumental role with his timely three-point shooting helping the Nuggets become the first eighth-seeded team in NBA history to defeat a first-seed team when the Seattle SuperSonics fell in the first round of the 1994 Western Conference Playoffs.    

A really thoughtful reflection from Mike Barrett...

I started this blog about five years ago as basically a way to keep the Blazers on your minds during the off-season (that wasn't always as easy as it sounds- especially back then). It started during summer league. At that time there weren't many people doing this. The team was all about change, and progress, and the thought of what might be- what could be. It wasn't risky because when you win 21 games you don't have much to lose. And, as it turns out, we had some interesting relationships with many "transitional" players (yes, very much like the transitional girlfriend between break-ups- pretty good, and fun, but really just a place holder until the right one comes along- never really considering a walk to the altar).

The daily topics could be something like, "Is Ha Seung-Jin the answer?" "Telfair's tremendous upside" and "Sergei Monia: The future at the two." It was easy. It's always easier being bad than being good.     

SJ from Rip City Project on Steve Blake...

However, we can't just go ahead and crown Andre Miller already. Thinking that Steve Blake is going down without a fight is just silly. His nickname is Lieutenant Dan and I'm pretty sure he could choke 80% of the NBA out. I mean he was the starter on a team that won 54 games last season. Say what you want but that's something that Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash can't say. Is everyone forgetting that this is a guy whose been in the NBA six years and played for four different teams (including this one) before finally finding a home in Portland. AND he's in a contract year??? This is a big year for him. Make no mistake about it, Portland is his ideal situation. He's got a comfort level with the coach, the organization, the players    

Sham Sports with a hilarious paragraph breaking down Portland's selection of Jermaine O'Neal. 

17th pick: Jermaine O'Neal (Portland) - Do you know what the most annoying thing in the world is? It's Toronto Raptors fans when talking about Bryan Colangelo. By miles. There is nothing more annoying in the world than this. Nothing. Not a sausage. Not even scrotal crabs or Ron Artest's Twitter account are more potently insufferable than listening to Raptors fans drool on about Colangelo as being some kind of flawless freak of genius, who transcends general managerial conventions to achieve an unparalleled plateau of superlativityness. They make me advocate chemical warfare. It's intolerable.

Brian T. Smith surveys the starting spot battles at 1 and 3.

Blake to Miami?, wonders Ira Winderman. Doubt it.

Steve Blake training videos over at A Stern Warning.  Nice find.

A sweet interactive Blazers schedule over at 82and0.net, a url I'm sure you can get with.

TheGoodPoint.com hates Zach Randolph.

BeyondBowie.com is back, summarizing a month of Blazers news in one post.

Kevin Pelton breaks down the Ramon Sessions offer.  

Even without Ricky Rubio, the Minnesota Timberwolves could have two of the league's best young point guards next season. The first is rookie Jonny Flynn, taken the pick behind Rubio, and the other might be Ramon Sessions, signed by the Timberwolves to an offer sheet yesterday. Despite the fact that Sessions' four-year, $16.4 million deal is extremely reasonable, his former Milwaukee Bucks squad is not expected to match because of tax concerns.

Really cool look at Michael Jordan's early Nike days from Dan Wetzel.

The draft class had a number of promising choices. Akeem Olajuwon had played in three Final Fours and would be the No. 1 pick. Charles Barkley boasted an oversized personality. John Stockton was a potential white star. A number of people wondered whether it wouldn't be best to sign them all to smaller deals, hedge the bets a bit on this signature shoe.

Then Strasser turned to Vaccaro, the man whose instincts made up for his lack of formal business education, and asked him which player he preferred.

"The kid from North Carolina," Vaccaro said.

And another MJ piece from Marc Spears on his surprising choice for Hall of Fame introducer.

To Jordan, Thompson's college ties didn't matter as much as his game. Before Jordan became Air Jordan, David Thompson owned the skies.

Thompson grew up in Shelby, N.C. Jordan was just 11 when Thompson led the Wolfpack to their first NCAA championship in 1974. Nicknamed "Skywalker," he captured Jordan's imagination - and that of the rest of the nation - with his 48-inch vertical leap and acrobatic dunks. Thompson went on to play for the Denver Nuggets, and was the runner-up to Julius Erving in history's first dunk contest during the 1976 ABA All-Star weekend. He once scored 73 points on the final day of the regular season. Drug and alcohol problems shortened his career and kept him from realizing his potential, but he recovered and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

"Even when I go out to speak, that's how they introduce me, ‘Michael Jordan before Michael Jordan,' " Thompson said. "Charles Barkley once said, ‘[Thompson] took the game to the air. ... He got people out of their seats.' I saw a lot of my game in Michael Jordan's game."

Please drop any other links in the comments.  And be sure to frequent the fanshots.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

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