LJWorld.com weblogs 'Hawks in the NBA
Greg Ostertag to play in the NBA D-League (also, catching up with overseas Jayhawks)
Remember Greg Ostertag? Big, 7-foot-2 guy. Kansas’ all-time leading shot blocker. 11-year NBA player who went to the 1997 and 1998 Finals with the Utah Jazz. That guy.
Well, Ostertag (38 years old, hasn’t played professionally since retiring in 2006) will join the NBA D-League next week. Not as a coach, but as a player. The oldest player in the D-League by three years.
Scott Schroeder of RidiculousUpside.com first reported the news, which was then confirmed by Jazz play-by-play announcer David Locke on Twitter, and THEN retweeted by the man himself, @gregostertag00.
It seems out of the blue, but it’s not. Ostertag (who averaged four points, five rebounds and almost two blocks a game in the NBA) was interested in playing in the D-League last year. He abandoned those plans a couple of months later for family reasons, according to ESPN. In September of this year, Ostertag played in the Legends of the Phog exhibition game at Allen Fieldhouse and had two points and five rebounds in 12 minutes (PDF of those stats here).
And as for Ostertag’s age, remember that photo of Markieff Morris from earlier this week? The two guys Markieff was standing with, Steve Nash and Grant Hill, are 37 and 39 years old, respectively. And they’re still doing all right.
According to Schroeder, Ostertag will be put through the D-League’s waiver system on Tuesday. The teams with the best chance of landing the 7-2 center? In order: Canton Charge, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Reno Bighorns, Dakota Wizards and Tulsa 66ers.
As my fellow KUSports.com blogger Matt Tait would say... stay tuned.
Friday night’s action
- Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) was the only former Jayhawk in action on Friday. Morningstar, the 66ers’ ironman, played 44 minutes despite the return of some players from NBA training camps. He had an efficient night and scored 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting (1-2 threes, 5-6 free throws, one buzzer-beater) with two rebounds, three assists and a steal
(full stats here). Looks like Brady’s in line for all the minutes he can handle — it was his fourth game in the past five in which he’s played more than 40 minutes. He plays next on Thursday, Dec. 29.
Other KU pros
- Keith Langford (Euroleague - Maccabi Electra - Israel) scored 20 points with three three-pointers, five rebounds, three assists and a steal on Thursday (full stats; season stats). Langford’s team will now move on to the Euroleague’s “Top 16," a round-robin playoff system that starts Jan. 18, leads to quarterfinals in March and ends in a Final Four in May.
Here’s video from Thursday’s game (back-to-back Langford highlights starting at :40, other sightings at 1:33, 1:54)
Kenny Gregory (Euroleague - SLUC Nancy - France) scored seven points with a rebound and a steal on Thursday (full stats here). Gregory, who has played only three games since joining the team on Dec. 6, had his best game on Dec. 14: 15 points, five rebounds, three steals in 32 minutes.
Sasha Kaun (Euroleague - CSKA Moscow - Russia) had his best statistical game of the season on Wednesday with eight points, nine rebounds and a block in 20 minutes (full stats here; season stats here). Kaun’s team finished 10-0 in the Euroleague regular season and will join Langford’s Maccabi Electra in the Top 16.
Video from Wednesday (Sasha dunk at :10)
- Aaron Miles (BEKO PBL - Krasnye Krylya - Russia) scored 11 points with six assists and three rebounds in his last game on Dec. 18. Miles had his best game of the season on Dec. 10, when he scored 24 points with 11 assists, three rebounds and two steals. Miles was 7-for-9 overall, 3-3 from three and 7-9 from the free-throw line in that performance (full season stats). His next game will be on Jan. 14.
Highlights of Miles from his 24-point game (watch for No. 32 starting at :50)
Russell Robinson (Turkish Basketball League - Trabzonspor - Turkey) had 16 points in his last game on Dec. 17. Robinson was 3-for-6 from three (full stats here). He’ll take the court again today.
Sherron Collins (Turkish Basketball League - Hacettepe University - Turkey) scored 11 points with seven assists in his last game on Dec. 18 (full stats here). Collins will also play again today.
Rodrick Stewart (SuperLeague - KB Bashkimi Prizren - Kosovo) left his club last week, and, according to his Twitter account, is coming back home to “move on to bigger things.” Stewart’s stats from Kosovo are hard to come by, but he scored 15 points in a game on Dec. 1.
Tyrel Reed (Belgium D-1 - VOO Verviers-Pepinster - Belgium), who was back in the United States last week, promoting his book, last played on Dec. 10 and recorded two points, one rebound, one assist, one steal in 18 minutes (full stats here). His team’s next game will be on Jan. 7.
Mario Little joined the Ukraine-Superleague team SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk, as part of a two-week tryout, according to Eurobasket.com. Little has played just one game with his team, an 81-74 victory on Thursday. Little scored 11 points (3-9 overall, 1-2 from three, 4-6 free throws) with six rebounds and an assist in 29 minutes (full stats here). His next game will be Tuesday, Dec. 27. (Thanks to smdub213 for the tip)
Jeff Graves was waived by the NBA D-League’s Erie Bayhawks on Dec. 13. Graves played one minute in one game for the Bayhawks before he was injured. And although he was officially waived (scroll down to Dec. 13 here) and no longer appears on Erie’s roster, Graves said on Twitter on Wednesday that he was still with the Bayhawks. Then, on Friday, Graves posted two tweets (here and here) complaining about not being paid, while other members of the team had received their checks. I’m just a blogger trying to piece together context-less clues, BUT either Jeff is planning a return to the Bayhawks once healthy... or he doesn’t know he’s been waived.
A few more notes
Darrell Arthur (Memphis Grizzlies) underwent surgery on his right Achilles tendon on Thursday, according to the Commercial Appeal.
Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) is recovering from a heel injury and is doubtful to play in the Celtics’ opener on Sunday, according to the Boston Globe.
Finally, enjoy the holiday weekend and NBA Opening Day. I won’t be writing a blog tomorrow, but with the big Ostertag news front and center and the rest of today’s giant post, I hope your lives will be full of enough ‘Hawks in the NBA (and mercifully free of Ostertag puns) until I return.
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
11 a.m., TNT, Paul Pierce (if healthy) and the Boston Celtics vs. the New York Knicks
1:30 p.m., ABC, Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Dallas Mavericks
7 p.m., ESPN, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Orlando Magic
9:30 p.m., ESPN, Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. the Los Angeles Clippers