ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night in New York City, a handful of NBA franchises looking for a little luck gathered in Times Square to try and beat the odds. That’s right, it’s the annual NBA Draft lottery, where the best of the worst vie for the first pick in the NBA Draft. I showed up and brought my cell phone camera along with me to see what went down behind the scenes.
Let’s get to the pictures …
I arrived in Times Square right around 6:30 p.m. and fought my way over to the ABC Studios, where they shoot “Good Day America” or “Today This Morning” or whatever they call it — one of those morning shows that airs when I’m still asleep. There’s never really a good time to be in Times Square, because it is consistently crowded and busy and bustling, but 6:30 p.m. must be just about the worst time. Add in that it was humid and in the mid-80s today, and Times Square felt a bit like being stuck in a mosh pit. Or at the bottom of a mosh pit. (more…)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We already know Cavs owner Dan Gilbert can get as passionate as any fan, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when he announced via Twitter a contest to bring a lucky Cavs fan along with him to New York City for tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery.
A few hours from now in New York City’s Times Square, the NBA Draft lottery will take place, and one lucky basketball franchise will have their fortunes changed forever.
Back in 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery and eventually selected local product LeBron James. ‘Bron showed up for his big moment in an all-white suit-and-tie combo, with square-toed shoes with hits of black along the sides.
Just a few weeks ago, after winning the WNBA lottery, the Phoenix Mercury used the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft on former Baylor center Brittney Griner. Griner also chose a white suit for her Draft moment, albeit more of an off-white as well as more tailored than LeBron’s suit. She went tie-less and paired the suit with a pair of classic hoops kicks on her feet: Chuck Taylors.
The question we have for you is, which number one pick wore their white suit better?
Cast your vote below. And remember to continue the conversation on Twitter using #NBAStyle…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — This is the world we live in these days: Yesterday, Kyrie Irving showed on campus at Montclair State University in New Jersey, looking to play a little pick-up basketball. Less than 24 hours later, the video is on YouTube and has over 10K views.
Then again, you should probably check this out, too. You can see the former Rookie of the Year — who starred at Saint Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., which is just 20 minutes from Montclair State — crossing dudes over, doing work in the post, and there’s a nice payoff if you stick around for the big finish: -
Hi, everybody! I have some exciting family news … I’m an uncle! My older brother Luke and his wife had a baby boy a few weeks ago. They named him Kyston, which is a biblical reference, and it’s very cool to see Luke with a kid! He’s very proud, and every time I talk to him, he’s talking about Kyston and texting me pictures. It’s really cool – but kind of weird at the same time – because I’ve been used to being one of the younger ones in the family, and now there’s a new addition. But it’s really cool and fun to have a new little guy around!
I will get to meet Kyston back home, which is Indiana, the last week of April. First, I’m planning to go to North Carolina for about a week, and then head back home. My younger brother Cody will get to meet the baby a week before me.
I can’t wait until Kyston is old enough for us to spoil him, and it will be cool to see him develop. Actually, it will be interesting to see if he likes basketball, too. Our family definitely knows how to make sure he’s good at it! Our parents always told us to try everything and see what we like, so I think Luke will be the same way with Kyston. There will not be any pressure to play basketball unless he wants to do it.
I didn’t do a March Madness bracket this year, partially since my brother’s team (Indiana) was in the Tournament. Obviously, I wish Cody’s team was on their way to the Final Four, but they lost to a very good Syracuse team. Their zone is tough to beat and gave Indiana a lot of problems. As for Cody, I think he played well this season. I’m his brother and a little biased, but I do think he’s under-appreciated because he really makes the team go and helps everybody else get shots. Throughout the season, he’s had some great games and he’s struggled in some games … that is pretty much the story of a solid basketball career.
It’s a bummer that my school, UNC, is out of the running as well. In their last game, they played fairly well in the first half, and then Kansas made some very good adjustments at halftime. They tried to come back, but it was a little too late. I would have been really impressed if they were able to pull out the win. You have to give Kansas credit for that victory.
I think the upcoming Final Four is going to be very good. All of the teams have played well to get there, and I am excited to see what happens next week!
Rookie Season Wrapping Up
Right now, for me personally, I’m trying to get better every game and get more and more comfortable in the NBA setting. We are playing teams that are battling for playoff position, so we are still playing a very high level of basketball. We still want to compete and win as many games as possible. We are pro basketball players, and we enjoy winning. We are also looking ahead to next year. I think we have a chance to be a very good team, and it’s important to prepare and be as ready as possible for next year.
My rookie year has been like a roller coaster, with its highs and lows. You play well for one stretch, and then it seems like you can’t do anything right. It’s a learning experience, and it’s been a lot of fun. I learned a lot this year, which will definitely help my game next year.
Right now, I’m watching “Duck Dynasty,” which is an unscripted reality show on A&E. It’s basically about a family that turned duck calls into a million dollar business. I also enjoy it because they are a good Christian family, which you can tell by watching the show. For example, they end each episode with the family saying a prayer around the table. It’s actually the show’s third season, but it blew up this season! I know a ton of people watching it now. I bought the first two seasons on DVD and have been watching this season on DVR.
Oh, and I’m also reading “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of The Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden.” I only have about 50 pages left, and I think it’s a really good book! I’ve been doing most of my reading on flights or while sitting around the hotel. It’s a nice break from watching TV.
Last offseason, Jeff Green failed his physical, had his contract voided and underwent heart surgery. He missed the whole lockout-shortened season.
This year he is back, giving us enough doses of throwdowns and highlights to provide some glamour in an injury-riddled season for the Celtics. Since lighting up Miami for 43 points a couple of weeks ago, he has scored 13, 10, 12, 19 and 21 in five games following. In the latter performance, he granted us another highlight: a game-winner at the rim as time expired to lift the C’s 93-92 over the Cavs.
With a head start because of sagging defense, Green knifed his way into the paint with a nifty up-and-under, giving the struggling Celtics a breath of fresh air for the moment. Boston was on its way to six straight losses before Green’s shot. With Kevin Garnett hobbled, Green’s offensive punch is needed now more than ever. And he delivered, sending the Cavs to its 48th loss of the year and closer to another top lottery pick (and more Cleveland luck).
For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.
How does Green’s finish Wednesday night stack up? Without further ado…
Well, this wasn’t the most complicated of shots. The Cavaliers are no strangers to the scouting report and defended accordingly, blanketing Paul Pierce like he was a nugget during the Gold Rush. With 10 eyes on Pierce, Avery Bradley found an unmolested Green at the top of the key. Armed with a head of steam, he used his long strides and took advantage of lax (read: very lax) resistance. His finish was reminiscent of a first-quarter blown defensive assignment than a typical last-second contested shot. Excellent concentration by Green at the cup with time against him.
The Celtics were down one with 2.1 seconds left. Prior to the last play, Alonzo Gee knocked the ball out of Pierce’s hands out of bounds. This was a blessing in disguise for Doc Rivers, who used the official’s replay to concoct a last-gasp scoring set. A miss would’ve given the Celtics eight losses out of their last 10 games.
This was another high in a season full of highs and lows for Green. He can tantalize with his end-to-end athleticism, but can befuddle with his tendency to disappear at times. In March, he is posting over 15 ppg on 47 percent shooting (37 percent from land of trey) and becoming a go-to scorer down the stretch. Recovering from aortic surgery, he continues to show that once fully activated, he is a force.
“Jeff wanted the ball at the end. He asked for it by the way he was looking at me in the huddle,” said Celtics coach Rivers. “He clearly wanted the basketball. I sensed that and everybody sensed that, so I called the play for him.”
For the Celtics, the playoffs are approaching. They are currently seeded 7th, 2 1/2 games above the Milwaukee Bucks (who are also struggling). Neither team desires a first-round series against the Heat — though I’m sure Boston would give them every thing it has. Wins like this on the road aren’t the easiest to come by, even if the decimated Cavaliers are the opponent. Cleveland receives another heartbreak in a history season full of them.
The backdrop of Green’s chest thump clashed against the dejected home crowd perfectly. With colorful personalities like Jason Terry, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as teammates, Green is blending in well in the celebration department, giving yells and staredowns with the best of them this season. Against the Cavs, he didn’t spare the (minor) histrionics. Very definitive in the face of 17,000 silent fans, yet not over the top.
3 1/2 Horrys. As for as difficulties go, this was the easiest GWBB this season. Though Boston was down prior to the play, Cleveland’s matador D made this play more smooth for Green than it should’ve been. Credit the Celtics (Rivers, especially) for finding the seam in the defense and having the guts to use their Hall-of-Famer as a decoy. This trust in his team could go a long way come May.
It’s a little belated, but Happy New Year everybody! On New Year’s Eve, our team was home in Cleveland. It was a pretty quiet night. I hung out at home and then stopped by one of my teammate’s houses with my girlfriend. I went home before midnight, and was in bed by 12:15 a.m.!
I don’t really get caught up in New Year’s resolutions. I always have been focused and have my goals to accomplish. So even though I don’t really have a resolution, I’d say my main goal this year is to continue to get better, and become more and more comfortable with the league, my teammates and my coaches. This year is a learning process, and I want to grow as much as possible as my first step in what is hopefully a long playing career.
It’s amazing not having to wear my facemask anymore. I didn’t realize how much I couldn’t see until I took it off. My first game back, I could see peripherally again! And making the quick shots was a lot easier. I was always messing with the mask and usually took it off during timeouts. I tried to convince myself I was fine with it, just so I could keep it out of my mind and play my game. But I once I got rid of it, playing was much easier and my game flowed more.
Things have been going well. I am getting more and more comfortable with my teammates. I have been shooting the ball well, finding those easy baskets and finding my shot. With a point guard like Kyrie Irving, he creates opportunities for me. I have a lot of unique skills, but up until I started playing a lot, I didn’t know what I needed to work on and hone in on. Now that I know what I need to improve, I can work on those things in the gym. For one, I need to get better at finishing inside.
I’ve been part of the starting lineup lately, which is a huge adjustment. You don’t realize the difference between the starters and the second string. I went from playing a couple minutes to facing off with the starters every night. I am up against the best of the best every night, and I am trying to hold my own as much as possible. I am getting more comfortable as a starter, which alleviates some of the pressure.
Mentally, I am feeling pretty good. I have my days. I’m trying to stay focused and keep going. It can be difficult, but I think I’ve done a fairly good job. It’s just that the losing can get tough. And it’s still amazing to me how talented and quick all of the players in this league are. I am constantly trying to figure out how to guard different players. It’s a lot to think about. In the beginning of the year, my head was all over the place. But it’s getting easier.
My teammates Andy Varejao and Luke Walton have done a great job of talking to me and helping me out. Shaun Livingston joined the team a couple weeks ago, and he is somebody who is very smart with a high basketball IQ. He’s the kind of teammate who can help you improve and provide some insight.
In Other News
I participated in a lot of Cavs community outreach events during the holidays, probably about three or four. We went to a children’s home, and to a children’s and veteran’s hospital. It was fun. Anytime you are around little kids, especially during Christmas, it’s always both fun and rewarding and makes me value what I have. I like to give back to the kids and hopefully help them get in better spirits.
I am watching UNC basketball whenever I can, but they are starting to scare me a little right now. I think Coach Williams is doing a great job, but the team is young. Like Coach always says, “If you do what I say, you’ll be a great team.” He told me that all the time. It’s something we all go through and you just try to learn from it. They’re not looking too hot right now, but hopefully they can turn it around.
Last time I blogged, I said I was going to start watching “NCIS.” But I actually started watching “Prison Break.” I watched all four seasons in am month. Now I’ll go back to “NCIS.” I’m also very into movies right now. I like action and thrillers … the movies that make you think, and that you have to watch two or three times to really understand.
That’s what’s going on with me these days … Follow me on twitter (@zellertyler).
Tyler Zeller is a 7-foot center from the University of North Carolina. He was the 17th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Last Tuesday was fun. We played my brother Luke’s team, the Phoenix Suns. It was weird seeing him in an NBA uniform because he’s been trying so hard for three years to make it to the league, and he finally got there. We didn’t play at the same time, but it was cool he got a few minutes during the game. I was a little nervous about it, but not as nervous as I would have been if I played against him at the same time or guarded him. It was just cool to be playing in the same game. We’ve been beating up on each other our whole lives; we played each other every time we’d go home in the summers and had workouts together, so we know each other’s game very well.
My team was coming off of a three-game road trip. We played the night before in Memphis and didn’t get in until 2 a.m. on game day. I talked to Luke a little bit during warm-ups, but after the game, we saw each other for a little longer. His wife and some of his friends from his school, Notre Dame, flew in for the game. I hung out with them for about 20 minutes before his team bus left.
While Luke and I were playing, our younger brother Cody, who plays college basketball for Indiana, was playing my school, the University of North Carolina. And of course Cody had to beat up on my boys! I made it home in time to watch the second half. I was rooting for UNC, even though I thought Indiana would win. I was joking with my buddy at UNC that they might lose by 20 or 30 points because Indiana is a great team, and unfortunately I was right. At the same, I wanted Cody to do well, and I was proud of the way he played.
The three of us have a very good relationship. I talk to my brothers at least once a week. A lot of times we don’t even talk basketball, just about life and what’s going on. Basketball might get mentioned.
We are very competitive with each other, but also very supportive. I’m very proud of Cody, and very proud of Luke for making it to the NBA. But if we play together, we will each fight to be the best one on the court. The cool part is that our Dad always taught us that it is OK to be competitive on the court, but once the game is over, you leave it behind. We might tease each other afterward, but there’s never any anger or anything like that.
DVR Working Overtime
I don’t watch a lot of Suns games; my mom usually keeps me updated on those. If Cody has a big game, I’ll either watch it live, if I can, or DVR it. And if my UNC team has a big game, I’ll watch it. Otherwise, if it’s a smaller game, then I’ll get updates on my phone.
I’m impressed with how much my parents keep up with all of the basketball the three of us play. They DVR all of our games. And on Saturday night, for example, they went to Cody’s game, and DVR’d mine and Luke’s games.
They do a good job of staying neutral, though. The last time Luke and I played each other in college, our parents got T-shirts that were split half UNC and half Notre Dame. And then there was another situation my senior year and Cody’s freshman year. Cody was playing NC State, and UNC was playing Wisconsin. So they went to Cody’s game, then drove over to watch me play. They got split T-shirts for that one, too! My brothers and I joke that my parents make it on television more than we do!
Back In Action
My injury last month was just one of those things. Unfortunately, I was injured a lot during college, so I kind of knew how to handle it. I knew I’d be out a week or two, and I used that time to work out individually and get used to my facemask.
The facemask fits my face, but it still feels funny, with the straps and everything. But it allows me to play, and I don’t think I’d be able to play at this point if I didn’t have it. I think I’m supposed to wear it a total of six to eight weeks, so I have about two or three weeks left. It’s not too bad.
I am feeling better. If I could get a streak of five games or so where I played well, I’d be very excited. But we are playing against the best of the best, and there are going to be off nights where you struggle. On Saturday night, I hit quite a few jump shots against Portland, which I hadn’t been able to do the few games before that. It’s a confidence builder; I just have to make sure to continue to do it.
We are at hotels a lot, so I’ve been watching a lot of TV series. I just got done with “Lost” – I watched all six seasons since this NBA season started! Now, I’m working on “NCIS”; I enjoy those CSI and investigative-type shows.
In a back-and-forth affair in Milwaukee, point guard Brandon Jennings punctuated a perplexing night (13 assists, but 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting, four turnovers) by nailing a 3-pointer as the buzzer expired to lift the Bucks to 2-0. The game was extremely competitive for the last 28 minutes, with Monta Ellis and Mike Dunleavy Jr. filling up the scoring column for the Bucks until Jennings performed a coup de grace on the Cavs.
For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?), and celebration, and gives it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, who is kind of the patron saint of last-second daggers.
How does Mr. Jennings’ shot Saturday night stack up? Let’s take a look. (more…)
Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 – Training camp starts today. I’m a little nervous because it’s my first one, and I’ve heard they are very intense. But, I’m also excited to get going and see what I’m up against and what I need to work on to get better. I do already have an idea, but I am eager to find out for myself and see where I fit in on the team.
Since I got to Cleveland, my schedule with the team has been mostly Monday through Friday and then off on the weekends. We lift, then play, then do a miniworkout. Being as young as we are, majority of our team has been here all summer and it’s been great so far.
We have a really good core of four or five coaches that work with us every day. I am getting to know them and they are getting to know my game, too. Working with them has been cool because they each have different insights and help us with different things. It’s also been fun getting to know my teammates and learning from them. We are a young group, and we all work together to help each other out.
I moved into my apartment in Cleveland about a month ago. I stayed in North Carolina part of the summer living in my college apartment. My two roommates were there studying for their CPA exams, and since I didn’t know at the end of last school year where I’d be moving yet, we decided to hang on to the apartment until last month.
My apartment here is very convenient, around the corner from the gym. Currently, my living room is full of boxes on the floor, with a chair in the middle of the room. I have a TV, thankfully … or else I’d be bored out of mind. I’m enjoying living alone for the first time. The tough part is not having people waking up at the same time as me; I worry a little bit about oversleeping. But it’s nice coming home to a quiet apartment after you’ve been playing all day.
I don’t know the area too well yet, but I have found the important places, like Target and the grocery store. We have a chef at the gym, so breakfast and lunch are provided. For dinner, I’m on my own. Sometimes I get lazy and throw a frozen pizza in the oven, other times I try to cook. I do a lot with hamburger meat and eggs, my special ingredients. I tried to make pancakes for the first time a couple weeks ago, which was interesting. I didn’t believe it only takes two minutes to cook a pancake. The first one was perfect, but I fried the second one because I insisted on waiting three or four minutes!
When I’m out in the city, people seem to recognize me quickly, no matter where I go. It’s kind of cool how strong the Cleveland fan base is … and being a 7-footer, there’s not a lot of hiding that goes on!
Distinxion Camp Comes To Cleveland
This past Saturday was a special day. We held a Distinxion/Cavs camp here in Cleveland. Distinxion is a program that my family started about three years ago in Indiana. Basically, we are trying to provide positive role models and environments to kids so that they can learn about life values and character. One of our mottos is that we are trying to make better basketball players, as well as better people.
We had almost 40 kids attend on Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. We try to keep it a smaller, more personal group so that we can interact with as many kids as possible. We talk about different things, like making a first impression and shaking a person’s hand while looking in their eye. We do a skit about dinner table manners. Then we have two trainers who run the drills. My mom was there, and we had one of the Cavs’ pro scouts come in, which was cool. My teammates have been asking how the camp went; I thought it was cool they really cared about it.
But for now, my focus is on basketball. I’m ready to get training camp going!
Tyler Zeller, a 7-footer from North Carolina, was the 17th player taken in the 2012 NBA Draft. He and Duke’s Shane Battier (2001) are the only Atlantic Coast Conference players to earn ACC Player of the Year and Academic All-America in the same season.
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