Posts Tagged ‘Mike Muscala’

The Force is with them: NBA teams celebrate Star Wars

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the newest movie in the Star Wars series — Star Wars: The Force Awakens — just days from coming out, teams from around the NBA are preparing to host (or have already hosted) their own version of “Star Wars Night.” Let’s hop in the Millennium Falcon and zoom through the NBA…

There has been an awakening in the Force in the ATL, as Mike Muscala and Kent Bazemore demonstrate…

VIDEO: Hawks awakening

MUSCLEWATCH 2015 (Update 2)


ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s that time of year when we have to ask, are you strong enough to be our man?

MUSCLEWATCH season is upon is, and we are nearing the time when we declare a champion. Kyle Lowry and Andrew Bogut seem to be frontrunners, with no true winner decided as of yet.

But first, before we get to the muscles, what, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? Basically, it began decades ago when my friend Matt and I noticed our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the off-season. No matter the sport, it was never 12 pounds, never 16, never 9, never 18, but it always seemed to be “15 pounds of muscle.” So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. Eventually, MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the “15 pounds of muscle” and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thaddeus Young and Rudy Gay.

And remember, MUSCLEWATCH cannot be successful without your help. The most effective way to let us here at MUSCLEWATCH HQ know if you see any MUSCLEWATCH news is to tweet and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH.

Let’s go!

• As we learned this week, MUSCLEWATCH can be divisive. Our friend(?) Tas Melas from NBATV’s “The Starters” announced in the clip above that he was done with MUSCLEWATCH, sadly, before eventually relenting and halfheartedly announcing he was back in. SMH.

I guess our favorite member of “The Starters” needs to be Trey Kerby, who reported his own MUSCLEWATCH update a few weeks ago. MUSCLEWATCH salutes you, Taco Trey!

• For many NBA players, keeping weight on is just as hard as adding weight, considering how much running they do throughout the course of a season. In this article about Hawks big man Mike Muscala, he details his daily eating schedule during the season. Don’t forget to eat your breakfast!

• We may need to consider some sort of lifetime MUSCLEWATCH achievement award for Mike Conley, who didn’t actually gain any muscle, but did get a weight room named after him at his alma mater, Ohio State. That’s got to be worth something, right?

• We’re still looking on an exact number of weight lost from Kyle Lowry, who clearly dropped a lot but has thus far refused to give an exact amount. Lowry has looked amazing in the preseason, averaging 30 points a game, so obviously it’s working.

Can we do some detective work? Last season Lowry was listed at 205 pounds, and this year he’s being listed at 196. He certainly looks as though he lost more than 9 pounds, but maybe that’s just because he’s not seven feet tall. I was considering Lowry a front-runner for a MUSCLEWATCH title, but perhaps that was just all the MUSCLEWATCH in my eyes.

• As we mentioned before, Andrew Bogut lost 22 pounds by cutting out processed sugar. Now he’s leading fast breaks and pulling dribbling tricks…

• Orlando’s Aaron Gordon is back from a broken jaw, but he lost 10 pounds while on a liquid diet.

• Nets big man Cory Jefferson has added the magic “15 pounds of muscle”!! Congrats, CJ…

• Does Kawhi Leonard belong in MUSCLEWATCH? Perhaps we will never know.

• Also a few vague updates on a couple of Knicks players. We need details!!

Zach LaVine has added 10 pounds. Couldn’t find five more, huh?

Hawks, Warriors look to get out All-Star votes

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In case you missed the news, voting for the 2015 NBA All-Star game began yesterday. The 64th annual game, which will take place here in New York City on February 15, takes it starting line-up from fan voting. That’s nothing new, but the new wrinkle this year is that thanks to the online voting, every NBA player is eligible to be voted for. You want to vote? You can do so right here.

To help get out the vote, teams have started releasing videos designed to raise awareness about the voting process. In Atlanta, for instance, we see Hawks players Mike Muscala and Kent Bazemore discussing how they want to vote and #which #hashtags #they #might #use in the process.

VIDEO: Hawks Vote

Meanwhile in Golden State, the Warriors have released a video demonstrating just how easy it is to vote, even to a collection of NBA legends like Jerry West, Al Attles, Nate Thurmond and Jim Barnett. It’s so easy, in fact, even a couple of kids can do it…

VIDEO: Warriors Vote

Horry Scale: CDR pays dividends

By Lang Whitaker,

VIDEO: CDR’s game-winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been three weeks since we last fired up the Horry Scale, and in the time since, we’ve been mostly focused on the playoff race. As teams fought for position, somehow we had no game-winning buzzer-beaters that would require the Horry Scale to be utilized. Tonight that all ended, in the inked-out arms of Charlotte’s Chris Douglas-Roberts, as the Bobcats knocked off the Atlanta Hawks, 95-93.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: What is the Horry Scale? For those who 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.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

We all clear? OK, let’s break tonight’s shot down, our 17th Horry Scale entry of the season…

A runner over two defenders? Tougher than it sounds. We should say here that the Hawks weren’t playing with a full deck, as they gave rotation members DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap the night off. (The Bobcats also limited the minutes of their key players.) With playoff berths secure for both teams, they seemed content to let some of their bench players battle this one out. That said, CDR was well defended, and his shot flew high into the air before splashing through the net.

Gary Neal and Sekou Smith’s favorite player, Luke Ridnour, carried the Bobcats throughout the fourth quarter. But the Hawks rallied late after a 5-0 run from Shelvin Mack brought them within two, and then a jumper from Lou Williams with 2.6 to play knotted the game at 93. With the game tied, the Bobcats inbounded the ball on the side in front of their basket. With Martin Sargent-lookalike Josh McRoberts inbounding, the Bobcats sent Ridnour and Chris Douglas-Roberts running in a wide arc, as Al Jefferson set a pick and Gary Neal flashed to the corner. The Hawks covered all of this very well, and none of the initial options were open. With maybe a second left to inbound the ball, Douglas-Roberts flashed from the basline to the top of the key, and momentarily lost defender Lou Williams on a brush screen from Jefferson. CDR drove left, pulled up from just inside the free-throw line, and knocked down the game-winner over a recovering Williams and help defender Mike Muscala, with no time to play.

The celebration was mostly subdued. Gary Neal wrapped Douglas-Roberts in a bear hug in front of the Hawks bench, and even Bobcats sideline reporter Stephanie Ready got in a high five. it felt like both teams were more concerned with the playoffs starting later this week.

I’m going to give this one two Horrys. It was a nice shot, sure, but when one team doesn’t care enough to have their best players in the game, it detracts from the fun a bit. Not that this should matter to Charlotte — they wanted to win and ran the best play possible for them to win it. Heckuva shot from CDR, no doubt. But all in all, I’m going two stars …

horry-star horry-star

What say you? How many Horry’s would you give Chris Douglas-Roberts’ GWBB?

Draft Diaries: Mike Muscala

By Mike Muscala, for

On The Move

Mike Muscala (Courtesy Bucknell University)

Mike Muscala (Courtesy Bucknell University)

I graduated from Bucknell University on Sunday– what a feeling. I posted a Vine video from graduation on Twitter to commemorate the day, so check it out here: You can find me @mikejawz.

It was a great day where I ended one chapter and turned the page to the next. It was great, but a little bittersweet. I had an amazing time at Bucknell on and off the court, and it is truly a special place that I will miss. That being said, I’m definitely excited for all that is to come.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I was at Bucknell in Lewisburg, PA, a couple weeks ago finishing up classes and taking a final. Then, it was back home in Minnesota for my little sister’s confirmation. Last week, I flew out to Chicago for the NBA pre-Draft camp (more on that later), and I came straight to Lewisburg on Saturday night to make it in time for graduation on Sunday. In between all of that, I’ve been working out and getting ready for the NBA Draft in Long Island, NY. With graduation behind me, I can now completely concentrate on basketball and am looking forward to traveling to different cities to work out for NBA teams.

Pre-Draft Recap

I knew coming in to the Chicago combine that I had a lot to prove. I’ve always worked hard and had confidence in my game, but coming from a smaller school with less exposure, I wanted to make sure that I performed well. While it’s easy to think that  being from a small school can hurt you, , the coaches I played for and the system I played in at Bucknell put me in this position to make the NBA.

Truth be told, I am happy with my performance in Chicago. Of course, you can always look back on every game or workout and wish you had done even better, but overall it was a very good week. I was proud to hear that I had the best shooting percentage in the combine on Thursday. When we did conditioning tests, I came in first place and I felt like I played well in the competitive aspects of the camp. I think I surprised people with my athleticism,  strength and agility testing. It was a good experience, and a challenging one, which I knew it would be going into the weekend. It was a good month of training leading up to it, so I felt prepared. Even though I’m happy with how I did there, there’s a ton more work to do, so I’m moving on to this next phase.

The Off-Court Chicago Experience

All of the guys in the camp stayed at the same hotel. I roomed with C.J. McCollum, who I am also working out with in Long Island.

When all of us first got there, people were a little more reserved. But by the time we finished up on the court on Friday, guys were a little more relaxed. It was great to get to know different guys’ games, and a positive experience off the court as well.

muscala-selfI had a chance to see my friend Nate Wolters, who is also a Minnesota native. We were in the same high school class. He went to South Dakota State University, but we have kept touch every now and then and followed each other’s progress. I also saw Trevor Mbakwe, another old friend from Minnesota. We grew up in different parts of the state, but I knew him because we played in a lot of summer leagues together.

While in Chicago, we interviewed with the NBA teams. There we were, all of us in these nice, well-tailored clothes, and before you knew it, we were all nervous and sweating. We were teasing each other about it, but everybody was experiencing the same thing, which was reassuring in a way. I was a little nervous before my interviews, but I didn’t think it was too bad. The experience was good for me.

Anyway, when I wasn’t at the gym, I was back at the hotel catching up on sleep and having some time to myself. It was nice to be able to mentally relax a little bit. We went out to a few dinners, but the biggest thing for me was to relax and stay focused on the task at hand.

I watched as much of the NBA playoffs as I could (if I didn’t fall asleep first). One night, some of us went to watch the games at Jimmy Greens, a restaurant in downtown Chicago. It’s exciting and interesting to watch the amount of defensive focus and intensity that the guys in the playoffs are playing with … every shot they are making or taking is a contested shot. If anyone were to say there’s no defense in the NBA, tell them to watch these playoffs!

Next Up

Now I’m back in Long Island working out. I’ll be flying back and forth to have workouts with different teams up until the Draft. I’m really focused. I try not to get too up or too down. If I have a good day in the gym, I take it for what it is and move on and work hard the next day.

I’m feeling confident. I really like the people I am training with, and I know I’m in good hands working with good people. As long as I keep working, I think good things will happen!

Thanks for reading my blog, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @mikejawz. For more on my journey to the NBA Draft, visit