Archive for the ‘Professional’ Category

History will be made Saturday afternoon (June 7) at Ballenger Fieldhouse (Mott CC) as the Flint Monarchs will play the first women’s professional basketball game ever in Flint, according to the team’s head coach, Bill Schnorenberg. The Monarchs had been a semi-professional team but made the jump to professional basketball during the offseason.

The game is at 4 p.m. versus Chicago.

“I just want everyone to give us a chance,” Schnorenberg said. “We have a a lot of local talent on the roster and girls who have played pro ball overseas. We’re going to take this slow, see what works and not try to get too big too fast. We need support of basketball fans here in Flint. We’re playing in the best gym in Mid Michigan at the Steve Schmidt Gymnasium. The tradition of Mott only adds to what we are trying to do with the Monarchs.”

Jonathon Jones, a former standout guard at Okemos High School and Oakland University, is making a career out of basketball overseas. Recently he was named the Player of the Week on  Jones is currently playing in Slovakia.

Check him out:

23-year old guard Johnathon Jones (183-G-88, agency: TSS Management) put on an amazing game in the last round for Komarno and receives a Player of the Week award for round 25.
He had the game-high 20 points adding six rebounds and seven assists for Komarno in his team’s victory, helping them to outclass Levice (#7, 10-13) with 28-point margin 95-67.

William Hatcher (right, green shirt) sets a screen for Kelvin Torbert during a game Sunday in the Moneyball Summer Pro-Am in Lansing. Hatcher scored 53 points in the game, the top scoring game this summer. (Photo: Patrick Hayes)

Fans of Flint basketball who haven’t made a weekend trip over Lansing to catch a game or two in the Moneyball Summer Pro-Am are missing out. The league features college and professional talent from all over the state, including most of the current Michigan State roster, but this year, there has also been a large influx of Flint’s best products. In fact, two of the six rosters are nearly full of Flint players. Here are some of the Flint guys you can see playing: Charlie Bell, Kelvin Torbert, Lamar Rice, Greg Burks, Desmond Young, William Hatcher, Kevin Tiggs, Marcus Skinner, JuJuan Cooley, Corey Santee, Mike Martin, Marquise Gray, Janon Cole, LaMarcus Lowe and Thad McFadden.

This weekend, Hatcher, a Carman-Ainsworth grad, stole the show in Sunday’s game. Hatcher set the Moneyball single game high this summer by scoring 53 points against the Young Guns team. Hatcher out-dueled the opposing team’s point guard, Nate Duhon, who plays at Lansing Community College, and scored 30 in the game. Hatcher hit the game winner with less than two seconds left. His 53 bested the 45 points scored by Mt. Pleasant grad and current Central Michigan standout Trey Zeigler in a game Saturday.

There are still two more weekends left in the pro-am. Next week is the regular season finale and the playoffs are the following weekend. Admission is free, although as a non-profit organization, they accept donations. Schedules, rosters and details are here. — Patrick Hayes

Pistons: Going Once, Going Twice…

Posted: April 8, 2011 by sabetodo in Professional


About time, too. Tom Gores (from Genesee, incidentally) has agreed to buy the Detroit Pistons. The deal still has to approved by the NBA, but it looks like the deal will close by the end of June.

When I last wrote, Carmelo was still a Nugget, and the Pistons faithful were hoping to land a couple players and maybe a draft pick while unloading Rip Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince.  Of course, this didn’t happen, and I have to wonder whether or not the state of limbo the team was in kept Joe Dumars from making any moves. Fans and players were left disappointed.

And that’s when an ugly season got even uglier.


Cory Hightower might resurface in Edmonton.

Many Flint natives will tell you Cory Hightower is simply the most talented basketball player they’ve ever seen, regardless of level.

Hightower played at Flint Northwestern, then at Mt. Zion Academy (the same school Tracy McGrady went to) before going to Indian Hills Community College to play college basketball. Hightower is one of only a handful of players to get drafted into the NBA straight out of JUCO, getting selected in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs and having his rights immediately traded to the Lakers. Hightower was eventually released, but went on to play professionally overseas and in American minor leagues.

Now though, the 31-year-old could be getting another shot. The Edmonton Journal reports that Edmonton Energy of the International Basketball League could be interested in him:

“Right now, we are in negotiation with three ex-NBA players (including Hightower). The depth and the talent level that could come to the Energy this year is outstanding,” (Edmonton coach Skouson Harker) said.

Hightower said in a Flint Journal profile last year that he’d like to continue playing, so it’s good to see him get the opportunity if this pans out.

— Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops

JuJuan Cooley

JuJuan Cooley, a standout at Flint Southwestern and Indiana Tech, has had a solid pro career overseas so far, and after a big game for Mures (Romania) in the Balkan League, he was named Eurobasket’s Player of the Week:

The 28-year old guard got a double-double of 14 points and thirteen assists, while his team crushed Balkan (#5, 1-6) with 16-point margin 95-79. Mures maintains the 4th position in Balkan League group B. Mures is a typical solid league team placed somewhere in the middle or a little bit lower in the standings. They need more victories to improve their 3-4 record. Cooley has many years of experience at Mures, through which he has constantly improved. Indiana Tech graduate has very impressive stats this year. Cooley is league’s best passer with 8.5apg. Cooley is in league’s top in and averages solid 3.0spg.

— Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops

Greg Burks retired from basketball after a productive pro career in Germany.

Because he’s never been the biggest guy on a basketball court, Flint Northern grad Greg Burks has spent his basketball career proving people wrong.

Out of high school, he ended up going to small Prairie View A & M where he turned himself into one of the best guards in the country at that level. His standout college career turned into a successful pro basketball career spent in Germany.

Burks, who is often found working out in Flint area gyms as well as working with the city’s young players, recently decided to retire from basketball. Below are a few questions with him about his career:


Jeff Grayer talked about the importance of basketball to Flint's history.

I have a series running at SLAM currently that attempts to rank the top 30  NBA/ABA-producing high schools of all-time, and two Michigan schools are in this week, Flint Northwestern at No. 23 and Lansing Everett at No. 21.

For the series, I talked to alums from some of the schools. Jeff Grayer had this to say about Northwestern:

“When I was growing up, there were two things Flint was known for. One was General Motors, of course, and the other was sports. Basketball has always been a history, a tradition in our community. It’s meant so much to the area. High school basketball has been just a pillar of the community and something that everyone looked forward to, just going and seeing the young talent grow and see some of the greats who have come out of here today.”

Here’s Desmond Ferguson on the tradition at Everett:

“That reputation [that Everett has] does the same thing that Magic (Johnson) did for my generation and generations before and after me … it provided hope. It sounds cliché, but it’s so true. So many young boys and girls fail to reach their dreams because they do not feel any sense of hope. When you have individuals that come from the same background, environment and communities as you, and they are successful, you tend to feel that you may be able to reach that same type of success as well.”

The series is called ‘High School Hierarchy‘, so check out the link to scroll through the schools SLAM has unveiled so far. There will be five more listed each Thursday until we get to No. 1, and without giving too much away, there will be at least one more Michigan school to look for on the list.

— By Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops

Trent Tucker

Trent Tucker, a former Flint Northwestern and University of Minnesota star, went on to a successful career as a role player and 3-point marksman off the bench for the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls during a 10-year NBA career.

But 20 years ago, on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day game between his Knicks and the Bulls, Tucker hit a shot that changed modern NBA rules. From the New York Times’ Off the Dribble blog:

“I caught it, turned to shoot and there was Pippen jumping out at me with those long arms,” Tucker said. He caught the pass, turned his body and somehow arced the shot over Pippen’s outstretched left arm. What came next was nothing but net and an explosion of noise.

Paul Mihalak, the lead official, consulted Ronnie Nunn, who was on the sideline, signaling the timekeeper, Bob Billings, when to start the clock. Nunn told Mihalak that, in his opinion, Tucker had released the shot before the buzzer.

The outcome stood. The Bulls trudged off while the Knicks, Tucker said, “got into the shower before they could call us back to replay the whole thing.”

That shot came with just a tenth of a second remaining on the clock, and after that season, spurred the NBA to enact the “Trent Tucker Rule.” Basically, that’s when the league decided that players could only catch and shoot the ball if there were three tenths of a second or more remaining on the clock. Anything below three tenths would have to be a tip because, the league deemed, in less than three tenths, it is impossible for a player to catch the ball and go through a natural shooting motion.

— By Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops

Many people know that Washington Wizards player JaVale McGee has ties to the Flint area, so we claim him as one of our own.

Younger basketball fans in Flint might not understand what McGee’s tie is, however. His mom, Pam McGee (and his aunt, Paula McGee, for that matter), is one of the best women’s basketball players of all-time. She went on to a standout career at USC, won a gold medal in the Olympics, played professionally overseas, then finished her basketball career in the WNBA when the league launched in the late 1990s.

And according to this video, courtesy of Washington Wizards blog Truth About It, Pam might just get a cameo role in her son JaVale’s (aka ‘The JaValevator’) performance during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend:

As long as she helps JaVale have a better effort than this one, she should be OK.

— Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops