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Tony Carr update

Johnny Bach, the defensive-minded assistant coach under Phil Jackson during the Bulls ‘ first three-peat, died Monday. He was 91.

Chicago Tribune:

Johnny Bach, the defensive-minded assistant coach under Phil Jackson during the Bulls’ first three-peat, died Monday. He was 91.

The coaching veteran of 56 years had a successful career on the collegiate and NBA levels.

A decorated war veteran, Bach drew widespread attention and credit for his defensive work and unconventional motivational tactics. Known as the architect of the Bulls’ “Doberman” defense, Bach would sprinkle his speeches with military references and drop the ace of spades — the card of death — after impressive outings.

“He encouraged me, worked with me and really helped me to mold my game,” former Bull Michael Jordan said Monday. “Without him, I don’t know that we would’ve won our first 3 championships. He was more than a coach to me. He was a great friend. I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing.”

Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Bach served as a naval deck officer in World War II between stints at Fordham University in New York. He played 24 games with the Boston Celtics before Fordham hired him in 1950 as one of the nation’s youngest major college head coaches.

Bach spent 18 mostly successful seasons there before moving to Penn State for 10 seasons. During this stretch, legendary coach Henry Iba tabbed Bach to assist the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, which lost that controversial gold-medal game to Russia.

The bitter experience was one reason Bach took a one-year break from coaching to fly commercial planes after returning to Penn State. From there, Bach moved to the NBA and served as head coach for Golden State from 1983-86.

That’s when the Bulls’ general manager Jerry Krause hired Bach to assist Collins. Bach stayed with the Bulls past Collins’ firing, teaming with close friend Tex Winter during the first three-peat….

Source: Johnny Bach dies at 91; Michael Jordan: ‘He was more than a coach to me’

 

Interrupting our regular programming for this letter from football player Adam Brenman, who has given up football after three seasons due to injuries:

Dear Penn State,

What an exciting few years it has been. It seems like just yesterday that I was standing in the Cedar Cliff High School gym announcing my commitment to Penn State University. Prior to writing this letter, I spent time reflecting on the past three years, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with all of you. There have been many memories along the way. The amazing support I have received from the fan base at Penn State has had an everlasting impact on me and my family. The journey has been amazing and unforgettable.

I will never forget the “rush” I felt when I committed to Coach O’Brien. I will never forget the tears I cried when the sanctions were announced on that summer day in 2012. I will never forget the look of pride in my parents’ eyes when I told them I would stay committed to Penn State through thick and thin. I will never forget playing against Michigan in 2013 and winning one of the most exciting games in history. I will never forget the feeling I experienced when looking into the crowd after my first touchdown against Purdue. I will never forget scoring the 68-yard touchdown which led to our upset win against Wisconsin. I will never forget the way my heart sank when I received that last call from Coach O’Brien on New Year’s Eve. I will never forget our first team meeting with Coach Franklin, or the trying times during this past season. These are just a few of the amazing memories I will forever cherish.

I have given everything I have to this great university and to you faithful fans. For some time I feared that the time would soon come when I would have to write this letter, and now it has become a reality. After very long and hard discussions with my doctors, coaches, trainers, family, and friends, we have come to the realization that now is the time for me to move on. Although I had successfully overcome multiple surgeries since 2010, the injury I sustained to my left knee in 2014 has been much more complicated.

I know many of you will be disappointed, which I understand, but I ask that none of you feel sorry for me. I have truly lived a dream at Penn State that so few people ever get to experience. I have played in huge games and scored touchdowns in front of the best fans in the country. I have played for some of the best coaches in the game.

Of course, I wish I could have contributed more on the field to this great school and to my teammates. I want nothing more than to make my teammates, my coaches, my family, and the amazing Penn State fans proud. I am not sure what the next chapter of my life will entail, but I promise no matter where I am or what I am doing, I will never ever stop fighting for Penn State.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever supported me during my career. Thank you to Coach Joe Paterno for first offering me a scholarship. Thank you to Coach Bill O’Brien for believing in me and constantly wanting the best for me. Thank you to Coach Franklin for supporting me and being there during the difficult times. And of course, none of this would ever be possible without the hard work and vision of my high school coach, Jim Cantafio.

Additionally, thank you to Tim Bream, Wes Sohns, Travis Baughman, Dr. Scott Lynch, Dr. Pete Seidenberg, Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Dr. Brian Bixler, and Dr. Brian Ulmer. The medical care I received throughout my career has been first-class. The people I named have supported me in so many ways and have fought for me when many have doubted. I will always be thankful for their hard work.

I have always said that what makes Penn State such a special place is the people. And the people that surrounded me during my time here are really what made my experience so special.

I will love Penn State and I will love the people of Penn State for as long as I live. A day will not go by that I do not wake up and thank God for sending me to this great school. I always knew since a young age this was the place I belonged. It did not always go the way I planned, but I trust this was the plan for me. I would rather go through the challenging times at Penn State than have any other experience anywhere else.

Thank you, Penn State. I will bleed blue and white forever and ever. I love you, Dear Old State, and I will forever be indebted to you.

For the glory,

Adam

Source: Adam Breneman’s open letter to Penn State


Joonas Suotamo at Los Angeles premier of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Dec. 14. (Lucasfilm photo)

Dave Jones:

By the time Hollywood producer Gerry Abrams came to speak at one of his Penn State film classes in 2007, it was pretty clear to Joonas Suotamo and everyone around the PSU basketball program that he was not going to become the next Dirk Nowitzki. But that did not matter to Joonas. He had found his true passion.

And here was a Penn State graduate in the front of his classroom telling the 6-11 Nittany Lion forward of the limitless horizons that technology was offering those who desired a career in movies and television. The year was 2007.

“It was a tech talk about the amount of opportunity available now in this world that wasn’t there when he was starting out,” remembered Suotamo.

“I have to say, I agree now. I wasn’t sure if I believed him then.”

Suotamo’s conviction is well warranted. Because, through a sequence of events that can be termed at once serendipitous and maybe fateful, he plays Chewbacca, pilot-for-hire Hans Solo’s beloved hairy assistant, in the new Star Wars franchise directed by none other than Abrams’ son, J.J.

Source: As Star Wars’ Chewbacca stand-in, former Penn State hoops player Joonas Suotamo living his dream

Josh Reaves


In spot start in Atlanta, Frazier does “great” ….

Amid the shaky play from some of the more heralded and more highly projected Blazers, second-year point guard Tim Frazier showed he just might be a viable candidate to enter this team’s immediate rotation.

Frazier played all but 25 seconds in Atlanta, finishing with 12 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. He had five turnovers and made only 5-of-15 shots, but he was borderline electric at times with his penetration-and-kicks while also providing a flair with his creativity in getting teammates shots.

With [Damian] Lillard taking a proactive stance with his nagging foot pain by trying to give it rest and recovery before it worsens, it is conceivable that even when he does return the Blazers will reduce the 36 minutes a game he already plays.

Granted, it has only been one game, but Frazier on Monday showed he could be a capable option to buy Lillard some extra minutes on the bench, even if it is only in eight-to-10 minute spells over each game.

“He is probably the best play maker on the team when it comes to making plays and passing the ball,’’ Lillard said. “And he can be a pest on defense.’’

Source: For Trail Blazers, Tim Frazier emerges as potential insurance policy during loss in Atlanta

SH3P

Good news reported for Mike Watkins

Delgreco Wilson tweet on Mike Watkins’s status this year:

This is really it, Penn State fans.

For only the second time in school history, the Nittany Lions are  recruiting at a Big Ten level. And this time, it’s stronger.

While the staff here recovers from the enormity of it all, we recommend the outstanding coverage at Black Shoe Diaries.

Check out the great coverage at BSD: College Basketball National Signing Day 2015: Penn State to Sign Best Recruiting Class in School History…Again

PennLive.com, part of a series:

Every so often, Lamar Stevens is shocked by the gaping holes he finds while driving to the basket.

The Roman Catholic forward, who plans to sign with Penn State on Wednesday, doesn’t mind slicing through them and flushing home one of his signature power dunks.

“I’ll be going down the lane, and people just move,” Stevens said with a shrug. “It makes my job easier.”

It’s hard to blame high school defenders for shying away from the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Stevens. His broad shoulders and sculpted arms match those of a Division I linebacker, but he has the speed and athleticism to be a force on the fast break.

That’s why he raked in scholarship offers from basketball powerhouses Villanova and Indiana. Coaches ogled at Stevens’ strength and fluidity in the open court and flocked to Philadelphia to watch him play for the Fighting Cahillites and Team Final, an AAU power.

But Stevens, ranked by ESPN as a four-star recruit and the 18th-best small forward in the nation, spurned programs with more storied pasts for the Nittany Lions and a chance to revitalize a program that’s gone to the Sweet 16 just once — in 2001 — since 1955.

He hopes to turn around Penn State’s program with highly touted point guard Tony Carr and gritty wing Nazeer Bostick, his AAU and high school teammates.

“I ultimately told [Villanova and Indiana] that I didn’t want to follow anybody, I wanted to start my own path,” Stevens said. “At Penn State, they believe in us.” …

Source: Roman Catholic forward Lamar Stevens wants to ‘make history’ at Penn State | PennLive.com