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Alex Sarr and Cody Williams may be looking to their NBA brothers for guidance



The Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t any longer a contender for the primary overall pick or lottery pick within the NBA Draft. The signing of talented players comparable to forward Chet Holmgren, wing Jalen Williams and guard/forward Josh Giddey over the past three years has modified the fortunes of a team currently within the second round of the NBA Playoffs. However, the Thunder are still fascinated with which team will select No. 1 and how the remaining selections will fare in Sunday’s 2024 NBA draft lottery for family reasons.

Olivier Sarr’s injured Thunder forward Alexandre Sarr is currently projected to be the No. 1 pick within the 2024 NBA draft. Cody Williams, Jalen Williams’ brother, can be projected to be a lottery pick through the June 26 draft at Brooklyn, New York. Oklahoma City may have a probability to draft Cody Williams as he could be drafted in the primary round by the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz. These photos will be revealed through the draft lottery.

“Some of my teammates talked to me about him, which is always nice,” Olivier Sarr told Andscape about his brother. “It’s coming up more and more in conversations.”

Olivier Sarr averaged 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in three seasons with the Thunder after going undrafted out of Kentucky in 2021. The Frenchman signed with the Thunder as a two-way player in 2021. The 7-foot-2, 237-pounder in 2023 However, his twenty fourth season ended abruptly after he tore his left Achilles tendon while playing for Thunder’s G League team Oklahoma City Blue through the 2024 G League Championship victory over the Maine Celtics.

While advice can be given in regards to the NBA experience, Olivier Sarr is impressed with the progress of his 19-year-old brother, who’s playing within the Australian National Basketball League this season for the Perth Wildcats. The versatile and athletic 7-1, 216-pounder averaged 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 27 games for Perth this season, mostly against players much older and stronger than him.

“I’m impressed with how well he’s doing,” said Olivier Sarr. “We don’t talk about whether he’s nervous today, the games or the conversations. He is beyond his years. He doesn’t see any pressure at all.”

Joshua Gateley/Getty Images

Top photo: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Olivier Sarr leads a teammate through the second half of a game against the Charlotte Hornets on the Paycom Center on Feb. 2 in Oklahoma City. Bottom photo: Perth Wildcats forward Alexandre Sarr (right) shoots against Cairns Taipans on the RAC Arena on November 16, 2023 in Perth, Australia.

Paul Kane/Getty Images

Giddey believes Alexandre Sarr will be ready when he enters the NBA after appearing on NBL Next Stars.

The NBL developed the Next Stars program “to accelerate the development of the next NBA stars.” The program allows young, promising players to join an Australian or New Zealand NBL team for one season of development to prepare them to play within the NBA. Giddey, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, Thunder forward Ousmane Dieng, Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball and former NBA guard RJ Hampton participated within the Next Stars program.

Inspired by Ball and Hampton, Giddey gave up the collegiate game to stay home and play within the Next Stars program. He thinks it was an important alternative for Alexandre Sarr.

“I had to watch LaMelo and RJ a year before I was going to do the same thing,” Giddey told Andscape. “Of course I wanted to play within the NBL. When I made the choice to move to the NBL, it was made possible thanks to the Next Stars program. It’s an important program. The best players now go there and use it as a positive influence on the NBA. Of course, Alex will be a high pick this 12 months. Kids see it as a viable option for the NBA and it’s starting to gain popularity around the globe.

“I know Perth loves (Alexandre Sarr). He’s a super talented kid. It’s hard to play in this league as a young guy. I learned this at an early age. But people have seen that if you can compete in this league for 17, 18, 19 years, it shows that they have a future, anywhere in the world. Obviously, Alex’s talent is a potential No. 1 choice. (Perth) is really highly regarded and has won many championships. This is one of the best teams in the league. The fact that he has a direct impact on this group says a lot about him.”

A source said that Alexandre Sarr, after starring within the Overtime Elite development program, has decided to play within the NBL Next Stars program after being rejected by G League Ignite. Olivier Sarr also believes that the Next Stars program will help his brother prepare like Giddey for the NBA. Giddey said he gave Olivier Sarr basic information in regards to the Next Stars program before his brother became involved with this system.

“Look at the NBL, these are grown men. It’s not like college,” said Olivier Sarr. “G League Ignite is also different in its own way because it plays against players who have already played professionally in the EuroLeague and NBA. The advantage of the Next Stars program is that you are the only young guy on the team. It is targeted and tailored to make you feel better.”

AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

Top photo: Colorado forward Cody Williams prepares to take the court against Utah through the second half of Colorado’s 72-58 victory at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 14. Bottom photo: Oklahoma City Thunder winger Jalen Williams looks on during a game against the New York Knicks on March 31 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Jalen Williams is certainly one of the NBA’s rising young stars, averaging 19.1 points, 4.5 assists and 4 rebounds for the Thunder in his second season. The Thunder chosen the 6-foot-10, 211-pounder with the twelfth overall pick of Santa Clara University within the 2022 NBA Draft. Williams’ brother, Cody, can be a possible lottery pick after playing his freshman season at Colorado. The 19-year-old averaged 11.9 points, 3 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 55.2% shooting in 24 games for the Buffaloes last season before entering the NBA draft on April 22. ESPN NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony ranked Williams tenth overall on his list of the highest 100 prospects for the April 17 NBA draft. The 6-8, 190-pound player has a 7-foot-1 wingspan, which helps him on defense.

Cody Williams attended a few of his brother’s regular season and playoff games this season. The Thunder will host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

Jalen Williams thought it was the right time for his younger brother to enter the NBA draft.

“I just told him, ‘If you feel ready enough to leave, then go,'” he said. “The most important thing was also that he is so young and his prognosis is really high. It’s one of those things you want to do while the iron is hot. Not many people are in the situation he is in. I said, “Do it as long as you feel ready and healthy.” After that, it was mostly him and my parents trying to determine the logistics of all of it.

The brothers ceremonially shook hands after Jalen Williams was chosen by the Thunder within the 2022 NBA Draft. Jalen Williams says he will certainly be there to shake hands again when his brother is chosen within the June draft.

“I’m going to get on the field and I’m looking forward to it,” Jalen Williams said. “It’s going to be really cool. Of course, he got there much faster than I did. It will be very nice when things turn around in two years.

“I’m extremely proud. He knows it. It’s surreal how quickly it happened. I feel like I just got drafted and he’s going through the identical process with the identical agency and figuring out this summer. He has the identical complaints about exercise as I do. It’s really cool.”

Marc J. Spears is Andscape’s senior NBA author. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to do it for years and his knees still hurt.

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Charles Barkley plans to hang up the mic after the next NBA season




Charles Barkley, TNT, Inside the NBA

With all the discuss TNT losing the NBA broadcast rights, people have been speculating what is going to occur to the “Inside the NBA” team of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. Well, Barkley has publicly stated that no matter whether TNT retains the rights or it goes to one other network, he is looking it quits after this season.

According to Barkley got here in went on the air following the final NBA Championship Game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics on June 14 and announced to his co-hosts and the world that the upcoming season could be his last as a broadcaster.

After telling the guys that he had been talking to other networks and that the NBA partnership was nearing its end, no matter the consequence, he hung up the mic after his twenty fifth 12 months as a commentator.

This puts every thing on hold, and the NBA Hall of Famer decides to put it on hold. It is speculated that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will announce the results of various conversations and negotiations between several platforms regarding who will receive what packages the NBA offers.

announced that the league is negotiating further agreements regarding media rights under the contract with TNT ending after the 2024-25 season. Platforms which can be in talks with the NBA include Disney/ABC/ESPN, Amazon, NBC and Warner Bros. Discovery (parent company of TNT).

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‘Lock That Girl Up!’: Fans Demand Justice for Former Illini Star Terrence Shannon Jr. after an alleged rape victim joked “I have…” using a money emoji




Terrence Shannon Jr. #0 of the Illinois Fighting Illini found not guilty.

On June 13, after a week-long trial, former University of Illinois college basketball star Terrence Shannon Jr. was acquitted on charges of rape and sexual battery. Now fans want Shannon’s accuser to face consequences.

Shannon, 23, was charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in September on the Martini Room, a bar near the University of Kansas campus.

Shannon attended the Kansas-Illinois football game on September 8. An unidentified woman told police that within the early morning hours of September 9, a man at a bar pulled her towards him and groped her. She accused the suspect of grabbing her buttocks and reaching under her skirt and penetrating her together with his fingers shortly after they met.

A couple of months later, Shannon learned that he would face criminal charges. He was arrested in December after a woman identified him in a photo of the Illinois basketball team that was available online. Shannon was charged with “unlawfully, criminally and knowingly (engaging) in sexual intercourse with a person … who did not consent to sexual intercourse under circumstances where he was overcome by force or fear, which constitutes a first-degree personal offense.”

Terrence Shannon Jr.  No. 0 of the Illinois Fighting Illini found not guilty.
Terrence Shannon Jr. of the Illinois Fighting Illini reacts after the Connecticut Huskies were defeated within the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at TD Garden on March 30, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“I definitely felt uncomfortable (…) I do not know why I didn’t (leave). But I would love to do it,” the prosecutor said in the course of the trial.

The basketball star consistently denied the allegations against him. “I never touched, grabbed, pulled. (…) That didn’t happen,” Shannon told the jury after the trial began, per published reports.

Shortly after the arrest, the Illinois basketball team decided to suspend Shannon indefinitely and launched its own independent investigation. The university ultimately dropped the investigation attributable to what the college described as insufficient evidence. Shannon was allowed back onto the court after the temporary restraining order was upheld. He’s already missed six games, but he still made it lead Illinois to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight before losing to national champion Connecticut.

Multiple witnesses, including a current Kansas Jayhawks basketball player, corroborated Shannon’s account and said they didn’t see the Illinois player act inappropriately towards the girl that night.

The attorneys also said Shannon’s DNA was not taken from the accuser’s body in the course of the hospital examination, and so they turned over text messages from the alleged victim in the course of the trial. group chat with your mates where she shared a link to the basketball player’s arrest with ESPN and her friends joked that “She’s got his…” together with a money emoji.

After the not guilty verdict, Mark Sutter, one in all Shannon’s lawyers, said: “We are pleased with the final result. Terrence Shannon Jr. he finally got his day in court. In September we denied the allegations and that day we promised that at some point we’d stand trial and we did. And we’re completely happy with the result. And I believe society at large is guilty for Shannon Jr. apology”.

Shannon released a statement saying that he’s now able to move on from this case and give attention to his future.

“Thank you to everyone who has been by my side over the past nine months,” the statement read. “I knew I used to be innocent of those terrible crimes and I had faith in God that at some point everyone else would comprehend it too. I’m very grateful to everyone for believing in me, especially my family, friends and legal team, whose support helped me survive. I’m able to put this chapter of my life behind me and focus fully on my path forward.

The verdict sparked strong reactions on social media from many individuals who believed there ought to be a “punishment” for the false allegations.

“Shannon shouldn’t have left it like that. I would sue her for defamation, and the prosecutor and policemen for malicious prosecution” – one person he suggested.

This was expressed by other social media users similar feelings. “Anyone who falsely accuses someone of rape should be publicly shamed and imprisoned.”

“Now it’s time to lock this girl up and throw away the key.” he tweeted fan.

“People who bring false accusations against innocent people have to be held accountable and serve their very own prison sentences. I’m glad he won, however the accuser must be punished indirectly for what he did,” one other person he tweeted.

NBA star LeBron James also called and offered Shannon’s support.

“To my young (King) Terrance Shannon Jr! I really like you and best regards! Proud of you!!,” James wrote. “God is sweet! The apology ought to be 30 times louder than the hatred he felt, but we know the way it’s. Anyway, back to the regular program. Great days ahead!”

Illinois coach Brad Underwood said he was “excited for Terrence” and praised him for showing “exceptional poise, maturity and focus” within the months following the accusations.

Before the allegations surfaced, Shannon was projected to be a first-round draft pick. However, Shannon’s lawyer confirmed that he shall be working with multiple teams within the lead-up to the draft.

In May, Shannon traveled to Chicago for the NBA draft, where he expressed his desire to clear his name in court. “I can’t wait for (my) day in court,” Shannon told reporters.

The NBA draft will happen on June 26. The Atlanta Hawks have the No. 1 pick.

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NFL expands Africa programs to Nigeria with three-day talent identification camp




The NFL announced Friday that it’ll further expand its efforts in Africa by hosting a talent identification camp in Nigeria, the fourth country on the continent to host league programs.

The three-day camp, which will likely be held this month in Lagos, will likely be attended by 21 potential players from 10 African countries, whose task will likely be to select future participants of two international NFL training programs: the NFL Academy in England and the International Player Pathway (IPP) program.

This camp follows on from initiatives held over the past two years in Ghana and Kenya (2022) and Cape Town, South Africa (2023) because the NFL looks to construct a fan base on the continent.

Although Ghana (34.7 million), Kenya (54 million) and South Africa (59 million) have significant populations, they’re dwarfed by Nigeria (229 million), probably the most populous country on the continent.

This begs the query as to why Nigeria was not the primary African country chosen.

Seattle Seahawks receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba celebrates after a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lumen Field on December 18, 2023 in Seattle.

Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Super Bowl champion and the NFL’s chief ambassador for Africa, said that while Nigeria, his parents’ birthplace, would ideally be their first stop on the continent, the league wanted to get its African programs so as first.

“Nigeria will largely focus on what the NFL is doing,” Umenyiora said. “So we wanted to make sure that when we got there, everything would be OK and we would do it the right way.”

On the one hand, expansion is about finding a way to give people outside the United States a possibility that did not exist before: playing within the NFL. But it is also about market expansion. As the NFL moves into more television markets, Umenyiora says it may’t ignore Africa, whose historic economic problems are rooted in colonization.

Nigeria and other African countries have seen economic growth over the past few years, and with the continent having the world’s youngest population, there is a growing fan base right under the league’s nose. Give Nigerians and other Africans opportunities now and they’ll turn out to be consumers later, just as Hollywood and music spread internationally.

“As countries start to get more and more revenue, as they start to get younger, as they start to get more and more technology, they start to consume more and more NFL content,” Umenyiora said.

NFL games were played in England, Germany and Mexico. The Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers will play their first league game on September 6 in São Paulo.

Umenyiora hopes the continent will host its own international match soon.

“The moment we have the infrastructure there that can accommodate an NFL game, wherever that is, the moment we have it, they’re going to have to do it,” he said. “You can’t be a global sport and you can’t go around… the whole world and say no to Africa.”

David Njoku celebrates his first turnover in the primary half against the New York Jets at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 28, 2023 in Cleveland.

Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

After the camp in Nigeria, Umenyiora hopes to expand into Rwanda, Morocco, Egypt and Angola. For now, nonetheless, the league’s efforts on the continent are starting to bear fruit.

According to the NFL, there are currently greater than 135 players of African descent within the NFL, including Seattle Seahawks receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Cleveland Browns quarterback David Njoku, who will attend the camp in Lagos.

While the IPP program, which provides skilled soccer training to world-class athletes, a lot of whom have never played soccer, is a world initiative, 4 of the 11 participants who took part in 2024 were of African descent. Six Nigerian players from the 2023 IPP class have made NFL rosters this season.

The NFL can also be working with its 32 clubs in countries including Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom as a part of its Global Markets program, which goals to increase the league’s visibility world wide. The Philadelphia Eagles (Ghana) and Cleveland Browns (Nigeria) are the one teams collaborating with African countries.

As a part of Nigeria’s program this month, the NFL can even host a flag football tournament for local under-14 school teams and the primary women’s football training session.

Martenzie Johnson is a senior author at Andscape. His favorite moment within the cinema is when Django asks, “Do you want to see something?”

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