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Potential No. 1 draft pick Alexandre Sarr is excited about the opportunity to play for the Atlanta Hawks



CHICAGO – As the 2024 NBA draft lottery was announced, 6-foot-1 Alexandre Sarr stretched out his long legs in the front row in hopes of checking out where he’ll play next season. After the stunning results were publicly announced, the much-touted Frenchman learned he could return to Atlanta to play for the lottery-lucky Hawks.

“I’m very excited,” Sarr told Andscape after Sunday’s draft lottery at McCormick Place West. “I just discovered what the order is. It tells me what team I will likely be working with…

“Jastrzębie is an exciting organization. They are going in the right direction. It’s great that they have the No. 1 pick.”

The Hawks entered the NBA draft lottery with only a 3% likelihood of landing the first pick on this yr’s draft. The only other time Atlanta made a top pick was in 1975 when it chosen David Thompson, who opted to sign a six-year, $3 million contract with the Denver Nuggets of the American Basketball Association. The first round of the 2024 NBA draft will happen on June 26 in Brooklyn, New York.

Hawks general manager Landry Fields said he was “shocked” to learn his franchise was the favorite.

“You look at percentages. But when I saw that we weren’t between 10th and 12th place, that’s how we made it to the top four. I thought to myself, “Okay. We feel good about it. ” said Fields, who didn’t bring the talisman with him. “A small surprise, but also a lot of emotions.”

Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields looks at the 2024 NBA draft lottery on May 12 in Chicago.

Marc J. Spears for Andscape

Just before the sweepstakes was revealed, Hawks executive vice chairman and chief communications officer Garin Narain told people on his team, the NBA and the media that he had a sense his franchise could be highly valued. More than an hour earlier, Hawks vice chairman of player personnel Daniel Starkman wasn’t quite as optimistic as the odds were fifth-worst. But when the lottery combination was revealed behind closed doors, Starkey began to notice that a shocking result was on the horizon. The Hawks’ winning combination was 6-10-14-13, which resulted in the No. 1 pick.

Starkey and the remainder of the lottery viewers, including Utah Jazz general manager Danny Ainge, were locked out of messaging and unable to leave the secured room until the draft results were made public.

“I looked like the (winning) ball went out,” Starkey told Andscape. “I didn’t know how to react. Nobody in the room knows me. I behaved professionally. It got a little livelier when Landry was able to feel the excitement. I didn’t know what the protocol was. Internally I was excited.”

A yr ago, one other Frenchman, Victor Wembanyama, was the clear favorite to be chosen number 1 in the 2023 NBA draft. The Spurs team chosen the 6-foot-1 center as their best, and he didn’t disappoint, winning the 2024 NBA Rookie of the Year award. together there is no consensus No. 1, Sarr is it is currently expected to be a alternative by ESPN NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony.

Sarr, 19, is averaging 9.4 points, 0.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks this season and averaging 17.3 minutes for Perth in the Australian National Basketball League. He began gaining interest from NBA scouts after playing in two exhibition games against G League Ignite in Las Vegas in September 2023. Sarr showed off his athleticism with high dunks and shot blocking, and he rebounded well and guarded much shorter players. Sarra’s brother, Olivier, is a two-way player for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Sarr believes he needs to be first alternative.

“I bring lots of versatility with me. I can really make an impact. I’m changing the rules of the game defensively,” Sarr told Andscape.

With all due respect to Sarr, nevertheless, expect the Hawks to do their due diligence.

Fields said the Hawks will “take a deep dive” in evaluating draft prospects. He wasn’t sure how a lot of them he would consider when deciding on the most suitable option. Other potential top draft prospects the Hawks could work with and visit include JL Bourg forward Zaccharie Risacher, Kentucky point guards Reed Sheppard and Robert Dillingham, G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis and Connecticut center Donovan Clingan.

Last season, the Hawks missed the playoffs with a disappointing 36-46 record and a loss in the play-in tournament. Atlanta has two standout guards who’ve been in trade rumors for months, three-time NBA All-Star Trae Young and 2022 Dejounte Murray.

“I feel good about what we will build next,” Fields told Andscape. “We have a lot of great players in Atlanta.”

Top NBA draft prospect Alexandre Sarr (right) speaks to the media during the 2024 NBA draft lottery in Chicago on May 12.

Marc J. Spears for Andscape

There is a powerful possibility that the Hawks will visit Sarra privately this week during the NBA draft. The Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have the second, third and fourth picks, respectively, and will also request visits. Then, Sarr said, he’ll return to Santa Barbara, California, for further training and preparation for team visits. Fields told Andscape that he has watched Sarr play in Australia this season, but declined to reveal what he thinks of him as a player.

If Sarr is chosen by the Hawks, he can have no problem acclimating to Atlanta after his recent two-year stint in Atlanta. He played for Overtime Elite in Atlanta from 2021-2023 before signing with Perth last season. Overtime Elite was founded in 2021 and serves as a pathway for elite teenage basketball players to play in the league against other talented players on their way to the NBA or other skilled leagues. Former Overtime Elite guards Amen and Ausar Thompson were the fourth and fifth picks, respectively, in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Sarr said that when he played for Overtime Elite, he attended “a lot of Hawks games” and enjoyed the “awe of the crowd.”

“I do know somewhat about Atlanta. I didn’t do much. I used to be just on my way to school and at the gym. It’s an important city,” Sarr said.

Sarr could be comfortable playing in Atlanta. Time will tell if the Hawks feel the same. Atlanta has a alternative: draft him, select one other prospect, or trade him for one other player. This is an enormous and unexpected problem for Atlanta, considering it has overcome overwhelming odds to land in such a coveted position.

Asked if the Hawks would keep the No. 1 pick, Landry told Andscape: “I do not know. We’ll see.”

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

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Historically, Miami’s Black Coconut Grove has nurtured young athletes. Now that legacy is at risk




MIAMI (AP) – Amari Cooper’s football jersey hangs within the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame. The same goes for Frank Gore, in addition to tributes to Negro League baseball player Jim Colzi and football coach Traz Powell, whose name graces arguably essentially the most respected highschool football stadium in talent-rich South Florida.

They represent West Coconut Grove when it was a majority-Black neighborhood hidden amongst Miami’s wealthiest areas that thrived on family-owned businesses, local gatherings and sporting events. Some call it West Grove, Black Grove or Little Bahamas, referring to its roots. Most simply call it The Grove, a spot steeped in cultural history transformed over the a long time.

“When you talk about what The Grove is, you’re talking about the real history of South Florida,” said Charles Gibson, grandson of certainly one of the primary black members of the Miami City Commission, Theodore Gibson.

Sport was his heart. It has supported the early careers of Olympic gold medalists and football stars like Cooper, national champions and future Football Hall of Famers like Gore, who make their first sporting memories on this close-knit community.

Today, there are few remnants of this proud Black heritage. Years of economic neglect followed by recent gentrification have destroyed much of the realm’s cultural backbone. Vigorous youth leagues and sports programs have dwindled. Now the community that once created an environment during which young athletes could succeed – a trusted neighbor caring for a young soccer player heading to training, a respected coach instilling discipline and perseverance in a future track and field star – is at risk of extinction.

“I think in two or three years, if something isn’t done, Black Grove will be completely destroyed,” said Anthony Witherspoon, a West Grove resident and founding father of the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame.

Anthony Witherspoon at the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame booth in Miami’s west Coconut Grove neighborhood, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Witherspoon, known by everyone on the town as “Spoon,” is a former college basketball player and coach who returned to West Grove in 2015 after nearly 30 years in Atlanta and located a neighborhood much different than the one during which he grew up .

Witherspoon recalls the late Nineteen Seventies, when he walked down the aptly named Grand Avenue — once the economic epicenter of West Grove — after a Friday night highschool football game, dined at a neighborhood mom-and-pop joint and frolicked at the favored Tikki Club.

Earlier generations in the realm died, lots of their families moved elsewhere, and disinvestment led to poverty and neglect. Redevelopment then kicked in, replacing longtime residents with non-black newcomers. Mommies and daddies have largely disappeared. The same goes for Club Tikki, currently an empty constructing with the last vestiges of vibrant Bahamas-inspired colours on the partitions.

“I was here. I lived in the community. I felt the influence of sports,” Witherspoon said. “I got here back from Atlanta, Georgia, and I used to be exposed to gentrification. In the back of my mind, I had this thought: We still must protect this history.

Witherspoon founded the Hall of Fame to maintain that legacy alive. A time capsule of roughly 90 area athletes and coaches, it begins with characters like Colzie, a World War II veteran who played baseball for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, and ends with former pro running back Gore and Cooper, a receiver from Cleveland Browns.

“Coconut Grove is a nesting place for all of us athletes in this area,” said Gerald Tinker, a West Grove resident who won a gold medal within the 1972 Olympics as a member of the U.S. 4×100-meter relay team. “They would always expect us to be just as good (as previous generations) and just as humble. And it’s always been like that.”

The community’s status for athletics was born at George Washington Carver High School, a segregated black school. Carver was a football powerhouse within the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, winning five state championships under Powell, who helped shape the landscape of Miami’s highschool sports scene.

Harold Cole, a former coach and athletic director at nearby Coral Gables High School who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019, said Powell’s influence lasts for generations.

“He was a coach; he was a mentor,” Cole said. “He was responsible for many of the athletes who came out of Coconut Grove.”

Cole said West Grove still has youth sports programs, but since many families have moved away and kids have gone to other school districts, “it’s not the same anymore.”

Integration within the Nineteen Seventies forced Carver to shut. It is now a junior highschool positioned within the affluent nearby town of Coral Gables.

“This division to some extent broke the fabric of the community in the 1980s.” Witherspoon said.

Nichelle Haymore’s family hopes to preserve a part of the old neighborhood by reopening the Ace Theater, a preferred venue for black residents through the Jim Crow era. Haymore’s great-grandfather, businessman Harvey Wallace Sr., bought the Grand Avenue theater within the Nineteen Seventies. Born in West Grove, Haymore spent years in Texas before returning in 2007 to assist maintain the theater.

“The atmosphere of the area is different,” Haymore said. “Neighbours, who may have taken care of your home at the beginning, don’t greet each other or talk. People are walking their dogs in your yard. This neighborly respect is different because the neighborhood is different.”

Resident Charles Gibson stands next to a plaque honoring the Bahamian roots of Miami’s west Coconut Grove neighborhood, Friday, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Shotgun-style homes owned by black residents were torn down in favor of sleek, boxy developments – some called ice cubes – and apartment buildings far too expensive for the middle-class individuals who built the community. Abandoned, boarded-up buildings stand in places where they once attracted crowds. Giant real estate advertisements hang on the fences of empty plots.

“They’re tearing down homes that have been in families for years and building row houses,” said Denzel Perryman, a Coconut Grove resident and former University of Miami star who played as a linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers. “So it has an impact on the community because some kids from there are going to different places and parks because they don’t live in the Coconut Grove area.”

Perryman, who lived in Miami’s historic Black neighborhood of Overtown as a baby, spent most of his time in West Grove, playing football at Armbrister Park or participating in the numerous extracurricular activities the community offered.

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Some still exist today. Perryman watched his childhood football team, the Coconut Grove Cowboys, win the Pop Warner championship in December. Youth teams still train at Armbrister Park, although a few of them look different to groups from years ago.

“It’s unfortunate because you lose so much, character,” said Gibson, a football and lacrosse coach. “There are certain things locally that are related to family. When you lose that, I feel it’s sadness.

Gibson, like many other residents, is determined to support the identical family environment that raised him.

“You can’t put a dollar sign on a sign that says, ‘Go to grandma’s house. She (lives) next door,” Gibson said. “You don’t even have to look outside because you know it’s only 10 steps away and they’re home. How can you put a price on it?”

In The Grove – individuals are trying to search out the reply to this query – before it is too late.

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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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