Monday, July 09, 2007

Brandon Wallace Article

"So slide over here, and give me a moment."

So here's something for just about everyone. Brandon Wallace has been a standout this summer for the C's, and because he just happened to go to the University of South Carolina, I figured this would be a great thing to write about. The article will likely run in the Daily Gamecock next week, but here's a little bit of a preview...actually it's the entire thing, so it's more like ruining a surprise. Also, be sure to go to Patriots Insider. They put my Laurence Maroney article on the front page and made it very spiffy and, dare I say, professional, so I'm so pumped about that. Anyway, hope you enjoy the latest:

Gamecock Making A Splash In The NBA Summer League
Wallace Looks To Make Celtics’ Roster After Scorching Start

The 2007 NBA Draft was one of the most anticipated drafts of the last twenty or so years, so who could have predicted the type of impact Brandon Wallace, an undrafted free agent from USC, would have so far in his professional career? When talking about guys who are standing out so far this summer, it is not Oden or Durant who are garnering the accolades, but it has been Wallace who has surprised everyone, even USC fans, with his play so far.

Doc Rivers, the Celtics coach, saw the lanky, 6’9 Wallace and attempted to put him at power forward. Wallace played center for most of his career at USC, but simply is not big enough to be a big man in the pros. So logically, the next step down is playing the power position. However, Wallace again struggled acclimating to the physicality that goes along with defending guys who have a 25-30 pound advantage on him.

Then, the move was made to try Wallace at small forward, a move that has paid instant dividends to both the Celtics and Wallace’s career. By keeping him outside of the paint, Wallace can rely more on his biggest strength, his athleticism, to make plays instead of trying to bang bodies in the paint.

What has impressed Rivers and the rest of the Celtic coaching staff is Wallace’s knack for making sound defensive decisions on the court, which comes as no surprise to those who followed Wallace while he played with the Gamecocks. In his four years, Wallace entered into USC’s top-10 in terms of career rebounds (775, 6th all-time), career blocks per game (1.84/game, 5th all-time), and is the career leader in blocks with 249, which ranks 9th in SEC history.

Wallace is continuing a recent trend that is starting to put USC basketball back on the map for the first time since it was in the Metro Conference. Last year, two players, Renaldo Balkman and Tarence Kinsey, made huge statements in their rookie seasons. Balkman was considered the surprise of the first round last year when he was picked 20th overall by the Knicks. He quickly showed why he was picked so early, and brought a brand of scrappy and intensified basketball that made him a fan favorite in Columbia.

Kinsey went undrafted, but was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies in summer camp, much like Wallace. Kinsey’s impact on the Grizzlies was delayed until the closing games of the NBA season. Due to a massive amount of injuries, Kinsey was thrust into a starting role, and in 12 starts, averaged 18.8 points per game replacing Mike Miller as the team’s shooting guard.

It is too early to tell if Wallace will make the kind of impact that his former teammates made last year, and furthermore, Wallace may not even make the Celtics’ final roster. However, his performance this summer further emphasizes the kind of athletes Carolina Basketball produces. Despite the lack of success USC had last season, if they can continue to recruit guys like Wallace, Balkman, and Kinsey, the Gamecocks should find greener pastures ahead of them.

One last note unrelated to the article: Insurance school, while effectively getting me out of my house, is not one of the top things you would want to do in the summer. Also, when the girl that sits next to you says "mm-hmm" after everything the teacher says, it basically turns into a "jamming a ice pick into my forehead" affair. Advice to the youth: Get into sprinkler systems. First of all, the work is not so bad as long as you have the right equipment, and on those hot days, you can run through the sprinklers, and not only not feel like an ass, but get paid to do so. Those were good times. Alright everyone, thanks for reading. Take it easy. Peace.

~Mell-o

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Richie,

Great article on Maroney, congrats on it being on patriots insider!!
Kevin Kristof

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