Javon McCrea joins Billy Baron, Jordan Heath on Belgian team

By Nick Veronica

TBelgacom_Spirou_logowo of the best Big 4 basketball players in recent memory have joined forces in the European professional ranks.

Former UB forward Javon McCrea signed this week with the Belgian club Proximus Spirou, where he’ll play alongside Canisius alum Billy Baron for the rest of the season.

Both Baron and McCrea earned their conference’s Player of the Year honors in 2014. Spirou’s roster also boasts Baron’s older brother, Jimmy, as well as another former Canisius player, forward Jordan Heath.

Spirou appear to have a handful of games remaining in the regular season. Billy and Jimmy Baron lead the team in scoring and minutes, with Billy averaging 16.2 points per game and Jimmy close behind at 15.5. Heath is fourth in scoring at 9.3 ppg and second in rebounding at 5.2.

McCrea played his first professional season in Germany a year ago. He began this season with French side Nancy before joining Santurce of the Puerto Rican league.

Javon McCrea named top 10 rookie in Europe

By Nick Veronica

Former UB Bull Javon McCrea was named one of European basketball’s top 10 rookies by the website Sportando, which covers overseas basketball.

McCrea, the former MAC Player of the Year, averaged 14.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with Medi Bayreuth of the German league. His numbers were good for seventh in the league in scoring and 19th in rebounding.

Sportando writer Paolo Villa ranked McCrea ninth on his top 10 list. Here’s what he wrote about McCrea:

9) Javon McCrea, center, Bayreuth. He’ll have to improve his decision making and his mid-range shot, but his toughness in the paint is impressive for a player his size. He showed to be able to play bigger and to be willing to use his strong physique against taller players, fighting in the paint, rebounding, scoring on second chance opportunity and hustling on every possession. Foul trouble and shots selection sometimes limited his playing time, but his physical game and willingness to draw contacts in the paint were often crucial for his team.

Javon McCrea signs with Germany’s Medi Bayreuth

By Nick Veronica

Former UB Bull Javon McCrea will join Medi Bayreuth of the German First Division, the club announced today.

“I think [McCrea] is the player exactly who has been missing in our team,” Bayreuth coach Michael Koch said in the release, through Google translate.

Bayreuth was promoted to the first division in 2010 after winning a title in the German second division. The team finished 14th out of 18 last season with 11 wins, 21 losses and two overtime losses.

The release said Koch came to the United States to find a new center and selected McCrea, the MAC Player of the Year. Koch said he watched McCrea play in Las Vegas Summer League.

Here’s Koch’s full quote on McCrea, via Google Translate:

Javon is 201 cm certainly not the greatest player, his lack of inches in height, he makes up with an enormous range of his arms up for it. He is very agile and powerful jumper, which are benefits that fit right into our game. I’ve seen him play not only in Las Vegas but could also talk to him, which is very important to me. The impression I got from Javon is very good and I think he is the player exactly who has been missing in our team. A look at his stats shows that he is tremendously versatile. He gets in, but also has a good eye for his teammates. He is rebounding strongly and can also clean under their own basket. In short, he is exactly what we need.

McCrea’s contract runs through the 2014-15 season, according to the release.

(And re: the header picture – yes, that’s really the team’s logo)

NBA Summer League schedules & results: Billy Baron, Javon McCrea, Mitchell Watt, Jordan Heath

By Nick Veronica | @NickVeronica

Four local college products have signed on with teams for the NBA’s summer league. Teams are guaranteed at least four games.

Some games will be shown live on NBA TV while a package for every game can be purchased for $14.99 through NBA Summer League Live.

Schedules for the Big 4 products are listed below and will be updated with stats after each game:

Billy Baron (Canisius) — Chicago Bulls

Games in Las Vegas

Saturday, July 12 vs. Los Angeles Clippers — W 86-70, 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 19:06 off the bench; 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, no turnovers (box score). Also made summer league’s top plays with this shot:

Sunday, July 13 vs. Denver Nuggets — W 103-76, 3 points on 1-of-4 3-pointers, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 foul, no turnovers in 15:45 off the bench (box score).

Tuesday, July 15 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – W 107-73, 8 points on 2-of-6 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, no turnovers in 17:02 off the bench (box score).

Playoffs

First round, Wednesday, July 16: First round bye

Second round, Thursday, July 17: Overall No. 1 seed Bulls vs. 16-Philadelphia 76ers — W 79-68, 3 points on 1-of-7 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls in 17:07 off the bench (box score).

Quarterfinals, Saturday, July 19: 1-Bulls vs. 8-Sacramento Kings, 8 p.m. – L 80-61, 3 points on 1-of-11 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers in 23:02 off the bench (box score). Season over.

Final stats: 5.6 points per game, .257 field goal percentage, .263 on 3-pointers, 3.4 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 2.2 fouls per game, 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Averaged 18.4 minutes off the bench. (Excluding the July 11 game where he was 1-for-11 shooting and 1-for-7 behind the arc, Baron shot .333 from the field and from 3-point range.)

Javon McCrea (UB) — Dallas Mavericks

Games in Las Vegas

Friday, July 11 vs. New York Knicks — L 76-64, 2 points on his only shot in 4:31 of game time (box score).

Saturday, July 12 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves — W 93-85, 3 points on 1-of-3 shooting, 1-2 from the line, 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls in 10:25 off the bench (box score).

Monday, July 14 vs. Toronto Raptors — W 88-57, 7 points on 2-of-5 shooting, 3-4 from the line, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls in 16:41 off the bench (box score).

Playoffs

First round, Wednesday, July 16: 10-Mavericks vs. 23-Charlotte Hornets — L 82-81, 2 points on 1-of-2 shooting, 1 steals, 0 rebounds in 7:35 off the bench (box score).

Consolation round, Friday, July 18: Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns — W 88-62, 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls in 18:40 off the bench (box score). Season over.

Final stats: 4.8 points per game, .625 field goal percentage, 1.4 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game, 0.6 turnovers per game, 2.8 fouls per game. Averaged 11.6 minutes off the bench.

Mitchell Watt (UB ’12) — Golden State Warriors

Games in Las Vegas

Friday, July 11 vs. Charlotte Hornets — W 70-58, 8 points on 4-of-6 shooting, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls in 20:46 off the bench (box score).

Saturday, July 12 vs. Phoenix Suns — W 74-72, 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls in 20:31 off the bench (box score).

Monday, July 14 vs. Los Angeles Lakers — L 89-88, 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting, 5-8 from the line, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 7 fouls in 22:02 off the bench (box score).

Playoffs

First round, Wednesday, July 16: 11-Warriors vs. 22-Atlanta Hawks — L 68-65, 2 points on 1-of-3 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 6 fouls in 17:40 off the bench (box score).

Consolation round, Friday, July 18: Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks — L 79-74, 6 points on 3-of-6 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal, 7 fouls in 19:58 off the bench (box score). Season over.

Final stats: 6.0 points per game, .480 field goal percentage, 5.6 rebounds per game, 1.4 blocks per game, 2.4 turnovers per game, 5.2 fouls per game. Averaged 20.2 minutes off the bench.

Jordan Heath (Canisius) — Detroit Pistons

Games in Orlando

Saturday, July 5 vs. Houston Rockets – W 95-89, did not play, coach’s decision

Sunday, July 6 vs. Memphis Grizzlies – W 85-82, did not play, coach’s decision

Tuesday, July 8 vs. Miami Heat – W 80-78, did not play, coach’s decision

Wednesday, July 9 vs. Boston Celtics — L 92-90, did not play, coach’s decision

Friday, July 11 vs. Orlando Magic (5th place game) — L 96-87, 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 fouls, 1 block in 16:10 of game time (box score).

[Note: this post originally overlooked Mitchell Watt, who graduated from UB in 2012. It has been corrected.] 

Billy Baron joins Chicago Bulls summer league; McCrea to Dallas, Heath to Detroit, Watt to Golden State

By Nick Veronica

Former Canisius guard Billy Baron will join the Chicago Bulls for summer league, his agent, BJ Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group, confirmed via email.

The Bulls were the first of 10 teams Baron worked out for ahead of Thursday night’s draft. The others were Atlanta, Utah, Milwaukee, New York, Cleveland, Houston, Washington, San Antonio and Detroit.

[RELATED: Summer league results & schedules for Baron, McCrea, Watt, Heath]

The summer league, held in Las Vegas, will give Baron another shot to impress NBA teams after going undrafted.

The Bulls traded for Creighton stud Doug McDermott and selected New Mexico’s Cameron Bairstow in the draft.

Armstrong also represents Bulls star Derek Rose.

UPDATE: UB’s Javon McCrea will play with the Dallas Mavericks summer league team.

Canisius’ Jordan Heath announced earlier this week he will play summer league with the Detroit Pistons.

Mitchell Watt, who graduated from UB in 2012, will play with the Golden State Warriors.