The PopGates Monday Bulletin: 1/16

Everything you might have missed last week from the Basketball Universe:

Jimmer did the Jimmer thing.

Jimmer Fredette dropped 32 points – including a dunk — In the Chinese Basketball Association All-Star game. While the defensive effort in the game was somewhere between chubby middle-schoolers and James Harden, the performance solidified the NBA castoff as the premier superstar of the league. Jimmer also won the three-point contest at halftime, knocking down 18 of 23.

Over the Summer, Jimmer told PopGates “the criticism with me has always been the defensive end.”

The League seems to have him pegged, and despite a historic reliance on three point shooting, the NBA values volume scoring off the bench from others over Fredette. It’s hard to see him back in the NBA at this point – and the CBA was a poor choice for Jimmer if the end goal is working his way back as soon as possible, considering how much lower the overall level of competition is than Europe.

Anthony Bennett found a new home.

On the predictable side, the Nets waived former number one pick Anthony Bennett. With averages of 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds over 151 games spent  with four teams and a win-share production of 0.5, Bennett is the least valuable number one pick of the past 31 years.

Bennett promptly signed with Turkish superpower Fenerbahce – who is currently in sixth place in the EuroLeague. Fenerbahce holds Bennett’s rights through 2018.

Pablo Prigioni finally said enough.

Nearly 40, and with a game that now more resembles lunch time ball at the Y, Prigioni announced his retirement from playing on Twitter. Released from the Rockets before the start of the season, Prigioni returned to the EuroLeague, where he spent a decade prior to his time in the NBA.

With Baskonia since December, Prigioni went scoreless on the season.

Was that Andy Panko in Mexico?

In January of 2001, an unknown, 6’8” forward out of Division III Lebanon Valley found himself in an NBA game for the Atlanta Hawks. Andy Panko played for exactly 33 seconds.

Now 39, after playing in what seems like every league in the entire world, he is starting for Fuerza Regia of the LNB (Mexico). Fuerza Regia is currently in first place with a record of 26-1, and Panko is averaging nearly 17 points a game.

Panko is the closest thing to Crash Davis/Moonlight Graham, that the basketball world has to offer.    

‘Buckets’ Blakes lived up to the name.

Harlem Globetrotters showman Blakes helped christen the new arena in Sacramento with a variety of trick-shots – including a backwards, underhanded shot through an open window into a basket outside of the arena.  

According to wiki – Blakes is a watch collector and cereal enthusiast.

Hustle and Heart trump Height and Hype

Jahad Thomas is a slow, unathletic 6’1”-ish (that is not a typo) 220-pound power forward for UMass Lowell – a squad ineligible for the NCAA Tournament as it completes transition to Division I. Coming out of Williamsport High School in 2014, Lowell was Thomas’ only Division I scholarship offer.  In Thomas first two years at Lowell, he tore each of his ACL. On Saturday, in a 71-55 win over Hartford, Thomas scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, ripped down 19 rebounds and dished out 10 assists for the first triple-double in program history. It was a monster stat line for the pint-sized power forward, but hardly and aberration. Thomas had posted double-doubles in each of his previous two games, with 28-points and 15 rebounds against Binghamton, and 17 points and 11 rebounds against Maine, adding five assists in each contest. The red-shirt junior currently ranks first in the America East Conference in rebounding (9.6 rpg), third in scoring (17.3 ppg), second in assists (4.5 apg) first in field goal percent (.609) and third in steals (1.5 spg), and appears to be the front runner for league Player of the Year honors. Not bad for a kid roughly 350 other Division I schools passed on.

Quote of the Week:

“I want the guy around our players. He’s a professional. I think it’s more beneficial when he’s actually in practice and in the trenches with them. But he’s someone that helps the team being around.” – Luke Walton on Metta World Peace.