July 22, 2014

Underwater Hockey at Roger Bacon High School with Rebecca Meiser – WFNY Podcast – 2013-08-15

WFNY Podcast LogoToday I decided to talk to Rebecca Meiser who recently wrote a feature for SB Nation on Underwater Hockey.

Here’s Rebecca’s bio:

Rebecca Meiser is a freelance writer living in Cleveland. She’s won awards for sports writing, personality profiles, and investigative reporting. A graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, her long form stories have been featured in Cleveland Magazine, Tablet, Village Voice publications, and SB Nation. You can find her on twitter @rebeccameiser and on the web at rebeccameiser.com

Here’s a video of Roger Bacon playing underwater hockey in 2011. [Read more...]

NBA News: Omri Casspi signs with Houston; Josh Smith with Detroit

Former Cleveland Cavalier forward Omri Casspi has signed a free agent contract with the Houston Rockets according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski-

Casspi will join Dwight Howard who agreed to join the Rockets Friday night.

Also from Wojnarowski, former Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith has agreed to a deal with the Detroit Pistons-

[Related: Dwight signs with Houston; Asik on the market?]

NBA News: Cavs to allow Casspi and Ellington to test free agency

The Cavaliers will reportedly not be extending qualifying offers to either Omri Casspi or Wayne Ellington, allowing both to become free agents when free agency begins on Monday.

Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal was first on the story.

Ellington, who Lloyd says will still be a target for Chris Grant to retain this off season, averaged a career high 10.6 points per game on 44% shooting off the bench for the Cavaliers last season. Along with Marreese Speights, Ellington gave the Cavaliers a much needed boost to their second unit after coming over via trade from Memphis back in January.

Along with allowing Ellington to test free agency, the Cavs will do the same with Omri Casspi as first reported by Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

While Ellington may still find his way back into the Wine and Gold, all indications are that Casspi is as good as gone.

The “Jewish Jordan” has had a rough go of it in Cleveland ever since being acquired from the Sacramento Kings along with a future first round pick in exchange for JJ Hickson. The 25 year old forward reportedly requested a trade last season after falling out of head coach Byron Scott’s rotation. Casspi saw his averages drop in every major statistical category after moving from the Kings to Cavs back in the summer of 2011, averaging just 4 points and 11 minutes in 43 games during the 2012-13 season.

The trade was not all bad though, as the Cavs own the rights to a future Sacramento first round pick, with the pick being 1-12 protected in 2014, and 1-10 protected until 2017 when the pick turns into a 2nd rounder.

[Related: The NBA Draft may be complete, but Chris Grant’s job is just getting started]

NBA News: Omri Casspi, Cavs unlikely to reach buyout Friday

Just yesterday, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers were likely to reach a deal today with disgruntled, injured backup forward Omri Casspi. Said deal was to be hurried, so that Casspi’s release could be completed by 11:59 p.m. Friday in order for Casspi to take the court in the playoffs with one of his desired final destinations, per an NBA rule.

But, tonight, we hear from the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd that such an arrangement is unlikely to occur this evening. Here is the latest from Lloyd’s report:

“Casspi was in negotiations to have his contract bought out, according to an ESPN.com report. But Casspi needed to be released by 11:59 p.m. on Friday in order for him to be eligible for the playoffs. That doesn’t appear likely, according to the two sources who spoke on conditiion of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

The Cavs tried dealing Casspi prior to last week’s trade deadline, but couldn’t strike a deal.

Casspi is unhappy with his lack of playing time, a team source said. He hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 6 and played a total of seven minutes during the month of February.”

The 24-year-old Israeli was originally the 23rd pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. He was the first Israeli to ever be drafted in the league. He started 58 of 148 career games with the Kings over his first two seasons, averaging 9.5 points in 24.5 minutes per contest, but has received inconsistent playing time since his June 2011 trade to Cleveland.

He has appeared in 94 total games with the Cavaliers, shooting only 39.5% en route to 6.1 points in 17.8 minutes per game. He only played in two games during the month of February.

[Related: NBA News: Cavaliers and Omri Casspi in talks surrounding buyout]

NBA Rumor: Injured Omri Casspi wants buyout from Cavaliers

More news on the Omri Casspi front broke yesterday afternoon.

Officially, from the Cavaliers, it was announced that the seldom-used forward from Israel would be checked into a hospital from Orlando and miss Saturday night’s game against the Magic.

Here was the release from the team: “Cavaliers forward Omri Casspi was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center this afternoon for evaluation of acute abdominal pain. He was accompanied by Cavaliers Head Athletic Trainer Max Benton. Both Casspi and Benton remain at the medical center. Casspi is listed as OUT for tonight’s game in Orlando and his status will be updated as appropriate.”

Then, unofficially, Israeli outlet Walla Sport (which has interviewed several times Casspi previously) reported that Casspi would like a buyout from the team. This isn’t shocking news considering his reported trade request from last month, but there were more details in this news bit.

According to the entirely Hebrew article (aka don’t click the link unless you know Hebrew), Casspi would like a buyout from Cleveland within 2-3 days. He then would hope to sign with a playoff team, namely Houston or Memphis. However, he would only like the buyout once a deal is in place with the next team.

Oddly enough: These murmurs come just days before Jewish Community Night at the Q, which is scheduled for Wednesday. We’ll see if Casspi is granted his reported request before the planned night of events, which included a meet-and-greet with the 24-year-old player.

Update at 11:30 a.m. Sunday: Casspi was diagnosed with acute appendicitis last night in Orlando. His appendix was later removed by Dr. Michael L. Cheatham. He stayed the night at the Orlando hospital and will be reevaluated today.

Update at 2:30 p.m. Sunday: Casspi just posted to his Facebook page with nearly 82,000 likes the following status (translated from Hebrew via Google): “Dear Friends, thank you for your concern, I am recovering and feeling much better today.” I’m sure we’ll have more news from him by tomorrow.

[Related: Chris Grant and the Cavaliers sit this trade deadline out]

NBA Rumors: Cavs could trade Speights, Gibson, Casspi before deadline

After making a deal earlier in the week, trade winds are swirling once again regarding the Cavaliers. In Marc Stein’s Weekend Dime on ESPN.com, he talks of the possibility of the Cavs moving newly acquired Marreese Speights, Daniel Gibson, and Omri Casspi.

“Don’t be shocked if the Cavaliers decide to move Speights on again before the Feb. 21 deadline.

The Cavs obviously aren’t in the playoff hunt and word is they’re already receiving interest in Speights, who possesses a $4.5 million player option for next season. The Cavs are also armed with $12 million in expiring contracts and roughly $4 million in leftover cap space for the summer, which means they’ve got the tools to continue to be active before this deadline.”

[Related: Finally some fun for Cavalier fans]

Wojnarowski NBA Report: Casspi requests a trade

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting today that Cavaliers small forward Omri Casspi has requested a trade from the Cavaliers.

“Dropped out of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ rotation, forward Omri Casspi, the NBA’s first Israeli-born player, has requested a trade, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Casspi has shown significant flashes of promise in his young career, but he has become an afterthought for the struggling Cavaliers since missing five games with gastroenteritis in December.

Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant has been making calls on possible deals for Casspi, but nothing has materialized. The request for a trade was made through Casspi’s representatives with Creative Arts Agency (CAA), sources said”

Casspi is averaging 4.9 points per game for the Cavaliers this season, and 13.3 minutes per game, but has not gotten consistent minutes this season at all. Casspi was traded to the Cavaliers along with a conditional draft pick for J.J. Hickson.

In other Cavaliers news, the team recalled Jon Leuer from the Canton Charge of the D-League.

[Related: Cavaliers waive Samardo Samuels]

Box Score: Heat 110, Cavaliers 108

Win or lose, at the end of this game I couldn’t help but be proud of my beloved Cavaliers. Without Kyrie Irving, they were competing with the reigning NBA Champs on their home court — although, the advantage isn’t really a notable one.

But yet, a loss like this still hurts. The most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history, Ray Allen, made the game-winner, Dwyane Wade was all over Jeremy Pargo on the Cavs’ next possession and despite then having 0.6 seconds left, the Cavs couldn’t even get off a final shot attempt.

Lots of positives, again, though. The Cavs shot 10-for-19 from threes in the first half, Pargo finished with 16 points and 7 assists, and Omri Casspi had his best game of the season with 15 points and 4 threes. Can’t hang your head too much about this late loss without your best closer.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
3-10 (Lost last 2)
MIAMI HEAT
10-3 (Won last 4)
Team 1 2 3 4 Total
CLE 29 30 20 29 108
MIA 26 22 29 33 110

Cleveland

Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
D. Waiters G 37:33 5-14 3-9 3-4 -4 0 1 2 1 1 0 0 2 16
J. Pargo G 33:14 4-13 2-4 6-8 +11 0 1 7 4 1 0 2 4 16
A. Varejao C 35:05 2-9 0-1 6-7 -9 5 15 4 1 4 0 0 4 10
A. Gee F 28:48 4-8 1-2 3-5 -14 1 5 1 2 1 0 1 5 12
T. Thompson F 22:39 6-7 0-0 1-2 -2 2 5 1 1 0 0 0 1 13
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 35-79 14-31 24-33 10 32 21 10 9 0 5 29 108
Percentages .443 .452 .727 Team Rebounds: 11
D. Gibson 28:22 4-9 2-7 1-1 -13 0 1 3 0 1 0 0 5 11
T. Zeller 21:03 2-6 0-0 1-2 +4 2 2 1 1 0 0 1 3 5
C.J. Miles 17:59 4-7 2-4 0-0 +4 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 10
O. Casspi 15:17 4-6 4-4 3-4 +13 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 3 15
J. Leuer DNP – Coach’s Decision
S. Samuels DNP – Coach’s Decision
D. Sloan DNP – Coach’s Decision
L. Walton DNP – Coach’s Decision

Miami

Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
D. Wade G 34:15 6-15 0-0 6-10 +9 1 7 4 4 1 2 0 5 18
M. Chalmers G 32:31 1-3 0-1 2-2 +13 1 4 3 1 3 0 0 2 4
C. Bosh C 36:43 6-11 0-0 11-13 +8 3 7 1 1 0 1 0 2 23
L. James F 39:58 10-16 2-5 8-9 +7 1 6 5 7 0 1 0 3 30
S. Battier F 21:07 3-5 3-5 0-0 +2 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 3 9
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 36-69 9-19 29-37 9 39 21 18 5 5 0 25 110
Percentages .522 .474 .784 Team Rebounds: 12
R. Allen 22:58 6-11 3-5 2-3 +2 1 5 1 1 0 0 0 2 17
U. Haslem 19:35 1-1 0-0 0-0 -12 2 5 3 2 0 0 0 2 2
M. Miller 14:35 2-4 1-3 0-0 -7 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 3 5
N. Cole 13:09 1-3 0-0 0-0 -9 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 3 2
J. Anthony 5:09 0-0 0-0 0-0 -3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
J. Jones DNP – Coach’s Decision
R. Lewis DNP – Coach’s Decision
D. Pittman DNP – Coach’s Decision

Omri Casspi: “I Love Cleveland”

I love Cleveland. They gave me a lot, I owe them a big one. [...] Basically, I just have to go back to playing my basketball. To be good, effective, to punish — everything I didn’t do last season. I need to go back to my old self. I know that the team brought more players on the wings, and everybody in Cleveland is good. But none of us is an All- Star. We don’t have Kobe or LeBron there. Coach [Byron] Scott says that whoever is better will play, and I believe him.

–Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Omri Casspi, discussing the 2012-13 season with Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv. After being acquired for power forward JJ Hickson a year ago, Casspi disappointed, averaging 7.1 points on a career low 40.3 percent shooting. The team recently added small forward CJ Miles and is still attempting to agree to terms with forward Alonzo Gee and it was recently reported that Casspi could be bought out by the Cavaliers.

[Related: McCoy: No Place I’d Rather be but Cleveland]

(Source: Jodie Valade)

Byron Scott: Only Varejao and Irving are Guaranteed Starters

“If you look at our team, Kyrie (Irving) and Andy (Varejao) are the only starters,” he said. “Tristan (Thompson), C.J. (Miles) and Dion (Waiters) will have to earn it.”

That’s the latest on the starting lineup thinking process from Cavs head coach Byron Scott, via Bob Finnan’s report for the News-Herald. Scott shared his excitement about the Miles signing with Finnan, even though the young small forward won’t be a shoe-in for the starting position just yet.

Possible candidates also could include Alonzo Gee and Tyler Zeller, depending upon the size and shape of the eventual starting five. Regardless, these two would figure to be the first two guys off the bench if the first five names end up beginning games. Other remaining bench contributors would also be Omri Casspi, Samardo Samuels, Daniel Gibson, Jeremy Pargo and Luke Walton.

[Related: Random Cavaliers Off-Season Thoughts]

Omri Casspi, Tamir Goodman Team Up for Beachwood Youth Basketball Camp

To the average eye, it might not appear that Tamir Goodman and Omri Casspi have much in common. But the two men share two very special bonds: basketball and Judaism.

Because of these bonds, Goodman, 30, teamed up with the 24-year-old Casspi to create a three-Sunday basketball camp in Beachwood. About 80 kids, grades 1-8, attended the first part of the camp this past Sunday, June 10, at Beachwood Middle School.

The camp will train kids in basketball while adding related life lessons from their diverse experiences. The two leaders said it’s been a ball working together thus far, something they never imagined would happen when they first met several years ago.

“God has mysterious ways, so you never know,” Cleveland Cavalier guard/forward Casspi said to WFNY. “I’m just happy and fortunate enough to do it and see the kids having fun.” [Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Midseason Progress Report

With half of the NBA season completed, now seems like a perfectly appropriate time to look at the progress we’ve seen from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first half.

There’s no question the first half has been nothing short of a very pleasant surprise for Cleveland fans. It’s fair to say Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson have both been better than most people expected, Alonzo Gee has shown remarkable improvement, Daniel Gibson is playing the best defense of his career, Anderson Varejao was having a career year prior to injury, and all in all the team has shown identity, heart, effort, and a tenacity that has allowed them to win plenty of games they should have lost.

There have been growing pains, too. There have been nights off and moments of confusion, poor decisions, and poor execution. But that’s to be expected. Those are things you can live with and learn from when you are a developing basketball team. But the positives have mostly outweighed the negatives, despite the losing record, so let’s examine where the Cavaliers are now, and where we would like to see them grow from here. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Baseball’s Age Problem, Tight End Depth and Winning the Hickson Trade

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

“A lot of people may fault Carmona, but he is a product of a bad system. Major League Baseball is doing their best to police the problems with age and name falsification and the rampant use of steroids. On top of that players are often bribed by buscones (street agents) where they are promised food, shelter, training, and help with getting a signing bonus in exchange for a pre-arranged sum of money. There is only so much the league can do to control it.

Carmona is just another example of a system out of control. He is not the only one either as several players have been caught recently – such as Miami Marlins pitcher Leo Nunez a few months ago – and more will be caught in the future as there are probably several players in the big leagues and minor leagues currently playing with false identities.” [Tony/Indians Prospect Insider] [Read more...]

On the Cavaliers and the Love of the 3-Point Shot

Antawn Jamison for 3

No shot in basketball is more tantalizing than the 3-point shot. An arbitrary arc drawn on the court that encompasses the team’s offensive zone, it acts as an ever taunting force, daring and begging players who find themselves outside said arc to shoot the ball.

For some teams, the shot is an exercise in performing winning basketball. For other teams, the shot is a reminder of everything that is wrong with that team’s offense.

The Cleveland Cavaliers might be somewhere in between those two extremes, but such is the nature of 3-point shooting for most teams. The old basketball adage of living or dying by “the three” is one of the more true clichés in all of sports. It makes sense, too, because after all, you can make a pretty strong argument that in the game of basketball, the most important thing you can do is make shots.

[Read more...]

Casspi: I Feel Like I’m Turning the Corner

I’m just trying to clear my head and play the game. I can’t control if [the shots] go in or out. I’m taking good shots, I’m not forcing them, I’m taking what the defense gives me. It’s hard on me. I’m trying to play like I know I can play, like I need to play. I just [have] to see that ball go in the net. I really feel like I’m turning the corner, that it’s right there and I feel like we are going to see it on the court.

- Cavaliers starting small forward Omri Casspi who has struggled through most of the team’s first 10 games. Head coach Byron Scott says that his starting position is not in peril, but he expects Casspi to hustle on the defensive end, even when his shot is not falling. Casspi is averaging 6.5 points per game on 38 percent shooting. He’s a career 43 percent shooter.

(Source: Tom Reed, Plain Dealer)

Omri Casspi Injures Knee, Says He’s Fine

Omri Casspi, the Cavaliers recently acquired small forward, slipped and injured his knee on Wednesday during an Israeli national team practice.

Despite multiple reports that have varied in terms of severity, Casspi has recently tweeted that MRI results have come back fine.  The player is expected to take two-to-four weeks of time to recover, potentially missing European Championship.

[Read more...]

Cavalier Thoughts: Is the Run-and-Gun One-and-Done?

JJ Hickson always referred to his ability to get to the rim as his “bread and butter.”  Despite all of the work he put in to improve his jump shot, all of the self-imposed goals designed to help him rebound the basketball, and his game-saving blocked shot against the Los Angeles Clippers, Hickson’s game was always predicated on running the floor, being fed the basketball and converting high percentage shots.

Now that Hickson will be applying butter to his bread on the west coast and Omri Casspi will likely grow roots in the corner of the Cavaliers’ offensive system – the Israeli shoots 47 percent on corner threes – the tides appear to be changing.  Gone is the athletic power forward known for his above-the-rim play and bright yellow shoes.  Filling the void is a 6-f0ot-9-inch small forward with range and a rookie power forward with little offensive game to speak of.

Cavalier fans have a right to be excited about the prospects of former Texas Longhorn Tristan Thompson.  As much as they love the hustle and tenacity of Anderson Varejao, pairing the two big men together should be heady for the Wine and Gold while potentially agitating for their opponent.  But with a frontcourt that will be focusing on defense, we are seeing a slight change in philosophy, one that had existed in Cleveland for a very short time. [Read more...]

Cavaliers NBA Draft Preview Version 2.0

cavs-logoIt wasn’t all that long ago that I wrote the first part of my Cavaliers Draft Preview, and here I am back again with a list of seven new prospects the team could be eying in the draft in two weeks. Cleveland won a franchise-high 66 games en route to the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference this season, but were cast down in the playoffs at the hands of the Orlando Magic. This off-season and draft will be crucial to the long-term success of the franchise as we look to get stronger, younger and more equipped for playoff basketball. In common sense terms, that means more low-post players.

According to the nifty Web site www.teamrankings.com, the Cavaliers ranked 26th in the NBA in points in the paint this season with 35.5 per context. For comparisons sake, the Lakers were second at45.6 while the Magic were only 25th with 36.1 per game. This will have to improve next year, as Cleveland does not have the inside-outside game like Orlando does with four shooters on the court at all times, and as a fan I am first and foremost looking to the draft for this statistic to improve. Without any further ado, here are seven more prospects Danny Ferry and company should be looking at over the next two weeks:

Tyler Hansbrough, PF North Carolina – The most enigmatic player in the draft this season, Psycho T has been one of the most sensational scorers in the college game over the past two years. The 6-9, 230 pound four-year starter for the Tar Heels averaged 20.7 points and 8.1 rebounds in 30.3 minutes per game during his senior season. [Read more...]