By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
NEW YORK – Orlando Sanchez may have played just one season at St. John’s, but it took a lot of doing just to get him on the floor.
A 6-foot-9, 230-pound native of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez and Monroe (N.Y.) College teammate Marco Bourgault committed to head coach Steve Lavin in April 2012. Eligibility issues soon arose, partly because Sanchez was trying to become a first-year player at the age of 24, but then because he logged time with the Dominican Republic National Team in 2010.
Thanks in part to the support of legal counsel in the fight against the NCAA, Sanchez gained one year of eligibility in 2013-14, when he averaged 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for the 20-13 Red Storm.
With all of that behind him and with a productive season in the books, Sanchez is now trying to make the leap to the professional level, whether it be the NBA or otherwise.
“If I go to the NBA, I can play different positions, I can fill a role no matter where I am on the floor,” Sanchez told SNY.tv at the RBA Showcase on Sunday afternoon at Basketball City. “All the time at St. John’s, I was playing in different spots. I think I proved I was coachable and showed I was comfortable no matter where I was on the floor.”
By JOSH NEWMAN
NEW YORK – Having never played a minute of college basketball, Norvel Pelle knew he would be behind everyone else in the D-League.
Pelle, Rivals’ top-ranked center in the Class of 2011, played 35 games for the Delaware 87ers last season, but logged just 13.1 minutes per contest and averaged just 5.5 points and 3.1 rebounds.
“It’s been real good, just a learning experience on and off the floor,” Pelle told SNY.tv at the RBA Showcase at Basketball City on Sunday afternoon. “I got to know the terms of the NBA, the different positions. All in all, it was a good experience. I really feel like last year, for me, that was college in terms of just learning the game. I wanted to play more, but any experience I got was valuable. I know I needed to develop.”
Houston transfer Danuel House has opted to transfer to Texas A&M and told SNY.tv he hopes to get a waiver to play immediately this season.
“I like the opportunity that the coach presents the players and the fact that I can play in a great conference and it’s not too far from my home,” House told SNY.tv by phone.
“I’m about to appeal the process to get a waiver,” House added. “My coach resigned and we got a new coach. I have no relationships with anyone on the staff that was coming in and I feel very uncomfortable.”
New Houston coach Kelvin Sampson replaced the former coach, James Dickey, who resigned in late March due to “private family matters.”
WEST ORANGE, N.J. — If Derrick Jones‘ recruiting stock had dipped in recent months, it appears to be back on the upswing right now.
The 6-foot-7, 190-pound junior wing from Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) went off for a game-high 31 points, including going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, as Team Bravery beat Team Inspiration, 137-105, at the Mary Kline Classic at West Orange High School.
Jones also finished as the runner-up to guard Unique McLean in the Dunk Contest.
While there are no questions about Jones’ athletic ability, there are some about his shooting stroke. Still, he has now gone 7-for-10 from deep in two all-star games played Friday in Philadelphia and Saturday night here.
WEST ORANGE, N.J. — Kyle Anderson’s workout with the Atlanta Hawks went well enough that they want him back for a second showing, his father told SNY.tv Saturday.
The 6-foot-9 New Jersey native and former UCLA star worked out for Atlanta on Thursday and he will go back again, although no date has been set.
The Hawks pick at No. 15 in the June 26 NBA Draft.
“It went really well,” Anderson told SNY.tv. “I think I played as well as I could and I enjoyed it.”
WEST ORANGE, N.J. — Tyus Battle sounded flattered and humbled when asked about Kentucky’s interest in him, as reflected by the news that John Calipari called Battle’s father and high school coach on Friday.
“It’s an honor,” the 6-foot-5 2016 guard said after going for 20 points Saturday when Team Inspiration lost to Team Bravery, 137-105, at the Mary Kline Classic. “[It’s] early in this so it’s just an honor, I’m blessed.”
Battle reiterated that he plans to visit Kentucky June 17 “if we’re able to make it.”
Kentucky was well-represented at the game, a benefit organized by Alex Kline which raised $31,000 this year for cancer research and $86,000 over four years. Freshman big man Dakari Johnson, who played at nearby St. Patrick High School, was in the stands, and former Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel, now with the Philadelphia 76ers, also made a cameo.