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Troy Williams needed a strong summer.
After six games in Las Vegas, the former Indiana forward seems to have followed through.
Williams closed his NBA Summer League stint with a 24-point, six-rebound effort while playing for the Phoenix Suns in the Las Vegas semifinals on Sunday. The Suns lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 93-83.
Williams averaged 12.3 points and 4.3 rebounds across his six-game run for Phoenix’s Summer League outfit. He started the last three games, during which he averaged 20.3 points per contest.
It was the kind of finish that should help Williams land a spot in an NBA training camp this fall — be it in Phoenix or elsewhere. Williams agreed to a summer league contract with the Suns a day after all 30 NBA teams passed on him in the June 23 draft.
Now that the NBA’s summer session is complete, Williams is free to sign with any team that’s interested. Tony Jones, the Utah Jazz beat writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, tweeted over the weekend that the Suns are one of a handful of teams interested in extending a guaranteed contract to Williams. (more…)
CHICAGO — For the second straight day, Armored Athlete shot its way to victory in The Basketball Tournament.
Featuring former Hoosiers Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford, seventh-seeded Armored Athlete rolled past the 15th-seeded Canton Bulldogs on Sunday at the Shannon Center to advance to next weekend’s Super 16 in Philadelphia.
Hulls hit a 3 to open the scoring for Armored Athlete, followed by three consecutive 3s from former Florida State guard Isaiah Swann to jumpstart the day. The team would go on to shoot 50 percent (18-of-36) from 3 for the day and 48.5 percent overall to back up Saturday’s 54 percent shooting performance, leading 48-31 at halftime.
Armored Athlete also played superb defense for the second straight day, holding Canton to 40.9 percent shooting overall and just 32.4 from 3.
Swann had 22 points to lead all scorers, while Hulls added 12 points on four 3s to go with five assists. Watford chipped in three points and four rebounds, while Sheehey did not play after leading Armored Athlete in scoring on Saturday.
Former Purdue guard Jon Octeus added 11 points, while Butler grad Roosevelt Jones pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
“With the team that we have, it’s a blessing to play with these guys,” Swann said in a postgame interview with Whistle Sports. “We all understand the game, all want to play the right way.”
Next up for Armored Athlete is Golden Eagles Alumni, a collection of former Marquette players, including two who played for current IU coach Tom Crean — Maurice Acker and Jerel McNeal. The Golden Eagles won 97-70 over Spartan Heroes, a team of Michigan State alumni which included former Spartans Delvon Roe, Charlie Bell and Korie Lucious, among others.
“It’s going to be tough. There’s some good teams out there,” Swann said. “But if we come focused with determination and energy, we can do it.”
CHICAGO — Hot shooting at one end and cold shooting at the other turned into an easy 92-60 victory for Armored Athlete in its Midwest Regional opener of The Basketball Tournament at the Shannon Center on Saturday.
The victors, featuring former Indiana University standouts Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford, shot 55.6 percent (35-of-63) from the field to open up a comfortable 46-31 halftime lead and never let up in pulling away during the second half against Midwest Dream Squad.
The Hoosier trio were largely responsible for the torrid shooting pace, combining to go 15-of-22 from the field and 10-of-10 on free throws for a total of 42 points.
Sheehey scored a team-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Watford came off the bench to provide 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting with two rebounds in 14 minutes, while Hulls joined Sheehey in the starting lineup and scored nine points on 3-of-5 shooting to go with two assists.
The IU products got some in-state help in the form of Butler grad Roosevelt Jones, who pulled down a game-high eight rebounds to go with four points, four steals and three assists, as well as former Purdue guard Jon Octeus, who contributed seven points and five rebounds in just 11 minutes of action.
At the other end of the floor, seventh-seeded Armored Athlete held 10th-seeded Midwest Dream Squad to 31.9 percent shooting from the field (22-of-69), forcing 12 turnovers, picking up nine steals and blocking four shots.
Armored Athlete advances to take on the Canton Bulldogs in the round of 32 at noon Sunday. The 15th-seeded Bulldogs followed the same hot-shooting blueprint in an upset of second-seeded Ants Alumni, the team that ousted Armored Athlete from the tournament a year ago. Canton shot 54.7 percent from the field and made 15 3-pointers.
The winner of Sunday’s game, which will be live streamed via the Whistle Sports Facebook page, advances to the Super 16 in Philadelphia next weekend.
A share of $2 million is just six wins away for a trio of former Hoosiers.
Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford are joining forces for the second straight year as members of Armored Athlete, one of 64 teams to enter The Basketball Tournament, a winner-takes-all prize money event featuring former college stars and current professional players of all levels. Another former Hoosier, Cody Zeller, is the team booster.
“It’s a chance to meet new players, new guys to connect with,” Hulls told The Herald-Times last week. “It’s always good to network whenever you can, so we do that. It’s also great, because it’s good basketball. There are some good runs for us and, ultimately, if you win you get a whole bunch of money. So that’s a pretty good incentive for everybody to play hard.”
Armored Athlete made a run at last year’s $1 million prize, reaching the Midwest Regional final before falling to an Ants Alumni squad that included another former Hoosier in Rod Wilmont.
A rematch could be in the offing this weekend, as seventh-seeded Armored Athlete and the second-seeded Ants would meet on Sunday if both win Saturday’s tournament openers in Chicago. Wilmont is not participating this year, however.
The Armored squad has bolstered its ranks with a pair of familiar names to basketball fans in the state of Indiana. Former Purdue guard Jon Octeus and recent Butler grad Roosevelt Jones are on the roster. This will also be the first game action for Watford since surgery on his Achilles tendon early this year, while Sheehey is coming off his first season in France playing for SO Maritime Boulogne. He averaged 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as Boulogne went 17-18, finishing 12th in the 18-team French Pro B league.
The first test for this year’s Armored Athlete comes at 10:45 a.m. Saturday against Midwest Dream Squad. All games will be streamed live via the Whistle Sports Facebook page.
“The guys who put (the team) together, A.J. (Mahar) and coach Dan (Engelstad), they do a great job of getting us prepared and setting everything up,” Hulls said. “We really just show up and practice a little bit, then play. It’s a good time. The Basketball Tournament does a good job of making it very professional. You walk in and you have credentials, you have collegiate referees and everything’s really nice. It’s pretty cool to do every summer and something I look forward to.”
Some mornings, Collin Hartman eats steak for breakfast.
Other days, he’ll marinate the meat for hours, or portion enough to share with teammates.
“One time,” Hartman said, “we were sitting in my apartment and I looked at Josh Newkirk and I was like, ‘Josh, you want to grill steaks tonight? He was like, ‘Dude, have I ever said no to your cooking?'”
Hartman has long held visions of one day opening his own restaurant. This summer, he received a taste for what that endeavor may require.
The Indiana senior forward is fresh off a 120-hour internship with Topos 403, a greek restaurant on North Walnut street in Bloomington. There, Hartman served in an assistant manager’s role, while occasionally stepping into the kitchen to assist with food preparation.
He also worked the Topos booth at last month’s Taste of Bloomington event, committing himself to a summer’s worth of culinary experiences.
“It was fun to work and do the dirty work kind of thing,” Hartman said. “I kind of do that on the court most of the time. It was fun to have an actual job.” (more…)
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