Notes from TNT’s Coverage of NBA All-Star 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam – Friday, February 18, 2011: John Wall Drops 22 Dimes

During the draft, as I was talking to John Wall, I thought to myself “Wow, this kid is grounded”. He was very articulate it seemed and focused on becoming that next generation NBA star in a league changing by the point guard. He’s having an above average rookie campaign…averaging 15 points and 9 dimes while pulling down 4 boards but he has not the spotlight. That belongs to Blake Griffin. Griffin was able to what amounts to “redshirt” his rookie season and watch 82 games from the bench to develop his professional psyche and get his body in shape after breaking his knee cap. We all know what transpired and Griffin is now the clear Rookie of the Year after coming out in monstrous fashion. The two stars got together last night in a play most of us will remember for a long time…

The NBA is gonna be alright…

TNT’s exclusive coverage of NBA All-Star 2011 continues on Saturday, February 19 at 8 p.m. (ET), with NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, which includes the Haier Shooting Stars, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and the Sprite Slam Dunk. TNT’s coverage of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 20 begins at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

Until Melo’s destination is known, questions of this sort will be ubiquitous…

***QUOTE OF THE DAY***

“I looked at Blake Griffin and he’s got more muscles on his muscles than I’ve got muscles.”

– Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA TV / TNT analyst Kevin McHale on Blake Griffin’s physique.  McHale was an assistant coach for the Rookie Team and was mic’d up for the game.

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T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam – Rookies (148), Sophomores (140)

Kevin Harlan and Chris Webber with Craig Sager reporting

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed L.A. Clippers rookie Blake Griffin prior to the game

Griffin on playing in the Rookie Challenge: “It’s my home city and I wanted to come out here and play with these guys.  It’s a once in a lifetime experience so I definitely wanted to do it.”

Webber on Washington Wizards’ rookie John Wall: “He’s had a very good rookie campaign and I really like the way he’s handled his frustrations.  Any time you come in and you’re hurt, you’re the point guard and you want to help your team.  He won more games last year in college than he probably will win in a season that has three times more games.  Just being able to handle those losses, I love how he keeps his head up and keeps working hard.”

TNT analyst and Sophomore Team assistant coach Steve Kerr was mic’d up during the game

Kerr on what he told the Sophomores before the game: “All I told them was to play hard and have fun.  It’s basically a pick-up game and when you play a pick-up game, you want to win.  You just want to play hard and enjoy yourself.  You don’t want anyone to get hurt or come in and take a charge but you want to compete and make it fun for everyone.”

Webber on Oklahoma City Thunder sophomore James Harden: “It’s really fun to watch Oklahoma.  To be able to watch a young team start together and grow and develop together is really fun.  (Harden) is a big part of their success.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Denver Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony

Anthony on the rumors that he’s meeting with team officials from the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks: “No meeting are going to be taking place this weekend.  I’m not even thinking about having a meeting right now.  I just want to have fun and try to enjoy this weekend.”

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T-Mobile Halftime Report

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Barkley on the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors: “I’m sick of talking about Carmelo Anthony and this trade situation.  I wish they would go ahead and do something.  The Denver Nuggets have a good team and we haven’t talked about them from a basketball standpoint in the past month.  Wherever he goes, he’s a terrific player.  To answer all of these different rumors every day is absurd.”

Smith on Carmelo Anthony being traded to a team that might not be as good as the Nuggets: “I don’t understand how he can go to a team that he feels is not as good as the team that he is on (currently).  So whatever that offer has to be, why would you go to a team that’s not as good as the Denver Nuggets when you’re talking about winning championships.”

Barkley on why the Knicks are considering trading multiple players for Carmelo Anthony: “Why would the Knicks give up anything if they can get him over the summer as a free agent?  Why would you give up all those good players and draft picks?  He says he wants to play in New York, let the trade deadline pass and he’ll come to New York over the summer.  I don’t understand why they are giving up half their roster for a guy they can get for free over the summer.”

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Kerr on what the Denver GM is going through with the Carmelo Anthony situation: “Last year (as GM of the Phoenix Suns) we were dealing with all the same stuff with Amar’e (Stoudemire) at the same time.  As a GM, that’s a tough position to be in when he’s such a great player and the future of your franchise.”

Webber on Sacramento Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins’ frustrating rookie season: “Everybody has ups-and-downs as a rookie whether it’s hitting the wall or frustration.  Cousins is a rookie that’s had some frustration and he’s figuring out who he is, where he is and how to play.  Once he looks in the mirror, takes responsibility and just goes hard…he’s going to be good.  I expect great things from him.  It hasn’t been a great rookie year for him but it’s not too late to turn things around in the second half of the season.”

TNT and NBA TV analyst and Rookie Team assistant coach Kevin McHale was mic’d up during the game

McHale on the lack of defense in the Rookie/Sophomore Game: “One thing I’ve noticed about my squad is, do you remember how your dad would walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways?  Our guys are uphill only on defense.  They are running like crazy on offense but it’s uphill on defense.”

TNT analyst and Sophomore Team assistant coach Steve Kerr was mic’d up during the game

Kerr on how it feels to be away from team management: “I’m sleeping nine hours every night (now).”

McHale on Blake Griffin’s physique: “I looked at Blake Griffin and he’s got more muscles on his muscles than I’ve got muscles.”

McHale on the difference between his generation of players and the current generation: “We just played basketball all the time.  We didn’t spend one minute in the weight room.  So I think that we probably knew how to play basketball (better).  These guys work out and do all kinds of stuff.  In a push-up contest, I wouldn’t like my chances against these guys.  But in a basketball contest, I’d take my chances.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai live from the Staples Center in LA

Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Smith on how Carmelo Anthony would make the New York Knicks contenders in the Eastern Conference: “Chauncey Billups and (Anthony) going to the New York Knicks?  That is a contending team in the Eastern Conference.  If he goes to New Jersey, in my opinion, that is not a contender but it is a playoff team maybe.  Not this year, but next year.”

Barkley: “Excuse me?  If he goes to the Knicks, they are not one of the four best teams in the East.”

Smith: “Chauncey Billups, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony?  That is a contender in the East.”

Barkley: “They wouldn’t play any defense and they wouldn’t get a rebound.”

3 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of NBA All-Star 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam – Friday, February 18, 2011: John Wall Drops 22 Dimes”

  1. Ron Glover says:

    That bounce pass/alley-oop to Blake Griffin was something I’ve never seen attempted on any level – just beautiful.

  2. TC says:

    Amazing to see something you’ve never even seen tried-as Ron says. Great points from the analysts. Thanks for the summary!

  3. Charles Barkley on Blake Griffin’s dunk: “that wasn’t the greatest dunk. it’s like when u got a pretty girl. She dumb it don’t matter.” fb

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