Basketball

Local basketball coaches weigh in on NBA Draft, free-agent movement

2014-06-25T17:00:00Z 2014-06-25T22:35:06Z Local basketball coaches weigh in on NBA Draft, free-agent movementJohn Burbridge john.burbridge@nwi.com, (219) 933-3371 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | The National Basketball Association season ended nearly two weeks ago.

But basketball is always in vogue at the Fieldhouse-Merrillville where its High School Summer League has kept "Hoosier Hysteria" intact. And pending changes to the NBA's landscape due to today's draft plus high-profile free agency scenarios have piqued hoops interest and discussion even further.

"It would be great if the Bulls can get someone local like Glenn Robinson (III)," said F-M assistant manager Kyle Buckley, who runs the league.

The Bulls have the 16th and 19th picks in the first round.

"I think he could be still around for the Bulls' second pick," said Buckley of Robinson, a Lake Central grad and former University of Michigan guard, who is the son of NBA All-Star Glenn Robinson.

Former Merrillville coach and Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer Jim East, who gives shooting lessons at the F-M, is not too concerned about who the Bulls pick in the draft.

"I have no interest about that one way or another," East said, "but I do hope they get that guy from New York ... what's his name? ... Carmelo Anthony.

"He's nearly unstoppable as a scorer. Question is can he stop his guy at the other end. He's going to have to do that if he wants to play for coach (Tom) Thibodeau. I know he would have to do that if he played for me."

Aaron Austin, who coaches Andrean's junior varsity boys team in the league, is not too sure if Anthony is the answer for the Bulls.

"He may have great respect for Thibodeau, but can he play defense for him?" Austin said. "Defense is not something you can pick up and learn overnight if you haven't been playing it for most of your career."

Anthony is not the only free-agent option for the Bulls.

"You know, I'm hoping more for them to get Kevin Love," said Munster varsity boys coach Mike Hackett in reference to the Minnesota Timberwolves star.

As for who will go No. 1 in the draft ...

"I say (Andrew) Wiggins," Griffith varsity boys coach Gary Hayes said of the Kansas wing-man. "You can quote me on that and hopefully make me look smart.

"As for the Bulls, they obviously need another scorer ... maybe someone who can create his own shot and shoot off the dribble."

Even if Robinson and Wolverine teammate, Chesterton product Mitch McGary, end up taking their talents far away, James Dye believes they will maintain strong ties to the region.

"For instance, Glenn (Robinson III) has always reached out to our guys, calling them on phone about the game, school, grades ... anything they may need help with," said Dye, founder of the Sports Youth Foundation.

Robinson and McGary both played for SYF.

"This is a 21-year-old kid already willing to lend his services as a needed mentor," Dye said of Robinson III.

With the pending draft of Robinson and McGary, the likely draft of Lew Wallace graduate and Michigan State star Branden Dawson next summer, and past draft picks E'Twaun Moore (Orlando Magic) and Robbie Hummel (Minnesota Timberwolves), the SYF could have five former players reach the NBA.

"And quite a few of those guys played right here," said John Stroia, general manager of the Fieldhouse-Merrillville. "We just had Robbie Hummel give a camp here.

"I really hope (Hummel) can stick in the NBA. You need players with good character like him ... guys who can fill a role with a team. Look at the Spurs. They have high-character, role-filling players. When you draft late in the first round like the Bulls, you've got to look past the high-light reel to get players like that."

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