VOL. 132 | NO. 131 | Monday, July 3, 2017
Sports Notebook: Grizzlies Sign Selden, Set Summer League Roster
By Don Wade
The Memphis Grizzlies and their notable free agents – JaMychal Green, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Vince Carter – have been fairly quiet. That could change at any moment, of course, and Randolph in particular is the subject of speculation that the Cleveland Cavaliers are in pursuit of one of the best sixth men in the NBA last season.
The Grizzlies, however, have not been stagnant since introducing rookies Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks the other day. They signed guard Wayne Selden to a two-year deal, a move that at least makes one wonder what Allen’s future might be.
With Allen injured and unable to playing in the first-round playoff series against San Antonio last season, coach David Fizdale turned to Selden because he was the best defensive option on the perimeter. In a small sample size, the Grizzlies saw enough they liked from Selden to make the two-year commitment.
Selden, 22, went undrafted in 2016 after playing three years for the Kansas Jayhawks. He averaged 5.1 points in 14 regular season games for Memphis.
The Grizzlies also have signed guard Kobi Simmons, undrafted this year after playing as a freshman at the University of Arizona. Simmons, 19, was a 2015-2016 McDonald’s All-American.
Memphis also has finalized its roster for the NBA Summer League 2017 in Las Vegas, which tips off on July 7. Glynn Cyprien, head coach of the NBA G League’s Memphis Hustle, will serve as head coach of the Grizzlies’ summer league team.
Among the players participating: guard Wade Baldwin, Brooks, center Deyonta Davis, forward Jarell Martin, Rabb, Selden, Simmons and forward Rade Zagorac.
Pranica Joins Steve Selby in Booth
Grizzlies TV play-by-play man Pete Pranica was in the booth at AutoZone Park on Sunday, July 2, partnering with Memphis Redbirds radio voice Steve Selby.
Pranica is doing several Redbirds games this season.
“I look at this as something fun to do, but also it stretches my broadcasting muscles as it were,” Pranica said while preparing for Sunday’s game.
On Grizzlies’ broadcasts, Pranica is known for such signature sayings as “hammer, nail, coffin” when the Grizzlies have a win well in hand, and “bango!” when a Memphis player knocks down a 3-pointer.
“Bango,” Pranica said, doesn’t really translate to baseball and he doesn’t do enough games to have a signature home run call. He also has to adjust to the much slower pacing of baseball and do it for a radio audience.
“You’re trying to paint a word picture,” Selby said, “where when you’re doing an NBA game on television the picture can tell the story.”
Selby has done other sports as well, but says one is tougher than all the rest.
“I think I’m a pretty good play-by-play announcer at multiple sports, but if you threw me into Bridgestone Arena calling a Preds game, I think I would stick out like a sore thumb,” said Selby. “Even though I know the game fairly well and I know the (Nashville) Predators fairly well, you don’t just walk in and do hockey.”
Redbirds Up in Wins and Attendance
The Redbirds reached 50 wins on July 1, the fastest in franchise history. They started play Sunday with an 11-game lead over second-place Nashville in the Pacific Coast League’s American Southern Division.
They also were averaging 5,325 fans per game, placing them 11th in the 16-team PCL.
“Everything seems to be firing on all cylinders right now,” team president and general manager Craig Unger said while watching Sunday’s game. “We had a great first half of the season. Attendance has been strong; we’re up about 8 percent over last year. We’ve had good weather. Fun promotions. Chicks Night was good. And the biggest thing has been the play of the team.”
Unger and Redbirds owner Peter B. Freund were optimistic that the St. Louis Cardinals’ hiring of former Redbirds favorite Stubby Clapp to manage the team would have a positive impact beyond the field. Unger believes it has.
“Stubby’s helped with a little bit of the buzz in the community,” he said. “He’s a recognizable name. It’s a little bit easier marketing tool to brand him.”
Memphis Football Snags Two More Recruits
North Paola offensive/defensive lineman Chris Clark, who goes 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, has said he’s coming to the University of Memphis, as has Homewood, Ala., defensive back CD Daniels. Both players – who are part of the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class – broke the news of their commitments on social media, and it was picked up by multiple media outlets.
Tigers Basketball Lands another JUCO Player
Tubby Smith got another commitment from a junior college player last week: Malik Rhodes, a guard from Barton Community College.
Memphis.247sports.com reported that it was too late for the 6-2, 170-pound Rhodes to sign a national letter of intent so Smith tendered a financial aid offer. Rhodes could be a potential backup at point guard to Jeremiah Martin.