Bio: I cover the Brooklyn Nets, the St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. I support the Fort Hamilton Tigers football team, a 3-time city champion. I am a graduate of Fort Hamilton High School (2003) and Brooklyn College (2008).
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By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
JaKarr Sampson is part of the burgeoning young nucleus of the Phialadelphia 76ers after he left St. John’s early, forgoing his senior season for a shot in the NBA.
Sampson, a power forward, has played in 40 games in his rookie season and has averaged 3.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 12.1 minutes per game.
I caught up with Sampson recently when his Sixers were in town to take on the Nets, and he spoke on these topics.
On how things have been halfway through the season: “Everything’s been good, I’ve been getting better and showing a lot of improvement, learnign the NBA game, just making strides…I got a few starts, getting some minutes here and there and I feel like I am taking advantage of it.”
On the fun atmosphere around the Sixers: “We are a fun group, we all get along, and that’s what’s helping us stay together through this tough time…We’ve been getting some wins, just getting better every game.”
On what has impressed him most about Philadelphia Head Coach Brett Brown: “Just his personality, period. You know, he’s a fun coach to be around. He’s teaching us a lot, he has a lot of knowledge, picked up a lot of knowledge in San Antonio, and it’s good to have a coach like that who passes that knowledge to us.”
On the young nucleus the Sixers have and if they have a feeling that they’re in this journey together: Definitely, you know, I feel like this is part of the process,us sticking together and us pretty much building together, getting better individually and as a group, and mentally and physically, just getting better all around.”
On former St. John’s teammate Rysheed Jordan and his recent leave of absence and how he is as a person: “He’s a great kid, grew up in a tough neighborhood in Philly, just a lot of struggle in his neighborhood and a lot of distractions back home. It’s tough for a kid to be away from home and be away from his family for a long amount of time with things like that going on at home, a lot of losses. I remember last year he lost three family members and friends within the year, you know, so a lot of stuff going on back home for him, so he has to keep his head up and it’s going to help him grow up and mature and he’s going to be good in the long term…He’s a great teammate, great person, great heart, so he’s going to be fine.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19 Showcase Photo: Mirza Teletovic with Bojan Bogdanovic (right) by @LolitaLens
The Brooklyn Nets released a medical update on Mirza Teletovic on Wednesday morning. Nets team physician Dr. Michael Farber said, “I expect Mirza to make a full recovery.”
This is tremendous news as Teletovic had to leave last Thursday’s game at the Los Angeles Clippers after experiencing shortness of breath. He was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs the next day and would be kept in a Los Angeles hospital until he was cleared to travel back to Brooklyn. Due to the use of blood thinners to treat the condition, Teletovic was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Dr. Farber said in a statement: “Mirza was diagnosed with pulmonary embolus on January 22 and started on the appropriate medications for this condition. Diagnostic testing was arranged and he was then observed until testing showed that he reached the expected therapeutic range. We are pleased to say that he reports no symptoms at this time and that he will be discharged to return home today.”
“This was a true collaborative effort between our medical team and training staff and the local physicians at the Los Angeles hospital where Mirza was treated. I am really pleased with how Mirza has progressed. We will evaluate him upon return, personally review all of the testing he had done, and arrange for further testing if necessary.”
In 40 games this season, Teletovic posted averages of 8.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 22.3 minutes per game. Over 165 career games (11 starts), the third-year pro holds averages of 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 16.9 minutes per game.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
Brooklyn Nets starting center Mason Plumlee has been chosen to compete in the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk at NBA All-Star in New York City, held on Saturday, February 14th at Barclays Center, the NBA announced on Tuesday night.
Plumlee has definitely earned it, as he is becoming known as one of the better dunkers in the NBA and it gives the Nets some representation at this event in their building. This also is a year in which Plumlee has improved tremendously, and became the team’s starting center in early December.
The second-year pro out of Duke becomes the third Nets’ player to take part in Sprite Slam Dunk, joining Richard Jefferson in 2003 and Chris Morris in 1989.
Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Minnesota guard Zach LaVine and Orlando guard Victor Oladipo will compete alongside Plumlee in this year’s competition. In 44 games this season, Plumlee is averaging 10.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 22.7 minutes per game and is third in the league in field goal percentage (59.4 percent). Plumlee’s averages have increased to 13.9 points and 8.0 rebounds in 27 starts this season.
The Sprite Slam Dunk will be a two-round event in which the four participants can perform any dunk they choose without time limits, in a return to a classic format. The players will have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first round and the final round. Five judges will score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30. All four competitors will get two dunks in the first round. The two dunkers with the highest combined score for their two dunks will advance to the head-to-head final round. The player with the highest combined score for his two dunks in the final round will be the champion.
Plumlee will attempt to become the fourth player to claim the title at his home arena, an exclusive club comprised of the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan in 1988, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Isaiah Rider in 1994, and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin in 2011. He is also trying to become the first Nets’ player to win the Sprite Slam Dunk.
Photo Essay by BrooklynFans.com Photographer Lolita B. – @LolitaLens
Ths past Friday, the historic Kings Theatre reopened following an extensive $95 million restoration and renovation of the former movie palace and architectural gem. The Kings Theatre is located at 1027 Flatbush Avenue.
A free open house with tours of the restored Kings Theatre will be held Saturday, February 7. The Theatre’s 2015 lineup kicks off with an inaugural performance by Diana Ross on February 3. Additional performance throughout the year will include artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Gladys Knight, the Moscow Ballet, Frankie Valli, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash.
Here is a look inside the reborn Kings Theatre:
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski became the first men’s college basketball coach to reach 1,ooo victories when the Blue Devils beat St. John’s 77-68 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Here are select moments from this historic day for Coach K:
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski got his 1,000th win on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden as his Blue Devils beat St. John’s 77-68.
Krzyzewski said the game felt like three in one, starting with Duke controlling the first ten minutes to open up a 21-10 lead. St. John’s then owned the next two minutes as they outscored Duke 51-30 to take a 61-51 lead. Duke owned the final ten minutes, outscoring St. John’s 26-7 to get the milestone win.
Coach K explained afterwards, “This was a heck of a game, I think that’s the very first thing. I thought for ten minutes we outplayed them, and then for 20 minutes they just killed us with their athleticism and (Rysheed) Jordan and (Sir’Dominic) Pointer especially, we didn’t have any answers for them no matter what we did. We started the ballgame trying to take away Harrison and Greene and we were okay with that, but those two guys (Jordan and Pointer) really came on. The last ten minutes, (Marshall) Plumlee and (Tyus) Jones just gave us so many plays, I mean Plumlee defensive rebounding and a one big offensive rebound to keep an exchange going…We played great in the last ten minutes and I’m not sure if I’ve ever been part of a game like that, that’s kind of nuts, huh. Fourteen hundred games, or whatever, thirteen hundred, whatever I have been involved in, and to have one that’s different, that’s what makes the game so good and to do it here, you know, just to win here, but to win the one-thousandth, somebody’s, you gotta be a lucky guy.
“This is a magical place and we beat a really good team and a storied program, a storied program that I’ve had respect for since I was a player at Army a long time ago, 48, 49 years ago. Their program has stood the test of time, and so has ours, so to win in this setting against a storied program makes it even better,” said Coach K.
The first half was not the most beautiful basketball on display, as there were a lot of turnovers and broken plays. From when it was 7-7 a few minutes in, Duke took a 21-10 lead on a Jahlil Okafor dunk with 12:26 left in the half. St. John’s responded with an 11-2 run capped by six straight points from Sir’Dominic Pointer to make it 23-21 Duke at the 10:57 mark.
From then on, it went back-and-forth, with Pointer, who had 13 points in the first half, and point guard Rysheed Jordan, with 16 points, providing most of the St. John’s offense. They also got a lot of breaks, as the referees let a lot of obvious foul calls go, and the fact that Duke shot 4-for-12 from behind the arc in the first half.
St. John’s led 40-39 with 39 seconds left in the first and they had the ball looking to expand the lead. They took their time and the ball was in D’Angelo Harrison’s hands as the shot clock neared zero. He put it up, hit a three and the clock ran out, so St. John’s took a 43-39 lead into halftime. A replay showed that Harrison still had the ball when the shot clock hit zero, which meant his three should have been nullified and Duke should have had the ball with three seconds left, giving them a chance at a three of their own. The referees could not review the apparent shot-clock violation. In essence, this was a six-point swing in St. John’s favor.
St. John’s led 45-43 in the early going of the second half, and went on an 8-0 run, with Pointer and Phil Greene IV getting four points each, to take a 53-43 lead with 14:05 left in the game. They maintained that ten-point lead all the way to the 8:35 mark when they took a 61-51 lead on a Pointer jumper.
By that point, Coach K changed up Duke’s defensive scheme from man-on-man to a 2-3 zone, and Marshall (younger brother of Mason) Plumlee was a key part of the turnaround. St. John’s had no idea what to do as they were trapped on the perimeter and went ice cold. Harrison said of Duke’s zone defense, “It’s not that we couldn’t figure it out, we were not making shots and they were on a run. That’s part of the game. We’ll get in the gym, work on it and get ready for the next game.”
They did not get a field goal for six full minutes, and in that time, Duke went on an 18-2 run. A Greene layup at the 2:35 mark broke the cold snap and that made it 69-65 Duke. Soon after, Tyus Jones hit a three to make ti 72-65 Duke with 1:15 remaining.
Duke was led by Tyus Jones, who had 22 points on 5-for-11 from the field, 2-5 on threes, and a perfect 10-10 on free throws, with 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Jahlil Okafor had 17 points on 7-for-10 from the field and 10 rebounds, six on the offensive end. Quinn Cook also had 17 points on 5-for-13 shooting overall and 4-8 on threes, with 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
For St. John’s, this was more of the same, as they choked away a nice lead in the second half. They were outscored 38-25 in the second half and 26-7 in the final 8:35. They fall to 13-6 overall, and they still do not have a signature win. They jumped out to an 11-1 record which is now seen to be a mirage, a result of an easy non-conference schedule. Their only quality wins were against Minnesota and at Syracuse. They lost their toughest game of the early season to Gonzaga. In Big East Conference play, they are 2-4, with losses to Seton Hall and Villanova.
St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin said of the loss, “I thought it was an impressive basketball game. Even though there were stretches where both teams struggled to find their rhythm offensively, you had two teams that were competing at a very high level. In the end, Duke made the decisive final run.”
Lavin said of what he saw from his team, “When you play Duke, you know that they are going to have firepower. They are well coached, have talented personnel and a good approach. In the second half we missed some open shots that went in during the first half. We came up short today but it’s clear we can be a dangerous come March if we continue to make progress.”
Lavin said of the toughness of this loss, “Every loss is tough, but NCAA Tournament losses are always the hardest to deal with. We went up against a top five team today and came up short. We’ll learn from it but clearly we are a team moving in the right direction.”
Lavin has got to show a bit more urgency, as there is only six more weeks left until tournament time. This one was a perfect chance to get a resume-building win for March Madness. It is incredible that he thought this game showed “a team moving in the right direction” when this senior-laden team led by Harrison, Greene, and Pointer showed the same patterns they always have. They start out well, get a nice lead, and choke when crunch time hits. Of course, they always want credit for the parts of the game they played well in, like they don’t expect to be held to a higher standard of actually winning one of these big games.
On what he said to Coach K after the game, Lavin said, “Congratulations. He was gracious as always. They pulled away and closed in the most important time of the game. We have tremendous respect for Coach K. I congratulated him on the milestone.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19 Photography by BrooklynFans.com Photographer Lolita B. @LolitaLens
On Friday morning, there was a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the reopening of the historic Kings Theatre on Flatbush Avenue. This is a welcome return for a landmark that was closed for nearly four decades and it will present over 200 performances annually.
On January 27, the Theatre hosts its first public presentation with a free performance by local artists, including the Brooklyn Ballet and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. A free open house with tours of the restored structure will be held Saturday, February 7.
The Kings Theatre 2015 lineup kicks off with an inaugural performance by Diana Ross on February 3. Other artists who will grace its stage this year include Sarah McLachlan, Gladys Knight, the Moscow Ballet, Frankie Valli, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash. More information about the Theatre’s inaugural year of programming is available at KingsTheatre.com.
The Kings Theatre opened in the Flatbush neighborhood as one of the five Loew’s ‘Wonder Theatres’ constructed in New York and New Jersey. It was designed by architecture firm Rapp & Rapp as an entertainment palace where films and vaudeville acts were presented amidst sumptuous interiors inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House. The Theatre closed its doors to the public in 1977 and was acquired by the City of New York in 1983, which subsequently performed critical structural repairs. In 2008, NYCEDC launched a competitive search for an entity to undertake a major restoration and renovation to restore the Theatre as an economic engine and cultural hub. In April 2012, the Kings Theatre Redevelopment Company—a consortium of ACE Theatrical Group, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and the National Development Council—was chosen to lead this effort and provide Brooklyn with a newly revitalized performing arts venue, which broke ground in January 2013.
Led by Martinez+Johnson Architecture, with Gilbane Building Company serving as construction manager, the revitalization of the structure faithfully restores the Theatre’s original splendor while transforming it into a modern multi-purpose performance facility. Before falling into disrepair, the Kings Theatre featured high curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, gold-leaf ornament, crystal chandeliers, carpeted floors, plush furniture, and salon-type lounge areas. Rich wood paneling and pink marble accented the Theatre’s massive lobby and foyer, and the front of the building featured a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade. These original, signature elements have been restored whenever possible, and faithfully recreated when damage to the original was too great. The project also included a significant expansion to the backstage area, with an additional 10,000 square feet constructed to accommodate the technical requirements of live performance.
ACE Theatrical Group was selected by NYCEDC to operate the City-owned theatre, and has worked with NYCEDC’s HireNYC program to employ local residents and create opportunities for Flatbush and the surrounding communities. The Kings Theatre’s ongoing operations are expected to create more than 100 full-time equivalent jobs annually.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said on Friday morning, “The wonder has been restored to Flatbush’s historic ‘Wonder Theatre.’ The newly restored Kings Theatre is a remarkable open door to our glorious architectural and artistic past, as well as a gateway to the economic and cultural revival of central Brooklyn. I am proud that the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President was a catalyst and funder for this important project, which will leave patrons astonished, amazed and applauding for more. World-class talent and local rising stars alike will find the Kings Theatre to be their new favorite stage.”
A big supporter of the Kings Theatre project was former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. He is now the Vice President, Borough Promotion and Engagement for NYC & Company, and he said on Friday morning, “The renovation and reopening of the Kings Theatre defines the renaissance that Brooklyn is celebrating. The Kings Theatre will present the greatest entertainment for children, families, and adults and act as a catalyst of the rebirth of Flatbush Avenue as a premiere shopping and dining attraction for residents and visitors alike.”
New York City Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, 40th District, Brooklyn, said, “I am delighted that the Kings Theatre is finally reopening and will serve as both a cultural hub and an important economic force for the community and our great City. It has been my pleasure to partner with so many others to see this historical wonder restored to the beautiful condition it was in over 80 years ago. With over 200 live performances every year, Kings Theatre is poised to be a premiere source of entertainment in Brooklyn and is already providing much needed employment to the local workforce.”
Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, said, “The Kings Theatre is one of the borough’s most iconic theaters, and its Flatbush Avenue façade is one of the few surviving Renaissance-inspired 1920s theater exteriors in New York City. I am very pleased that its beautiful interior will once again be open to the public, and I commend all involved for working to sensitively restore this building to its former glory.”
Gary Martinez, President of Martinez+Johnson Architecture, said, “Those of us at Martinez+Johnson Architecture are extremely proud and honored to be the designers of a revitalized Kings Theatre, saving it from the brink of catastrophic loss and restoring it to its rightful place amongst the centers of lively arts for the citizens of Brooklyn and Flatbush.”
Neil Heyman, Vice President of Gilbane Building Company, said, “Gilbane is proud to have played a role in bringing back this historic building to the community and to New York City. Breathing life back into this beautiful theatre has been an honor for the entire project team. The extraordinary results are the product of a true collaborative effort between all parties involved – the owners, architect, construction manager, preservation specialist, and all the trades.”
New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said, “Today marks a milestone for the Flatbush community. The City’s investment in the revival of the Kings Theatre is about much more than the restoration of the beloved, historic building—it is about supporting the creation of local jobs, new traffic for area small businesses, and developing new state-of-the art space for the community to gather. Kings Theatre will become a destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike, and provide real community benefits in the process.”