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Lorenzo Brown Cherishing NBA & D-League Opportunities

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Sliding on an NBA jersey means everything to Lorenzo Brown. It’s proof that his lifelong devotion, and everything he has sacrificed and devoted to this career, has come to fruition.

Brown is currently a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. But unfortunately, he doesn’t get much playing time (11 minutes a game). With Michael Carter-Williams as the starter and Tony Wroten Jr. as a solid backup, there isn’t enough minutes to go around.

So for the betterment of his career, Philly has sent him to their Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, three times this year. After signing with the 76ers on Nov. 20, he played 15 games for the team. Philly sent him down on Dec. 26, recalled him on Jan. 6, sent him down again on Jan. 8, recalled him on Jan. 10, sent him down on Jan. 14, and recalled him on the Jan. 15.

While being demoted to the D-League is never ideal for a guy already in the NBA—especially so often—Brown has not allowed himself to become frustrated.

“It is just an opportunity being given [to me],” Brown said. “That is what I am taking it for right now.”

Rod Baker, head coach of the Delaware 87ers, is happy with the mentality Brown has kept throughout the whole process.

“His mindset for it has always been good,” Brown said. “He is a basketball player, and he wants to play. And this is an opportunity for him to play and work on his craft.”

With Delaware, Brown is averaging 19.3 points per game, seven assists and five rebounds over the seven games he has played this season., and he feels like the increased playing time allows him to prove himself. But the Sixers want to see more than just numbers.

Baker said the 76ers want Brown to prove he can play at a faster pace, as well as work on improving his defense. And so far, he believes that Brown is making great strides.

“First of all, he is an NBA player—he is more than good enough,” Baker said. “And I think when he is in the right situation, he is more than capable to play.

“But, again, it is going to come down to proving that he can play at a greater speed, and I think that he is figuring out that he can go faster.”

The more inconsiderate aspect of his assignments is the traveling. But fortunately, Brown says his teammates in Delaware make up for the inconsistency.

“The guys are really cool,” Brown said. “They are a young team as well, just like the Sixers, and they all come from similar background, basketball-wise.”

Baker said that the D-League experience has been beneficial for Brown so far because he has cared to hang out and get to know his teammates. But he is also showing phenomenal professionalism, staying after practice and learning his teammates playing styles and habits.

“Sometimes when guys come down [to the D-League], they kind of just look at it as a temporary situation and get in and get out,” Baker said. “Lorenzo was a good teammate. He wanted to know what we do and, as a point guard, where guys like to get in position to score.”

Hopefully, the rising and falling of Lorenzo Brown is over. But, for now at least, he is back with the Sixers, playing at the highest level of basketball. And it’s all he could ever ask for.

“”[Sliding on the jersey] is everything that I have dreamed of so far in my life,” Brown said. “I’m still just a rookie, and I am still developing.

“I am just trying to play my part and do the best I can.”

Pack in the Pros

Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette

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Former NC State Point Guard Justin Gainey (1997-00) has been hired by Marquette as their Associate Head Coach, serving along head coach Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard.

“We are excited to welcome Justin and the Gainey family back to Marquette,” Wojciechowski said.  “Justin is one of the nation’s top rising coaches and his talents, ability to build meaningful relationships and myriad of experiences alongside some of the game’s best teachers will serve our program, and most importantly our players, incredibly well.” (Link)

This isn’t Gainey’s first stint at Marquette, serving as Director of Operations from 2014-17. The past two seasons, Gainey served as an Assistant Coach with Sean Miller at Arizona. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara for one season with his former head coach at NC State, Herb Sendek.

Gainey’s coaching career began at NC State, where he served as Director of Operations for three seasons (2006-09), and then he went on to work at Appalachian State and Elon as well.

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Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19

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Former NC State Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. never forgets where he came from. The New York Knicks Point Guard is always showing love for Fayetteville, North Carolina.

According to Ian Begley, DSJ is providing food vouchers for 575 first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and 32 computers for local students in Fayetteville.

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Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization

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Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizner enters the 2020 season ranked as the #6 prospect in the Cardinals organization.

Knizner was drafted in the 7th round by St. Louis in 2016, and was called up for the 1st time to the Big Leagues last year, when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list.

The jump wasn’t an easy one, with Knizner hitting .226 in 18 games.

Despite some time in the Majors at the end of last season, Knizner will begin 2020 in Triple-A Memphis, where he has already played 83 games, hitting .283.

Cardinals legend Molina is back to full strength, and backup Matt Wieters was signed to a 1-year deal, meaning it’s not quite time for Knizner.

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Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Will Wilson will is entering the 2020 baseball season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization.

After being drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, Wilson hit .275 in 46 games of Rookie ball with the Orem Owlz.

In December, the Angels traded him to the Giants.

In his final season at NC State, Wilson led the team with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, 16 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, and finished eighth all-time in career doubles (57) and homers (39), and ninth in total bases (409).

Wilson is the 3rd highest draft pick in NC State history, and only the 2nd batter to be drafted in the 1st round, alongside another shortstop who is currently in the league as well: Trea Turner.

According to MLB.com, Wilson is expected to make it to the Majors in 2022.

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