Redskins

Dunlap preaches patience amid 16-game losing skid

201212262109761908292-p2.jpeg

Dunlap preaches patience amid 16-game losing skid

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) It would be easy for Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap to tear up the blueprint amid a 16-game losing streak and come up with an entirely new plan.

But Charlotte's first-year coach has no plans for any such radical paper shredding.

Instead he's preaching patience.

When Dunlap looks at his team's struggles since opening the season 7-5 he recalls the growing pains Kevin Durant, Michael Westbrook and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder endured a few years ago before becoming Western Conference champions.

``Durant and Westbrook took a pounding in those first two years,'' Dunlap said. ``My point is I look around the league and see how those seeds were born, what those guys did and how did that culture take off? Well it didn't take off right away, so I remind myself and my staff of that. It's incumbent on us to stay the course.''

So Dunlap will stick with playing youngsters like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, Byron Mullens and Jeffery Taylor. They will make mistakes. They will learn on the job.

Dunlap will also continue to stress things like pressuring the ball, help defense, pushing the ball up the floor, getting to the basket and drawing fouls as staples of the foundation he hopes to build.

Sure, the 16-game skid isn't fun.

The Bobcats know all too well about lengthy losing streaks.

They lost their final 23 games of last season to finish 7-59 under former coach Paul Silas. They added Ramon Sessions, Ben Gordon and Brendan Haywood during the offseason, bringing some veteran experience to an otherwise young team.

After an offseason where Dunlap stressed conditioning during marathon three- and four-hour practices, the Bobcats came out of the gates winning seven of their first 12 games matching last season's win total.

But things have gone downhill ever since a 45-point shellacking at the hands of the Thunder on Nov. 26.

It was a game the Bobcats said going in would be a great measuring stick for how far they'd come. But reality threw them for a loop and Dunlap's gang has struggled to get back on ever since.

Sixteen games. Sixteen losses.

They've lost them in a variety of ways, once blowing a 17-point lead with less than six minutes to play. They've been blown out of a few games, but for the most part have remained competitive.

The one consistent during the stretch is the lack of defense. The Bobcats have allowed 109 points per game during the losing streak.

``That's not good, is it?'' Dunlap said, pointing out the obvious.

Dunlap said the problem revolves around a lack of ball pressure and poor rotation.

``In the NBA you have to cover guys that are getting beat off the dribble,'' Dunlap said. ``The only way you can do that is to leave your man and that is a hard habit to break at this level because you're depending on the trust factor. If you lose games there is an undermining of `Should I leave my man or not?' There are question marks in the eyes.''

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said things aren't as dire as they might seem in Charlotte.

In fact, he sees plenty of promise in what Dunlap, president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho are building with the Bobcats.

He said it's only a matter of time before the Bobcats are turning close losses into wins.

``It's always tough when you're going through a year like they are,'' Spoelstra said. ``But they are getting great experience for the young players. Their players are as good as anybody's in the league - they just don't have as much experience. But they can hurt you on any given night. The thing is they compete and play hard. You notice that on film.''

On Tuesday night, the Bobcats hung with the defending champion Heat for three-and-a-half quarters. Charlotte trailed by two points with 7:16 left in the game before Miami went on a run and pulled away for a 105-92 victory.

Of Charlotte's 21 losses, 12 are by 10 points or less. That's a far cry from last year's team which wasn't even competitive, losing more than one-third of their games by 20 points or more.

Dunlap said he sees ``promise amid the adversity.''

Still, Walker doesn't take much satisfaction the Bobcats are more competitive.

``Losing is losing,'' said Walker, the team's leading scorer. ``Hopefully we can stop it soon. But it's no different at all from last year. We lost last year and we're losing this year and it's not a good feeling at all.''

Walker realizes the Bobcats don't have a roster with a ton of proven NBA experience, but he refuses to use that as an excuse.

``We have young guys, but at the same time it's the NBA,'' Walker said. ``So we have to find a way to win. That's what we're going to try to do - find a way.''

Quick Links

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

For most college players, being a part of the NFL Draft experience is a dream come true, but for Derrius Guice, it was becoming a nightmare. Originally projected as a first round pick, Guice saw his name falling fast on draft boards due to questions raised about his maturity and high-maintenance personality.

Two months removed from the Redskins selecting him 59th overall, Guice has erased any doubt regarding his character. Whether it be taking fans out to the movies, shooting the breeze while signing autographs, or even the occasional leap frog over two practice barrels and a trainer, Guice has ingrained himself as a Redskins fan favorite. He's done a great job at making himself popular, now he's focused on making change for others. 

On June 20th, a day before his birthday, Guice announced he would be running a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins center, a cancer foundation in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Inspired by his best friend's mother who "rang that bell,"—an indication that a patient has beaten cancer—Guice wants to help others do the same. 

Guice has utilized his newfound popularity to entice other peope to donate. If you donate $5, you can play him in Fortnite. For $50, you guys can go bowling together. Anyone willing to donate $100 or more will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Redskins Monday Night Football game against the Saints. 

If Guice can match his off the field popularity with on the field production, he'll be in contention for Rookie of the Year. Anyone interested in donating can click here

 

Quick Links

Kevin Huerter's fast rise continues into draft night

huerter.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Huerter's fast rise continues into draft night

After two short years in College Park, Kevin Huerter is hopeful his name will be called during tonight's first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. 

The Clifton Park, N.Y. native has a chance to become the first Maryland player to be selected in the first round since Alex Len went No. 5 overall to the Phoenix Suns following his sophomore year in 2013. 

Huerter has long been consistent in his pursuit of excelling in the sport he loves. 

It began in high school, where he led Shen to its first state championship while setting the state scoring record. 

Then, as a senior, Huerter was named Mr. Basketball in the state of New York. 

From smalltown upstate N.Y. to receiving over 20 offers and ultimately signing with Maryland, Huerter never looked back. 

The 19-year-old earned a starting spot right out of the gate his freshman season averaging 9.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. 

In between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Huerter was selected to the United States team for the 2017 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup coached by Jeff Van Gundy. 

Using that experience combined with an elevated offseason workout plan, he saw his production go up during his sophomore season scoring 14.8 points per game while en route to being named honorable mention All-Big Ten. 

After toying with whether or not he should leave Maryland, his father tweeted this out: 

Playing basketball with his talented younger sisters while trying to make the most difficult decision of his young life. That is Kevin Huerter in a nutshell. 

Fast forward to last month's NBA Combine in Chicago. Huerter chose to attend, seeing it as another opportunity to showcase his skills.

As a result, he saw his stock rise after showcasing his athleticism and sharp shooting, including a drill where he went 15 of 15 from 3-point range. 

According to Drew Zlogar, former teammate of Huerter's at Shenendehowa High School and current Digital and Social Content Publisher for the NBA, Huerter turned down a Barclays Center invite from the league to instead host a watch party of his own at a local country club in Clifton Park, N.Y., where he will be surrounded by family, friends and former high school teammates. 

As far as when Huerter is expected to come off the board, different scenarios continue to arise. 

If there's one thing for sure, it's that the former 3-star recruit is now an-almost guaranteed first round draft pick. 

Huerter has been known for his mild-mannered personality and cool-under-pressure aura about him in big moments. 

But the big man with a chip on his shoulder? That could be a scary thing for future opponents of the sharpshooter. 

Watch where Huerter goes in tonight's NBA Draft tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.