Bench Profiles: The Golden State Warriors’ Ognjen Kuzmic

Ognjen Kuzmic

As some of us know, NBA teams have 15 players per roster. However,  only about 7-10 get to play any given night. That means 8-5 players are on the team for practice purposes only and to get that NBA money–can’t hate on that. Anyway, be prepared to get to know these guys pretty well, one 15th man at a time.

Another international player!

Say hello to Ognjen Kuzmic (pronounced “Og-nen Kooz-mitch”)! Or try to best to even say the name.

Well, there isn’t that much information that I can find on him; so this will probably be a short post. He’s of Bosnian descent, born in Doboj in northern Bosnia. Fun fact about Doboj is that it is the largest national railway junction in all of Bosnia. Crazy, right? Bet you know the name now, right?

Ognjen played six years professionally in Europe, before coming to the NBA. He played in Spain, Finland, and obviously, Bosnia. Man, I wish I had the chance to play professional basketball in Europe. Imagine all the fly hunnies he must have gotten in Spain, Finland, and Bosnia! Especially being a 7’0″ professional athlete! Man, the life of these guys. In his last year in Europe, while playing in Spain, he averaged 6.9 PPG and 5.5 RPG. Not great, but it helped him get into the NBA. So yeah, there’s that.

He was drafted in the second round, 52nd overall, by the Golden State Warriors in 2012. He spent a year over in Spain before coming to the Warriors in 2013–where he averaged those modest numbers mentioned above. He’s stated to make $1.2 million over this season and next. Must be nice. His NBA career has started slowly. In 13 NBA games this season, he has averages of 0.6 PPG, 0.8 RPG, and 0.3 BPG–blistering. His less than stellar play has led him to being sent down to the D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors, where he is averaging 8.5 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 0.5 BPG–not bad but it was only two games.

So now that we know not very much about his basketball career, let’s see if social media can shed some light on Ognjen.

Hmm, lemme just scan the internet. Nope. He does not have Twitter or Instagram–or if so, I can’t find them. I have posted the references to him from Twitter though.

 Sweet! On the first day of the season, he threw down his first dunk! AMAZING FUTURE AHEAD!

Ah, crap. Oh well, he’s back now, and playing modestly well in the D-League.

That’s everything I could find on Ognjen Kuzmic. Compared to 99.99% of the population, you’re now an expert on him. Time to impress your friends with the information! Come back next week when I cover the 15th man of the Houston Rockets!

Post Script: Here is Ognjen’s highlight package, set to Niggas in Paris of course.

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Bench Profiles: The Detroit Pistons’ Tony Mitchell

Tony_Mitchell

As some of us know, NBA teams have 15 players per roster. However,  only about 7-10 get to play any given night. That means 8-5 players are on the team for practice purposes only and to get that NBA money–can’t hate on that. Anyway, be prepared to get to know these guys pretty well, one 15th man at a time.

Say hello to the athletic beast that is Tony Mitchell!

Tony’s basketball story is filled with many unfortunate twists and turns, so please try to keep dry eyes. As a 6’9″ player, with a 7’3″ wingspan, Tony has been touted as an NBA prospect for quite some time. During his freshman and sophomore years in high school, he dominated the competition. So much so that an AAU coach–probably in an attempt to leech off of his skills–convinced him to transfer to a prep school in Miami, from Texas (where he grew up). After playing his junior year there, it was discovered that the school was not an “accredited prep school”, and thus most of his course work done there would not be recognized by the NCAA.

So he quickly transferred back to Texas to play his senior year, and tried to do more courses than allowed to catch up. He failed in this vein, losing his scholarship offer to the Missouri Tigers. He also spent another semester in high school, before going to the mid-major Division I school, University of North Texas. But his senior year in high school wasn’t all bad. He beat out Perry Jones III, current NBA player for the Oklahoma City Thunder, for the 2010 Dallas Morning News Player of the Year for 2010, after averaging 20.5 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 4.1 BPG.

Upon getting to the University of North Texas, he had to forfeit his true freshman year due to eligibility issues. So he started playing in the 2011-2012 season. He was a heck of freshman! He averaged 14.7 PPG and 10.3 RPG. To put that in perspective, Anthony Davis (current amazing NBA player and future superstar) was the only freshman in the country to average more rebounds than him–and only by a tenth of a board (10.4 RPG). CBS Sports took notice of his play and named Tony one of the “top 10 freshmen of the country”.

He was projected to be a first round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft but elected to stay for a sophomore year, citing that he “still needed to mature on and off the court”. Although very admirable, this was his second mistake of his basketball career. Before the start of the season, he was being penciled in as an All-American, and a “near guarantee” to win the Sun Belt Player of the Year. However, the main concern for players returning for their sophomore years–that their flaws will be exposed–happened to Tony. His stats took a dip (13 PPG and 8.5 PRG), his team faltered to a 12-20 record, and his leadership was being called into question.

Without a postseason in the cards, Tony decided to forgo his junior and senior years and declare for the 2013 NBA Draft. He was drafted in the second round (land of non-guaranteed contracts) by the Detroit Pistons, with the 37th pick. Thankfully, he was signed by the Pistons, and was voted “most athletic” by his rookie peers–by a whopping 47.2% of the rookies! His professional career has come by a bit slowly, only having played in 10 games this season. He has averages of 1.1 PPG, 1.1 RPG, and 0.2 BPG in only 3:41 minutes per game. But he has been recently called up by Pistons from the D-League, so there are bound to be brighter days ahead!

So now that we know the basketball side of Tony, what about the social media side of him?

Well, we know that he’s getting along with his Pistons teammates, and is even making Andre Drummond sweat a bit about his reputation as most explosive player (on the court, not in the bathroom–at least I hope so).

Several months later, the showdown occurred and what was proven was no surprise to Mr. Drummond.

So Andre Drummond starts on the team, is more athletic, and is (probably) an All Star this season. Tough luck, rook!

Well, that’s everything about Tony Mitchell! You can practically write a biography on him if your crazy English teacher asked you to. Come back next week when I profile the 15th man of the Golden State Warriors!

Post Script: Here’s Tony being a super athletic prospect.

So athletic.

Bench Profiles: The Denver Nuggets’ Quincy Miller

2012 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

As some of us know, NBA teams have 15 players per roster. However,  only about 7-10 get to play any given night. That means 8-5 players are on the team for practice purposes only and to get that NBA money–can’t hate on that. Anyway, be prepared to get to know these guys pretty well, one 15th man at a time.

I remember tracking this guy’s high school and college career! As a Raptors fan, it is commonplace to look forward to the draft–to invest the hopes and dreams of a modest fanbase in the unproven hands of a high schooler. The 2011-2012 year for the Raptors was expected to be a rough one. Andrea Bargnani was our captain; that’s right, we entrusted with him a leadership role. Seriously, this guy was the face of the franchise. So it wasn’t unusual to be looking ahead.

The 2012 NBA draft was supposed to be pretty solid. Before the college season, the same names continued to show up near the top of all the mock drafts: Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Austin Rivers, and Quincy Miller. Throughout his high school career, Quincy had a special combination of size, athleticism, and skill. He was 6’10”, could jump out of the gym, and could handle the ball and shoot. He was regularly being compared to Kevin Durant, for what it’s worth.

He showed out for Team USA’s Under-18 team and his name blew up. He was ranked top five in every mock draft, unrealistic NBA comparisons were being made, and SLAM Magazine named him a first-team All-American (along with Kidd-Gilchrist, Rivers, Bradley Beal, Davis, and Marquis Teague). However, early in his senior year he tore his ACL, ending his senior year, and high school career.

He committed to Baylor University, and along with Deuce BelloPerry Jones III, and Quincy Acy, were expected to be a powerhouse team–and they were.  During the preseason, Miller was included in Dime Magazine’s Top-25 Watch list. They were ready to make some noise. They helped lead the Baylor Bears to a 30-8 record for the season, good enough for the 9th ranking in the nation, and a 3rd seed in the Tournament. In the Tournament they lost in the regional finals to the eventual champions, Kentucky Wildcats. No shame in that.

Quincy averaged 10.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG–modest numbers, but his impact was good enough to earn him the distinction of Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year. He was solid in his freshman year, but not spectacular by any means. It seemed like his ACL rehabilitation was not yet completed, as he did not have the same athleticism that garnered him so much attention in his high school days. He was expected to go back to school, for at least a sophomore year, but at the last second declared for the draft.

This was a huge gamble. Although many mock-drafts had him somewhere late in the first round, he fell to the second round–the land of non-guaranteed contracts. He was drafted to the wing-heavy Denver Nuggets with the 38th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Although he was signed to a contract, the gamble has yet to pay off as he is currently warming the very deep bench of an under-achieving Denver team. He has only played in 8 games this season (as of writing this) and has season averages of 3.4 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and o.1 BPG in 6 MPG.

Had he not suffered the ACL tear in his senior year, who knows where he could have been? Ugh, I hate knee injuries.

What does social media tell us about Quincy?

Well after signing his three contract, he’s pretty solid at cherishing expensive items and keeping things of value.

Oh wait. Well at least he’s not partying it all away!

Oh wait. Well, I mean, he’s only 21 years old! What do you expect him to spend his money on? Lotion? HAH!

Oh, maybe he should.

Well anyway, that was most extensive bench profile thus far. I didn’t even talk about how he came from a rough area in Chicago and moved to North Carolina to be safe while pursuing his dream. Oh, I guess I just did. Well, now that’s everything you need to know about the Denver Nuggets’ Quincy Miller. Come back next week when I talk about the Detroit Pistons’ 15th man.

Have a great week, y’all!

Post Script: Here is him in high school, with aforementioned athleticism.

It was so easy! LOL at how arrogant he was, and his subsequent fall from grace.

Bench Profiles: The Dallas Mavericks’ Ricky Ledo

rickyledo

As some of us know, NBA teams have 15 players per roster. However,  only about 7-10 get to play any given night. That means 8-5 players are on the team for practice purposes only and to get that NBA money–can’t hate on that. Anyway, be prepared to get to know these guys pretty well, one 15th man at a time.

Say hello to the basketball nomad: RICKY LEDO!

Ricky is a bit of a baskteballer without a home. In high school, which usually takes 5 years for basketball prospects (I have no idea why), he played for four different schools, in three different states–all of this before graduating high school! What’s the point!? In his senior year, he led his team to “Prep National Finals” and was Second Team All-Conference. He was a bit of a scoring machine, from what I can gather.

He committed to play for Providence College, in his home-state of Rhode Island. But while he was there, he was deemed ineligible to play due to academic issues. He continued to go to school in hopes of playing in the second semester, but the NCAA wouldn’t bend the rules for him–I guess the NCAA only overlooks rules for players who will make them millions of dollars. Ugh, the NCAA…

In the ballsiest decision a freshman in college could make, Ricky declared for the 2013 NBA draft despite not playing for an entire year. His gamble played off as he was drafted 43rd overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. But of course his journey wasn’t that simple–you know, being the basketball nomad he is. His draft rights were traded to Philadelphia 76ers; then he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks; finally, during the season he was assigned the Mavs’ D-League team, the Texas Legends. So in less than a year, Ricky has been part of four professional basketball teams!

In his 6 games in the NBA, he has averages of 1.2 PPG, 0.3 RPG, and 0.2 APG. BUT, in his D-League stint, he’s averaging 14.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 2.3 APG. Those aren’t bad for a 6’6″ wing player who hasn’t played basketball for an entire year.

What does social media tell us about Ricky?

Well, he seems to have trust issues (or friend issues).

But at least, a couple months later, he’s feeling a bit better!

Now after Christmas, Ricky seems to be back on the friends market! More like “Yes, New Friends“, am I right?

That’s pretty much Ricky all wrapped up into a single blog post! He’s a travelling baskteballer who played for four different high school teams, no university team, and was part of four professional basketball teams. He also had shady friends around the time he got paid, but seems to be in a better place.

Come back next week when I profile the 15th man for the Denver Nuggets! WOO, chicken nuggets!

Post Script: Here is Ricky’s high school mixtape, where he is compared to Kevin Durant. Hah, good luck!

Bench Profiles: The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Carrick Felix

carrick

WHO!?

Lemme tell you. Beyond having a fantastic name, Carrick Felix is a professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He played in high school and was very good. He is a 6’6″ shooting guard and averaged 13.2 RPG. That’s impressive for anyone who doesn’t know sports.

I don’t know what happened, but he wasn’t offered any scholarships to Division 1 schools, so he went to a community college for two years to play basketball really well there. (Wait, a community college? Probably went just like this #sixseasonsandamovie). After being good there, he went to Arizona State University, where he played 3 years. In his senior season, he led his team in rebounding, with 8.1 RPB, while scoring 14.6 PPG. I think that’s really impressive; and the PAC-12 thought so too, voting him onto the All-Pac-12 Second and All-Pac-12 Defensive Teams. Also, he’s a bit of a smartie pants, earning a masters degree in liberal arts and sciences and the honour of “Pac-12 Scholar of the Year”. Genuinely, I did not know they awarded athletes for academics–this skews my entire perception of the NCAA.

He was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NBA draft, 33rd overall. As of writing this, he has played a grand total of 15 minutes of NBA basketball and holds averages of 1.3 PPG, 0.7 PRG, and 0.3 APG. However, he is shooting 100% from the free-throw line, making all two of his attempts. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

What does social media tell us about Carrick Felix, the cat?

Well, first off he hates the gastrointestinal unpleasantness that happens from eating a sulfur-rich diet (eggs, meat, or broccoli). Science Saturdays, ftw.

 Ugh, I know how you feel Carrick! Farts can be so embarrassing sometimes!

Well, that’s pretty much everything about Carrick. He’s a 6’6″ shooting guard rookie who plays very little and hates farts. Come back next week when I profile the 15th man of the Dallas Mavericks!

Have a great week, beautiful people!

Post Script: Here’s Carrick playing well in college.

Nice. Bullseye.

Bench Profiles: The Chicago Bulls’ Erik Murphy

Erik+Murphy

No, not this Eric Murphy! This Erik Murphy has no entourage–at least not one that I know of.

Now you may be saying, “I watch a lot of basketball, and I have never ever heard of this guy!” I don’t blame you. This is a pretty unsuspecting basketball player.

Lemme explain his basketball story.

He was born into basketball, not literally of course. Both his father and mother played the game professionally: his father for 11 years in the NBA and in Europe and his mother for several years in Europe, even serving six years on Finland’s woman’s national team. The family basketball linkage doesn’t stop there, homie! His little brother, Alex Murphy, plays at Duke–and no, I do not believe he is the Robocop, Alex Murphy.

He went on to play for the University of Florida’s Gators for all four years of eligibility. His senior year averages were 12.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 1.4 APg, while shooting an SEC-best .453 from the three-point line. Those were good enough to earn him First Team All-SEC honours, for the first and only time in his college career.

Sounds like a pretty sweet and cute guy, right? BAD BOY ALERT! In his sophomore year, he was suspended from all basketball-related activities after being arrested for “vehicle burglary“. Meh, who am I to judge?

After his senior year’s success, he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 19th pick of the second round, 49th overall. His career has been moving at a snail’s pace. He owns career averages of 0.0 PPG, 0.3 RPG, and 0.0 APG–at this pace, it’ll take Erik three games to get 90% of a rebound. Math, yo.

What does social media tell us about Erik?

Well, it tells us that he is really misunderstood and has a taste for the unique. First, he likes a TV show that no one likes and one barely anyone even knows!

If that isn’t enough, Erik is the kind of guy who says “no thank you” to the flavour ‘N Sync. Instead, he prefers the Wonder Bread of boy bands:

Now this is where Erik gets really wild. He took time out of his busy summer to explain his diverse taste in unique foods:

So there you have it! Erik Murphy, the 15th man for the Chicago Bulls, likes TV shows everyone likes, prefers bland boy bands, and enjoys bread that is boiled. Sounds so unique–unlike any stereotype for a white basketball player that I’ve ever heard of.

Come back next week when I tackle the 15th man for the Cleveland Cavaliers! It very well could be any player not named Kyrie Irving.

Post Script: There is no highlight package I could find that exceeded half a minute. So here is his draft mixtape; hurrah for unguarded jump shots!

Bench Profiles: The Brooklyn Nets’ Tornike Shengelia

Tornike-Shengeli

This is Tornike Shengelia. If you’re having trouble pronouncing his name, in his native Georgian, it’s თორნიკე შენგელია. So I’m glad any miscommunication is cleared up. If for some reason you still can’t pronounce it, his nickname is “Toko”.

So being the first non-American player, I bet you’re wondering what his basketball story is, ain’t ya?

Well, he was born in Tbilisi, Georgia–the country, not the state Growing up in Georgia, he was probably the best the basketball player he knew–you know, because he’s huge and ended up in the NBA. He’s a 6’9″ power forward who played in the Euroleague for the Spirou Basket Club of Belgium. For the team, he played in nine games, and averaged 8.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 20.6 minutes a game. Scintillating.

He  declared for the 2012 draft and was picked 54th overall by the Eastern Conference powerhouse, Philadelphia 76ers. He was then traded to the equally powerful of a house, Brooklyn Nets for “cash considerations”. That is, he was given away for a couple bucks. Maybe they’ll consider sending cash in exchange for him. It’s all still very up in the air, but it’s being considered.

For Brooklyn, he is tearing it up! In his second season, he has career averages of 1.5 PPG, 1.2 RPG, and 0.0 BPG. Talk about a basketball stud.

So he’s foreign, right? Correct. So do they even have social media in Georgia? First, that’s ignorant to ask. Second, yes. Lemme enlighten you as to how good he is at social media.

He has a twitter account under the username @TokoShengelia23. He has been online since November 8th, so he obviously is very good at it.

Here’s his cute first tweet:

Aw, double smiley face. Don’t you just wanna eat him up?

Now look at his keyboard symbol game being on point:

That’s right, there’s an airplane, and two snowflakes.

So obviously they have social media in Georgia, and they’re crushing it. That’s pretty much it about Toko Ono. He’s a basketball player from Atlanta, Georgia and he plays for the Brooklyn Dodgers, or something.

Come back next week, when I profile the 15th man for the Chicago Bulls!

Have a great week, y’all.

Post Script: Here is Toko tearing it up in the Euroleague, kinda.

So amazing.