Mingle with NBA Stars and Olympic Athletes at “Get in the Game” Gala

On Friday, September 12th sports enthusiasts will get the chance to rub elbows with NBA players, Olympians, and professional athletes at SPORTSPLEX IDAHO’S “Get in the Game” Event. Evening attendees will have the opportunity to take photos and receive autographs from the athletes. The money raised from this fundraiser will go to the building costs for brand new 185,000 square foot facility. Upon completion, the Sportsplex will feature 12 multi-purpose athletic surfaces, a state-of-the-art arena and a multitude of educational opportunities to inspire tomorrow’s leaders.

“I know I speak for our entire board when I say how excited we are to finally bring this vision to the Treasure Valley,” shared SPI’s Founder and Director, Carson Sofro. “To have some of the world’s top athletes, our community leaders, and so many distinguished guests and organizations coming together for this cause is something we are truly excited about.” Among the athletes attending, most noted is 2013 NBA All-Star, Jrue Holiday. Holiday plays for the New Orleans Pelicans and will be entering his fifth season of professional basketball. His younger brother, Justin Holiday, standout athlete at University of Washington is currently on the roster for the Santa Cruz Warriors.

Isaiah Austin, whose professional basketball career was cut short by Marfan syndrome, will also be in attendance. Austin garnered multiple Big 12 All-Conference awards and was projected to be drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.  In June’s Draft commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA selected Austin with a ceremonial pick, making his boyhood dream of playing professional basketball come true.

Boston Celtics’ guard, Marcus Thornton is entering his fifth year in the NBA. Thornton holds the franchise record for most points scored in a quarter when he played for the New Orleans Hornets in 2010.

Also in attendance will be Denver Nugget’s Quincy Miller, NBA veterans Mike Harris and Felipe Lopez and Idaho’s Langley McNeal and Zach Christ of X-Games fame. NFL veteran’s Ian Johnson and Jake Plumber are also expected to attend.

FOR TICKETS TO THE GALA, PLEASE VISIT: www.sportsplex.afrogs.org

In The News:  Braimoh New Zealand’s Best For Second Straight Week!

Nigerian-American Suleiman Braimoh is living proof that sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.  Waived by Japan’s Nigita Albirex in late February, the 24-year-old returned home to Houston, Texas, with an uncertain future.  Eight weeks and close to eight thousand miles later, the 6’8 forward is New Zealand’s top performer, torching rival defenders and turning some heads in the process.  An absolute force to reckoned with, Braimoh has dropped back-to-back thirty point games, finding his stride and leading seventh ranked Taranaki MA to another decisive victory.  Adding 30 points and 21 rebounds in round 5, followed by Saturday’s 35 point and 15 rebound round 6 thrashing, Braimoh was awarded the leagues top honors for the second straight week.  Improving literally ever time he steps on the floor, exciting teammates, followers, and fans world-wide, it appears thousands are waiting anxiously to see what “Magnificent Su” will do next.  Back in action Saturday night, stay tuned!

Open For Business – HSB FIT Takes Sport Specific Training To New Heights!

Months in the making, the entire HSB family is proud to announce that our brand new performance training studio has officially opened for business.  HSB FIT (Functional – Improvement – Training), becomes the fifth HSB branded corporation, and arguably the most exciting to date.  Offering players of all ages and abilities an outlet to achieve their goals and fulfill their full potential, the approximately 2,000 square foot-facility will cater to hundreds of aspiring young athletes, while making HSB one of the only full-service basketball training operators in the western United States.  Whether looking to improve your overall strength, vertical leap, or quickness, the HSB FIT team is equipped with the tools and the knowledge to identify and achieve any fitness goal on budget and on time.  Operated by two of the Valley’s top fitness professionals, including nationally renowned physique athlete Greg Clausen (the 7 foot bodybuilder) and collegiate strength and conditioning coach Hailey Hinton, visit www.hsbfit.com or contact 208-481-1386 and get your transformation started today.

BSN Update – American Forward Mike Harris Leads Ponce Back On Top!

With a 41 point performance, BSN Player of the Week award, and a five-game winning streak under his belt, forward Mike Harris and his Lions have picked up where they left off last season – on top!  Ponce’s king of the hardwoods, the 6’6 American continues to be a force to be reckoned with, asserting his dominance all over the BSN and rival defenders.

Off to another MVP start, Harris is making a strong case to retain the title he earned back in 2013.  Amongst the leagues best in scoring (19.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg) for the second straight season, there appears to be no let down in sight. Widely recognized for his outstanding leadership, tenacity, and all out commitment to excellence, it is Harris’s electricity that keeps the Juan “Pachín” Vicén Auditoriums 12,000 strong up on their feet each and every night.

With the recent return of point guard Carlos Rivera from league play in Mexico, the Lions appear to be back at full strength and operating on all cylinders.  It is still early, but locked in a two way tie with last year Champions, the Piratas de Quebradillas, a heated finals rematch could be in the works. Returning to action tonight against 8th ranked Bayamon, I know all of Ponce nation is looking forward to a potential 6th straight victory and another big night from their “King”. Stay tuned for more to come!

China’s Best: 55 Point Outing Earns Harris CBA’s Top Honors!

Three weeks, six games, and an upset victory over top seeded Beijing into his latest CBA playing stint, and 6’6 forward Mike Harris finds himself in familiar territory.  Following Sunday nights 55 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals, in which the American hit 9 three-pointers, Asia-Basket.com named the 30-year-old China’s top performer for round 30, and rightfully so.

Improving literally every time he steps on the basketball floor, Harris has been a force to be reckoned with since arriving in Zhejiang just 20 days ago.  The seasoned veteran is not only leading his team, but after Sunday night, the entire league in virtually every major statistical category, including scoring (32.5 ppg), rebounding (15.5 rpg), three-point shooting percentage (45%), and three-pointers made per contest (5 per game).  Dominating an association notorious for its high caliber athletes and frequent NBA call-ups, it would appear his recent string of consistent and authoritative play would most certainly earn the Texas native a return stateside in the coming weeks.

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Reports suggest the Bulls, Kings, Lakers, and even the Jazz, who cut the forward back in January, have inquired about his services, although no deal is imminent.  With many teams plagued by injury, it would appear a player with Harris’s versatility, toughness, and consistent production, would attract the attention of more than just a handful of suitors.

Full disclosure, I am a fan, follower, and former teammate of Harris, but NBA GM’s take note.  There is no bias here, just fact.  Though “undersized” as many of you have suggested, Mike Harris is a true game changer, and has proven so time and time again.  Given any opportunity, he has been a statistical leader, All-Star, and MVP of literally every league he has ever played, and in most cases out performed, out produced, and many times out played some of the best in the game.  There is no sales pitch here fellas.  Numbers do not lie.  Need a reference, call Kevin Durant.   KD experienced first hand Harris’s aggressive style of play and all out tenacity opening night in Utah.  The dozens of ESPN spots and national interviews that followed will confirm it.

Scheduled to return home shortly after this weekends All-Star festivities, continue to keep an eye on Harris, a rising star, inching ever closer to a 2013-2014 NBA return.  Stay tuned!

 

Next Stop Zhejiang – Harris Inked By Chinese Club!

When the Utah Jazz released forward, Mike Harris, earlier this month, it certainly was not without great thought and deliberation.  A good player in a bad situation, unfortunately for Harris, a handful of lopsided contracts forced GM Dennis Lindsey’s hand as the organization prematurely parted ways with, “arguably the hardest working player on their entire team”.  Although a Harris-Utah reconnection is definitely not off the table, for now, the Texas native appears to have taken his talents back overseas.

Confirmed by agent Tony Dutt earlier this week, Harris has signed a lucrative short term contract to join eleventh ranked Zhejiang Chouzhou Bank of China’s CBA.  According to last nights box score, Harris obviously wasted little time adjusting to his new surroundings, scoring 23 points, to go with 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in only 35 minutes of action.  Not too bad for a guy who spent the previous 48 hours traveling half way around the world.

With a resume larger than the Great Wall of China and a heart for the game and its fans bigger than life itself, Zhejiang nation is certainly in for some excitement as “The Lion-Heart” continues to expand his epic stature both on and off the court.  Stay tuned for more updates as  Zhejiang returns to action Friday night against tenth seeded Shandong.

 

Utah’s Lionheart – Mike Harris Shines In Jazz Debut!

It has been said, to be lionhearted, is to display extreme courage and exceptional bravery in a time of great fear.  An individual who exudes the swagger of a titan and the inner strength of the most fierce species of the animal kingdom – Jazz forward Mike Harris is the true definition of a lionheart.

The lone survivor of a fierce and competitive pre-season battle for the clubs final roster spot, before tip-off Wednesday night, to many Harris was a virtual unknown.  By the games end, he was arguably the talk of the town.

With 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in just 22 minutes of action, “the lion” brought it on both ends, quickly shedding his title of camp invitee and helping his club fight back from a twelve point third quarter deficit.  Bringing tenacity, grit, and unwavering aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball, Harris held OKC’s Kevin Durant to just 8 points in nearly 12 minutes of game action, forcing the superstar into 3 turnovers and a mere 33% shooting from the field down the stretch.

Visibly frustrating the four-time NBA All-Star with his every move, Harris gave the more than 19,000 faithful on hand a first impression they will not soon forget.  Adding energy, experience, and leadership to a young Jazz squad rebuilding towards the future, if Harris’s twitter feed (@therealMH33) is any indication of the outstanding support and admiration fans already have for their new star, it appears his future looks bright.

Hitting the road to face a tough Phoenix squad tomorrow night, I know I speak for Jazz and Mike Harris fans around the world when I say I cannot wait to see “the lionheart” back in action.  Stay tuned for a full report!

 

Colombian Update – American Thomas Named Liga DirecTV’s Top Performer!

It appears opposing coaching staffs and rival defenders are not the only ones taking notice of what point guard Tayron Thomas is doing in Colombia this year. Announced today, the 6’3 American was named Eurobasket.coms Player of the Week for Round 32, following his impressive 34 point, 10 rebound thrashing of 8th ranked Manizales. Thomas shot an outstanding 75% from the field and nearly 60% from the three point line in the clubs 87-67 victory.

Having arguably his greatest season to date, the 29-year-old has quickly become one of the countries top players, leading the Bambuqueros to the leagues 2nd best record at 22-8. With continued production like this from Thomas, many expect that record to improve as the team trails 1st place Guerreros de Bogota by just one game in Liga DirecTV play. In action tonight against 4th ranked Academia, stay tuned for a full report.

Breaking News – Mike Harris Makes The Cut!

American forward, Mike Harris, will be playing a little closer to home this season. Announced early this morning, the 6’6 Rice University graduate has officially become a member of the NBA’s Utah Jazz. Overcoming some stiff competition, Harris survived final cuts, beating out veterans Brian Cook, Justin Holiday, Dominic McGuire, Scott Machado, and Lester Hudson for the clubs lone roster spot.

Solid throughout the pre-season, the versatile “stretch four” averaged just shy of 3 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest while shooting nearly 50% from the field. To the eyes of many including the Jazz front office, it was not just his production, but more importantly, the intangibles he brought to the floor each and every night that earned him the final nod. When asked about choosing Harris, Coach Tyrone Corbin referenced his mobility, large frame, and acknowledged, “He’s worked his butt off to be a part of what we’re doing.”

For fans, colleagues, and most certainly his friends, the news could not be more bittersweet. From twitter to facebook, thousands took to the web Saturday to offer their praise and support. As a former teammate noted, “Today’s announcement is a true blessing. It could not have happened to a more deserving and hard working individual.”

Opening the season Wednesday night at home against Oklahoma City, stay tuned for more updates on Mike and the rest of the new look Utah Jazz.

Harris & Holiday Making Strong Case In Utah – Show Out In Pre Season Opener!

When opportunity knocks, open the door! That is exactly what Forward Mike Harris (#33) and Guard Justin Holiday (#22) did Tuesday night in Utah’s 101-78 home victory over visiting Golden State. Making their Jazz debut late in the fourth quarter, the pair made quick work of limited game action, showing out on both ends while continuing to strengthen their case for a more guaranteed role within the organization.

In just under 5 minutes, Harris was able to put up 4 points and 3 rebounds on 50% shooting from the field, while Holiday connected on his one and only shot, finishing the night with 3 points, 1 assist, and 1 rebound. With Ian Clark’s contract only partially guaranteed, Tyrone Corbin and company have much to to think about, as eight players continue to vie for the clubs final three roster spots. Was Tuesday nights outing enough for the pair to secure additional consideration and playing time from Utah’s front office? Guess we will find out Friday night as the Jazz travel to Boise, Idaho to take on the Portland Trailblazers. Stay tuned!