Screen & Roll Vol. 7: Summer League Title, “Hoop Dreams” & More

With the blink-and-you-missed it way basketball has infiltrated our online and television lives, it’s only fair you get some warning for what’s up next. Whether it’s a basketball game halfway around the world, the NBA Finals, a revealing interview, or a high school star’s mix tape, we’ve got you covered with our “Screen & Roll” recap of what’s coming on for the coming week.

The following selections cover July 21 – July 27.

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NBA Summer League Championship – Las Vegas

After 66 games in the books in Las Vegas, the summer league championship tournament has been narrowed down to two teams: the Houston Rockets (5-2) and the Sacramento Kings (5-1). Six-foot point guard and former D-Leaguer Isaiah Canaan is averaging 17.3 points and 2.9 assists in seven games in Vegas for the Rockets, while third-year center Donatas Motiejunas has recorded three straight double-doubles. Meanwhile, second-round pick from Arizona Nick Johnson has put together a very solid and consistent summer league performance in Orlando and Las Vegas, scoring in double-digits in all but one outing (a total of 13 games) for Houston.

On the other end of the court, the Sacramento Kings are a dangerous summer league team, led by rising star Ben McLemore and first-round pick Nik Stauskas. Even though Stauskas struggled from the three-point line in the semifinals, the sharp-shooter from Michigan goes into the championship game shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc in Vegas. Third-year forward Quincy Acy has also assembled a solid showing Las Vegas, showing improved range on his jumper to go along with deep-rooted rebounding and hustling exploits.

It has been yet another eventful week-and-a-half of basketball in the desert, as most of this year’s top draft picks made their long-awaited NBA debuts. Don’t miss your last chance to see NBA action until the players rejoin their squads for training camp and preseason in the fall.

Airs live Monday, July 21 at 9:00 P.M. EST on NBA TV

“After Dark with Rick Fox”

We all know that the nightlife in Vegas is nothing but unique. Former NBA champion and current NBA TV analyst Rick Fox provides a behind-the-scenes look at the happenings from his experience at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas. “After Dark” already aired its first two episodes on Saturday and Sunday, and the special will conclude tonight as Summer League wraps up its season in the desert.

Undrafted point guard and summer league invitee for the Golden State Warriors Aaron Craft, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood from New Kids on the Block, comic and author Russell Peters (interview below), and Stephen Marley have all chatted with Fox under the beautiful night sky of Sin City. Illusionist Criss Angel also played some tricks on first-round pick Kyle Anderson and Fox. Find out what Fox has in store for basketball fans in the last installment from Vegas after the Summer League champ is crowned.

Monday, July 21 at 11:30 P.M. EST on NBA TV

Click here for highlights of high school junior Malik Monk’s dominant performance at Peach Jam and more…

“Hoop Dreams”

Over the weekend we were browsing Netflix for new releases to watch, when a classic sports documentary caught our eye. It has been 20 years since “Hoop Dreams” made its debut in Park City, Utah at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award, but its legacy remains strong in the film and sports world today. What was meant to be a 30-minute documentary about youth streetball for PBS evolved into a nearly three-hour documentary labeled as “the great American documentary” by the late film critic, Roger Ebert. “Hoop Dreams” is regarded as one of the best non-fiction films of all time, as its powerful and gripping storyline was heralded by critics nation-wide and honored by countless independent filming institutions.

The film follows Arthur Agee and William Gates, two inner-city Chicago boys – who were 14-years-old when filming started – over a five-year timeframe. Agee and Gates are focused on one thing, and one thing only: making it to the NBA. A part-time scout recruited the boys to try out for St. Joseph High School, a prep school made famous by their adored alumni, Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. The journey of proving their value on the hardwood mixed with the ups and downs of social, racial, financial and family dynamics is nothing short of compelling.

One of the brightest moments of “Hoop Dreams” is witnessing the pure elation on the 14 year-old face of Agee when he gets a chance to play one-on-one with his hero, Thomas, at the initial try-outs at St. Joseph’s. While already known figures like Bobby Knight, Coach K, Rick Pitino and Spike Lee can all be seen during filming at Gates’ visit to the Nike All-American Camp, look closely and you can spot fellow participants Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard – three of the “Fab Five” before their legendary era at Michigan – at the camp as well.

Whether you are checking it out for the first time or want to revisit one of the best documentaries about American life ever made, “Hoop Dreams” is a staple for every basketball fan. As a side note, take some time after the film to read The Dissolve’s oral history of the critically-claimed masterpiece over the last twenty years as told by the filmmakers, Steve James, Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert, and the film’s stars, Agee and Gates. “Hoop Dreams” will change or broaden your perspectives on the process of making it to the NBA and about life in general.

Streaming on Netflix HERE

(video courtesy of YouTube user DocuChick)

ESPY Awards Dunk Contest

The 2014 ESYPs aired last Wednesday in Los Angeles, and Drake’s “Side Pieces” is still in our heads. But before Kevin Durant was named Best Male Athlete and Best Basketball Player, a stellar dunk contest went down at L.A. Live. Former dunk champions Cedric Ceballos and Dominique Wilkins hosted the dunk contest, which provided some of the most creative and entertaining slams in recent years.

Chris Staples, “Airdogg,” Jonathan Clark, Kwame Alexander, Michael Purdie, Jeff Remmington – who annihilated the rim twice at the Drew League recently – and last year’s champ 5-5 Porter Mayberry showcased a plethora of jaw-dropping dunks to get the crowd rocking. At the end of the contest, Staples took home the $500 check and bragging rights as this year’s ESPYs dunk champ. If only the NBA’s Dunk Contest saw throwdowns on the level of these.

(video courtesy of Dunkacademics)

Malik Monk Dazzles At Nike Peach Jam

The 2014 Nike EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) just closed up its annual Peach Jam tournament in North Augusta, South Carolina. Over 300 college coaches and scouts attend the annual showcase of the top 24 AAU teams participating in the championship tournament. The championship game was played out between Team Penny – coached by former NBA all-star Penny Hardaway – and Playaz Basketball Club (NJ), whose notable alumni include Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter. With an 85-83 win, Playaz Basketball Club was crowned as the 2014 EYBL Peach Jam champs on Sunday afternoon, which hosted four of ESPN’s Top 100 prospects in the final game.

However, the highlight of Peach Jam was Friday’s stunning performance of incoming high school junior Malik Monk. The five-star, 6-3 guard set the bar and thrilled the crowd by dropping 40 points and offering a few eye-popping dunks along the way. The Arkansas native was already considered a top-10 prospect, but rose to AAU’s top spot for their 2016 rankings after his performance at the 2014 Peach Jam.


Make sure you check out Monk’s 40-point feat from the Peach Jam last Friday, including two of the biggest dunks to go down at the tourney this summer. And remember the name Malik Monk, as his journey is only getting started.

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