Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: It hasn’t been an easy week for the Charge, and their 5,000-mile West Coast journey is just getting started.
After splitting a pair of games last weekend – dropping a late lead and falling to Reno on Saturday night before bouncing back against Erie on Sunday – the Charge hit the open road and won’t play their next contest at the Civic Center until January 20, a span of eight games away from Ohio.
And on Thursday night, that eight-game roadie got off to a rocky start, with Canton falling to the Bakersfield Jam, 112-104, despite Gilbert Brown’s 30-point effort and Jorge Gutierrez’ double-double with a career-high 13 assists. The Charge (9-5) were down eight at intermission and the Jam (8-8) never let them closer than a deuce the rest of the way.
The Charge made some personnel moves this week, partially due to the news that center Arinze Onuaku was diagnosed with turf toe in his right big toe, didn’t travel with the team and was placed on the inactive list.
To help bolster the frontcourt, the Charge acquired forward Olek Czyz (6-8, 240, Nevada) from the Mad Ants in exchange for the rights to the Reno Bighorns’ second round pick in the 2014 NBA D-League Draft and the rights to guard Brady Morningstar.
Czyz, who also played professionally in Italy, started nine games for Fort Wayne this season, averaging 9.3 points and 4.5 boards per contest. He tallied two points and three steals in just over nine minutes in Thursday’s loss to Bakersfield.
On December 31, the Charge waived swingman Rashad Anderson, 30, who played in nine games with Canton.
They Said It: For this week’s They Said It, we talked with Cavaliers rookie Sergey Karasev, who’s played three games with the squad’s D-League affiliate this season, averaging 14.7 points and shooting 44 percent from three-point range.
What’s your experience been like, going between the Cavs and the Charge this season?
Sergey Karasev: It’s been good. You practice against the first team with the Cavs, and then come there to Canton, play 30 minutes a game, have some game-time, feel the game. So it’s been really good. And if you come there, you must be a leader. You don’t have to shoot every time, but just be the guy who can bring the team back or create for teammates who can make buckets. And play good defense.
Do opponents go at you a little bit harder, knowing you’re on assignment from the NBA?
Karasev: It’s a little bit harder, because everybody knows that this guy is from his NBA team to the D-League. So I think they’re expecting more, (there are) more eyes on you. So sometimes, they’ll put two defenders on you. You must show that you can go through this. They want to show that they’re better than you. ‘This guy came from the NBA so I must show that I am better than him and show my coach and my team that in the NBA, I can do this too.’
Is it true that former Cavalier, Ricky Davis, was talking trash at you last weekend against Erie?
Karasev: He tried to say something. I know he played in the NBA a long time, too. He looks good. He made some buckets. But here in the NBA, like in American basketball, it’s a good thing when the players on the court, they talking (trash) to you, trying to distract you. And when the American players come to Europe, they do the same thing. Here, it’s the normal. It’s not a big problem.
What about the pair of dunks last weekend in Canton?
Karasev: In the first game, it was just on a fastbreak, nobody was around me. The second one, same: on the break, but it was in traffic. It was a nice one, with the left hand. I feel way better; I can feel I’m getting stronger, more physical. So that’s good.
You’ve made the drive back and forth to Canton a few times this season. Is driving in Northeast Ohio similar to Russia?
Karasev: Everything is the same. But the speed limit and the officers, it’s like, way stronger here. I can’t say it’s more cops. But in Russia, you can drive 80-85 mph easily. Nobody’s going to stop you. Most of the time, some guy is driving around 100 mph. Here, if you do this, you go straight to the jail.
Look Ahead: The Charge face off against Santa Cruz (9-6), the D-League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, on Saturday night.
Santa Cruz, which is 6-1 at home and can ring up the scoreboard – averaging 110.1 ppg – features former Ohio State standout, William Buford and one of their assistant coaches is former Cavalier, Phil Hubbard, who spent eight seasons in Cleveland.
The Warriors are led by DeWayne Dedmon, the D-League’s No. 3 prospect, who’s averaging 15.1 points and 2.7 blocks per contest, and Cameron Jones – ranked No. 22 – who’s netting 21.2 ppg.
Fans can follow all of the action with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.