Julian Gamble

Juilian Gamble & Kenny Kadji Competing For $500,000

JULIAN GAMBLE dipped his shoulder and spun around Kenny Kadji in a flash. Gamble planted both feet, quickly rose toward the rim and threw down a powerful, emphatic dunk. Slam.

Kadji couldn't help but scream while watching his former teammate from the University of Miami.

"Don't bring down the rim, Jul'," Kadji yelled in excitement during a team practice at Aspiring Champions Gym near King of Prussia. "That'll cut into our winnings, man."

Two minutes later, Marcus Lewis, the 2014 ESPN College Slam Dunk Champion from Eastern Kentucky University, took flight from the foul line and almost dunked on Garrius Adams from the 2013 ACC championship Miami team.

Half a dozen players and two coaches filled the gym for some early practice on Wednesday for simply dubbed "The Basketball Tournament," which started yesterday at Philadelphia University. The championship will be June 28 at a site to be determined.

Thirty-two teams will overrun the gym this weekend for the chance at winning $500,000, which is then split among the members of the winning team. John Mugar, founder of the event, said the process began 3 years ago to establish a new tournament in Philadelphia.

"It's being financed from an investing group out of Boston," Mugar said. "The reason they're investing is because we hope to establish this as something that is broadcast-worthy, and we would like to give out the premise of an open basketball tournament and make it valuable to sponsors or anyone interested."

The notable teams in the field include one composed of members of the 2009 Villanova team that reached the Final Four, including Reggie Redding, Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham, who now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Another team is made up of former Saint Joseph's stars; another squad includes eight former players from City 6 teams, such as La Salle's Dalton Pepper and Aaric Murray; and a Cornell team that made the Sweet 16 in 2010.

Another team named "Rep Your City" is headlined by Delaware 87er Aquille Carr, Lewis, Gamble, Adams and Kadji. Matt Gibson, their coach and a writer for Dime Magazine, brought his team to Philly 2 days early to get some practice in. Gibson said he got his team together because of some connections he made through journalism.

"After 2 days of practice, we'll be in great shape to make a serious run in the tournament," Gibson said. "No one picked us to win the tournament, but we have a confident bunch and there are clusters of guys that have played together in college and professionally. Having some type of organization in an event like this can go a long way."

Mugar thinks that a tournament such as this, which promotes the idea of "team basketball" more than anything else, could be a mainstay in Philly if received well.

"Realistically, and as a basketball fan, I want to see how team basketball levels up with supremely talented players," Mugar said. "Having a winner-take-all prize really puts the emphasis on team basketball. It's purely paid to win. There's no emphasis on statistics. The box scores don't mean as much as the final score overall. I can't say I have a favorite, but I am interested in how it plays out."

For more information, visit www.thetournament.com.

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Gamble, Adams, Kajdi to Particpate in $500,000 Tourney

Imagine, a five-on-five, single elimination, winner-takes-all contest open to anyone and offering a $500,000 grand prize for the last team standing.

Now imagine 32 teams consisting of former college stars, with each team having something of a regional/program flavor. One group features former college stars Hakim Warrick and Marshall Henderson (Team TYGTAL), another team has the stars of the 2010 Cornell Sweet 16 run, yet another contender contains the studs from legendary H.S. program St Anthony's (N.J.), and there is also a squad that reunites Villanova's 2009 Final Four team, including major names Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham, Corey Fisher and more.

Today the qualifiers were announced.

And the team that UM fans will want to watch the most is the one knows as "Rep Your City"  as it will have former 'Canes Kenny, Kadji, Julian Gamble, & Garrius Adams among its key players.

Here is the full team profile:
Aquille "The Crimestopper" Carr has so many hits on his YouTube highlight video that you’d expect him to already be a household name across the country. Carr, a 5’6", 20 year old point guard who got his nickname because it’s said that crime in the streets of Baltimore came to a stop when he played his high school games, recently declared for the NBA draft after a stint in the D-League.

Carr will be passing the ball to a talented group of former teammates from 2 different D1 schools: Miami and Coppin State. Three of the best Hurricanes of recent years, Kenny Kadji (6'10" PF), Julian Gamble (6'11" C), and Garrius Adams (6'6" SF) bring height, athleticism, and big game experience to RYC. Former Coppin State standouts Akeem Ellis, who starred in his rookie season with the Rio Grande Vipers (D-League) and Tony Gallo, who has been playing professionally in Canada after averaging 17 ppg his senior year, is, like Carr, another explosive point guard, with a pick-pocket’s stealth on defense.  Rep Your City also boasts former Kansas State big man Jordan Henriquez and Akeem Williams, who led the UMASS-Lowell River Hawks in their jump to D1 this past season, scoring 2,000 points in his career. 6’8" PF Dartaye Ruffin was a key contributor to Drexel’s team for 4 years and was named to the CAA all-rookie team after his freshman season.

GM Matt Gibson, himself a former captain at D3 Lesley (Boston), spent the past season as a graduate assistant at Emerson College under former BC and Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien.  Gibson also contributes to Dime Magazine and will undoubtedly use some of the connections he’s made to garner more Fan support for Rep Your City going forward. With the talent and names on this Team, getting attention, and advancing, seem likely.

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Julian Gamble Signs With Saint-Vallier

6th-year Hurricane Senior Julian Gamble tweeted:

"Blessed beyond belief to have an opportunity to continue to play the game I love professionally! This is only the beginning of a great future ahead! St. Vallier, France here I come! #TGBTG #Blessed #Hungry"

He later told stateoftheu.com:

I’m headed over there Mid August, no exact date yet but it will be sometime between the 10th and 20th

The team last year finished near the bottom of the league (15 out of 18) so I'm definitely excited for the challenge and being a huge part of turning this around. I believe from looking at the previous schedule that games start in September and we would play once a week on the weekend

I'm most excited about learning a new culture and lifestyle, obviously playing, and just going over there to have a positive impact on and off the court which is what i take pride in.
I am working out here (in the U.S.), traveling between North Carolina and Miami, working camp down in Miami with the team and just enjoying being around everyone!

P.S.- This team is going to surprise a lot of people! They are more athletic as a team now than we were last year!

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Julian Gamble Gets Workout With Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Grizzlies held their fourth pre-draft workout Wednesday, one that included Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway for the second time and national champion guard Peyton Siva.

The session also had French SG/SF Jordan Aboudou, Miami F/C Julian Gamble, Middle Tennesee State guard and Memphis native Jason Jones and Oklahoma forward Romero Osby.

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Future Basketball proCanes put books aside to prepare for NBA

Final exams end Wednesday at the University of Miami, but the studying and learning go on in Bradenton for former Hurricanes basketball players Kenny Kadji, Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble.

They are participating in IMG Academy’s NBA Draft Training Program, and Shane Larkin is scheduled to join them Thursday night.

Draft prospects in the program are preparing for the NBA Combine, being held May 15-19 in Chicago. They are trying to elevate their stock by spending 12 hours per day working on basketball skills, speed and movement, strength and conditioning, mental exercises, vision training, nutrition and communications. Among the activities they go through are a mock combine, a mock draft, mock interviews with general managers and mock news conferences.

While they await their Atlantic Coast Conference championship rings in the mail, the former Canes are chasing their NBA dreams together. Larkin, a sophomore who decided to skip his final two years of college eligibility, is projected to be picked anywhere from late in first round to the middle of the second round. Kadji is expected to be chosen in the second round.

Among the other players in the program are Brandon Paul of Illinois, Laurence Bowers of Missouri and Romero Osby of Oklahoma.

“It’s definitely not college anymore,” said Johnson, who is working his way back from arthroscopic knee surgery that kept him out of the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16. “The whole focus is on life as a pro, everything from getting strong enough to handle bigger guys to how to walk into a room to meet with a GM. They told us to shake everyone’s hand, to make eye contact, and not to rock back and forth in our chair because that makes you look nervous. I’m glad Kenny and Julian are here because we’ve gone through so much together, we push each other, and we have a lot of fun together.”

Johnson said he meets with the nutritionist three times per week, is drinking only water and G2 (diet Gatorade) and already has lost 12 pounds since arriving nearly a month ago. He was itching to play after his surgery, and now he has added motivation — infant daughter, Camryn, who was born May 1 in North Carolina to Johnson’s high school sweetheart. He said they plan to marry “pretty soon,” but first he hopes to sign with a team and get financially stable.

“I have a beautiful little princess depending on me now,” he said. “I was there for the childbirth and it was the most amazing thing. God works in mysterious ways, and he brought us this little girl. When I look into her eyes, it makes me want to cry. I want to provide everything for her, and that drives me to work harder.”

He said the most challenging parts for him have been the outdoor agility training and the vision training. Athletes sit in a dark room, see lights coming quickly from different angles and have to react. The goal is to improve hand-eye coordination so players can handle quick passes and have better peripheral vision to find open teammates.

Gamble said the group of about a dozen athletes has bonded like a team, and he will be rooting for all of them on draft day June 27. Paul has been ribbing Kadji about a controversial out-of-bounds play during the NCAA Tournament game between the Canes and the Illini.

“We’re grinding hard together, day in and day out, and it’s good to be around guys that can relate,” Gamble said. “They don’t know anything about what to expect in the draft process, just like I don’t know anything. We’re learning together from people who coached, played and scouted in the league and the experience is invaluable.”

The basketball skills training is led by former NBA coach Kenny Natt, who worked with the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings. He has coached Karl Malone, John Stockton and LeBron James. Speed expert Loren Seagrave, who has coached Olympic track and field stars, works with the athletes on lateral movement, explosion and stamina.

Kadji is familiar with the staff and the campus, as he attended high school there. He showed Johnson and Gamble around when they arrived and is thrilled to be among friends.

“It’s great to have my UM brothers’ support,” Kadji said. “This is a big step for everybody, and there’s going to be a little bit of butterflies, I’m sure. This will help us be ready.”

He said he has been focusing on getting stronger, and improved from six repetitions bench pressing 185 pounds to 11 reps. He is enjoying the leadership training, and thinks it will come in handy.

“The teams want to see how professional you are, especially if you’re not a top 10 pick, if you’re a guy on the fence,” he said.

“Here, they give us advice on what to say and what not to say to GMs, how to handle the trap questions they throw at you, how to dress, things like that. So, when we get there, we’ll look like pros, not like nervous college kids.”

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