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The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off an 81-67 rout at the hands of the Chicago Bulls in the first game of their Summer League season here in Las Vegas. Jon Leuer and Darington Hobson were “MIA” at the first game. Additionally, Jamaal Franklin was unable to play as he is still recovering from an ankle sprain. The Grizzlies look to recover this evening against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Assistant Coach Bob Thornton will again man the bench for the squad, which is comprised of the following.

Returning Performers:

Tony Wroten: PG, 6’6, 208, 20 years old, Washington

Last Game: 17 points, 4 assists, 4 turnovers

Wroten pretty much picked up where he left off last season, looking like a future stud at times, and getting caught with his head in the clouds others. He seemed to be looking to make the highlight play more than the right play in the early going, but did settle in as the game wore on. If one thing is for sure, it is that he can find his way to the free throw line, but he is going to have to capitalize at better than the 9-14 rate that he posted against Chicago. After the game, 3 Shades of Blue caught up with Wroten for a few quick questions.

On his reaction to the game:

TW: “I mean obviously we definitely want to get the win, but it’s the first time playing with each other we just gotta pick up from it tomorrow.”

On whether there was anything he was looking to show on the court:

TW: “No, I was just trying to lead my team, help them to win. Unfortunately that wasn’t able to happen. I just gotta continue to get better; help my teammates get better.”

On what he has been working on this summer:

TW: “Everything, you know. I’m not perfect, so I work on every single thing in my game.”

Donte Greene: SF, 6’11, 226, 25 years old, Syracuse

Last Game: 0 points, 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers

Greene did not exactly help his stock with his play out there in the first game, and is surely hoping for a better out come in the next go of it. He failed to connect on any of his six attempts from the field; three of which were from beyond the arc. Here’s some of what Donte had to say after the loss.

On how it felt to get out there:

DG: “It felt good. Didn’t play particularly well, but it felt good to be back out there with the fellas and getting the chance to get up and down.”

On what the coaches are looking to see out of them:

DG: “Just playing hard, man. Playing together. Our team is ‘Grit n’ Grind.’ We go out there play hard, play together, we’re a defensive minded team.”

On the physicality of play:

DG: “That’s Summer League. It can get real physical. Guys are out there competing for a job, so you know it’s going to be a lot of guys out there playing hard and trying to get ready for next year.” 

Willie Reed: PF, 6’9, 220, 23 years old, St. Louis

Last Game: 7 points, 1 block, 3 turnovers

Like Wroten and Green above, Reed did not do the greatest job when it came to taking care of the ball. As one would expect of a player trying to show out and make the team, he appeared to be trying to do too much at times, but all in all he did manage to flash some strong ability in the process. He did not rebound the ball particularly well, but it is unquestionable that he played hard out there. At the end of the game he had a few things to say.

On how it felt to get out there:

WR: “It felt good to be back out there. It’s been a little while, but getting up and down the court in a game environment is just good.”

On whether he had hoped to play after signing last season:

WR: “Yeah, I hoped to get on the court, but just being there and learning from some of those guys — Marc and Zbo, helped me to expand my game a bit more. As long as you can learn, that’s always a positive thing.”

On what he can add to the Grizzlies’ crowded frontline:

WR: “I think I can add athleticism. I’m the type of player that likes to run the floor — alley-oop plays, put-back dunks, blocking shots. I think I can add that to this team where we already have a solid defense.”

On whether he can fill in for Darrell Arthur, who’s headed to Denver:

WR: “Yeah I think I can fill into that spot. I mean, Darrell was definitely athletic, he can knock down the 15-footer and things like that. I’m trying to open my game up a bit more to the jump shot. As far as the athleticism part, playing defense and rebounding, I definitely think that I can replace Darrell in that aspect.”

Drafted Rookies:

Credit: Alyssa Wanser

Credit: Alyssa Wanser

Janis Timma: SF, 6’7, 226, 21 years old, Ventspils (Latvia)

Last Game: 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1-5 3pt

Timma may have been the most intriguing player on the court for the Grizzlies on Saturday, in spite of a poor shooting performance. I mean, who did shoot well, really, today? There is a lot about Timma’s play to get excited about. For starters, he looked incredibly confident with the ball in his hands, and made good decisions regarding what to do with it, be it pulling up for a good shot, or making the right pass. His assist numbers did not show it, but it’s hard to rack up the totals in that column when the team shoots below 35% from the field. Defensively, he had a tough time staying in front of the smaller, quicker Andrew Goudelock, who he found himself switched onto to match up against on a regular basis, but his size, strength, athleticism, and willingness to compete on that end provide plenty of room for improvement.

On how it felt to get out there:

JT: “Pretty okay. Just, I think it will be better when I start and make shots. I missed a couple of free shots under the net and three pointers. It’s hard to get a transition defense — if you get a quick shot, nobody likes that and I think we will be good for the next game.”

On his comfort level handling the ball, and three point shooting:

JT: “Yeah, I think it will be good. But today, I missed a lot of three pointers. I think that we missed a lot of threes and didn’t come back in transition defense.”

Long Shots:

– Jack Cooley: C, 6’9, 244, 22 years old, Notre Dame

Last Game: 8 points, 7 rebounds, 5 fouls

Cooley is a grinder and a gamer. He spent the duration of the game trading blows down in the paint with the Bulls’ bigs. He also hit a long jumper in the first half — the only Grizzlies basket within the first five minutes.

On how it felt to get out there:

JC: “It felt pretty good. It was good to get back into playing games after playing in Orlando, and I was really looking forward to playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. It wasn’t our best effort as a team, in our own mind personally, but we’ll be better tomorrow.”

On the whether he fits “Grit n’ Grind”:

JC: “I mean, I think so… I hope so. I’m trying to go out there and play my basketball and just be as physical as I can. You’re allowed ten fouls out there, so especially now I’m going to make sure that I show that.”

On what else he could add to the team:

JC: “It was hard to show it today, but I’ve been working on my pick and pop a little bit more than people know me for. I was able to shoot a couple and I made one of them, so it was good to show that off, but I’ve just got to go in there and keep playing hard and do what I can for this team.”

– Matt Howard: PF, 6’8, 225, 24 years old, Butler – Howard pulled down a team high 11 boards against the Bulls. He found himself in the fray for just about every loose ball, and was very Zbo-esque in the way he battled for rebounds with positioning and desire rather than leaping ability. If only he could get more lift off the ground, he may have cleared 15 off the glass for the night. He was also very vocal in communicating with his teammates on the court.

– Vander Blue: SG, 6’5, 197, 20 years old, Marquette – Blue showed some ability, and did a good job of getting the ball near the basket, but ultimately could not finish at the rack, with a 2-12 performance.

– Laurence Bowers: PF, 6’8, 205, 23 years old, Missouri – Bowers hit a nice three pointer late in the first half, but failed to make much of an impression beyond that. He did, however lead the team in +/-, with a +8.

– Gerald Robinson: PG, 6’1, 177, 24 years old, Georgia – Robinson was one of three players on the team to sink a three for the evening, even though it came in garbage time. He ended with seven points, and made a good impression with his willingness to work on the defensive end.

Game 2 info:

Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
When: Sunday, July 14th, 7:00 PM CST
Where: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, NV
Watch: NBA TV

Stay tuned on Twitter @StevieDanziger for continuing live updates of Grizzlies Summer League action.

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