Tag:Sonny Vaccaro
Posted on: August 24, 2010 2:30 am

Column on Vaccaro returning to summer scene

Click this link to read my column on Sonny Vaccaro preparing to return to summer basketball.

"It's going to be like the wild wild west again," said one Division I coach.
Posted on: April 15, 2009 11:01 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2009 12:48 am

Don't eliminate the Wall-to-NBA talk just yet

John Wall told Rivals.com on Wednesday that he will not enter the 2009 NBA Draft.

"I'm going to school for one or two years and trying to win a national championship," Wall said, and that might mean something if I hadn't spent years listening to one lottery pick after another swear they were putting off NBA riches only to reverse course a few weeks later. Mike Conley and Jonny Flynn come to mind, just off the top of my head.

So no, I do not believe this Wall-to-the-NBA story is over.

Not yet, regardless of what anybody says -- and the reason is because of Wall's 13-point, 11-assist, five-steal performance in Sunday's Nike Hoops Summit that made NBA people start to ask why the nation's top-rated point guard isn't seriously considering the NBA Draft given that there seems to be a loophole that would allow him to enter despite the fact that he's still technically a high school player.

According to the age-limit rule, an American-born player can be eligible for the draft if the player is at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft, plus one NBA season removed from his high school graduation or one NBA season removed from the date on which he should've graduated high school. Nobody is disputing that Wall is already 19, and sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com that he began high school in August 2004, meaning Wall should've graduated in May 2008, i.e., before this NBA season began. In other words, if Wall applied for the draft the NBA might really have to approve his application, and even if the organization initially fought Wall's inclusion industry sources believe there isn't a decent attorney who couldn't win a lawsuit based on the ambiguity of the rule.

Asked if he could imagine a scenario under which Wall's application for the NBA Draft would be denied, Sonny Vaccaro, a longtime person of influence in the sport, answered quickly. "No," Vaccaro told CBSSports.com on Wednesday night. "I'm going to say 'No' because I'm reading the rule."

Vaccaro said he has spoken with "a number" of NBA scouts in the past three days.

"They've all told me (Wall) would go in the top eight," Vaccaro said. "Nobody has said he'd go lower than eight."

Wall is now in New York preparing for Saturday's Jordan Brand Classic.

At tip-off, rest assured there will be many interested viewers.

"Somebody from every lottery team will be there," Vaccaro said. "There is no question in my mind."

Worth noting: The eighth pick in this NBA Draft will receive a guaranteed two-year contract worth roughly $4.3 million.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 2, 2008 3:18 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2008 3:23 pm

Sonny still busy with Jennings, Under Armour, etc

I caught up with Sonny Vaccaro late Monday night.

Naturally, Brandon Jennings was a topic of conversation.

"He's been over there for two weeks now," Vaccaro said. "If he comes out of this alive it's going to be revolutionary."

Jennings, of course, is the Arizona signee who decided to be the first American to flip the bird to the NBA and NCAA and spend his first year after high school playing professionally in Europe while waiting to become eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft. It's a bold move. And anybody wondering whether this will be an isolated event should know that Vaccaro said he has been contacted by at least 12 families of elite high school players -- freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors -- who are also interested in exploring the option of skipping college in favor of the Euroleague.

"I spoke to another three just this weekend,” Vaccaro said. "I'm not saying they all want to go. But they are all interested in knowing what's possible."

So why are the families reaching out to Vaccaro, you ask?

It's because the historically prominent figure was instrumental in Jennings' move and has become a liaison of sorts between the Euroleague and America's youth since resigning his position with Reebok and beginning a crusade against the NBA and NCAA that will take him to yet another college campus for a speaking engagement next week. Vaccaro has developed dozens of European contacts, both owners and coaches, and he now has a direct line that can be used to find out what's possible and what isn't for any curious mind.

"I've been well received over there," Vaccaro said. "It's almost like I'm more involved now that I'm no longer involved."

On another note, I've got two words for you to remember: Under Armour.

Yes, I know Under Armour isn't really in the basketball business and that it doesn’t have a single basketball player endorsing its products. But remember, Jennings already has the label of trendsetter, and if Under Armour wanted to expand its brand on a global level this might be a good place to start.

To be clear, other shoe companies are also interested in Jennings.

A deal should get done soon.

But don't be surprised if Jennings shuns the traditional route and signs with Under Armour. And don't be surprised if Vaccaro is right in the middle of it. And don't be surprised if it leads to Nike, Adidas and Reebok eventually finding themselves once again in competition in some capacity with the man who once worked for each of those companies.

Got that?

Under Armour is about to become a player in basketball.

It should be fun to watch develop.

Anyway, one last note on Jennings. Lots of you have asked whether he will play against Spanish phenon Ricky Rubio this season. The answer to that question is 'Yes', and the dates have been confirmed. Jennings plays for Lottomatica Roma and Rubio plays for Joventut Badalona. Those two teams will meet Oct. 29 in Rome and Dec. 11 in Spain. So mark your calendars because the games should get plenty of hype and garner unprecedented attention, both over there and over here.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com