McNamara wants a shot at the NBA. He’s already logged thousands of miles on this quest – everywhere from Greece to Boise. Today he’ll take the floor at the Bakersfield (Calif.) Rabobank Arena as a member of the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League to face the Dakota Wizards.
The scene probably will be a far cry from McNamara’s glory days at Syracuse. Instead of 33,000 fans packed into the Carrier Dome, the crowd will be somewhere around 2,000. The game won’t be on ESPN and McNamara probably won’t be leading any highlight programs.
“I just think, ‘How many people do I know that play pro basketball? ‘ ” McNamara said last week. “Not many. I’m in a better situation than people think. I’m right there. I’m knocking on the door of the NBA. I’m not going to throw in the towel.”
McNamara became a star in his four years for the Orange. He started all 135 games in his career, helped the team to the 2003 national championship and became known for his 3-point shooting.
The 23-year-old injured his groin near the end of last season and it hindered him at an NBA Draft showcase in Orlando. He signed on to play in the NBA Summer League with the Orlando Magic, but saw limited playing time. After the summer with no NBA offers, McNamara signed a $200,000 contract with the Greek team Olympiacos BC.
“From the beginning of the summer they showed interest,” McNamara said. “It seemed like a great situation. It turns out it wasn’t the right situation.”
McNamara played just one minute in the team’s first five games.
He is averaging 13.8 points and 6.3 assists per game, with a season-high 35 points last month against Fort Worth. Bakersfield is coached by Jim Harrick, the former college coach who led UCLA to a national title in 1995.
“I think he has everything [the NBA] is looking for,” Harrick said. “If they put him with good players, he’s going to shine. He always makes the right pass to the right guy at the right time. He really knows how to play basketball. That’s the biggest compliment I can give him.”
No disrespect intended to McNamara, but an NBA team looking for a capable PG for ten days or so might also consider journeyman Randy Livingston, currently averaging nearly 10 assists per game for Idaho.
Saturday’s 98-82 win over the Raptors marked the Pistons’ 6th consecutive, along with Rasheed Wallace’s 15th technical of the year. ‘Sheed expressed his frustration to the Detroit News’ Joanne C. Gerstner.
“It was crazy man, all I said was ‘Woo!” and gave the ref (Scott Foster) the ball and it™s a tech on me, Wallace said, explaining his version of what happened at 4:41 in the fourth. œ(Raptors coach) Sam (Mitchell) was in his face all the third quarter – nothing. And then there was an offensive foul on the young fella, T.J. (Ford) and he slams the ball or something – and nothing.
Wallace put the referees on early notice, screaming at them during a time-out in the first quarter. He wasn™t happy with a few non-calls, and was particularly steamed over a flagrant-one offensive foul on Rip Hamilton.
œThey (Raptors) are gonna need your help tonight! Wallace defiantly yelled, while pointing at the Raptors bench.
œI don™t know if I™m a target, Wallace said after the game. œI ain™t worried about these cats. I just want us to get treated fair. We™re leading the league in techs. When we say something, or the slightest look or wave or sigh, whatever, it™s a tech on any of us. Me, Dice (Antonio McDyess), Rip (Hamilton). We just want to get treated fair.
Gerstner was particularly impressed with the flopping ability of Toronto’s Anthony Parker, who managed to hit the deck convincingly (above) despite Rip Hamilton’s elbom never touching him.