Tragic end for former Maryland basketball player

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Tragic end for former Maryland basketball player

By JP Finlay
CSNbaltimore.com

Former Maryland basketball player Earl Badu died from an apparent suicide on Sept. 27, Baltimore County Police officials confirmed on Sept. 28.

Badu apparently jumped from an eastern Baltimore County overpass on I-95 and dropped some 50 feet before landing on I-695, according to reports. Medical personnel transported Badu to Johns Hopkins Bayview, where he was pronounced dead.

A fan favorite during his time in College Park, Badu was a walk-on player for the Maryland team that won the national championship in 2002. Badu, a Baltimore native, found himself in legal and financial trouble in the years preceding his death.

At the time of his death, Badu was heavily indebted to Montgomery County, Md., chiropractor Dr. Alan Cornfield. Montgomery County (Md.) Circuit Court documents revealed Badu's debts to be 300,000. Badu and Cornfield met through Cornfield's connections to the Maryland basketball program, according to his lawyer Lewis Silber.

Apparently Mr. Badu and Dr. Cornfield knew each other for a number of years, Silber said. There was something going on where Badu told Cornfield he could make him a lot of money.

Documents show that Cornfield filed a civil complaint against Badu on Dec. 10, 2010, with a litany of charges: breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation of facts, unjust enrichment and restitution based upon unjust enrichment.

Silber went on to explain that Badu owed a lot of other people money as well, but the attorney said he was not at liberty to discuss those other people at this time.

Throughout the almost 18-month trial, Badu did not retain a lawyer. Silber added that Badu listed himself as self-employed when asked in court.

Silber last saw Badu on Friday, Sept. 21, in a court room. As part of a payment plan to repay the 300,000, Badu wrote a 20,000 check. That check bounced.

Badu pleaded guilty to writing the bad check, and was sentenced last Friday, according to the Montgomery County Circuit Court Criminal Department. The former Maryland player was due to serve a five-year suspended sentence with three years supervised probation for the bad check charge.

Im not sure where the money went, Silber said. We ended up going to court, and he agreed to pay the money back. In the process of doing so he wrote a check that was not good.

Silber said that Badu asked for more time to make things work.

"It seemed like he was trying to figure things out, Silber said. He seemed that he believed it would be taken care of. As long as we kept pushing it off, another week, another week, it would work out.

Despite Badus requests for more time, Cornfield received no money.

We needed to see something. Nothing was going through, Silber said. Dr. Cornfield wanted his money back and this was the way legally we had to do it.

Calls to Cornfield's office were not immediately returned. What happens with Badus debt remains to be seen, Silber said, but the sadness of the situation did not escape the attorney.

I feel very bad for Mr. Badu, Silber said. I know his family.

Badu was 33 years old at the time of his death.

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10 takeaways on the Wizards coming out of All-Star break

10 takeaways on the Wizards coming out of All-Star break

NEW ORLEANS -- The Wizards are the NBA’s most surprising team going into the All-Star break. No one expected them to have 34 wins regardless of how this season shook out, but that was especially true after a 2-8 start. Now that we’re 55 games into an 82-game season -- and with the trade deadline approaching Thursday afternoon -- my takeaways on what's transpired, why and what has to happen next:

10. Bradley Beal has avoided injury. The revamping of the medical staff was headed up by VP Tommy Sheppard and has worked. The system that the Wizards put in place to be more clinical in dealing with how to treat injuries and be more forward-thinking has kept him stress-reaction free in his lower right leg. Beal missed three games with a right thigh strain early in the season and one game after rolling his ankle but he has played 51 of 55. Twenty-three more appearances and he sets a career-high for games played. And this is the healthiest that John Wall has been this deep into a season in several years and he had surgeries to both knees May 5.

9. The evolution of Jason Smith. He was all thumbs when the season started, so much so that Brooks joked that he was starting to question his spot on the roster (pre-emptive strike: he said it as a joke so do NOT take this out of context and fashion it into a blog post that misrepresents the actual tone). Smith has grown into a fan favorite because of his effort, hustle and energy he brings off the bench. He’s hitting the mid-range jumper when he pops on the pick-and-roll and is flashing some of his underrated athleticism with highlight-reel blocks and dunks diving to the basket. Most nights, he’s the best player off the bench.

8. The second-biggest free-agent acquisition, Andrew Nicholson, is completely out of the rotation. He has the old-man game but appears out of place when the game is played at a faster pace. Nicholson is a bench player so there was no mystery as to what his role would be. But he has accrued 25 DNP-CDs (did not play coach’s decision). Nicholson last played double-digit minutes Jan. 14. Given the length of his contract (four years), moving him will be next to impossible.

7. Wall’s decision-making late in games or at the end of quarters has gone through the roof. He’s had his hero-ball moments but that was early. As his judgment has become more sound, so is everyone else’s. The Wizards late-game execution is a strength and it’s why they’re 11-4 in games decided by six points or less since Dec. 1.

6. The diversity in the offense has taken the ball out of Wall's hands more often but he's actually more productive.  generates 108.1 points per game (seventh). Since Dec. 1 when the turnaround began, the Wizards average 110.4 points (fifth), shoot 49.1%  from the field (second) and 39% from three (tied for second). They're 28-10 in that stretch.  For the season, Wall is 15th in the league in passes made per game at 59.8 and third in passes received at 76.3. Last season, Wall made 70.9 passes and recevied 83.9 which was the most per game of any player in the NBA in both categories. He created 24.7 points which was second-best in the league then. By involving more players in the offense, even though Wall handles the ball less to pass and receives fewer passes per game, he's actually averaging more points created at 25.3, second only to James Harden (Rockets).

5. Three-point defense. It was atrocious at the start. They’ve gone from allowing XX% to XX% from the arc. The recoveries to the shooters and extra effort to get there has made a world of difference.

4. Beal isn’t an All-Star is one thing, but that he received so little respect in the initial voting process was stunning. He was 14th among fans and eight among media voting. It shouldn’t have come down to a commissioner’s pick as to whether or not he made it.

3.

2. Otto Porter’s three-point shooting. That he’d become better with the deep ball isn’t a surprise. He was sub-par for most of last season shooting in the low 30s. Then he raised it to about 37% by season’s end which is better than average. But he’s now almost 10% better and is taking XX more three-point shots per game.

1. Brooks is an elite coach. I’ve never been a fan of the logic that states because a coach either didn’t win at a previous stop or didn’t take a team with a lot of talent far enough (see Brooks with the Oklahoma City Thunder) then that coach isn’t a good coach. That’s not how you measure coaches. The same was said about Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat. First, coaching is about much more than what happens during 48 minutes on the court. It has to do with more than Xs and Os. And it has to do with having players who allow themselves to be coached. College basketball is about coaches. It’s their system vs the other coach’s system. The NBA is about players. It’s no coincidence that those who make the most money determine that tone. It was proven in last year’s Western Conference finals that Brooks wasn’t the problem with Oklahoma City.  Boxscores don’t necessarily tell you who are the best players in a game. Neither does a coaching record. And Brooks’ was already pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kings send DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans for Hield, Evans and 2017 picks

Kings send DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans for Hield, Evans and 2017 picks

NEW ORLEANS -- The saga between the Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins finally is over as the three-time All-Star was traded to the Pelicans on Sunday night to the host city for the 66th All-Star Game.

Cousins played just two minutes and made a quick exit from the game with the West All-Stars. As soon as he made a three-point shot, his night was complete.

Cousins, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, was acquired for a 2017 first-round, second-round pick, Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans.

Before the deal was consummated, Kentucky teammate John Wall had this response on Cousins teaming up with Anthony Davis: "Wooooo."

He paused, took a sip of his sports drink, and gasped. "I'm just going to drink on that one."

Cousins never led the Kings, a dysfuctional franchise since the day he was drafted in 2010, to the postseason. They'd never won more than 33 games with Cousins and were 24-33 this season.

Cousins had career averages of 21.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in  six-plus seasons. Davis scored 52 points Sunday en route to being the All-Star Game MVP. 

The Pelicans are 23-24.