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Dwight Howard never really had competition from Al Jefferson for the title of top high school power forward, despite Big Al's more impressive numbers. Howard went first overall and Jefferson went at fifteen to the Boston Celtics. Though that pick has seemed to turn into a steal for the C's as Big Al was the Reebok Vegas Summer League's scoring leader with 27 points per game, Howard has been no slouch either, and as the two stars matched up on Saturday, Howard proved he was no mistake.
Howard scored 26 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to go with an impressive 5 assists as his Magic beat the Celtics 119-106. Jefferson was held to just six points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of action (Howard played 36). Jefferson has said before being drafted that the toughest competition he ever faced in high school was Howard, and this game was an indication of that.
Surprisingly enough, Howard wasn't even close to being the leading scorer on his own team. Keith Bogans lit up Sin City with 38 points in 39 minutes, along with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Johnny Davis apparently sees Bogans as a potential stopper on the wing and in the wing-heavy roster of the Magic, Bogans might end up being the Flip Murray of two years ago rather than the beginning of last year: a pine-riding talent that doesn't get enough minutes.
Another big surprise (key word: big) has been Mario Kasun. The 7-footer has been turning some heads with impressive plays. Bogans and Kasun are both in the top 10 in summer league scoring averages with 24 and 21 points per game, respectively, for games through Saturday. Reportedly for games through Sunday, Bogans captured the scoring title with 25.5 points per game.
The Magic also finished up the summer league on Sunday by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-94, in which Howard had his best game of the week, getting 25 points and 13 rebounds.
The Orlando Magic will reportedly consider Dee Brown, Jeff Turner, and Matt Guokas as potential replacements for television analyst Jack Givens.
Tim Povtak ofThe Orlando Sentinelwrites: For Dee Brown, every day is take-your-child-to-work day.And he loves it. Brown, who spent three years with the Magic either as a player or front-office executive, is coaching the WNBA team in San Antonio this summer, making sure his three daughters get a close-up look at the action. Brown, who still makes his home in Orlando, took his family to San Antonio for the summer, but they will return soon to start a new school year.
Tim Povtak ofThe Orlando Sentinelalso writes: Doc Rivers is coaching the Boston Celtics now, but he isn't forgetting his friends in Central Florida.His fourth annual Doc Rivers Celebrity Golf Invitational at Keene's Pointe Golden Bear Club this past week raised more than $75,000 for Shepherd's Hope, which operates eight Orlando-area health-care centers for uninsured and economically disadvantaged citizens. This year he had Scott Hoch, Jan Stephenson, Darrell Armstrong and Chucky Atkins on the playing list. He already is making plans to move next year's tournament back to September, believing it will help raise money in the future.
Tim Povtak ofThe Orlando Sentinelalso writes: Don't be surprised to see John Gabriel back in the league before next season begins.Although he lost his job late this past season for his failures as Magic general manager, not everyone has forgotten the good things he did here. He was NBA Executive of the Year for the 1999-2000 season after relaunching the franchise and creating the salary-cap space to sign free agents Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill in 2000. He also drafted Mike Miller, who was selected NBA Rookie of the Year in 2001, and he was instrumental in putting together the Magic roster that reached the 1995 NBA Finals. Gabriel recently interviewed for a player-personnel job in Portland, which is a long way from home but would be a good step back into the league.
Jerry Brewer ofThe Orlando Sentinelwrites: Mario Kasun autographed a piece of paper the other day. It was significant.For the first time as a presumed NBA player, he had done something to warrant an admirer. Kasun gave a who-me look at the kid and grinned as he signed. He had just finished his most impressive game this summer, a 21-point, eight-rebound offering during the Reebok Vegas Summer League. Finally, he is beginning to look like a player with an NBA future.
Steve Carp ofThe Las Vegas Review-Journalwrites: For Orlando's Bogans, a second-year guard from Kentucky, it was a chance to show he can score against NBA players.He did so, averaging a league-best 25.5 points in five games. "I conditioned myself so I'd be ready to go hard every game," said the 6-foot-5-inch Bogans, who averaged 6.8 points in 73 games last season. "I just tried to stay tough and do everything the coaches asked me to do." That effort paid off as Bogans will be with the Magic in the fall.