Monday, December 15, 2008

Flash Bang: Julius Hodge






Julius Hodge doesn't care what you think. Truly. He's just happy to be here. When you almost die, life takes on a whole new meaning.
Hodge was born in Harlem NYC in 1983. He grew up in the slums of one of the meanest cities in the 1st world. He was born tough.

Hodge was one of the guys that, no matter where he went as an amateur player, he always drew attention.
He was a 2001 McDonalds All American at St. Raymonds High School for Boys, New Yorks 'Mr Basketball' and the NY Daily's 'Player of the Year' and he was Sports Illustrated's 'Athlete of the Month'. By the end of his time at St. Raymonds he was rated the no.1 Shooting Guard by ESPN and no. 5 overall in the nation (*1).

In an interesting move, Hodge chose North Carolina State (what up BET!) over other suitors. Why? He could have gone to Uconn (fresh off winning a 'chip 2 years prior with Rip Hamilton) and become a bonafide star straight away.
See, Hodge has always done things his own way. Not swayed by public influence like other NY guards to the same extent that Steph, Kenny Anderson and Telfair were, he chose NCState because he could leave his own legacy. Something untarnished by predecessors. The last time State had been competitive? 1983. Damn.
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bFolL4Is-sU (highlights of the game. 1 minute 30 secs).

Choosing a major program like Georgia Tech (the way Marbury did) was almost like a let off. A slackers choice. Not to disprespect Marbury's choice, but Hodge would leave his own mark. A unique one. Hodge was good enough to go to the NBA from H.S like Telfair. But he never had the same intense hype and hoopla.

Hodge spent four years at State, as a frosh, he was the leading first year scorer in the ACC. He also won the 2002 offensive rebounding award. Named after who? Lorenzo Charles. Who's that? Well, if you'd watched the video you'd know. Charles made the game winning alley-oop dunk to win the NCAA championship.
Next year, he was named all ACC 1st Team and in the process, recorded the 1st Triple Double in Wolfpack history.

Its interesting to note that, prior to Hodge eventually winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year award in 2004, Josh Howard (Wake Forest) did it. And after? J.J. Redick.http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=z4KGMohRbf0&feature=related (Hodge gives UCONN the business- sorry Moose).
Hodge went at pick 20 to the Denver Nuggets in the 2005 Draft just as expected. He filled an urgent need at the 2 guard for the Nuggets (*remember they did not have J.R Smith at this stage) placing him alongside Andre Miller and Carmelo Anthony. Unfortunately for Hodge, he only played 3 minutes a game. Earl Boykins played a large portion of minutes at the two for Denver along with starter Voshon Lenard.

For various reasons- mainly coaching and the emergence of JR Smith after the trade with New Orleans the next year- Hodge fell out of the rotation almost completely. He played only 14 games as a rookie. Eventually in 06/7 Hodge would battle for major minutes with JR off the bench and got his first start against the best shooting guard in the League on January 5th 2007- Kobe Bryant. Funny thing is, most people expected Hodge to get pulled almost immediately or rack up the fouls as Kobe destroyed him. Nope. Kobe had 8 points that game and Hodge had 16 and a win.

Remember- Hodge was just happy to be alive.
9 months earlier he had come within minutes of dying from blood loss. He was on Interstate 76 (which is in Denver) at around 2am and was the victim of a drive by shooting. A vehicle pulled up alongside him and fired several shots into his car. The perpetrators were never caught....
The ridiculous thing is, that 6 days after his match-up with Kobe, Hodge and Boykins were traded to the Bucks for Steve Blake. Less than a month later Hodge was waved by the Bucks, ending his time in the NBA-for now.

2 years ago Julius (he was named by his older brother) made his way Down Under to Adelaide-known as the City of Churches. The 36er's (obviously the name was stolen from Philly) were struggling. Badly. They had a losing record when Hodge replaced Mike Chappell (who was officially released on the 12th of December 2007) on the 21st of December- 9 days later.
Hodge immediately went on to dominate the NBL (National Basketball League). Even in his first game (which he only saw 19 minutes) Hodge had a modest line of 6pts, 5 boards, 3 assists and a whole lot of dribble penetration. He worked within the team concept- even though he only knew a couple of plays and brought the team within 1 win of 50%.

In his second game, this time against Perth, Hodge was.... interesting. I got to see this game in its entirety on T.V and Hodge had 10 pts, 5 boards and 4 assists- and 8(!) turnovers. The turnovers weren't from poor ball control or offensive fouls, more from a lack of understanding the offense, making a pass to a guy who he thought was about to dive- but instead flared out to the wing. Minor things, mostly from a team standpoint that are adjustable from time.

Again, against Perth, Hodge took over the game- even though his team lost by 21. He blew up, getting his all night long- with 16, 10 and 7. Hodge would come into his own for the rest of the season, drawing double teams and even (against the Melbourne Tigers-eventual NBL champions) a triple team once- its pretty cool to actually see a guy get triple teamed on the halfway line.

Next, against Money Bill Williams' very own Wollongong Hawks, Hodge destroyed everything in sight, with 34 points, 14 boards and 3 steals. They still lost though. This would become a theme for the 36er's. Hodge would dominate the games and put up LeBron like numbers, but the team would still lose. NOTE: This was not his fault. Captain Brett Maher (former Australian Olympian with 500+ games of NBL experience) was injured almost as soon as Hodge arrived and for some reason, the entire bench was non-existent almost the entire season. The other import Lanard Copeland was suspended for games as well- think Ron Artest 2006ish. The 36'ers bench was one of the weakest in the League- and still is.

Hodge- one of my all time favourite NBL players alongside S-Jax, Corey 'Homicide' Williams and Chris Anstey put his stamp on the NBL season with this statline- easily one of the top 5 of the season- 39 points (on 62.5% shooting), 1o rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and his first NBL 3 pointer. 29th January 2008. A date in NBL history- any of the 5 fans of basketball here in Australia could tell you that.

Hodge would go on to become 3rd Team All League (votes are taken after each week of games)- otherwise Hodge would easily have been 2nd team, probably 1st team. Unfortunately, he was unable to lead Adelaide to the playoffs.

Hodge breathed new life into a dying League. He and Williams almost single-handedly added an integrity and flare to the game that was missing since the Mid 1990's. It's shame to see the degrading of such a beautiful game. It really is.
HOWEVA- The NBL will be a different product after this season. Thank GOD.
Whatever Hodge can contribute to the game this year- after once again replacing a failed import- will automatically be seen as a monumental positive. Dude can flat out ball, and he'll find a home in the NBA in the near future. Bet on it. Remember: He's just happy to be alive.
Peace, Hursty.

PS- No, I don't think that Hodge has forgotten about CP3 giving him the dirty down low. Moose- its ok if you don't understand that right now.
PPS- Hodge was named after Julius Erving (by his brother).
PPPS- Julius gained multiple player of the week honours last year and is expected to contend, not just for the all-star game this year (he'll start) but for MVP honours if the 36'ers can win 60% of their games this year (they suck even more right now than last year).
PPPPS- I dont know why the pictures appear as they do, I can't seem to get them to appear where they should. And videos won't upload. Feel free to educate me on rectifying this.

69 comments:

B. Long said...

I Still remember reading about Hodge when he was in high school in SLAM. Damn how time flys. Nice article, Thursty.

Moose said...

Hursty, if you don't recall I made references to Paul giving Hodge the (and I quote from your piece) "dirty down low" in my CP3-DWill piece a lil' while back. I'm not a kid that's immune to references, haha. I know what you're saying when you say it 0_o. Anyways, nice piece. I have a whole new respect for Hodge now.

Justin Walsh said...

Hursty, this piece is fresh, I like that you mentioned HOMICIDE, I love that you mentioned choosing NCSTATE over UCONN, as John Wall might choose the wolfpack over KU this season, making it more relevant. All around goodness

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

Hodge is my dude, but damm i wanted to post my piece

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

Also dont sleep on Antonie Watson! Antonie Watson + Paul Wall = Raleigh dominating the NBA for the next 30 years

Justin Walsh said...

Betcatz, I am not sweet on John "Paul" Wall. I think hes totally overhyped. I can name numerous guards better than him without thinking. Xavier Henry, Lance Stephenson, Dominic Cheek, Michael Snaer, Kenny Boynton. I really think Wall is a top 10 recruit, but not top 3. But he will DEFINITELY help the wolfpack if he commits there

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

Justin, say that in Raleigh, you will get shot or stabbed in 24 seconds if your around my people aka 'the wrong people'.

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

and calling John 'Paul' adds to his legend

Hursty said...

Thanks fellas. Hodge put up a triple double the other week, but I figured that I'll keep it to last years work. I might do an update later on after the NBL season finishes.
BET- what do you mean 'post your piece'? You can write now man.

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

its been wrote. I am gonna leave in like 2 minutes, gotta watch the Cats (i wanna see the 2nd half.)

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

its in the drafts section

Hursty said...

BET- why not do a piece on John Wall then?

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

cause the Bobcats are more important. I got 3 pieces done, but my Bobcats one is the most important to me. I have already got a DJ Pretty Kitty and a Panthers thing ready to go, but i am gonna span those out over the course of January

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

And my piece is about the Cats, can i post it on like Thursday?

Hursty said...

Nice! OK man. Check your inbox.

BETCATZ WITH A Z said...

alright i am out

Moose said...

Oh yeah that reminds me . . . ALL HIBACHI 2.0 WRITERS CHECK YOUR EMAIL. ESPECIALLY you, BET. Everyone, check it out. Holiday piece coming on Friday!

Justin Walsh said...

BETCATZ, I may get stabbed in Raleigh, but if I do so fuckin' be it- I'd rather be stabbed for being honest than be hailed for lying to people. I don't think John Wall is the number one player in the nation. I do think he will excell in college and play in the NBA, but that goes without saying I seriously don't think that he is the best in the country. I can give you specific examples of why. 1: There are shady dealings around him (for example, Baylor hired John Walls AAU coaches brother as their director of basketball, to basically nudge Wall into Baylor). He seems to be leaning toward NC State as well which is understandable for family reasons. All I am saying is that John Wall is being pushed, shoved, poked and prodded in a thousand different directions, with an IDIOT comparison by a top Rivals scout saying he could be better than D.Rose (That assessment is pure garbage, in fact I'd be willing to die for my opinion that his assessment is bush league). Second, At the 2008 Pangos All-American camp, Michael Snaer (ranked 11 on rivals, in my opinion his true ranking should be 15-20) outplayed Wall in their head to head matchup. So the rivals #1 player in the nation (which to basketball insiders means almost nothing [being rivals #1, i dont mean number one isnt relevant], Rivals is a commercial entity, not quality scouting to me) gets outplayed consistently by a guy who shouldn't be able to contain him? To put the ranking of #1 to number #11 for previous Rivals lists,in 2005, number #1 was Gerald Green, number 11 was Greg Paulus. That was a well put together list. There is no way that Paulus outplays Green on any level. PERIOD. But Michael Snaer can not just hold his own, but outpace Wall at an All American camp? Really? I'm not a Wall hater, and I am ready to face the consequences of these words, you being all John "Paul" Wall nutrider and whatnot, but I just can't say it. Some things in the 2009 class will not change. No bigman will be more talented than Renardo Sidney in this class, Nobody will have a bigger freshman impact in this class than Jordan Hamilton, and John Wall is not the best player in the nation. In honest terms, I have him at number 8 in the nation. Number 8 in the nation is still graded to a 98, the equivilent to having high major plus potential meaning they can get to the NBA. So we are talking about mere fractions of difference in the long run at these projections. So rest assured I respect your opinion, I just fiercely disagree. And saying I would get stabbed just made me rape your opinion with this.

Hursty said...

Umm, well I don't know either of the players Justin is talking about, HOWEVA I will say that the blonde in his photo is fiiine.
I feel that BET's opinion may be slightly biased because of the geographical location, but seriously, who isnt? I ride Ater like the school bus (non-sexually of course) but thats kinda my job.
Is Wall actually ranked number 1 in the nation?

Kid Presto said...

class of 2010 and 2011>>>>>class of 09

BET said...

Justin, dead is still dead.

Justin Walsh said...

Hursty, Wall is ranked number one ONLY on Rivals. on Scout (I mildly respect them) he's 2. On RSCI basketballl rankings (in my opinion the most respectable) he's 13th. This years class is weaker than many classes before. This years class is also not in agreement on who's the best by the ranking sites. No consensus number one by scouts=weak class. And yes, my lady is fine. Kid Presto, we are in agreement of the better classes. BET, dead may be dead but when I die, even if you stand on my grave I'll still be above you. naw, I'm playin' BET, just make sure and watch yourself around Dallas where i hold court. haha :) Who doesn't like a white guy talking shit?! <<

Moose said...

Uhhh, what's all this (insert class here)>>>> 09? I say that class of 2014 beats all of you guys, solely because I'll be ranked number one in the country come that time.

Hursty said...

Get em young fella.

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

come on Justin, Walsh is nastier than corns and bunions and you know it. Unless you want Jeff Foxworthy to tell you you aint smarter than a fifth grader, i suggest you read up on wall and watch his clips. Their is no finer place for that than Youtube. LOOK MY BOY UP THEN JUDGE, god dam dallas kids, what the hell do yall learn down in Texas? It obviously aint good basketball.

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

2011>>Your mom
2011> Your family
2011> Your face
2011 is a beast, you gonna need to get saved, you gonna need to start saying grace before meals. 2011 is the year BETCAT becomes BETLION in figurative terms. When the Stallion becomes the non-gay-Unicorn. Hell yeah we movin on up like the Jeffersons, 2011 is fly like spaceships in the Jettsons!

B. Long said...

First of all there is no such thing as a "non-gay" unicorn. Second of all,The Dallas Metroplex has produced Grant Hill, Spud Webb, Kenyon Martin, Chris Bosh, Deron Williams, LaMarcus Aldridge, Willie Warren, and a gang load of others that I'm too lazy to mention right now, so I'm pretty sure they teach those Dallas boys something about good basketball.

Justin Walsh said...

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI: Asking me to read up on Wall or check is youtube clips? Is that serious? I work for BALLISLIFE, WE HAVE A MIX OF JOHN WALL, WE FILMED HIM IN PERSON. I've seen him play more than just one game or 2 minutes worth on youtube, I've been there. I cover basketball daily, I go out to out of state tournaments to watch games, basketball is my life bro. You know those HS mixtapes you watch? Chances are we made 'em. aspiring mixtape makers use our footage, chop the shit up and try their own at it. And don't say Dallas doesn't have good ball, I can name a lot of players from the Dallas area. Chris Bosh, Greg Ostertag, Willie Warren, CJ Miles, Deron Williams, Bracey Wright, Jimmy King of the fab five, Byron Eaton, Darrell Arthur, Shawn Williams (just beat Lance Stephensons Lincoln HS on ESPN), Bryan Davis (PF at Texas A&M), Quincy Acey (PF at Baylor), John Roberson (Texas Tech PG), Anthony Smith (Liberty SG averaging 18 PPG on Seth Curry's squad), Grant Hill, Gary Flowers, Kenyon Martin, LeMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Randolph, J'Mison Morgan (freshman at UCLA). That's nowhere near all of them, those are just the ones you would know of. All of the names above are either at Major D1 programs, in the NBA, or were in the NBA. Moose, you're in the class of 2014? for real? Anyway, onto 2011- Cezar Guerrero, watch him, follow his ascent into the top rankings. He isn't in the top rankings yet mainly because west coast cats don't get ranked high until junior year then all of a sudden people think they come out of nowhere...It's not out of nowhere-it's a lack of coverage by ESPN and Rivals. Oh well. BEATTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI, asking me to watch wall on youtube just got me more frustrated with your viewpoint. You may have a steam hot hibachi, but I'm flayin' you like a shrimp on the barbie.

B. Long said...

OH WAIT-This Joker went and blasted the whole state of TEXAS? Shaq(Went to high school in San Antonio), Larry "Grandmama" Johnson, T.J. Ford, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Green, Rashard Lewis, Kendrick Perkins, Daniel Ewing, David Wesley, and YA BOY-Emeka Okafor.

B. Long said...

Me and Justin should've worked on this together.

Money Bill Williams said...

HUUUUURSTY! How you going to play me like that! I thought we were cool but obviously not when you show the whole world just how bad my beloved Wollongong Hawks are.

Great piece mate, really enjoyed reading that

Justin Walsh said...

BETCATZ was flanked by B. Long and Justin Walsh. GAME OVER.

Moose said...

yeahhhh B. Long with the Perk namecheck. And over here we have . . . Patrick Ewing! Hurrah!

Hursty said...

I know I did you dirty there Money. Get your computer back yet?
Isn't CHRIS BOSH from Texas?
PS- Tmac just had his 4th career triple double halfway through the 3rd vs. the Nuggets.

B. Long said...

We both name dropped Chris Bosh, Thursty Hursty.

Hursty said...

Well, thats cos we must be awesome B.
Just so everyone knows, these 36 comments are a hibachi personal career high. :) Thanks fellas. Now, where are the S.K.O fellas? This should be near 50 with them...

Justin Walsh said...

Everybody drop Chris Bosh's name! CB4-LINCOLN HS DALLAS TEXAS! BYAWWW

Hursty said...

Wth does Byawww mean? Anyways, Chris Bosh! Is killing my opponents fantasy team this week! Yay!

Justin Walsh said...

Hursty, it's the dave chappelle satire of howard dean, where hes like "WERE GONNA GO TO VERMONT, WERE GONNA GO TO WASHINGTON.....BYAWWWWW"

RV said...

John lucas II, Boobie, damon jones, Deron, and Lamarcus...

Hursty said...

haha RV... no comments re. the piece lol?

Hursty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hursty said...

I deleted my last comment, as it made no sense. Sorry about that.

Moose said...

Is that any different from all of your other comments, Hursty? ;)

Hursty said...

Mm, yes. Hilarious Moose.

BETNCISBETTER said...

Micheal Jordan>Larry Johnson
David Thompson>Stack Jack
Chris Paul> TJ Ford, Gerald Green, Daniel Ewing, David Wesley Put together
James Worthy>Rashard Lewis

Do i have to keep going?

NC>Texas

Fuck Texas (execpt RV, and Shaq is from NJ and only played SOME of his High School ball their, i read his autobiography.)

BETCATS said...

also

BETCATZ>Justin and B(l)ong fused together

BETCATS said...

Oh David West>Emeka Okafor. My fun continues

Justin Walsh said...

I will now sink to BETCATZ level. North Carolina isn't on the same plane of existence that Texas is with basketball. And you cant reach my swag of basketball IQ if you got some jumpsoles and trained for it your whole life. Me and B.Long combined already whooped you, just like me alone whooped you and he alone whooped you. Yeah, NC has a COUPLE solid pros to their name. But it's a once in a while thing. NC prep scene< TEXAS PREPSCENE. Don't believe me, ask any scout where they'd rather scout in, dallas area hoops, or your bunkass area. :) I am sinking to BETCATZ level. and it feels great. I AM SITH MASTER. More reason you're garbage, your points are explained by "My team sucks, I need to lash out at the talented areas" Who are you James Dean?

Moose said...

Again, we got Patrick Ewing! And we also have a crapload of comedians. But what's all this crap about NC and Texas being hoops hotbeds? Y'all ain't got nuthin' on BEANTOWN! (I'm alone here). Oh yeah, and FIFTY! HIBACHI 2.0 RECORD!

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

Because THE GOAT (MJ) is nothing.
Because the best point guard in the NBA right now (Chris Paul) is nothing.
Because Pistol Pete (broughton HS, Raleigh NC, you Texans shouldnt have taken credit for Shaq) is nothing.
Because Finals MVP/Hall of Famer James Worth is nothing
Because the GOAT of NC State/Hall of Famer/Devenr Nugget Legend David Thompson is nothing.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha Moose funny guy with stuff "Y'all ain't got nuthin" EL OH EL

Moose said...

And why would that be so funny, BET???

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

and who the fuck cares about High School ballin?

Darius Miles and Kwame Brown were both high school superstars who are now bench warmers on the fuckin Memphis Grizzlies. And my school (Enloe) is a Public School. We got Chris Wilcox, we got Nate McMillian, We go PJ Tucker, We got Danny Young, we got Chucky Brown, we got Derrick Hicks Sr, and 4 other NBA ex-Benchwarmers (only the first 2 are big names but they all left their mark on Enloe)

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

cause Moose, you really want to Compare Ewing to Jordan? I think their are some old posters i can pull up to tell who one that battle. I will give you a hint: its MJ

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

calling me James Dean is flattering, but only James Dean would do that. So you sir, are James Dean. I got no idea who the hell James Dean is. All i know is that BETCATZ eats Justin Walsh and B.Long's comments for breakfast. Yall go out and rock your belt buckles and bump your Mike Jones 'music' I will be just fine here in the greatest state on Gods Green Earth.

Moose said...

BET, I was joking around on the fact that we don't have many NBA players at all . . . I was just reppin' the homeland, man.

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

whatever, you aint from Texas (where everything is bigger 'cept da brainzz)

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

but remember, nothing i say refers to RV, cause RV is a beast. He aint from 'Texas' he is from America

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

and to all those that dont know, yall about to find out who i am. Tell them fools youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xljzBr2FkRc

Justin Walsh said...

Belt buckles? Don't rock em. Mike Jones? Fuck him, swisherhouse ruins music. I listen to Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Buff1, Kanye West, Jedi Mind Tricks, Phaoroah Monch, and others your mind needs some of. HS hoops matters because without coverage of HS hoops, LBJ, KG, TMAC, AMARE, DH, and many others wouldn't have enough exposure to go out of HS. TMAC didn't even get coverage until a HS basketball summer camp where he blew up. That's why it happens.

Justin Walsh said...

And BET, the James Dean comment is an OLD SCHOOL comment in reference to your need to love anything maligned, hated, or in underdog status right now. Ala, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. That's your commenting, rebel without a cause.

Hursty said...

Fellas, just chill out a little bit here please. Love the comments, not so much the aggressiveness. 62 comments bitches!

BETTHASTEAMHOTHIBACHI said...

so justin, you get paid to talk to little boys like myself, yet we get no benifit, and you put big ideas in our heads. J/k, but i dont really follow HS ball as much as i do Raleigh/NC hoops. And they are far superior to Texas stuff.

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