Ike Diogu's next stop: London

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Ike Diogu's next stop: London

Ike Diogu, the former Warriors first-round pick in the 2005 NBA Draft is headed for London after his 25 point, 10 rebound performance in Caracas, Venezuela helped lead Nigeria over the Dominican Republic Sunday night to clinch the final men's basketball berth in the Olympics.

Diogu told the Associated Press, "I'm very happy. We did what had to be done. We knew we were going to face teams that are heavyweights, and we did what we needed to do win."

With six minutes left and the game game tied, Diogu hit a pair of threes and Nigeria never looked back, winning 88-73. The Nigeria team is led by Dioguand current New Orleans Hornet Al-Farouq Aminu.

Nigeria will have a tough road in London, though -- it grabbed the final spot in Group A with the United States, France, Argentina, Tunisia, Lithuania and Argentina. Group B includes Australia, Brazil, China, Great Britain, Russia and Spain. Games begin on July 29 at the Basketball Arena in Stratford, London.

Diogu, 28, was born in Buffalo, NY. His parents are native Nigerians who moved to the U.S. in 1980. Diogu went to high school in Garland, Texas and attended college at Arizona State University.

Well traveled
The 6-foot-9-inch power forward was the ninth-overall pick in 2005 for Golden State (the Knicks took Channing Frye before him, the Lakers took Andrew Bynum after him), but as it turned out, his basketball odyssey was just beginning.

Diogu was traded (see below) to the Indiana Pacers during his second season with the Warriors in 2007. From there the NBA took him to Portland, Sacramento, New Orleans (though he never played a game there), the L.A. Clippers, and the San Antonio Spurs. Since then, Ike has taken his talents overseas.

After a two-game stint with the Spurs, he was on the roster of the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in The People's Republic of China (according to their website, Ike weights 114 kilograms), and at last check we had him playing for Capitanes de Arecibo in Puerto Rico.

Over his NBA career, he averaged 6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. While at Arizona State, Diogu was named to the 2004-2005 AP All American second team when he averaged 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest.

Pro Basketball Reference

June 28, 2005: Drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the 1st round (9th pick) of the 2005 NBA Draft.

January 16, 2007: Traded by the Golden State Warriors with Mike Dunleavy, Keith McLeod and Troy Murphy to the Indiana Pacers for Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell.

July 9, 2008: Traded by the Indiana Pacers with Jerryd Bayless to the Portland Trail Blazers for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush.

February 18, 2009: Traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Sacramento Kings for Michael Ruffin.

July 29, 2009: Signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Hornets.

December 22, 2010: Signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Clippers.January 4, 2012: Signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs.
January 11, 2012: Waived by the San Antonio Spurs.

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

OAKLAND -- For the first time since he joined the coaching staff last summer, Mike Brown on Wednesday morning arrived at the Warriors facility a man in charge.

As acting head coach, he would decide when practice started and when it ended, and conduct proceedings in between.

The general activity was not much different for anyone else, though, as it continues to become evident that everything the Warriors do for the foreseeable future will be a Brown-Kerr, or Kerr-Brown, production.

“Steve is going to be a part of this process the whole time,” Brown said after practice. “Almost before I do anything, I’m going to consult with him. The only time I won’t consult with him is probably during a game.”

Since Kerr’s announcement last Sunday that he was taking an indefinite leave to attend to personal health issues, Brown has been wielding the clipboard. He actually coached Game 3 against Portland last Saturday, in Kerr’s absence, before knowing in advance he’d also coach Game 4 Monday night.

Brown is 2-0, with the Game 4 win clinching a Warriors sweep of the Trail Blazers. Yet Brown is quick to remind anyone that he is following the plan laid out by Kerr. The two exchanged texts Tuesday and, according to Brown, “spoke at length” after the game between the Jazz and the Clippers -- one of which will face the Warriors in the next round.

Though the Warriors are operating under a different head coach, all indications are the atmosphere around the team remains stable and relatively unchanged.

“Obviously it’s different personalities, but when you make it about the players, when you make it about winning, all that other stuff really doesn’t matter,” Kevin Durant said. “He coaches us. He coaches the game of basketball and he does it very well. Our whole coaching staff does the same thing.

“When it’s about basketball, it’s not about trying to have authority over us. He’s just coaching us. He’s just coaching us up. He’s just telling us the proper way to do things on the basketball court. It’s pretty simple when you try to do that. Then it’s on us to try to execute.”

Execution has gone well, particularly over the last six quarters of the series against Portland. The Warriors wiped out a 16-point deficit in the second half to win Game 3, and then rolled to a 35-9 start in Game 4 before coasting to the closeout victory.

Brown was on the sideline in Game 4, with Kerr watching the game from the locker room.

It’s fairly apparent, though, that everyone involved feels a heightened sense of accountability and ownership.

“Mike has had a pretty big voice throughout the whole season,” Durant said. “He’s been a head coach before, understands what it takes to be a head coach. And the coaching staff is just so smart, and they empower each other.

“Anybody, if you’re around us on a day-to-day basis, anybody can tell that they work well as a group. Coach Kerr does a great job. He spearheads it all by empowering everybody, from the coaches to the players.”

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

OAKLAND -- After arriving in Oakland in the wee hours Tuesday morning, the Warriors took the day off, went through a light practice Wednesday and will take another day off Thursday.

Slackers, eh?

Not really, when the next game is at least four days away.

The semi-lax scheduling isn’t the decision of acting head coach Mike Brown. It’s not even the decision of head coach Steve Kerr, who was not at practice Wednesday and remains out indefinitely. It’s a common sense call that was made between the two men, with players and staffers on board.

“If you can sweep every series,” Kevin Durant said after practice, “then that’ll be perfect.”

This is one of the perks of sweeping a first-round opponent. By eliminating the Trail Blazers in four games and with their next opponent undetermined, the Warriors are able to balance work and rest.

“With this group here,” Brown said, “the continuity that the nucleus has and how intelligent the guys are, with the big-time veterans we’ve brought in, we feel that rest for their bodies and mentally (are) more important than coming in here and having practice on a daily basis.”

They also have a couple guys recovering from injuries. Forward Matt Barnes (right foot/ankle bone bruise) has been out two weeks, and guard Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain/hand contusion) has missed the past nine days. Both, however, are expected to be available for the next series.

The soonest that would be is Sunday against Utah, which owns a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers and can close it out Friday in Salt Lake City. If the Clippers win and push the series to seven games, the Warriors would then open against the Clippers-Jazz winner on May 2.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have no choice but to prepare for both, with plenty of time to do so.