straitpinkie.com » Pro Sports http://www.straitpinkie.com Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:32:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Could the Heat-Pelican Exhibition be Louisville’s NBA Audition? http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/could-the-heat-pelican-exhibition-be-louisvilles-nba-audition/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/could-the-heat-pelican-exhibition-be-louisvilles-nba-audition/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:32:28 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=104790 NBA Exhibition 300x186 Could the Heat Pelican Exhibition be Louisville’s NBA Audition?After the successful exhibition game in Lexington last October involving the New Orleans Pelicans and the Washington Wizards, many of Louisville’s NBA hopefuls were clamoring for an NBA exhibition game for the KFC Yum! Center. That wish came true when it was announced that Louisville’s very own NBA quality arena would indeed host an NBA pre-season game with the Miami Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans on October 4, 2014.

This marks the first NBA exhibition to be played in Louisville since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls matched up with the Sacramento Kings at Freedom Hall in 1996 and the first ever in the Yum! Center.

The game is already generating significant buzz as fans will get a chance to see the NBA’s biggest player in Lebron James (assuming he renews his contract) along with one of the league’s fast rising stars, Anthony Davis. It has also energized local NBA enthusiasts who are hopeful that Louisville will eventually land a team of its own.

WDRB’s Eric Crawford sees the enthusiasm but writes that it’s only one exhibition game and is unlikely to lead to an eventual franchise. While this may technically be true, Crawford is forgetting the significance of what the game does mean for Louisville’s ongoing NBA debate. It keeps the conversation alive and gives NBA supporters something to rally around and discuss during a time when developments for a local franchise are slow.

Yes, an exhibition game’s result is essentially meaningless in the larger context of the NBA season, but it will be the result in the stands rather than the one on the floor that many observers will be paying particular attention to.

NBA2LOU1 Could the Heat Pelican Exhibition be Louisville’s NBA Audition?For those on both sides of the debate, the game will serve as a gauge for NBA fandom in Louisville. The annoying contingent of pessimists and naysayers around town have droned on and on about how the city only cares about college athletics and needs to stick with the minor leagues.  This game provides this so called “college town” an opportunity to showcase that there is interest in the NBA, and fans are willing to pay money to watch it.

An arena filled with empty seats will no doubt motivate critics to use it as indisputable evidence of the city’s supposed apathy toward anything that doesn’t involve University of Louisville athletics. Fortunately that scenario is as likely as the Milwaukee Bucks winning this season’s NBA Finals.

Louisville has shown it has an appetite for basketball at all levels and as of now there are no other sporting events scheduled on the date of the game that could draw away ticker buyers. The chance to see the NBA Championship trio of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in person will likely be too much for fans to pass up while the presence of ex-Kentucky Wildcats Anthony Davis and Darius Miller will draw in Big Blue loyalists as well.

The larger the crowd, the bigger the victory for NBA loyalists who can throw it back at the naysayers – a group who initially opposed the construction of a riverfront arena but now conveniently embrace.

Aside from being fodder for debate, a good attendance is important for the city in bolstering its attractiveness as a future NBA host. It could lead to future exhibition games and catch the attention of league officials along with NBA media members such as last year’s game in Rupp Arena did when it drew nearly 15,000 – the 2nd largest NBA exhibition crowd of the night. You can also be sure that Louisville’s political and business leaders will be observing the turnout as well.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, April 19th at 10:00 a.m.

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Wildcats To Draft ‘Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays? http://www.straitpinkie.com/kentucky-2/wildcats-to-draft-cats-who-goes-and-who-stays/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/kentucky-2/wildcats-to-draft-cats-who-goes-and-who-stays/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 01:59:25 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=104765 Since John Calipari has taken the helm at Kentucky, he has always said their season doesn’t end until after the NBA Draft. His “players-first” mentality is admired and annoyed simultaneously. Kentucky will always have at least one huge draft prospect, while others will have to make the crucial decision on returning to Lexington or diving into the riches of the NBA.

Willie Cauley Stein Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?‘Cats keep their Willie. Lee returns, too.

Willie Cauley-Stein could have left Kentucky after his freshman year. The 7-footer was heavily sought after, but the uncertainty of where he would be drafted kept him in Lexington. Another year, another decision loomed. This time, many will have to wonder if his ankle injury suffered in the NCAA Tournament game vs. Louisville is what ultimately keeps Cauley-Stein in Lexington for another season. With his decision to stay, I wonder what kind of domino effect it will have on other players. Does this mean Dakari Johnson is gone? What is the extent of that ankle injury?

Marcus lee1 Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?

This time of year has almost as much guessing as the recruiting process that brought these extraordinary athletes to UK. As of today, two players have decided to stay at Kentucky for another season and forego the NBA Draft. The simple fact that Marcus Lee had a “decision” to make has to reflect on the kind of prospect he can be. Right now, I see more of his all-state volleyball player rather than his basketball skills. Lee’s decision to stay was an obvious one, and I’m excited to watch him for another year.

 

Who Goes?

Julius Randle Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?

The most obvious defection is Julius Randle. He is a guaranteed lottery pick, and will more than likely not fall out of the Top-10. While I’ve heard comparison’s to LeBron, I rarely saw that at Kentucky. Yes, he can drive to the bucket at 6-foot-9, two-fifty and dunk all over you. However, Randle needs some handles and needs to develop that outside shot away from the paint.

James Young1 Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?

James Young is a freak athlete with a streaky outside shot. Coming out of high school, he had the reputation as a knock down outside shooter. In my opinion, Young was not a knock down shooter in his first year at UK. He can score in bunches, and has the size at 6’6” to be a match-up nightmare. If his shot is off, he doesn’t have a lot of bright spots in other areas of his game. His attacks at the basket are often through a lot of traffic, and his decision on when to drive or retreat needs to improve at the next level. And defense? Don’t get me started. Just watch the national title game if you need a refresher.

Dakari Johnson Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?

Maybe a surprise to some, but I believe Dakari Johnson will not return to Kentucky. With the additions of Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles, Kentucky will have a very loaded front-court. Especially wiith WCS and Lee returning to school, I think Johnson will declare. Johnson can claim that he was chosen to start over a veteran on a team that went to the championship game. He played very well in considerable minutes, and played his best on the biggest stage. I hope I’m wrong, but I think he’s gone.

Who Stays?

Alex Poythress 300x144 Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?

We already know about Cauley-Stein and Lee, so who will join them on the UK roster next season? My most obvious answer here is Alex Poythress. I really wonder if he will be the most highly ranked recruit to ever stay at a major program all four years. At this point, I can’t see Poythress leaving for the NBA until he graduates. While he did improve this past season, Poythress just hasn’t shown enough to get himself into the draft. The battle for playing time will be rough once again with a true power-forward Trey Lyles coming next season.

To Tough To Call

Andrew Harrison Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?

The only other players that have a legitimate shot at the NBA next season is Aaron and Andrew Harrison. Today, head coach John Calipari revealed his “tweak” that spurred his ‘Cats to an improbable national title shot. He had to get Andrew Harrison to pass the ball more. Andrew Harrison is not a true point guard, he’s not a freak athlete and he won’t blow by you. He’s very strong on the drive and made better decisions as the year progressed. His size will always be a problem for smaller guards, but smaller guards have seemed to be a problem for him as well. (See also: Russ Smith (LOU), Bryce Cotton (PROV), Shabazz Napier (UCONN).

Aaron Harrison2 Wildcats To Draft Cats: Who Goes and Who Stays?

Aaron Harrison is labeled as a shooting guard, but he didn’t shoot the ball exceptionally well all season. He was never a knock down shooter, even though his clutch shots in the NCAA Tournament made most question the size of his…uh..guts. Like his brother, he made a living off driving to the basket.

Why They Stay: NBA Draft projections do not favor either of the Harrison twins. Coming into Kentucky, they were labeled as lottery picks. Now, they are fringe first round selections. Contracts become non-guaranteed after the last pick of the first round. Would that be enough to scare the Harrison’s back to Kentucky?

Why They Go: A small rumor began days after the championship game that the Harrison’s didn’t believe they were showcased well at Kentucky and were leaning towards the NBA Draft. In my opinion, the system head coach John Calipari runs does not showcase any one person. The dribble drive is supposed to unleash every player, not just ones named “Harrison”.

With incoming competition from point guard Tyler Ulis and shooting guard Devin Booker, will that push the Harrison’s away from Lexington? They came into this past season as THE guys. Keep calm, the Harrison twins are coming. Next year, they will no longer be the new kids on the block. Ulis is a pure point guard that is an extremely willing passer despite having a deadly jumper. Devin Booker could be the first knock down shooter for Kentucky since Doron Lamb left in 2012. Both Ulis and Booker can and will compete for starter’s minutes. I don’t know if the Harrison’s want to run the risk of being shuffled to the bench.

 

 

 

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Kentucky One-And-Done’s Proven Productive In NBA http://www.straitpinkie.com/kentucky-2/kentucky-one-and-dones-proven-productive-in-nba/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/kentucky-2/kentucky-one-and-dones-proven-productive-in-nba/#comments Sat, 12 Apr 2014 00:24:50 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=104739 A recent article from Sports Illustrated attempts to examine each draft class since the “One-And-Done era began in 2006. Not shocking to anyone that hasn’t been living under a rock since 2008, Kentucky is well represented in the analysis. The article labeles players as stars, rotation players, bit contributors or busts. Just how well have the former ‘Cats fared? Remarkably well, actually.

Archie Goodwin Kentucky One And Dones Proven Productive In NBA

2013 saw only two ‘Cats enter in the NBA Draft, and only one of those players has been able to take the court. Archie Goodwin is labeled as a “bit contributor”. While he’s not apart of Phoenix’s starting rotation, he has been a solid addition to the Suns bench. Nerlens Noel is still recovering from his torn ACL that he suffered at Kentucky, and his grade is labeled as N/A. The  SI article does not list any “stars” for this draft class. The highest ranking player was former Kansas Jayhawk Ben McLemore, who was graded as a rotation player.

Anthony Davis Kentucky One And Dones Proven Productive In NBA

2012′s biggest star came straight from Lexington to the NBA, and has earned his star ranking. Anthony Davis is backing up his #1 overall draft pick status and has the highest ceiling of anyone in recent memory. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist makes the list as a rotation player for Charlotte. MKG has steadily improved his game since entering the league, and is finally on a team headed to the playoffs. Marquis Teague makes the list as a bit contributor, which may be somewhat generous. I’m not sure I could grade him as a “bust”, but Teague’s absence from the floor in Chicago, his D-League stints, and a trade to Brooklyn makes “contributor” seems generous at best.

Brandon Knight Kentucky One And Dones Proven Productive In NBA

In 2011, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter both make the list as rotation players. Knight blossomed in Detroit, but was traded to the Bucks after the Pistons acquired Brandon Jennings. A change of scenery hasn’t stopped Knight’s progression as one of the most explosive young guards in the league. Enes Kanter has always been a solid but quiet contributor for the Jazz. He is now labeled as their starting center. Both Knight and Kanter’s grades are hurt by the fact that neither player will be playing playoff basketball for the foreseeable future.

John Wall Demarcus Cousins Kentucky One And Dones Proven Productive In NBA

201o was Kentucky’s best year for producing the best crop of NBA talent. John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe were graded as stars. Wall is also living up to his #1 overall draft pick status and has the Wizards heading to the playoffs. With his emotions in check, Cousins is one of the best scoring centers in the league. Bledsoe’s star ranking was perhaps a stretch, despite the fact that he has anchored a serious playoff push for the Phoenix Suns. I see why the article names him a star, but I just haven’t felt like he has made the impacts of Wall, Bledsoe and Davis. Mixed in with all the great reviews 2010 had to offer, here comes the bad. The one Kentucky player that received a bust grade was Daniel Orton. His lack of playing time in Oklahoma City and being cut by the horrendously bad Philadelphia 76ers makes you think the grade is fair. Orton was scouted with a tremendously high upside with a huge body to boot. For one reason or another, Orton’s game just hasn’t cracked into that potential he was scouted with.

Terrence Jones Kentucky One And Dones Proven Productive In NBA

I personally believe the article has completely missed one Kentucky player. I would firmly place Terrence Jones on the list and give him the grade of at least a rotation player. Jones has played some dynamite basketball for Houston, and his a key cog in their push towards a deep run in the playoffs.

You can read the article and it’s entirety right here.

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Former Teammates Make NBA history (together) http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/former-teammates-make-nba-history-together/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/former-teammates-make-nba-history-together/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:43:12 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=104707 Last night was a historical one in the NBA for two players. Dirk Nowitzki passed Oscar Robinson on the all-time scoring list, placing him in the top 10.

steve nash dirk novitzki kobe bryant la lakers at 3522737 Former Teammates Make NBA history (together)Also last night, Steve Nash passed Mark Jackson to become the 3rd all-time leader in assist behind only Jason Kidd and John Stockton.

Take a look at the two names from last night. Nash. Nowitzki. Any casual NBA fan will know that Nash and Nowitzki played together for 6 season in Dallas, which leads to the question, ‘how many of Steve Nash’s assist, were to Dirk?’ According to ESPN Stats and Information, Steve Nash dished out 797 assist to Nowitzki in the regular season alone.

But wait, Jason Kidd who is the number two all-time assist leader also played in Dallas with Drik (4 seasons). The Kidd-Drik, combo lead to 753 assisted buckets. Dirk Nowitzki got over 1,500 of his baskets from the top 2 assist leaders in NBA history.

While Nash is starting to slow down, you can pretty much say it will be impossible for him to catch up to Kidd (12,091 assist) before his career ends, but Drik is just a couple hundred points away from bumping Hakeem Olajuwon (26,964 points) off the 9 spot.

Here’s to future hall of famers.

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Gorgui Dieng, Rookie of the Month. http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/gorgui-dieng-rookie-of-the-month/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/gorgui-dieng-rookie-of-the-month/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 13:49:06 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=104621 Former Louisville big man and current Timberwolves center, Gorgui Dieng has been named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month in the NBA.

hi res 4245a76cc23c606652bf519d128a7bcf crop north Gorgui Dieng, Rookie of the Month.

Louisville fans may remember Dieng as a player who seemed to barely understand the rules of college basketball as an incoming freshman, who quickly blossomed into one of the best big men in the game 2 years later, taking the cards all the way to the championship.

Dieng had seen limited minutes until the month of March and despite his great college career, seemed he would be nothing more than a 3rd string center in the NBA.

Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic had struggled with injuries through January and February and when coach Rick Adelman got word that Pekovic would be sidelined for most it not all of March, he decided to insert Dieng into the starting 5.

Dieng managed to pick up 5 double-doubles in 6 games, including a game where he pulled down 21 boards while scoring 22 points. Dieng is the only rookie in franchise history to record a 20-20 game. In his 14 games during the month of March, Dieng averaged 8.6 points and 8.3 boards.

Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin said about Dieng,

It’s been a great sighting. He got his opportunity, but what he’s doing with his opportunity is something special. Two or three years from now, he’s going to be a really special center in this league. But he’s been poised throughout the year.”

 

Gorgui Dieng 2013 nba draft fashion suit Gorgui Dieng, Rookie of the Month.Dieng was drafted 21st by the Utah Jazz and the decision by Minnesota to trade for him has obviously paid off. The question now becomes, with just a handful of games left, do the Timberwolves stick with their breakout rookie at center, or do they try to work Pekovic back in who had admitted that although cleared to play, he’s struggling with the pain.

I love basketball, you know? Whether it’s on the street, outside, whatever. I just love playing basketball, and I choose to be a basketball player. So I need to make it fun. -Gorgui Dieng

 

gorgui dieng pom topimage 140401 Gorgui Dieng, Rookie of the Month.

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Bengals George Iloka won’t dump with his maid at the house http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/bengals-george-iloka-wont-dump-with-his-maid-at-the-house/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/bengals-george-iloka-wont-dump-with-his-maid-at-the-house/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 02:50:43 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=104204 Safety George Iloka had 68 tackles in his rookie season with the Bengals. But, he’s having a tough time tackling something a lot of us have a tough time tackling. Taking care of his business with another female present. This female happens to be Iloka’s maid and he hit the TwitterVerse to talk about his conundrum.

“I gotta take a big ol sh*t but my cleanin lady still here.And she super nice so I dont even wanna do her like that by tearin up the bathroom”

iloka 500x151 Bengals George Iloka wont dump with his maid at the house

See, not even Iloka can take the Browns to the Super Bowl, so they can stop signing all of these players.

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Lil’ Buddy photobombs Joakim Noah after big win over Heat http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/lil-buddy-photobombs-joakim-noah-after-big-win-over-heat/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/lil-buddy-photobombs-joakim-noah-after-big-win-over-heat/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 02:48:52 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=104177 Man are the Bulls fun to watch right now. Watching this kid photobomb Joakim Noah after he dominated the Heat on Sunday afternoon is just as fun. Never in my life have I completely flip-flopped on a player like Noah. I hated him in college. Admittingly, because he was good and I didn’t like Florida. But now, as a Bull, there isn’t a player in the league that I enjoy watching as much as Noah. The whole Bulls team just feeds off his energy and it’s awesome to watch. Especially, when they down the star-laden Heat.

Anyways, here’s Lil’ Buddy photobombing. It’s awesome.

joakimnoahphotobomb 500x290 Lil Buddy photobombs Joakim Noah after big win over Heat

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76ers Sign High School Senior to 2 Day Contract http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/76ers-sign-high-school-senior-to-2-day-contract/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/76ers-sign-high-school-senior-to-2-day-contract/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:08:33 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=103790 KevinGrow 251x300 76ers Sign High School Senior to 2 Day Contract

Yesterday at approximately 5:30pm, the ink hit the paper and the Philadelphia 76ers officially signed Bensalem High School senior, Kevin Grow to a two-day contract.

Grow, who has down syndrome, served as his high school teams manager for four season. He saw action on the court in the final two games of the season where he scored 14 points, three 3-pointers and an epic buzzer beating shot.

With the contract signed, Grow will not be eating dinner in the players lounge, and get a couple of shots in during practice with his new NBA team mates, all in his new Sixers gear.

Before tonights game where the Sixers will host the Cleveland Cavilers, Grow will join his new team in all pre-game activities including getting ready for the game at his own locker where his custom Philadelphia 76ers jersey will hang.

A truly special moment for this high school senior.1625663 10152667269822516 1321969106 n 300x300 76ers Sign High School Senior to 2 Day Contract

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Kyrie Irving Wants Out Of Cleveland http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/kyrie-irving-wants-out-in-cleveland/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/pro-sports/kyrie-irving-wants-out-in-cleveland/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 01:10:32 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=103663 Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving Wants Out Of Cleveland

How can anyone really blame him? Reportedly, former No.1 overall draft pick Kyrie Irving has made it known that he wants out. If true, Irving would follow in the path of former No.1 overall pick LeBron James. The Cavs selected James with the first pick in the 2003 draft, only to see him leave the franchise and “take his talents to South Beach” where he is now a back-to-back champion. Since drafting Irving in 2010, the Cavs have a total record of 61-132 and currently sit three spots outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Many reports say Irving is “pouting” about the team’s lack of success. General Manager Chris Grant has been very aggressive with the roster, trying to bring some help to Irving and the Cavs. Cleveland won another No. 1 pick in the most recent draft and selected Anthony Bennett from UNLV. Only a couple of days ago, Bennett score in double figures for the very first time in his career. Grant also brought in veteran guard Jarrett Jack from Golden State. Jack has not taken command of the locker room and his production numbers are way off compared to his time as a Warrior. Perhaps the only decent moves Grant can account for was cutting ties with Andrew Bynum and signing Loul Deng from Chicago. Since Deng’s arrival, the Cavs are 4-6 in the 10 games he’s played. Even a blind squirrel can get a nut once in a while, right?

The only problem for Irving leaving Cleveland is his contract situation. He will have to force the hand of the Cavaliers if he wants out by 2015. He is due a contract extension in 2015, and has the right to deny the offer and become a restricted free agent. The Cavs could then match any trade and force Irving to demand the trade. If Irving accepts the qualifying offer for 2015-16, he would be payed $9.2 million. If he could suffer through another season, he could leave for anywhere he wanted (or stay in Cleveland) the following season.

The lack of direction and lack of chemistry with the current team and coaching staff would make anyone want out in a big hurry. If “The Big Three” in Miami decide to extend their contracts for a few more years, Kyrie Irving could take his talents down to South Beach to replace an aging Dwayne Wade. I don’t see Irving staying in Cleveland no matter how much they pay him. The money won’t replace winning and chasing an NBA championship.

 

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John Wall’s Circus Shot vs. Chicago http://www.straitpinkie.com/kentucky-2/john-walls-circus-shot-vs-chicago/ http://www.straitpinkie.com/kentucky-2/john-walls-circus-shot-vs-chicago/#comments Sun, 19 Jan 2014 03:05:27 +0000 http://www.straitpinkie.com/?p=103573  

John Wall 500x333 John Walls Circus Shot vs. Chicago

John Wall has done nothing but impress since returning from an injury plagued season last year. The former Kentucky point guard and No. 1 overall draft pick has his Wizards thinking about the playoffs heading into his 3rd year in the league. On Friday night, the Wizards were trailing the Chicago Bulls towards the end of the 3rd quarter. Wall escaped into the open court and was hacked by Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. attempted to foul and keep Wall from getting the shot up on the glass. As you can see, Wall somehow flips this backwards shot over his shoulder, off the glass and in. That’s just not fair.

 

Wall’s circus shot was apart of the Wizards 10-0 run that put Washington back in front. Wall and his Wizards went on to beat the Bulls and bring their record back to the .500 mark for the season.

John Wall John Walls Circus Shot vs. Chicago

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