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By Jeff Ermann and Special to The Baltimore Sun | June 27, 2013
Editor's note: Each week, InsideMdSports.com provides this blog with a Maryland recruiting feature that previously appeared as premium content on its site. In the basketball world, there's always a 'next big thing.' Thon Maker fits that label on a couple of levels. A 7-foot center who's only a rising sophomore, Maker became a widely known commodity before he hit high school -- an early teen with legit NBA size combined with eye-popping agility tends to command attention.
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By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | June 26, 2013
Alex Len was 13 years old, a gangly teenager whose body had been shooting up a startling pace from a young age. As he practiced gymnastics at a local school in the small, rural coal-mining town in Ukraine where he lived, Len was motioned over by a basketball coach walking by the room. "He told me, 'You don't belong there,'" Len recalled with a smile one afternoon last week. The coach invited him to practice with the basketball team. Having been told he was too tall for gymnastics and soccer, Len soon embarked on a journey that could reach a remarkable crossroad Thursday night, some seven years later and thousands of miles from where he lived with his mother, older sister, grandparents and an aunt.
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Kevin Cowherd | June 23, 2013
Sometimes you wonder what NBA talent evaluators see with all the film they watch and all the pre-draft workouts they conduct and all the fancy scouting metrics they use. Sometimes you think: OK, fine. So-and-so is projected as a top lottery pick. But did anyone actually watch the kid play over a full season? Case in point: Alex Len is projected by some to be the No. 1 pick in Thursday's draft. The former Maryland big man is one of the 10 players invited to the "green room," where top prospects hang with their families and agents and stare nervously at their cell phones until their name is called and the serial bro-hugging can begin.
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By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | June 22, 2013
After an X-ray taken of Alex Len's painful left ankle in early March came back negative, the the former Maryland center told his coaches that the pain began to decrease, a university spokesman said Saturday in explaining why Len didn't undergo an MRI until nearly a month later. The treatment by the school's training staff of Len - the potential No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft - was called into question during an interview the former Terp conducted recently with NBA analysts Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons as part of their regular "Job Interview" segment with potential lottery picks.
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June 21, 2013
Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus and editor Matt Bracken weigh in on the three biggest topics of the past week in Maryland sports. Is Alex Len better off not being the top pick in the 2013 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and instead going a few spots down to Charlotte, Phoenix or New Orleans? Don Markus: Being the No. 1 overall pick certainly carries a status that follows a player through an NBA career and could ultimately carry a stigma if things don't go well.
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By Ryan Hood and The Baltimore Sun | June 19, 2013
Alex Len sat down with ESPN's Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons for a mock job interview as part of Grantland's The Full NBA Job Interview series. The 11-minute interview covered numerous topics , from Len's roots in gymnastics, his transition to America from Ukraine, Ukrainian women and his first potential purchase with an NBA contract The trio also analyzed some game film of the former Maryland star. Simmons likened Len to Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert in terms of ability when he came out of Georgetown.  Len says he's done his research on Hibbert.
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By Don Markus and The Baltimore Sun | June 18, 2013
There was some thought that Alex Len's stock could have gone up even higher had the former Maryland center been able to attend private on-court workouts for a number of NBA teams picking at or near the top of next week's NBA draft. It now appears that the 7-foot-1 Len could become the No. 1 pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers despite being sidelined since early April after undergoing surgery to repair a partial stress fracture in his left ankle. At least one mock draft has Len going ahead of former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel.
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By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | June 17, 2013
Except for the fact that his left foot is encased in a protective boot, and that most of his training is done sitting down, little has changed for former Maryland center Alex Len as he gets ready for next week's NBA draft. The 7-1 center, who gave up his remaining college eligibility following his sophomore season with the Terps , seems to be working just as hard, if not harder, despite a partial stress fracture in his left ankle that was discovered in early April. When he is not travelling around the country interviewing with NBA teams in advance of the June 27 draft, Len is at Comcast Center going through hours of grueling, tedious exercises geared toward strengthening his upper body, his hands and his healthy right leg. Though the routines are much different than when he was fully upright and playing for Maryland, the approach Len took Monday was much the same as it had been ever since he showed up a tall skinny teenager from Ukraine in August 2011.
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By Daniel Gallen and The Baltimore Sun | June 11, 2013
Orioles sixth-round pick Alex Murphy, a catcher from Calvert Hall, passed his physical Tuesday and is scheduled to leave for Sarasota, Fla., on Monday after contract terms are hammered out and approved. Murphy, speaking by phone from a suite at Camden Yards as the Orioles took on the Los Angeles Angels, said he couldn't disclose the details of the contract. The slot bonus money for the 189th pick is $218,500. “It's starting to get real,” Murphy said. “I'm just going through the process and taking the steps.” Murphy is the first Orioles draft pick to take his physical.
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By Daniel Gallen and The Baltimore Sun | June 7, 2013
Growing up near Mount Airy, Alex Murphy frequented Harry Grove Stadium to watch Frederick Keys games. A lifelong Orioles fan, Murphy would make the trek to Camden Yards to see the big league team play as well. Now, after being drafted by the Orioles in the sixth round with the No. 189 pick of baseball's first-year player draft Friday, the Calvert Hall catcher has a chance to join the players in the same ballparks he visited in his childhood. “It took the breath out of me,” Murphy said in a telephone interview after he was chosen.
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