MVPETEMickeal Named ABA's Top Player
Updated 11:35am ET Tuesday, April 16, 2002
By almostbasketball Staff
KANSAS CITY (April 15, 2002) - The Kansas City Knights were clearly the best team in the ABA this season, but picking the most outstanding player from a group of outstanding players was not so clear-cut.
Forward Pete Mickeal, who finished first on the Knights and fifth in the league in scoring, earned the ABA's Most Valuable Player Award for 2001-2002, it was announced Monday.
“Pete is a tough, hard working, hard playing player," said Knights' coach Kevin Pritchard. "He picks up his pail, puts on his hard hat and goes to work every time he steps on the court. There wasn’t one day, one game, one practice that Pete Mickeal didn’t bring his ‘A’ game in terms of effort, desire and will to win. He policed our team. When we were playing bad, he was one of two or three guys who always seemed to step up. He’s a huge part of why we won the championship.”
In a totally unscientific web poll on almostbasketball, Mickeal finished second to Jamel Thomas of the Phoenix Eclipse in voting by fans, 27%-22%.
KANSAS CITY (April 14, 2002) - Still giddy from winning the ABA championship on Friday night, the Kansas City Knights fell behind the ABA All-Stars Whose Names Were Never Announced By The League Like They Said They Would Be 36-33 after one quarter Sunday afternoon at Kemper Arena.
Even though the game was an exhibition that wouldn't have counted against their 24-game win streak, the Knights regrouped behind 46 points by Maurice Carter and won anyway, 161-138, putting paid to the second ABA season.
Then again, this being the ABA, "putting paid" is probably not the correct phrase to use. Okay, it ended the season, less than 48 hours after some 200 people watched Kansas City defeat Southern California 118-113 to win the championship in Las Vegas.
The ABA, which didn't even announce the Knights' win on its website until Sunday, didn't announce any expansion teams for next season, though it had originally said it hoped to, and didn't announce which players would take part in the All-Star Game, though it had promised to.
Now an article in Sunday's Kansas City Star quotes Knights' owner Jim Clark as saying he hopes the league would have all its teams in place by June 1 and a schedule announced in July to facilitate marketing of a third ABA season.
Write this down as we sit here on April 14: The ABA has no chance of announcing by June 1 which teams would make up its lineup for a third season, no chance of releasing a schedule in July, and if it does take the court in November or December, neither the lineup nor the schedule will bear a resemblance to anything announced in June or July.
LAS VEGAS (April 12, 2002) - In a season of turmoil for the reincarnated American Basketball Association, the Kansas City Knights were a model of consistency.
The Knights capped a magical season Friday night, defeating the Southern California Surf 118-113 to win the league tournament championship game at Cox Pavillion.
Maurice Carter scored 26 points to lead the Knights, and teammate Pete Mickeal was named the tournament MVP as Kansas City made it a clean sweep of the last two-plus months of the season.
Tyson Wheeler's 26 points paced the Surf, while former NBA'er Oliver Miller scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but neither was enough to keep the Knights from winning their 24th consecutive game.
Southern California, the last team to beat the Knights (back on February 2), led 25-24 after one quarter, but the Knights regrouped and led 62-59 at the break.
The Surf grabbed the lead at the end of three, 85-82, but down the stretch, the Knights pulled away to beat Southern California for the seventh consecutive time.
2 For the Show
LAS VEGAS (April 12, 2002) - One year to the day after a disappointing and controversial loss in the ABA semifinals, the Kansas City Knights get a chance to redeem themselves tonight when they play the Southern California Surf at 7:30pm MT at Cox Pavillion for the second ABA championship.
The Knights won their 23rd consecutive game Thursday night, coming back from ten points down to defeat the Las Vegas Slam 110-101 behind Rex Walters' perfect shooting night.
Walters went 6-for-6 from the floor, including 5-for-5 on three-pointers, and scored 10 points in 14 first-half minutes as Kansas City rallied to lead 64-56 at halftime.
Maurice Carter led the Knights with 22 points, as Kansas City put six players in double figures.
Gerald Paddio led the Slam with 30 points, but it was the loss of Cedric Ceballos (18 points in 18 minutes) to a first-half knee injury that spelled the death of Las Vegas' inside game, and, eventually, their season.
The Surf, who finished second to the Knights in the regular-season standings, got 23 points from Brandon Williams and Tyson Wheeler added 15 as Southern California beat a determined but outmanned Phoenix Eclipse squad 93-90 in the other semifinal.
Kevin Simmons had 21 points and Horacio Llamas 20 for Phoenix, but the Eclipse, reduced to seven players in another one of the ABA's mysteries, couldn't keep up with the Surf.
The Knights' excellent fan website, knightsfans.com, will have continuing coverage of tonight's championship game, which, as we all know, will not be televised.
The Surf were the last team to beat the Knights, 122-120 in Anaheim on February 2nd, but since then Kansas City has beaten Southern California six consecutive times. Half of those games were decided by 6 points or fewer (including two overtime games), but the Knights won the other three by 10, 11, and 27 points.
Look for Kansas City to put the cap on a stellar season with a hard-fought, close win tonight to lift the trophy that eluded them a year ago. [MORE...]
LAS VEGAS (April 11, 2002) - The Cox Pavillion in Las Vegas will be the site for tonight's semifinals of the second ABA Tournament.
The Southern California Surf and Phoenix Eclipse will meet in the first semifinal at 6pm MT. The teams split their ten meetings this season, but the Surf won twice in the final week to hold off the Eclipse's run at second place in the standings.
In what promises to be perhaps the most entertaining game of the tournament, look for the Surf to prevail and move into Friday's final.
Kansas City, riding a 22-game winning streak, plays homestanding Las Vegas in the second semifinal at 8:00pm MT.
The Knights went 3-0 against the Slam during the regular season. Look for Reggie Theus' bunch to make a valiant attempt, but to fall short as the Kansas City machine rolls into the final.