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Georgia Tech #ProJackets Basketball Report

THE FLATSJose Alvarado leads Puerto Rico into semifinals of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament … Atlanta United channels “Grand Theft” Alvarado in scoring game-winning goal … Alvarado has his contract option accepted by the Pelicans as he competes with Puerto Rico in the Olympic qualifying tournament … Josh Okogie may be headed for free agency … more in this week’s #ProJackets Report.

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ALVARADO LEADS PUERTO RICO WITHIN TWO WINS OF OLYMPIC BERTH

After dropping 13 consecutive games in the head-to-head matchup, Puerto Rico finally defeated Italy 80-69 Thursday night to win Group B.

The rabid 12,519 souls at Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico, were treated to a fun, back-and-forth affair (that included 7 ties and 10 lead changes) as both teams fought until the final minutes before the boricuas pulled away midway through the fourth.

With the game tied at 57 at the end of the third quarter, Puerto Rico came out stronger in the final stanza and uncorked an 11-2 run to take control of the action.

Jose Alvarado got the fans on their feet with an and-1 and a three-pointer, and 2 minutes later when Italy had pulled within 4 points, connected on another long-range strike to keep the Europeans at bay.

Puerto Rico closed the game on a 12-5 run with Gian Clavell and George Conditt IV joining the party.

Alvarado (27 efficiency) fed off the home crowd and in turn they helped rattle an incredibly poised Italian squad. The New Orleans Pelicans guard scored 21 of his 29 in the second half, including 12 in the fourth to secure the win for Puerto Rico.

He shot 10-for-15 from the field, including 7-for-10 from beyond the arc, and added 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in a performance for the ages.

Puerto Rico will now face Mexico in the Semi-Finals, with the winner securing a ticket to Sunday’s OQT Final.

Italy, who lost to the boricuas after 13 consecutive head-to-head wins dating back to 1964, will now go up against Lithuania to determine the other finalist.

Read more from FIBA Basketball

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JOSE “GRAND THEFT” ALVARADO TRANSCENDS BASKETBALL

When Atlanta United forward Jamal Thiaré scored the sneaky winning goal against Toronto FC Saturday night, several NBA fans noted its eerie similarity to Pelicans guard Jose “Grand Theft” Alvarado’s trademark come-from-behind steals.

Sunday morning, the three-year New Orleans guard offered a seal of approval, writing, “I love it” with a crying laughing emoji.

When scoring the viral goal, Thiaré crept behind Toronto goalie Luka Gavran and pounced on the ball after Gavran softly rolled the ball out of his own goalie box.

Alvarado is similarly known for his sneaky steals, where he trails a ball-handler and steals the ball from behind.

Among the many examples, here’s one from March 2022 against former Trail Blazers guard Kris Dunn.

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REPORTS SAY OKOGIE HEADED FOR FREE AGENCY

The Phoenix Suns entered the 2024 offseason with four players who had decisions before them. Eric Gordon, Drew Eubanks, Damion Lee, and Josh Okigie signed with Phoenix last summer, doing so on two-year deals that included a player option. June 29th is the deadline to do so. Stay and remain on the veteran minimum. Opt out and test the free agent market.

Josh Okogie, who has played the last two seasons with the Suns, has made up his mind now that he has to choose between joining free agency and staying with Phoenix. Like Eric Gordon and Drew Eubanks before him, Okogie is opting out.

Okogie came to the Phoenix Suns after showcasing his non-stop motor for four seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. We knew he didn’t have much of an offensive game — his 40.3/27.5/75.8 splits with Minny were a clear indicator of that — but his defensive prowess is where he made his mark. The trend continued with the Suns.

More from Bright Side of the Sun

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PELICANS PICK UP CONTRACT OPTION ON ALVARADO

The New Orleans Pelicans have decided to exercise their team options on Jose Alvarado and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, according to reports on Friday.

Alvarado’s $1.99 million salary for next season remains non-guaranteed but the 6-foot point guard’s roster spot appears quite safe. Next offseason, the 26-year old becomes an unrestricted free agent provided the Pelicans don’t work out an extension.

The 23-year old joined New Orleans on a two-way contract last November after being released by Houston and received a standard deal in February. Like Alvarado, Robinson-Earl is also set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025.

More from Crescent City Sports


 

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