During the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center on Friday night, Brooklyn Nets stars Thaddeus Young and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sat courtside.
The two seemed jovial on- and off-camera. RHJ laughed as he gave his take on the high school stars on the floor in front of him:
"They’re looking real swaggy out there" -- RHJ, sitting courtside, on the Jordan Classic players.— Thomas Duffy (@TJDhoops) April 16, 2016
Young, much less of a jester than Hollis-Jefferson, talked about seeing the teenage talent at "his house," as the host worded it.
The 27-year-old seemed to like that.
"It's huge," Young, a Nike athlete, said. "The Jordan Game is huge for Brooklyn, you know. And to say that they’ve played at Barclays Center is huge. This is a great atmosphere."
Thad Young and RHJ sitting courtside. pic.twitter.com/avkfqCFcHi— Thomas Duffy (@TJDhoops) April 16, 2016
The kids also got a chance to practice at the Nets new HSS Training Center.
Jordan Brand Classic practices got underway this morning in Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/5fsjtSbEhK— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 13, 2016
Fun side note: In 2006, Young split JBC MVP honors with Kevin Durant. He dropped 28 points (second-most ever behind LeBron James at the time) on 12-of-20 shooting to go along with 13 boards (then the fourth-most in JBC history).
After the East beat the West, 131-117, Duke-bound guard Jayson Tatum -- hailed by DraftExpress as the projected No. 1 pick in 2017 -- told NetsDaily how special it was to play in Brooklyn.
"It’s the home of basketball," the 6’9" star from Saint Louis, Mo., said. "A lot of great, great players came out of here. Being a part of that is amazing."
While the lanky Tatum seems destined to go one-and-done after a year under Mike Krzyzewski, he’ll be tough for the Nets to land. A year from now, Brooklyn will have a first-round pick -- but it will be swapped with the Boston Celtics.
Other players, though, like future Kentucky guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk -- co-MVPs of the Jordan Classic -- might be available in the middle rounds.
The Nets could look significantly different in two years, especially given new general manager Sean Marks’ widespread changes throughout the organization. But Fox and Monk sure looked impressive on Friday and during Thursday's practice at Terminal 23.
"We’ve got fans like that down in Texas, but it’s more in football stadiums," Fox said of the Brooklyn crowd, per USA Today’s Joe DePaolo. "To perform in front of a crowd like this was amazing."
Fans in attendance particularly went wild for St. John’s-bound little fella Shamorie Ponds. The 6’1" Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn) star danced his way to 17 points (on 7-of-15 shooting), which included some seriously slick drives to the cup.
Similar to Isaiah Briscoe last year, Ponds quickly became the fan favorite.
"It meant a lot," he said. "I’m hometown guy. I was just trying to put on a show."
Indiana-bound guard Devonte Green -- yes, Danny Green’s brother -- grew up in Long Island. Unlike Ponds, though, is Long Island Lutheran High School star doesn’t seem too in-touch with his hometown.
"Yeah?" he said when told that the Nets were starting a D-League team in L.I. "Cool. I mean, I’ve never heard of it until just now."
Clearly, the Nets still have a lot of marketing work to do. After all, this kid’s brother is high-profile NBA player.
Green wants to make his own name, though.
"It’s kinda cool," he said of having a sibling in the Association. "If you’re playing 2K and somebody picks the Spurs, your brother’s right there. But it’s hard, ‘cause you always got a target on your back everywhere you go. Everybody knows who you are—which isn’t always a bad thing…I lost my name in fifth, sixth grade? Something like that. I just became ‘Danny Green’s little brother,’ and that was it."
The New Yorker’s family did come support him, however, which meant a lot – especially given Barclays Center’s proximity to his home.
"I had my family and friends come and watch, but just the experience of being on an NBA floor, playing in a big arena like this, is a blessing."
While his sharpshooting older brother tries to help the San Antonio Spurs reach the NBA Finals, Green will still be appreciating the chance to get on an NBA floor -- on his own.
"Practicing with the Spurs guys is definitely one of the coolest things. And you know, just being around NBA guys—when (Danny) was on the Cavs, dancing with LeBron and stuff. But this, playing here, is definitely up there."