EuroBasket 2015: Romania the odd team out on the final night +++ Gran Canaria gets the Phantom treatment for USA vs Slovenia +++ TrueHoop breaks down how David Blatt will work with LeBron James +++ FIBA World Cup Preview: Group D +++ BiE’s editor takes the ice bucket challenge, nominates Basketball Ireland boss +++ Žydrūnas Ilgauskas considering a comeback? Wow LeBron has power +++ The Dream Team’s children +++ Highlights: Belgium beat Belarus, Germany stay alive +++ EuroBasket 2015: Bosnia, Belgium, Israel, and Latvia lock up spots +++ First Person: Follow the FIBA World Cup through BiE’s eyes +++

AUDIO: Team GB’s Rachael Vanderwal on her move to Spain

Rachael Vanderwal in action for the UL Huskies. Pic: The Courtside Collective

Great Britain international Rachael Vanderwal is leaving the Irish women’s league after eight years to go pro with Gernika Bizkaia of Liga Femenina in Spain. We spoke to the point guard about her big move, listen below.

At 31, Vanderwal is entering the professional ranks pretty late in her career. Having won a string of league titles in Ireland, including a treble in the 2012/13 season, Vanderwal is taking a big step up here with newly promoted Gernika. You can check out some quick highlights of her in action in that treble season here.

The former Boston University Terrier, who original hails from Canada but qualifies for Team GB through parentage, helped her national squad qualify for EuroBasket 2015 earlier this summer.


Rudy Fernandez signs on for four more years with Real Madrid

Real Madrid announced Thursday that Rudy Fernandez will stay with the Euroleague powerhouse for the next four seasons. The deal will see Fernandez stay with Real through to the end of the 2017/18 season, at which stage the former Portland Trail Blazer and Denver Nugget will be 33.

Fernandez has made the All-Euroleague first team in each of the past two seasons, winning the ACB title and Copa del Rey along with two trips to the Euroleague championship game. Fernandez averaged 13.2 points last seasons, shooting 89.1 per cent from the line, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 31 Euroleague games for Los Blancos last season.


Japanese newspaper blocked from bj-league games

Ed Odeven of The Japan Times interviewing Michael Parker a four-time bj-league scoring champion.

Last season the bj-league, one of two rival professional leagues in Japan, removed The Japan Times’ accreditation. The ban looks set to be extended to the 2014/15 season. Emmet Ryan spoke with Ed Odeven of The Japan Times, author of the article that led to the bj-league’s decision, about the sanctions and The Japan Times’ response.

A story by journalist Ed Odeven in The Japan Times on a proposed defection by Kyoto Hannaryz from the bj-league to the rival NBL led to the bj-league withdrawing accreditation from the Times. The league demanded an apology specific concessions from the paper to re-claim its accreditation, concessions the paper was unwilling to make.

The bj-league is one of two top-tier leagues in Japan along with the NBL. The bj-league began as a 6 team competition and is expanding to 22 team league for the coming season. The Japan Times, an English language daily and website, has been barred from covering the league directly since Odeven’s article.

There now follows a question and answer session between this site and Odeven on the current state of proceedings and his position on the Kyoto story. Odeven’s answered our questions by email and have been edited for length.
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Fearless FIBA World Cup Wildcard predictions

Tomorrow is the day we find out who the four wild card participants will be in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. BiE’s editor, Emmet Ryan, makes his call on who he thinks will get the tickets to Spain.

First off, I hate the wild card system. Merit should win out but the system is what it is. With that in mind I’m making these picks based on who I think WILL get in not who SHOULD get in. Without further ado, your four FIBA World Cup wild cards will be…

China – FIBA would love to give them a bloody nose but they can’t. They just can’t. They aren’t strong, they could well be the worst team in Spain, yet there is no doubt they get the ticket.

Brazil – They did an awful job at the Tournament of the Americas but the weakness of their roster in Venezuela strongly implied they knew they’d be in Spain either way due to their hosting the next Olympics and being a big market. They’re in.

Turkey – At no point have I flip-flopped on Turkey but to me this is a straight up fight of financial might between Turkey and Greece for the third slot. The Greeks have narrowed it, for most of the time I had Turkey well in front, but I think Turkey gets the ticket.

Finland – Yes, Finland. Their population is similar to Ireland’s, their performance at EuroBasket was good but not ‘there’s no way you can deny them a wild card’ good, and they don’t have the straight up cash money of Greece or Turkey. What they have is 40,000 Finns living in Spain and, far more importantly, the sheer muscle of Rovio. The Angry Birds game developers have promised FIBA a whole lot of mobile advertising space for a tournament that could do with every ounce of advertising exposure it can get. The Angry Birds are the game-changer here. Prior to this week, I didn’t give Finland a prayer. Now I say they take the flight.

Who do you think gets a wild card? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Paddy Power shouldn’t play ball with Kim Jong-Un

Paddy Power pulling marketing stunts is nothing new but there’s something about their plan to stage a basketball match in North Korea that makes Emmet Ryan feel rather uneasy.

Better get the full disclosure out of the way already. For three and a half years I worked in the online betting industry. Paddy Power were not rivals of the company that employed me but it would be remiss of me not to mention this due to any potential conflicts.

Paddy Power will stage a basketball game in Pyongyang in the new year with a team of non-North Koreans taking on the North Korean national team. The PR stunt comes from the people who brought you a pile of headline grabbing but mostly socially harmless escapades over the past decade. Dennis Rodman is likely to be involved because the Worm needs the money. Lots of people will be up in arms and Paddy Power will get the reaction they want.

None of this is surprising. The only issue really left to be decided is whether conventional basketball rules will be used or the freaky ones conceived by the North Koreans back in the 1990s, Kim Jong-Un and Kim Jong-Il were both big fans of the Jordan era Bulls. That’s where the Worm comes in. Rodman went to Pyongyang with Vice magazine earlier this year, generating a ton of publicity for all parties, and Paddy Power later brought him to the Vatican when the papal succession was under way. That didn’t grab as many headlines so the bookmaker is bring the Worm, or at least his game, back to the place he made the most noise in 2013 to get a big reaction.
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European Leagues leaving streaming money on the table

shut-up-and-take-my-moneyWith Viasat Sport’s streaming deal being limited to Sweden, BiE looks at how national leagues can gain more by working together on international broadcasting.

Many BiE readers already watch national basketball leagues online. Few of you do it legally. Most of you would like to. LiveBasketball.TV (full disclosure, we’re an affiliate site) do an admirable job in covering domestic leagues but they are limited by the rights available to them. With limited coverage on TV networks for European leagues outside of their home market, fans in other territories are forced to root out a feed.
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Crisis in Spain: Player strike averted, ACB playoffs to continue as planned

Phew, that was close…

Typically, it’s a bad sign when a sports page follows up a headline story with a photo like this:

(image courtesy

However, good news from Spain is the order of the day today, as ACB officials have announced that at least a temporary agreement is in place to avert a player strike scheduled to begin today which would have halted the Spanish League’s basketball playoffs from continuing further.

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End of an era as Zalgiris Kaunas formally announces resignation of Mad Vlad

All signs indicate that it’s the end of an era, but it just doesn’t seem real. Yesterday, a patriarchal figure over one of Europe’s most prestigious and historically significant organizations officially stepped down from his high post as observers speculated about what millions of followers could expect next.

No, BallinEurope’s not talking about this guy, but rather that bombastic owner of Žalgiris Kaunas, Vladimir Romanov. Media (outside of Lithuania, that is) will surely be sad to see Romanov, a man who has given us so many ludricrous bizarre outright insane memorable moments in his nearly four-year tenure as The Boss.

BiE for one, will certainly be ever nostalgic for the unwarranted proclamations of genius; for the firings mid-championship series or anytime, really; for the medical recommendations; for the paranoid calling out of the blogosphere; for ordering player minutes like to-go items at the drive-thru; and surely much much more.

Just to reinforce that “le roi est mort,” the club issued a formal report late yesterday reaffirming Romanov’s resignation from board and chairman positions of Zalgiris.

Ran the message: Continue Reading…


Simone Pianigiani to leave Fenerbahce Ulker … for $1 million

Simone Pianigiani

Pianigiani: That’s one million…

The whispers from the Fenerbahçe Ülker fan base have become mutterings which have become grousing over the course of a season which their team entered as favorites to take the whole enchilada: The head of Simone Pianigiani’s head is being called for. Fortunately (for the coach), two glaring obstacles stand in the way.

Firstly comes the question of — believe it or not — economics. Beyond a handful of big deals given to players in the off-season, Pianigiani was given a contract of two years plus a third-year option. Showing the Italian the door right now would cost the Turkish team $4 million. While the contract does account for payment by installment, Fenerbahçe would still have to immediately pony up $1 million — and what European club has that kind of money lying around in 2013?

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