Episode #19 of the BallinEurope/ heinnews co-hosted “Taking the Charge” podcast is now online. Bearing a nice Hungarian accent, our centerpiece interview this week will be of great interest to Spanish basketball fans, San Antonio Spurs nation and NBA prospect-watchers, as Team Hungary’s Adam Hanga joins David Hein and yours truly for a solid 20 minutes or so of chat on all manner of subjects.
After wowing international scouts attending the 2009 Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso and announcing his jump from Hungary’s domestic league to the Liga Endesa with Manresa for 2011-12, Hanga became the first-ever Hungarian national to be drafted in the NBA when the Spurs chose him at no. 59 in 2011.
So how did Vlade Divac spend his All-Star weekend? By hanging out with former Bull/Cavalier/Raptor/Gran Canaria/Tau Ceramica big man Kornél Dávid plus a buncha players from Hungary and old Yugoslavia!
As a prelude to the Hungarian National League all-star game between locals and foreign-born players, the country’s sole NBA product was reunited with his fellow members of the 1999 Team Hungary, which still represents the country’s last Eurobasket Final 16 appearance since 1969. Of the 10 to suit up for the Hungarian team against the former Laker/Hornet/King, five are still active in professional ball.
The Pride of Hungarian Basketball was recently spotted in Lithuania, where he was doing scouting work for the Phoenix Suns. Former Žalgiris Kaunas big man/Hungary’s first-ever NBA player Kornél Dávid sat in on the Caja Laboral Baskonia game in Kaunas last week and afterwards granted an interview to Žalgiris radio.
(Naturally, Dávid doesn’t give name names or spill any Suns secrets, but BiE believes Phoenix must be taking a gander on Martynas “Air” Pocius, a potentially brilliant fit for the system there…)
The native of Nagykanizsa (for those not in-the-know, for some reason this town of about 50,000 produces disproportionate numbers of athletes) came up through the Hungarian League ranks with Honvéd Budapest where he’d ultimately help the top club top the championship in 1994. Dávid moved on to Albacomp Székesfehérvár and led that team to the 1997-98 title.
So began Dávid’s boomeranging between Hungary and the United States, as he played out a number of short-term contracts between 1997 and 2001 with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors (inevitably) and Detroit Pistons.
In 2001, the Hungarian was back in Europe for good, first getting with IC Strasbourg in that year. His 2002-03 season with Žalgiris, which delivered an LKL championship, won Dávid the esteem of Greens fans forever; finally, he spent the remainder of his playing days in the ACB with Baskonia and Gran Canaria.
Below runs a version of the interview. An audio recording is available here, though unfortunately for Anglophones the English-language speech is overdubbed with Lithuanian. (It’s kinda too bad they used English; surely a running Lithuanian-Hungarian interpretation would be one of the great intellectual feats in recent history.)
From Allen Iverson on down, here’s a story from Australia that should turn off basketball players from outside The Continent to play in Europe … at least in certain countries (ahem).
Australian news outlet WA Today this morning carries a story by Matt Knight, now with the Perth Wildcats, about his travails last season with the Soproni Sördögök of the Hungarian basketball league.
Marvel at the apathy and incompetence as Knight details stories about lazy players, needle-happy doctors and 10-hour bus rides (BiE doesn’t really know how that’s possible from within Hungary, but hey).
BallinEurope so rarely gets to write about basketball issues from home base Hungary, so it was quite cheering to see a little coverage of László Ratgeber, new coach of Fenerbahçe Istanbul’s Euroleague Women’s team, on FIBA.com.
“Just ‘YouTube’ Laszlo Ratgeber and see what comes up,” encourages writer Jeff Taylor. Readers of this website know BiE needs no further encouragement and hoo boy, what a find Mr. Ratgeber makes after all. Click on the “Continue Reading” link below to witness the musical “stylings” of Ratgeber and the City Rebels.
Due to the Easter holiday and BiE’s concomitant departure from the relative civilization of Budapest to Lake Balaton, an area which has just discovered the internet, BallinEurope.com will most likely be post-free this weekend. (Um, except for this one.)
For BiE readers, there’s a special “Easter Egg,” if you will, below the break: A short clip of basketball highlights from last year’s holy Sunday. Happy Rites of Spring and/or Ēostre’s Day, one and all!
The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream yesterday announced they’d acquired the rights to BallinEurope fave Team Hungary/MiZo Pécs guard Dalma Iványi from the San Antonio Silver Stars for center Michelle Snow.
Iványi is currently good for a line of 11.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game in the Hungarian league; in 13 games’ worth of Euroleague Women play, she was good for 7.6 ppg and a sliver under 7.5 rpg. Iványi really crashed the sports headlines last week when she went for a triple-double of 24/11/10 against EL final four team Wisla Can-Pack.
A notable for Team Hungary in Eurobasket 2009 and former PAOK player Zoltán Horváth has died from injuries suffered in a car crash yesterday. He was 30.
After spending most of his career in Hungary’s domestic league, Horváth got with PAOK for the 2008-09 season, but had been playing this season with Falco KC Szombathely. Horváth put up huge numbers of 21.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in the Hungarian league this year.
In Eurobasket 2009, the big guy helped the surprising Magyars to an impressive showing in the tournament, helping them reach Division A for 2010 with a twelve-point, nine-rebound effort against Estonia in the competition’s final match.
Condolences and messages are requested to be left at the team’s Facebook page.