Oct
0

Round-up: Nanterre perfect, Siena can shoot, Neptunas fall in OT

Reigning champions Nanterre maintained their perfect start in France. In Italy, Montepaschi Siena showed they won’t lose many games for lack of shooting and in the VTB United League it was a heartbreaking debut for Lithuania’s Neptunas.

They were the Cinderella story of European Basketball last year but JSF Nanterre has begun the 2013-14 LNB season like seasoned champions. Having won the title as 8th seeds in the playoffs last year, Nanterre now hold a 3-0 record in domestic action on the back of an impressive 85-58 home win over Olympique Antibes. Xavier Corosine led the Euroleague newcomers in scoring with 18 points. Elsewhere in France, Vincent Collet’s Strasbourg topped Elan Chalon 78-68 on the back of 16 points and 8 boards from Alexis Ajinca.

Last year Montepaschi showed there was life after Bo McCalebb. This season they seem intent on proving they can keep on scoring after losing Bobby Brown. The reigning LegaBasket champions had five players in double digits as they rolled to a 97-82 win over Cremona. Spencer Nelson had 12 points and 15 rebounds for Siena while Karl English led all scorers with 22. Milan will have plenty to worry about due to the manner of their 88-80 loss at Brindisi. Milan were wholly dependent on Keith Langford (29 points, 7 rebounds) and David Moss (19 points, 7 rebounds) on offence as a more balanced Brindisi side took the win.

Game Tape focussed on the VTB United League yesterday where CSKA Moscow got off to a winning start with an 80-63 win over VEF Riga. Neptunas, the new arrivals in the league, came close to taking a win in their first outing. The Lithuanian side eventually succumbed to Avomash Mariupol of Kazakhtan in overtime, going down 96-86. Lietuvos Rytas fared better in their opener with a 70-66 win at Novgorod.

Oct
5

Round-up: Siena take Supercoppa, fight in Lithuania, Nanterre and Strasbourg squeeze out wins

Four Euroleague teams returned to domestic action on Tuesday night. In Italy, Montepaschi Siena took the Supercoppa, while there were league wins for JSF Nanterre and Strasbourg IG in France. Lietuvos Rytas also won in the LKL but their victory at Juventus was marred by a brawl.

After a one and done display in the Euroleague qualifiers, Cimberio Varese looked to get one over on Italian kingpins Montepaschi Siena in the Supercoppa on Tuesday night. The EuroCup outfit managed to hold a one point lead at the break. Aubrey Coleman, 23 points and 7 rebounds, and Achille Polonara, 17 points and 7 rebounds, did the heavy lifting for Varese but they lacked the strength in depth to stay in the contest down the stretch.  Siena bust them open with a big final quarter. That 29-19 final frame turned a competitive clash into a comfortable 81-66 victory for the Italian champions. Joshua Coleman led Siena in scoring with 18 points and picked up 4 boards while Daniel Hackett had 14 points and 6 rebounds.

There was no drama on the scoreboard, although plenty on the floor, as Lietuvos Rytas blew out Juventus in the LKL. Fresh off their success in the Euroleague qualifiers, the Vilnius club stormed to a 15 point lead by the end of the first quarter and the gap had grown to 47-27 by half-time. Dirk Bauermann’s side eventually secured a 92-67 road win but not before this went down…

Continue Reading…

Jul
3

Back to the NBA? Bobby Brown works out with Knicks

Wishes of good luck go out to Bobby Brown today, but BallinEurope must say the electrifying point guard would be missed in Euroleague 2013-14 should his current plan be successful.

Yahoo Sports reports this morning that the PG, with Montepaschi Siena last season, was given a workout session with the New York Knicks yesterday; the team is reportedly interested in a third point guard to be slotted on the depth chart behind Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Marc Stein of ESPN reported two weeks ago that the Knicks were among three teams possibly interested in Brown, with the others listed as the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers.

In scoring 18.8 points in 24 Euroleague games, Brown won the EL’s Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy; in acknowledging his award-winning season, the big league noted that “He scored in double figures in 22 of his team’s 24 Euroleague games, reached the 20-point mark on 10 occasions and got to 30 points twice. As a crowning moment, Brown tied the Euroleague’s single-game scoring mark for the century with 41 points in a come-from-behind 92-98 victory over Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul early in the Top 16 round.” Brown also dished out 5.3 assists per game.

In Italy in 2012-13, Brown helped lead Siena to another Serie A title with averages of 17.3 points and 3.5 assists per over 49 total games.

In a European career starting in 2007, Brown has had stints with Alba Berlin, Asseco Prokom, Aris Thessaloniki and EWE Baskets Oldenburg before coming to Siena. He last played in North America in 2010 with the Clippers.

Can’t wait to see how he gets on with Metta World Peace, eh…?

Continue Reading…

Jul
2

Backcourt shuffling in Italy with Diener, Green, Hosley and … Bo McCalebb?

Diener wanted in Milano

The rosters are shuffling and the rumor mill is grinding in Italy, with a pair of Serie A clubs focusing on the all-important playmaker position.

Sportando reported yesterday that Olimpia Milano, no strategy to big-deal free-agency moves, was *this* close to finally signing Bryant Dunston and will subsequently be ready to ink point guard Travis Diener. Milano executives have reportedly been attempting to woo Diener over since the close of the regular season, as his Italian passport would not count him against non-European roster quotas.

But Milano’s ambitions don’t stop there and the team is also apparently highly interested in forming a 1-2 punch at the point guard spot by buying out Bo McCalebb from Fenerbahce Ulker. McCalebb has one more year remaining on his Turkish contract, but speculation is that the club will be starting from ground zero this season after the catastrophe of 2012-13 and may sell Bo to the highest bidder – of course, that’s up to new coach Zeljko Obradovic…

Continue Reading…

Jun
4

Thrilla in Siena: Montepaschi-Cimberio Varese Serie A semifinal game four

Game of the week last week? How about last night’s game four of the Montepaschi Siena-Cimberio Varese semifinals series in Italy’s Serie A? National powerhouse and this tournament’s no. 5 seed Siena found themselves nearly on the ropes at 10 minutes to play before slowly coming back with a 24-13 run. With 60 seconds left, it was the visiting no. 1 seed from Varese up, 75-74.

As you’d imagine, Bobby Brown and quarterfinals hero Daniel Hackett played key parts for the defending champs down the stretch … though perhaps not *quite* in the way you’d imagine.

Courtesy Basket Inside – and kudos to them for posting – here’s that how that final 60 seconds of game clock played out.

Continue Reading…

May
0

Fans of Italian club Brescia create ultimate in free-throw distraction tactics

Attempting to distract the free-throw shooter into missing the gimme has been proven ineffective perhaps millions of times since Dr. Naismith set down the rules – though this showing put forth by Legadue’s Basket Brescia Leonessa fans could well be the finest effort with the stratagem to date … ah, Italy!

Continue Reading…

May
4

Siena-Milano series highlights feature Bourousis, Fotsis, Moss, Sanikidze, Mensah-Bonsu and especially Daniel Hackett

Once again, Montepaschi Siena survives to play another day: The Euroleaguers managed to win the decisive game seven of the Serie A quarterfinal series at no. 4 seed Armani Milano, 90-80, last night. Below runs an impressive highlight clip of the top 10 plays from the series produced by the Italian league and starring J.R. Bremer, Ioannis Bourousis, Malik Hairston, David Moss (with quite the awesome block), Antonis Fotsis (who reciprocates on Moss), Viktor Sanikidze and, naturally, Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

Daniel Hackett also puts in an appearance within the ‘clip, but with his game-high 25 points in the decider showing his ridiculous range making him a threat from anywhere on the floor, this Serie A veteran gets a YouTube all his own…

Continue Reading…

Apr
12

Euroleague MVP, All-Euroleague first team: The BallinEurope ballot

BallinEurope tries to take the responsibilities of Euroleague media partnership seriously and so spent way too much time deliberating over the vote for this season’s all-Euroeleague team/MVP awards. Having been given through last Friday – and after the result of the Olympiacos-Anadolu Efes game was in – to fill out the ballot, let’s just say BiE stayed up late determining just the right order for submission. One can’t take this stuff too seriously, can one?

Of course, every year, the thoughtful media member must first define “Most Valuable Player” Should this title be taken to mean simply the best player within the given association for the given year? Or perhaps the value of Player X to his *team*, i.e. consideration of how much worse X’s squad would have been without him, is most important – though this contention relies on speculation rather than the fact of accumulated stats.

Questions upon questions: What about the defensive contributions which elude statistical measure? Or those intangibles of leadership that a cagey veteran like Vassilis Spanoulis (or Sarunas Jasikevicius, for seven-minute bursts, for that matter) adds to a successful side? And on this note – How much emphasis and importance should be placed on participation with a winning team? The All-Euroleague first team these days has tended to include five players from Top Four teams, rewarding winning with an individual nod. But wasn’t someone having enough of a banner year to get a Montepaschi Siena or Caja Laboral Baskonia much further into the EL season than expected?

You see the can of worms BiE had opened; it’s like this every year.

Regardless, BiE’s ballot is in and after a subsequent weekend of watching more hoops, an examination of the thinking process. The Euroleague ballot is set in the now-fairly standard format: Media partners may vote for five players, with five points awarded to each voter’s no. 1 choice, four to the no. 2, three to the no. 3, etc. Once again, the ‘League is allowing free voting: Any five players regardless of position may be chosen. (At least that part was easy…)

So here’s how BiE’s ballot looked. Continue Reading…

Apr
1

Poll: Could Kobe be “a reverse Beckham” and play in Italy?

Mark Spears of Yahoo Sports was talking more than a bit off-the-cuff when speculating about Kobe Bryant’s career beyond the Los Angeles Lakers, but some in Italy (and maybe China?) will certainly keep on keeping the faith.

The belief in Kobe someday playing in Italy, a place he calls “my home, “where my dream of playing in the NBA started,” “where I learned the fundamentals, learned to shoot, to pass and to [move] without the ball,” is a long-cherished one in Europe – heck, even Virtus Roma owner Claudio Sabatini believed back in 2011 despite some serious evidence to the contrary…

It seems like a no-brainer, a match made in heaven: The 37-year-old bringing Roma or some other Italian side a glory year a la Arvydas Sabonis. But would that guy with a lot of mileage – A *lot*. How much? Try 1,454 regular-season and playoff games and counting, putting him no. 2 among active NBA players behind Jason Kidd, plus time with Team USA – on his odometer want to play a couple more years? Would Bryant, ever mindful of history, take the risk of being ignominiously defeated in Europe?

What do you think?

Will Kobe Bryant ever play for a European club?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Continue Reading…

Mar
2

Dennis Rodman, Benedict XVI team up in NBA Jam-based battle for The Vatican’s future

BallinEurope will leave the questions about just how Dennis Rodman ended up taking his distinct breed of basketball diplomacy to Italy after a less-than-uncontroversial visit to North Korea with a few Harlem Globetrotters

Instead, we’ll just let Taiwan-based Next Media Animation explain things; apparently, The Worm’s mission involves some NBA Jam-esque two-on-two in a match featuring himself and retired Pope Benedict XVI against a roster of priests, evil lawyers, a high-jumping altar boy and possibly a unicorn…

Continue Reading…