BallinEurope’s friends over at Net Scouts Basketball are involved in an interesting tournament currently going on in China. Net Scouts brings their “USA All-Star Men’s Team” to the big country to compete in the Four Nations Tournament, consisting of nine games in two weeks against the home country’s national team, Team Latvia and the Canada Federation’s developmental squad in Chongqing and Yanan.
Serbia-based news sources are today reporting quite a coup in the country’s basketball league, as Partizan Belgrade has apparently signed Davis Bertans, mostly recently of Union Olimpija, to a 3.5-year deal.
Though still technically contracted to Olimpija, alleged lack of payment caused Bertans to look for a better offer in Europe. (BiE believes the Latvian couldn’t have been too happy about a relative lack of playing time early in 2011-12, either.) According to Partizan officials, Bertans could suit up in black and white as early as Saturday, when the Grobari host Zagreb CO in Adriatic League play.
BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, feels a little bad about a slightly harsh assessment given to Davis Bertans on this website and so today takes a broader look at the current Union Olimpija forward and second-round 2011 draft pick.
Name: Davis Bertans
Club: Union Olimpija
Height: 6’11” (2.10 meters)
Age: 18 (born November 1992)
In my draft review of Jonas Valanciunas, I feel I was a little harsh on Davis Bertans, considering he was only a second-round pick while Valanciunas was taken at no. 5 overall; the two also have completely different roles, as Jonas is going to a team (the Toronto Raptors) where he will need to be one of their best players whereas Bertans is someone the San Antonio Spurs will give plenty of time to develop because he’s not needed straight away.
Eurobasket 2011 is still a couple of weeks away, but that isn’t stopping the Lithuanian national basketball federation from thinking about the future … and they’ve got a partner in speculation in Latvia.
Baltic Course is reporting today that FIBA Europe general secretary Nar Zanolin is seriously considering a bid for the two nations to jointly organize the 2012 U18 European Championship.
• France-based (!) Basket USA has been tracking interest in its homeboy Kevin Seraphin as the Portland Trail Blazer works out with Team France in preparation for Eurobasket 2011. Though Seraphin has stated that he “has not signed anything with Cholet,” his former team and reportedly his top suitor for a European vocation in case of an extended NBA lockout, he emphatically added that he will be speaking with several clubs and plans on playing LNB ball.
Here’s a quickie: LMT Riga, which won the Latvian Basketball Championship and thus earned the right to participate in the 2010-11 Euroleague Qualifying Rounds, has renounced its entry into the competition.
The space is to be filled by the next-best team according to the Euroleague ranking system, in this case Banvit Basketbol Kulubu. Banvit finished third in the Turkish Basketball League.
The Euroleague Qualifying Rounds Draw that will be held on July 8 in Barcelona, Spain.
Is the search for Team Lithuania head coach nearly over?
Lithuanian news service LITA is today reporting that the candidates for the position vacated by Ramunas Butautas after his team’s extremely disappointing performance in Eurobasket 2009 currently number three: Lithuanian citizen and former Team Latvia coach Kestutis Kemzura, current Team Greece coach Jonas Kazlauskas, and Lietuvos Rytas head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis.
Kemzura is thought to be the leading candidate for the job. Before taking the Latvia job in 2008, the coach of teams such as Lietuvos Rytas, Benetton Treviso and Dynamo St. Petersburg, had been wooed by Polish basketball and other national programs.
Kemzura was last heard from in the news blasting several of his players from his Latvian national team, claiming several of them were too fond of drinking over practicing; Kemzura singled out team co-captain Kristaps Valters as “irresponsible” and “afraid to admit he made a mistake.”
Despite this, Kemzura claims he’s still considering a contract-extension offer from Latvia. Said offer expires on Thursday.
No details on the incident were provided, but wire reports have it that Kambala “reportedly elbowed [Steffen] Hamann in the face, knocking out a tooth” after the game.
Kambala is no stranger to disciplinary action, having received a whopping two-year suspension from the international body in 2006 for failing a drug test.
No report has come Germany on Hamann’s state but if the man’s still standing, he should probably consider himself lucky: The beastly 125-kilogram Kambala spent his two years off from basketball in the boxing ring, where he earned the nickname “More than Rocky Balboa.”
Continuing BallinEurope’s encapsulated look at Eurobasket 2009 competitors, today features a brief look at six teams for your edification and amusement.
In brief: It doesn’t matter what international basketball competition you’re playing in these days, you don’t want to see Team Greece on your list of opponents. And this Eurobasket edition of the team, essentially a “best-of” compilation of Olympiacos and Panathinaikos squads, is as daunting as any in the tournament. No wonder they’re the second-favorites behind Spain.
Euroleague season 2008-2009 has been over for more than a month already, but who will qualify for next year’s edition of the major competition in European basketball remains unclear. The A/B/C Licensing system has been extensively discussed here at BallinEurope.com, and it looks as though Euroleague Basketball will soon come to a final decision.