Jaka Vladovic may have hit the buzzer beater of the year

It’s been a rough start to the season for Union Olimpija. The Slovenians were winless through six games in the ABA Liga and looked certain to go 0-7. Then this happened.

The form? ugly. The chances that goes in? Close to non-existent. The final score? Union Olimpija wins 78-76 over Buducnost. Talk about team that needed a miracle. The Ljubljana team is still rooted to the basement of the Adriatic League but right now, it doesn’t matter. They’ve lost the donut.



Cibona Zagreb moved to 2-1, Cedevita stayed perfect, and Krka topped reigning ABA Liga champions Partizan in round three.

The biggest result of the weekend in the ABA was Krka’s 60-52 win over Partizan. The Slovenian outfit returned to the Adriatic league on the back of a four year dominant stretch in its domestic league and moved to 2-1 for the season by claiming a major scalp in round three. In a game where offence was, to put it kindly, below par it was Krka who delivered more consistently. Their 38.7 per cent shooting coupled with a 6-3 advantage from three point land was enough to overcome an awful 29.8 per cent night from the field for Partizan. Edo Muric had 17 points and 8 rebounds for Krka while Malcolm Ray Armstead contributed 13 points, 5 assists, and 5 boards. Joffrey Lauvergne had a double-double for Partizan, with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but the support and accuracy wasn’t around him to make it count.

That loss for Partizan means Cedevita is the lone unbeaten side in the ABA after just three rounds. Miro Bilan had 16 points and 5 rebounds, all on the offensive end, in a 77-63 win at Zadar. Jusif Nurkic chipped in 15 points and 4 boards while Nolan Smith had 16 points and four boards. Smith, the former Duke Blue Devil, is one of two players to reach the Final Four on Cedevita’s roster. Goran Suton, ex Michigan State, had a good night on the boards with 6 rebounds for the Zagreb club. Zadar leaned far too much on Ive Ivanov, who led the team in scoring (16), assists (4), and rebounds (4).

Krka’s win meant they continue to go in the opposite direction of Slovenia’s Euroleague club Union Olimpija. The Ljubljana outfit lost 60-58 at Siroki to drop to 0-3 and sit at the bottom of the ABA.

Dario Watch

It was a quiet enough outing for Dario Saric in round 3 but Cibona Zagreb still picked up the win with a convincing 87-63 victory over Szolnoki Olaj. Saric had 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists for Cibona in the win. Four players scored in double digits for the Zagreb team. Jerel Blassingame had 14 points and 9 dimes while Andrija Zizic had 15 points and 12 boards. Cibona got far more work done as a team on the offensive end with a 23-10 advantage overall in assists.


ABA Liga: We’re all talking about Dario Saric

There were plenty of interesting victories at the weekend in the first round of the Adriatic League (ABA Liga) but the player on everybody’s lips lost his game. No matter what happens in ABA Liga this season, all eyes arDario-Saric-Cibona-Zagreb-Radnickie on Dario Saric.

Dario Saric put in the type of display that will have NBA draftniks salivating in Cibona Zagreb’s 66-82 loss to Radnicki. Saric, who opted against declaring for last June’s draft to enter 2014′s more loaded class, had 17 points on 53.8 per cent shooting with 3 boards for his trouble too. Saric also had 3 turnovers in a display where he tried to be the meast when his side was clearly the least. Mouphatou Monrou had a huge day for Radnicki with 19 points off an 8 of 9 display from the field and he picked up 6 rebounds too. In all the victors had four players in double digits while an 8 point display in just 10 minutes meant Nikola Jevtovic was a valuable contributor from the bench. To save this column turning into being all about Saric every week, we’re going to include a Dario Watch at the end of each ABA Liga round-up from next week onwards.

After being utterly dominant in Slovenia over the past four season, Krka had a winning return to ABA action with a 60-57 win over Buducnost. Malcolm Armstead carried his team over the line with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Reigning champions Partizan got off to a winning start with a 67-56 win over Igokea. Leo Westermann had 18 points and 4 assists for the Belgrade side with Tarence Kinsey 15 points, 4 boards, and 3 assists. Bogdan Bogdanovic made his return to club action after impressing at EuroBasket with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 dimes.


Crvena Zvezda, whose performance in ABA Liga last season catapulted them into Euroleague, got off to a losing start despite showing solid balance. Siroki held on in a nail-biter to win 80-79 in the opening round. Boris Barac, with 25 points, and Domagoj Bosnjak, 17 points and 5 assists, carried the load for the victors. Elsewhere there were wins for Skopje over Union Olimpija 79-60, Zadar over Szolnoki 71-67, and Cedevita over Mega Vizura 72-62.

Round two kicks off on Tuesday night with three games with the remaining four on Wednesday. Saric is next in action with Cibona at Union Olimpija where both sides will be seeking their first wins of the season.


Cibona Zagreb to announce Smush Parker, give coach vote of confidence, blasted by Predrag Saric

Now who saw this one coming? According to Croatia-based news outlet Jutarnji, Cibona Zagreb, having just activated the previously in-limbo Dario Saric (not to mention already eliminated from Eurocup play and in a 6-7 hole in the ABA), will announce the signing of Smush Parker.

Perhaps best known nowadays for serving as Kobe Bryant’s media-side scratching post, Parker has logged court time in China, Greece, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic since last playing in the U.S. with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2008.

Further making things interesting are comments made by Saric’s bombastic father Predrag. As translated by Sportando, father Saric opined that “Cibona owe money to everyone, they don’t have a coach and they expect Dario to save them. The best option for Darius was KK Split…

(For the record, the same story telling of Parker’s arrival also notes that current head coach Daniel Lutz will in fact remain in the position through 2012-13.)

Predrag further went on to comment that at least 10 clubs were willing to sign his son and immediately loan him back to KK Split; apparently, Predrag had little say in the matter after all, however, since relations among family members has become a bit strained.

And BallinEurope asks could the downward spiral of this legendary European basketball club continue? Kobe’d probably say yes…

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Video: Dario Saric’s debut with Cibona Zagreb

While embeddable Adriatic League game clips are somewhat hard to come by through traditional online methods, the folks at the ABA have nicely provided entire game clips on their official website.

As noted by BallinEurope, Dario “The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia” Saric debuted for 2012-13 on Sunday with Cibona Zagreb in the storied club’s win over Euroleaguers Cedevita. European basketball fans and NBA mock draft addicts will certainly want to watch for no. 9 in the video; despite an 0-of-5 mark on threes, Saric contributed eight points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal in a nice display of his array of skills.

The full game may be seen here, while below runs a sliver.

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Monday Hangover: Žalgiris Kaunas impressive again; Saric’s 2012-13 debut; Goldsberry’s Bizarro Buzzer-Beater of the Week

Goldsberry, who won for losing

Damn, BallinEurope watched a lotta sports this past 72 years: Euroleague games, highlights, quarters here and there, a VTB United game, three hours of late-Sunday night NFL football, two sports-related films for upcoming Taking The Charge podcasts … life is ball games … and especially basketball, but unfortunately BiE watches almost nothing live and compresses most viewing into the weekend.

So no further ado: Three quasi-brief impressions from the bigger games, done up bullet-style.

Žalgiris: Ever interesting, ever relentless. BallinEurope’s recommended EL game of the week was Žalgiris Kaunas at Emporio Armani Milano. Žalgiris, with its slight vulnerability shown lately, needed to make a statement in this game in BiE’s opinion. Don’t worry Greens men and women: After this game, your guys will be sure to move up in the BallinEurope Euroleague power rankings

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Igokea: How about this for a start?

The team from Aleksandrovac suburban area of Banja Luka has surprised everyone early on with a perfect 6-0 start to its 2012-13 Adriatic League season. With a veteran roster under his command, coach Dragan Bajic can only smile at his opponents’ disbelief. BallinEurope contributing writer Marko Savkovic tells us how they’ve done it…

Igokea has never been a frontrunner in the Adriatic. However, it’s a steady contender which, similarly to KK Siroki, is capable of chipping off points from more favored teams. What makes Igokea different and somewhat inferior to the Herzegovinan side is that it relies less on its youth program. Backed by the powerful Dodik family, Igokea enjoys stable financing and is capable of hiring proven professionals. The team’s home ground accommodating 4,000 spectators is one of the few purpose-built basketball arenas in the league.

In this debt-laden season with many teams facing financial difficulties, Igokea management played it smart in the offseason. They brought in two veteran players, Sinisa Stemberger and Branko Jorovic, strengthening their backcourt options. Best remembered by some for the below-shown incident, Stemberger is a refined shooter with solid defensive skills and should add composure when things get tight. So far in 2012-13, only Clifford Hammonds has played more minutes for Igokea.

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How far can Red Star Belgrade go this season?

BallinEurope’s man in Serbia, Marko Savanovic, brings us another preview of an Adriatic League power: Today, Marko takes a look at Crvena Zvezda (a.k.a. Red Star Belgrade) to assess the team’s chances in 2012-13 after a sloppy 0-2 start and the quick sacking of coach Milivoje Lazic, plus offers an Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™…

“If Red Star wins the [Serbian] title, Serbia will be a better place.” You might think this is something we picked up from team fans, while queuing to get inside Belgrade’s Pionir Arena. But no: This statement came from no other than club president Nebojsa Covic.

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Many sharks in the sea: Adriatic League 2012-13 season starts

The 2012-13 Adriatic League season tipped off this weekend with all 14 teams playing their first games. BallinEurope contributor Marko Savkovic takes a look at two teams figuring to be fighting for a top spot in the ABA table come season’s end: Partizan Belgrade and Cedevita Zagreb.

It was about time! The 2012/2013 edition of the Adriatic League promises us tough competition, has many exciting prospects to showcase, and includes some interesting newcomers with the grand prize awaiting top three teams. Be there crisis or not, let’s play ball. In BallinEurope’s first coverage of the new season in the Adriatic, we concentrate on two of the top contenders, who played each other in the last year’s semifinals: Cedevita and Partizan.

It has been said over and over again, so don’t mind us repeating it: Cedevita is a brand of instant drink enjoyed in former Yugoslavian countries. Team Cedevita’s success is in many aspects instant as well, but it’s hardly enjoyed by its competitors. By finishing second last year, and especially by defeating Partizan along the way, the team from the Zagreb suburbs has become a red hot favorite with Maccabi Tel Aviv gone.

All the right ingredients seem to be in place. The team’s core is preserved, with Marino Bazdaric, Goran Suton, Miro Bilan and Marko Car kept on board. Arriving from Galatasaray, Luksa Andric should bring more versatility to the paint.

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Euroleague 2012-13: An attempt to deduce the composition (plus Official Fearless Prediction™)

At least this much is clear...

Yesterday, the basketball-centered bit of the Twitter universe was centered in two real-life locales: New York City and Barcelona. Topics in play were the falling of ping-pong balls in New York City and Euroleague’s incipient decision on the construction of Euroleague 2012-13. Hopefully, BallinEurope will get something together on the former later, but for now, BiE’ll attempts a quick look at the roster of teams for the upcoming season.

The three-year A-licenses are currently under review, but you gotta figure Caja Laboral Baskonia, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahçe Ülker, CSKA Moscow, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Montepaschi Siena and Žalgiris Kaunas are in. Asseco Prokom Gdynia is in the second year of its license, making them the 12th of the 24 teams.

Also up for review is Unicaja Malaga. While Spain is still even officially considered *the* best domestic or regional league in Europe (more on this momentarily), the big league could certainly defend a yanking of the license based on the team’s bottom-half finish in the Liga Endesa and consistently better recent performance by Valencia BC.

Virtus Roma is the only original A-license team to have been removed from the EL roll call, getting its placement in Euroleague ball “suspended for having finished in the bottom half of its national competition.” Unicaja might easily find itself on the Eurocup level for 2012-13; let’s just say a *lot* of things would have to happen to even get the team into the EL qualifiers.

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