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Highlights: Greece beat Italy 85-68 in FIBA Europe U18s +++ VIDEO: Basketball World Cup of Beer – Opening Ceremony and Schedule +++ Serbia and Croatia make statements at FIBA U18s +++ Coach James Weldon gives his thoughts on Dragan Bender +++ Sarunas Jasikevičius retires, joins Zalgiris in coaching role +++ Vintage Drazen Petrovic jersey up for auction +++ Ireland announce select squad for Luxembourg friendlies +++ We really need you to nominate beers +++ Mykhailiuk operating almost under cover +++ Nando de Colo has the best location for a basketball camp +++
Jul
0

VIDEO: Ettore Messina’s coaching philosophy

This is a great find by the crew over at Project Spurs, a 14 minute video of Ettore Messina explaining his philosophy on coaching basketball

Yeah, when he opens with comparisons to an orchestra you just know this is going to be good. Then when he gets on to discipline a clearly rights free version of The Godfather theme starts playing. Within four minutes it gets unnerving because anyone familiar with Messina gets shocked by just how chilled he is…this was filmed during his CSKA days and he seems content, how does that happen?

Jul
4

Until it matters, it won’t matter

Kevin-Durant-Team-USA
The FIFA World Cup is over, the FIBA World Cup is seven weeks away. Whereas the former near guaranteed shocks and surprises, Basketball fans can only hope we avoid a predictable tournament in Spain.

The FIBA World Cup of Basketball has tremendous potential but it’s hard not to be a little worried. Player drop outs keep leaking out as the off-season staggers along. Save for Spain and Lithuania, because it’s Lithuania, and a handful of others it’s hard to guarantee teams will bring their strongest possible rosters. International hoops, while adored by fans, simply doesn’t get the commitment of its soccer counterpart.

Team USA’s provisional roster is a good indicator of how much of an opt-in event this is for stars. Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA MVP, is there, so too are Derrick Rose and James Harden but after that the top names have opted out without much consternation. A NBA contract, the NBA season, is just that much further ahead in the order of priorities. Part of Rose’s motivation for playing indeed is to get some real game-time to get his career back on track next season. This is far from a NBA problem. It’s not the NBA’s fault that it is, by a considerable distance, the top priority for players. That’s on FIBA and the national federations.
Continue Reading…

Jul
1

LeBron, another sign that David Blatt just keeps on winning

NBA

David-Blatt-Maccabi-Euroleague-Cleveland-Cavaliers

Lee Jenkins broke the story of LeBron’s return but what happens now? The madness might just be starting.

David Blatt’s been on one hell of a run. A triple crown with Maccabi, he lands a NBA job (seriously good hustle once again), the team he lands with wins the lottery and lands Andrew Wiggins, wins a bunch of coach of the year awards for work with his old team, and now…now he’s got the best player in the game on his new team.

Yeah, yeah it’s really good to be David Blatt right now.

The East is so open that it’s hardly implausible, even with a team that was pure factory of sadness last year, that Blatt takes the conference in his first season. Outside of the Pacers, is there any team in that conference you feel truly confident about taking Cleveland (and I almost wrote Miami there) in a series with a healthy LeBron James plus friends? There are plenty of options in the West, the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets are teams I’d flat out favour against them right now. That’s ignoring a handful of other teams who are better than any other opponent out East, bar Indiana, that could take down the Cavs roster over seven games. You don’t need me to tell you that only one of these teams from the West could potentially end LeBron’s season.
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Jun
0

Better know a Euro – Alessandro Gentile

Alessandro-Gentile-2014-NBA-Draft
With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday, we’re providing quick refreshers on each of the European players hoping to hear their names called. Next up is Alessandro Gentile.

Alessandro Gentile
Position: SG/SF
Draft Express Rank: 61
Draft Express Projection: Undrafted
Nationality: Italy
Club: Olimpia Milano
Season: Quarter finals of Euroleague, currently in Italian league finals with Milano.
Notable personal honours: 2011 Italian league best player under 22

Bear in mind: Gentile logged heavy minutes in Euroleague this year for a Milano team that over-achieved. Psychologically he’s ready for the NBA, whether his game is up to it is another question.

So how good is he? Well he was plenty impressive at EuroBasket:

Jun
0

Better know a Euro – Ioannis Papapetrou

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With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday we’re giving you a quick refresher on each of the Europeans hoping to hear their names called. Next up, Ioannis Papapetrou.

Ioannis Papapetrou
Position:SF
Draft Express Rank: 56
Draft Express Projection: 57 to Indiana Pacers.
Nationality: Greece
Club: Olympiacos Piraues
Season: Runners up in Greek league and Cup, went out of Euroleague at the quarter final stage, won the FIBA Intercontinental Cup.
Notable personal honours: N/A

Bear in mind: Papapetrou isn’t going anywhere for at least the next two seasons and that’s probably best for his development. At Olympiacos he’ll get plenty of experience against top class opposition. Essentially he could enter the NBA around the same time as if he had stayed the full four years at Texas only with three seasons against a higher class of opponent.

So how good is he? Here’s his highlights from Adidas EuroCamp:

Jun
0

Better know a Euro – Nemanja Dangubic

Nemanja-Dangubic-2014-NBA-Draft
With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday, we’re providing quick refreshers on each of the European players hoping to hear their names called. Next up Nemanja Dangubic.

Nemanja Dangubic
Position: SG
Draft Express Rank: 75
Draft Express Projection: 53 to Minnesota Timberwolves.
Nationality: Serbia
Club: Mega Vizura (their third prospect for those keeping count)
Season: Finished 8th in ABA Liga with Mega Vizura,, reached the final of the Serbian Cup, lost in Serbian League semi finals to Crvena Zvezda.
Notable personal honours: Top scorer at Adidas EuroCamp game.

Bear in mind: The last of four Serbians hoping to get drafted, this could be the largest class of Serbs ever drafted. Dangubic trails his countrymen significantly in prospects but will be working with one of the more multinational franchises in the NBA if he goes as projected to the Wolves.

So how good is he? Here’s his highlights from Adidas EuroCamp:

Jun
0

Better know a Euro – Nikola Jokic

nikola-jokic-2014-nba-draft
With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday we’re providing you with quick refreshers on all of the Europeans hoping to hear their names called on draft day. Next up, Nikola Jokic.

Nikola Jokic
Position: C
Draft Express Rank: 43
Draft Express Projection: 43 to Atlanta Hawks.
Nationality: Serbia
Club: Mega Vizura
Season: Finished 8th in ABA Liga with Mega Vizura,, reached the final of the Serbian Cup, lost in Serbian League semi finals to Crvena Zvezda.
Notable personal honours: Belgrade NIJT All-Tournament team 2013.

Bear in mind: If everything goes to Jonathan Givony’s projections the Hawks will be loaded with European centres on their books, with Nurkic tipped to be called in the first round and Pero Antic already in town. There’s a more than likely chance this scenario doesn’t present itself but either way, don’t be surprised if Jokic stays in Europe for the next while.

So how good is he? Here are his highlights from the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit:

Jun
0

Better know a Euro – Thanasis Antetokounmpo

thanasis-antetokounmpo-2014-nba-draft
With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday, we’re giving you a refresher on every European hoping to hear their name called. Next up, Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Position: SG/SF
Draft Express Rank: 57
Draft Express Projection: 41st to Denver Nuggets.
Nationality: Greece
Club: Delaware 87ers (D-League)
Season: Finished last in the East Division of the D-League.
Notable personal honours: D-League All-Defensive third team 2013/2014

Bear in mind: As his younger brother Giannis managed to catch everyone off guard with his highlight reel laden rookie season in the NBA, Thansasis has big foot steps to follow. On the upside, scouts have a better idea of the Greek’s game purely because he came on their radar sooner. That could help ease the transition if and when he moves.

So how good is he? Here’s the DraftExpress take:

Jun
0

Better know a Euro – Vasilije Micic

Vasilije-Micic-2014-NBA-Draft
With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday, we’re providing refreshers on all the European playerss hoping to hear their names called. Next up, Vasilije Micic.

Vasilije Micic
Position: PG
Draft Express Rank: 36
Draft Express Projection: 39 to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Nationality: Serbia
Club: Mega Vizura
Season: Finished 8th in ABA Liga with Mega Vizura,, reached the final of the Serbian Cup, lost in Serbian League semi finals to Crvena Zvezda.
Notable personal honours: All-tournament team at 2013 FIBA Under 19 World Championships.

Bear in mind: Despite his relative youth, Micic has four seasons of pro hoops under his belt. That will give him some serious maturity for a 20 year old.

So how good is he? Here are his highlights from the Adidas EuroCamp:

Jun
0

Better know a Euro – Artem Klimenko

Artem-Klimenko-2014-NBA-Draft
With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday, we’re providing you with refreshers on all of the European prospects hoping to hear their names called. Next up, Artem Klimenko.

Artem Klimenko
Position: C
Draft Express Rank: 38
Draft Express Projection: 37 to Toronto Raptors.
Nationality: Russia
Club: Avtodor Saratov
Season: Won the Russian Superleague with Avtodor (for non-European readers this is the second tier for Russian clubs after the VTB League)
Notable personal honours: Defensive MVP of 2012 Adidas EuroCamp

Bear in mind: Klimenko lacks the beef of Nurkic but won’t be expected to contribute to the same degree so soon. If the Russian goes to Toronto, he’s going to have time to develop and potentially fill out.

So how good is he? Here’s the DraftExpress take: