BiE’s editor takes the ice bucket challenge, nominates Basketball Ireland boss +++ Žydrūnas Ilgauskas considering a comeback? Wow LeBron has power +++ The Dream Team’s children +++ Highlights: Belgium beat Belarus, Germany stay alive +++ EuroBasket 2015: Bosnia, Belgium, Israel, and Latvia lock up spots +++ First Person: Follow the FIBA World Cup through BiE’s eyes +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++

2012: The year in Euro-centric basketball highlight clips

What say we close out 2012 with a whole bunch of highlight clips? BiE knew you’d be willing. Tomorrow, a list of the most popular BallinEurope stories of the calendar year will be running, but today comes an attempt to encapsulate the past 365 days in European hoops, YouTube style.

From Ibaka’s blocks to the return of Ricky Rubio, from a stunner in Istanbul to a double miracle in Italy, from the US to the Continent and back again, BallinEurope’s got your highlights right here… Continue Reading…


Report: Panathinaikos to sign Team China’s Ailun Guo

Panathinaikos’ wild offseason is apparently not over yet. Previously linked with Yi Jianlian, Sun Yue and Dejun Han, the Greens may finally be ready to sign with a Chinese player (and perhaps gain a nice foothold in that lucrative basketball market): Namely, Ailun Guo of the Liaoning Dinosaurs. According to Bball Headlines, Dinosaurs front office reps stated that they “have indeed received documents from Panathinaikos,” but a board meeting must be held before the club lets Guo come to the Continent.

The 18-year-old was last seen on the international stage (albeit briefly) in the 2012 Olympic Games, appearing in three games with Team China, including 26 minutes against Brazil in which his 4-of-7 shooting earned Guo eight points. He’s also represented China in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2010 FIBA U17 Worlds and the 2011 FIBA U19 Worlds.

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Houston can wait: Real Madrid reportedly offer Sergio Llull extension through 2019-20

The Houston Rockets may have thrown $2.5 million away if Real Madrid reportedly has its way: According to Spain-based sports news outlet Marca, Sergio Llull has been offered a six-year contract extension with an option year from the Euroleague club. While some have speculated on a scenario in which the Spaniard might join the Rockets for 2013-14, this offer is seemingly designed to scupper any such plans.

The Rockets are said to have made an offer to Llull immediately upon the NBA free-agent signing period opening and were enthused by his play for Team Spain in the 2012 Olympic Games (though BallinEurope not so much). The NBA club owns the rights the Madridista after buying them for $2.5 mil (worth about €2.125 million today) from the Denver Nuggets in 2009; not an unexpected reaction from a team that lost Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry from the backcourt this offseason.

Marca had reported earlier that Sergio’s father Paco Llull wasn’t too concerned about the Houston option, as his son “is a Real player.”

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BC Khimki appeals for return of Vitaly Fridzon’s stolen bronze medal

In the days of the Cold War, a certain type of story would inevitably circulate in American newspapers after the Olympic Games were over; you made have heard it more recently about, say, North Korean athletes. The claim was always that, due to poor performance in such-and-such an Olympics, the sportsmen and –women in question were coldly stripped of certain priveleges, often getting their state-granted cars repossessed along with eviction notices from luxury (relatively) apartments.

Well, it seems in the 21st-century capitalist world, Russian basketballers who finish with the bronze medal have a different obstacle to face.
On Saturday, the home of Team Russia’s Vitaly Fridzon was broken into. Among the items stolen was the 2012 bronze medal just earned in London; today, Fridzon’s professional club, Euroleague side BC Khimki Moscow region, has put out a plea to the perpetrators to return the valuable bit of hardware. The statement runs as follows.

We, the Khimki basketball club and its fans, appeal to the consciences of the [thieves of Vitaly’s home]. Return Vitaly’s Olympic medal! This award is priceless and is the result of years of work by an incredible athlete. For you, an Olympic medal is only an object of gain, but for Vitaly is the memory of a lifetime. We ask you to return to our captain and leader of the Russian team his well-deserved Olympic bronze medal.”

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Rudy Fernandez flop set to go viral?

In hopes that the Rudy Fernandez flop in the Spain vs. USA gold-medal game goes viral, here’s a soon-to-be-meme of ol’ Rudy demonstrating his skills in the video game medium courtesy Ali Traore. Brilliant stuff.

And for comparison’s sake, here’s the actual melodramatic-unto-artistic flop itself, which as Beckley Mason of ESPN TrueHoop notes “was worthwhile for Fernandez and Spain. By drawing an intentional, rather than a common foul, Fernandez converted a loose ball into two free throws and possession…” Not to mention inducing several million heart attacks among the USA faithful.

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Epic win by Team USA begets epic Facebook fail

Oops … this is the problem with social media, eh? Shortly after the US’ 107-100 win over Spain for the gold medal in 2012 Olympic basketball, the folks running the FIBA Facebook page uploaded the below image and caption (see below the break), inducing nearly 300 comments along the line of “FAIL” within a half-hour. Hmmm, it must be because of the redundancy in grammar; you know, as in “second consecutive gold medal in a row”…

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US NBA stars beat Spain to take gold

(via AFP)

The United States Dream Team of NBA stars captured their second Olympic men’s basketball gold medal in a row and the 14th overall for America by beating Spain 107-100 in Sunday’s final. The US multi-millionaire lineup of NBA elite claimed their fifth crown in the past six Olympics, improving to 62-since revamping the national team program after settling for bronze in 2004.

The Americans ran through the tournament undefeated just as they did in 2008 when they defeated Spain 118-107 in the Beijing final. The latest roster had five gold winners from Beijing and five from the US 2010 world champions.…

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USA 59, Spain 58 after 20 minutes: Notes and such

Here we go … Team USA vs Spain for the gold! What more needs to be said?

The first hype pushed at 4pm on the NBC broadcast: Kobe vs. Pau! (Clearly, BiE’s in touch with the American broadcasters…); Kobe is 1-0 in Olympic Games, doesn’t want to lose to Pau, doesn’t want to lose at all, etc.

Key stats from the final game in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; that game saw Kobe Bryant go 7-of-14 for 20 with six assists, Juan Carlos Navarro scored 18 after struggling throughout the tournament, and 56 fouls were called.

Spain is following the Liga Endesa-prescribed plan at best as possible, forcing USA to play a very slow game. Fast break points in the first quarter went just 4-0 for Team USA, and Pau Gasol is exploiting the mismatch against Carmelo in the post when possible, though that hasn’t been often.

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Russia 81, Argentina 77: Alexey Shved leads way to team’s best Olympics finish of modern era

Though Team Russia didn’t quite reach the lofty heights BiE had forecast, a hearty congratulations go out to the team today for its 81-77 win over Argentina to take the 2012 Olympics bronze medal in its best showing of the post-Soviet Union era. Wire report runs below.
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2012 Olympic basketball: The perspective from Spain on the gold-medal game (plus really specific Official Fearless Prediction™)

Marc and Pau: So key yet again

The Liga Endesa official website editorial staff today attempts to answer the question on the mind of USA-detractors and underdog-backers, i.e. “¿What must happen for Spain to win Olympic gold?” Below runs an extrapolation of the article, featuring eight bits of advice of varying degrees of difficulty, plus BallinEurope’s own ever-lovable Official Fearless Prediction™ on the final game of the 2012 Olympics.

Team USA is transparent enough that everyone seems to know their weaknesses and how to exploit them; the blueprint is universally known, but no one is able to implement the game plan. The enormous quantity of talent on Team USA means that playing even a perfect game does not translate to a win.

“We will try not have too many possessions, not miss many shots and control the boards,” said Juan Carlos Navarro. Doing it all at the same time is difficult, but we will try. I don’t know if we’ll reach 100 points … but the points are not important. [What’s important is] to play good defense.”

What else must be done:

Limit turnovers. It is evident that the U.S. defensive pressure up top results in many steals that finish with easy baskets on the other end. Attacking with the ball and getting off to a quick start offensively is key to the USA game. And against Team USA, passes to the wing or inside expose the offensive to further losses amidst the quick hands and speed of the American defenders.

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