Fearless Predictions: 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball +++ It’s Jet-er not Jee-ter, watch Pooh get ready for the World Cup +++ EuroBasket 2015: Romania the odd team out on the final night +++ Gran Canaria gets the Phantom treatment for USA vs Slovenia +++ TrueHoop breaks down how David Blatt will work with LeBron James +++ FIBA World Cup Preview: Group D +++ 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 +++

Tanjevic: “NBA coaches don’t understand,” “Kanter has forgotten how to play”

Not to fan the flames of debate here at BallinEurope or anything … a few particularly incendiary comments made by former Limoges/Asvel Villeurbanne head coach and current Team Turkey technical coordinator Bogdan Tanjevic were first reported on Italy-based La Gazzetta dello Sport and subsequently picked up by Sportando and France-based Passion Basket, among others. We can easily surmise that Tanjevic won’t be offered a job by Utah Jazz Basketball Inc. any time soon…

On Enes Kanter not playing on the national team in 2012, Tanjevic said that “He is a great talent and we miss him a lot. He decided not to join us but honestly, he needs us more than we need him. He has not played or trained with us in the past three years. I [also] had to replace [Kerem] Gonlum, who was on holiday with his family. Without Kanter, it will be a little more difficult but I think we’ll be able to get into EuroBasket 2013.”

But Tanjevic also sees a problem with dependence on NBA stars at all – namely, the coaches. Was he surprised when Kanter declined to play with Team Turkey? “I’m not surprised at all … America is the perfect place to lose your head. Firstly, because the coaches [there] do not understand. In the NBA, there are just three or four coaches who have been there for 100 years, making billions and winning trophies. Others are weak. Including [Utah Jazz head coach] Tyrone Corbin…

Continue Reading…


Team France roster for 2012 Olympics released: Yes, Tony Parker’s included

Vincent Collet today released his final roster of Team France for the 2012 Olympic Games. Best news for Les Bleus’ (and perhaps San Antonio Spurs’) faithful is, of course, the inclusion of Tony Parker in the roster, implying that recovery from his eye injury is meeting no setbacks.

The final twelve for France is: Continue Reading…


On the Road to London: Zinedine Zidane, Yannick Noah ♥ Tony Parker

Now available online at YouTube and DailyMotion – not to mention embedded below – is episode three of the short documentary series “On the Road to London” featuring Team France in the runup to the 2012 Olympics.

Le troisième épisode is entitled “La Star,” which might perhaps be best translated as “Tony Parker: The Love Fest.” In a six-minute cruise through Parker’s career lots of praises are sung for the Spur, kicked off with a few telling shots of San Antonio for appropriate atmosphere.

While Nicolas Batum and Ronny Turiaf are predictably effusive about having a true NBA superstar leading Les Bleus – the former correctly assesses that “we won the silver medal [at EuroBasket 2011] mainly because of him” – the bon mots worth watching for are kicked in by all-time great French athletes Zinedine Zidane and Yannick Noah.

On the negative side, BallinEurope notes the disappointing paucity of NBA, Eurocup, LNB or international tournament footage. If you don’t look away for too long, however, you’ll catch a sliver of action from Tony at the 2000 Nike Hoop Summit.

Continue Reading…


On the demise of Lithuanian Basketball

Jasikevicius: The long-term leader

BallinEurope is not exactly sure what led our man in Lithuania, the enigmatic Y., to contemplate the fortunes of his country’s national team … but who are we to question a Lietuva hometowner when it comes to basketball? Y. goes back eight years to figure out where things went so terribly wrong and unfortunately finds little hope for Team Lithuania’s future – even with the likes of Jonas Valančiūnas and Donatas Motiejūnas aboard…

Underachievement of a previous generation
The 2004 Olympic Games were a huge disappointment for Lithuania. As EuroBasket 2003 champions, the team was one of main favourites for silver (the fall of the “Dream Team” was still unimaginable). Lithuania, however, that year finished fourth: one step short of the prize it had collected in every Olympiad since the country’s independence.

This was the beginning of the demise of what was a top national team in the world. Players’ refusal to participate, retirements, injuries and an underachieving new generation – all these aspects contributed to Lithuania’s fall from basketball superpower levels to status as a regional great, capable of reaching a medal stage in the right circumstances.

Continue Reading…


Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Beşiktaş vs. Banvit today in Turkish Cup final

Today sees the culmination of the Turkish Cup with a stunning finals matchup between Beşiktaş Milangaz – who took out Euroleague Top 16 side Galatasaray on Thursday – and the TBL’s fourth-place Banvit.

Key to the former’s success in reaching the Cup match was BallinEurope fave Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who contributed an insane double-double in the semifinals of 18 points and 19 rebounds – and so on the occasion of another gold star on Pops’ CV, below runs the FIBA official website’s recent piece profiling Team Britain’s glue guy as the 2012 Olympics approach.

And for no real reason other than sheer awesomeness, directly below is Pops throwing down a few jams – talk about your rim-rockers…

Continue Reading…


The Eurocentric 2011-12 NBA Western Conference preview (plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

Okay, after that Xmas distraction, BallinEurope is ready to write up some more stuff about good tidings and cheer*, namely, the start of the NBA season. With hours to go, BiE’s got just enough time to get in the part two of the Euro-centric big-league preview in this brief look at the teams in the Western Conference – plus Official Fearless Predictions™, guaranteed to be as accurate as they are popular.

*Los Angeles Lakers fans, over whom a huge cloud of doom hangs to start this season, excluded (sigh).

As in the Eastern Conference preview, BiE seeks to keep an eye on those players who contributed a stint in Continental ball this summer during the lockout period and even, to some, extent participants in Eurobasket 2011. BiE believes that the running start from real game-time situations plus the suddenly intensive NBA season will give the Euroballers an advantage in the short-term against more laggardly opponents not in “basketball shape.” And with the shortened regular season, a jump start will provide lasting effects.

To BiE, it looks something like this.

Continue Reading…


The Eurocentric 2011-12 NBA Eastern Conference preview (plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

While basketball lovers are getting something of a Christmas gift this season in the December 25 NBA opening day – BiE says “something of” there because this belated debut is kinda like your parents saying, “Well, we’ll just give you your birthday gift at Christmas.” When your birthday’s in October – BallinEurope would like to add to the virtual bounty under the tree with our annual Eurocentric NBA preview.

Here’s BallinEurope’s predominant working theory for at least the first two months of this season: The teams with more critical players who did a stint in Europe (or South America, for that matter) during the lockout will jump out to the best starts. And with a shortened season increasing the importance of every individual game, imagine what a, say, 17-5 could mean in the long-term – for a European equivalent of this model, how ‘bout that CSKA Moscow turbo boost?

So Kevin Garnett’s complaining that the preseason is too short … guys like Deron Williams have already been in real-game situations. Manu Ginobili is well rested but not “in basketball shape?” The Danilo Gallinaris, Mehmet Okurs and even the Gasol Brothers of the basketball world are set to go. More back-to-back games than ever before in NBA history? Hey, perhaps those two-a-days European coaches are so notorious for assigning will have readied these NBAers well more than the fortnight many of their colleagues are getting.

BiE would even argue that latecomers such as Tiago Splitter and late-peakers like Serge Ibaka are surely few steps ahead of the many American ballers who did not take Continental clubs up on even the most outrageous of offers. It is with this dictum in mind that this preview and Official Fearless Predictions™ were written. Today, the Eastern Conference.

Continue Reading…


Parting shots, part one: Okur throws dagger; Splitter near double-double; D-Will’s jersey retired (no, really)

A few players returning to the NBA made expected final appearances with their European clubs last night as the mass departure to the ‘States begins. BallinEurope runs down a handful of individual performances from Adriatic League, Eurocup, and FIBA Eurochallenge games.

• Big shot of the night, NBA-related or no, was certainly Mehmet Okur’s three-point dagger to give Turk Telekom the 83-81 win over Pinar Karsiyaka. Reports FIBA Europe in part: “With Turkish basketball still talking about the 50-point explosion by Okur’s former Utah Jazz teammate Deron Williams for Beşiktaş last week, Okur capped another solid performance with a long-range shot that gave the Ankara team an 83-81 triumph on Tuesday.

“Utah Jazz big man Okur, like New Jersey Nets guard Williams, is to soon head back to the United States following Saturday’s announcement that the lockout is set to end this week.

“Okur had 14 points and 10 rebounds in Izmir against Karsiyaka. … His free throw had given Turk Telekom an 80-79 advantage with 31 seconds to go, but Karsiyaka went back out in front when Alper Saruhan landed a jumper.

Continue Reading…


Thanks for the memories: Top performances by locked-out NBA players in Europe

BallinEurope bids adieu to the all-too-brief wackiness that was the ENBA: A period of time shorter than Allen Iverson’s career with Beşiktaş, though for a sweet, brief while it seemed like forever … ah, the feeling of a too-fast love affair dragged down by unfeeling reality, leaving only fond memories and bitter tears to … o, sorry. BiE got a bit wound up there.

In riding the wave of sentimentality to the shore, BiE today presents the virtual scrapbook of 10 favorite individual performances from locked-out NBA players. (Not included are those NBA guys who were off-season free agents; therefore no appearances by, say, Nenad Krstic, or, sadly, Adam Morrison are forthcoming.)

Continue Reading…


Welcome to Spain, Matt Walsh!

Well-traveled ormer Miami Heat/Union Olimpija swingman today announced his CV will be adding a stint at an eighth country via Twitter. Tweeted Walsh this afternoon: “Back to work!! Just signed with Spanish acb team Murcia!!! South of Spain here I come!!!

After some time in his rookie season as an undrafted player with the Miami Heat in 2005, Walsh played for the D-League’s Arkansas Rim Rockers before jumping to Europe for contracts with Olympia Larissa, Basquet Manresa, Spirou Charleroi, Union Olimpija, Aris BC and Asvel Villeurbanne.

Continue Reading…