Has it really been almost two months since the Euroleague Final Four? And when did the seasons in Spain, Greece, Italy and the NBA finish up? Time gets exceedingly relative and outright bendy once offseason transactioneering begins as memories of the previous year are quickly disposed for a look to the next and the money starts flying around.
Last week was a particularly noteworthy, headline-making span, particularly over here in Europe and especially if you’re interested in any player not named Dwight Howard. Here are BallinEurope’s five favorite moves of the previous seven days. (Is it wrong to say BiE already can’t wait for October?)
• Adam Hanga to Laboral Kutxa Baskonia. The career arc of the player destined to become Hungary’s all-time greatest continues: After developing in the Hungarian league followed by two seasons with Manresa of Liga Endesa, Hanga is set to make his Euroleague debut at age 24½ with Baskonia – and seems certain to surprise those not in-the-know with his across-the-board contributions; while Hanga will be having some minor surgery this week, he expects to miss no regular-season games. The four-year contract with Baskonia may yet keep Hanga here in Europe and out of San Antonio for a bit longer, which can be construed as good news (certainly for Continental ball followers) or bad (for the NBA supremacists).
Congratulations from BallinEurope this morning go out to Team USA, which took the FIBA U19 World Championship title in finishing an undefeated romp through the tourney by taking care of business against Serbia last night, 82-68. Kudos, too, to Team Serbia and Lithuania, who did European basketball proud by taking the other two spots on the podium, the latter outlasting Australia in a 106-100 consolation-game barnburner.
BiE also loves FIBA’s “Assist of the [Championship] Game” nod given to Vasilje Micic. Micic’s fancy move to the basket has him finding center Doko Salic under the hoop for a (relatively) easy two and what would ultimately be Serbia’s biggest lead of the game at 9-4…
Reyes’ show (not to mention the actual win) overshadowed an incredible individual game from Sarunas Jasikevicius, as the old guy played like he’d tapped into his personal 2005. After going just 191 seconds in Madrid’s game four loss, Jasikevicius constantly got/created easy open looks in his under-19 minutes for a huge 23 points on 6-of-9 overall shooting and 8-of-8 from the line.
Unfortunately for the Blaugrana, aside from Joe Ingles’ excellent night, Barcelona shooters could managed just 7-of-33 success overall, including an 0-of-11 mark beyond the arc. (On the other hand, Saras and Ingles did make for one heckuva highlight clip…)
Game of the week last week? How about last night’s game four of the Montepaschi Siena-Cimberio Varese semifinals series in Italy’s Serie A? National powerhouse and this tournament’s no. 5 seed Siena found themselves nearly on the ropes at 10 minutes to play before slowly coming back with a 24-13 run. With 60 seconds left, it was the visiting no. 1 seed from Varese up, 75-74.
As you’d imagine, Bobby Brown and quarterfinals hero Daniel Hackett played key parts for the defending champs down the stretch … though perhaps not *quite* in the way you’d imagine.
Courtesy Basket Inside – and kudos to them for posting – here’s that how that final 60 seconds of game clock played out.
Friday saw the NBA official website launch a new feature on its pages devoted to the D League. The new “D-League Alumni Spotlight” page currently sports six highlight videos featuring current-day NBA players who came into the big league the hard way. BallinEurope was pleased to see the Phoenix Suns’ Marcin Gortat among the half-dozen.
Though Gortat had been making a name for himself in his home country, Germany and Euroleague ball by the time he was ready to join the Orlando Magic at 23 years old in 2007, team execs figured The Polish Hammer needed some polish and/or would go woefully underused behind Dwight Howard. What followed was a brief stint with the now-defunct Anaheim Arsenal; the Alumni Spotlight video captures some rarely-seen footage of Gortat from ’07.
No embeds for the highlight clip are yet available, so you’ll have to check out the video through the NBA site. As we await a future Alumni clip featuring the Rio Grande Valley Vipers/Houston Rockets’ Donatas Motiejunas, here’s something else for you: Gortat’s game of 2012-13, a 23-point, seven-block display against the Charlotte Bobcats…
Okay, below runs the highlight clip European basketball fans traditionally look for this time of year – namely, the Top 10 Plays of the past Euroleague season. And while BallinEurope just as traditionally questions the pecking order of these things, BiE’ll have to admit the big ‘league pretty much nailed it this year right up to no. 1.
Said top play comes from the Olympiacos-Real Madrid final and justifies (BiE believes) this media partner’s vote for EL Final Four MVP in and of itself. As BiE always says, when an audible collective gasp swamps the press section, you know you’ve got a moment for the ages…
Once again, Montepaschi Siena survives to play another day: The Euroleaguers managed to win the decisive game seven of the Serie A quarterfinal series at no. 4 seed Armani Milano, 90-80, last night. Below runs an impressive highlight clip of the top 10 plays from the series produced by the Italian league and starring J.R. Bremer, Ioannis Bourousis, Malik Hairston, David Moss (with quite the awesome block), Antonis Fotsis (who reciprocates on Moss), Viktor Sanikidze and, naturally, Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
Daniel Hackett also puts in an appearance within the ‘clip, but with his game-high 25 points in the decider showing his ridiculous range making him a threat from anywhere on the floor, this Serie A veteran gets a YouTube all his own…
Besides, who needs an excuse to run another YouTube highlight clip…?
From the VTB folks, then, running below are the top five plays from the recently-completed quarterfinal round, starring Unics Kazan’s Mire Chatman, Zalgiris Kaunas’ Robertas Javtokas, Lokomotiv Kuban’s Mantas Kalnietis, BC Khimki’s Sergey Monya and CSKA Moscow’s Anton Ponkrashov. Three-pointers, blocks, alley-oops – they’re all here. Enjoy!