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 +++ Ireland end famines with two slices of Danish bacon +++ Former Galatasaray baller Jamont Gordon talks about the road to recovery +++ FIBA Europe Under 20 final highlights and top plays +++ VIDEO: Ettore Messina’s coaching philosophy +++

Better know a Euro – Bogdan Bogdanovic

With the 2014 NBA Draft taking place on Thursday, we’re giving you a refresher on all of the Europeans hoping to hear their names called. Next up, it’s Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Bogdan Bogdanovic
Position: SG
Draft Express Rank: 30
Draft Express Projection: 35 to the Utah Jazz.
Nationality: Serbia
Club: Partizan
Season: Won the Serbian league with Partizan, made the Top 16 of Euroleague but went down at the semi final stage of ABA Liga.
Notable personal honours: Euroleague Rising Star 2014, Serbian League Finals MVP 2014.

Bear in mind: We failed miserably in our attempts to get people to buy into the idea of him and Bojan Bogdanovic starring in a detective show called Bogdanovic and Bogdanovic. On a more serious note, dude can score and he knows it. He won’t be afraid to pull the trigger early and often in the bigs.

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


EuroBasket: Early run drives Serbia to 2014 FIBA World Cup

A stunning start for Serbia proved decisive as Dusan Ivkovic’s charges won the win or stay home World Cup decider with Italy 76-64.

It took Italy a full quarter to realise the importance of this game and they were left with too deep a hole to get out of. Serbia, who suffered horrible starts in their previous two games, came out hot. Leading by 13 with possession at the end of the first, Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a three at the buzzer to give Serbia a 27-11 lead. It was Serbia’s inside play that pushed them ahead. The Serbs utterly dominated on the boards, with Nemanja Bjelica grabbing 10 rebounds and Bogdanovic 9. With the loser joining the long, looooooong, queue for wild cards at next year’s FIBA World Cup, Serbia had struck a vital blow early.

Italy tried to counter but Marco Belinelli was still suffering from the horrid shooting stretch that plagued him against Ukraine. With Belinelli’s offensive impact limited, Gigi Datome and Alessandro Gentile carried the load as Italy tried to chip away at the deficit. By half-time the gap was down but by just 2 points to 41-27. The Italians were getting the better of Serbia but they weren’t able to put together an extended streak to pressure their less experienced adversaries.

Serbia, who had been shellacked in their last two games, were given the hairdryer treatment by Ivkovic throughout. Duda had to be gentle as his side struggled against Spain and Slovenia but now it was time to get his men hot. The third quarter saw the lead cut down again but once more Italy couldn’t make a significant dent. At 55-44, Serbia could manage the clock and play smart ball. Italy needed to take risks but the options simply weren’t there.

With his side holding a 64-54 lead and just over 3 minutes remaining, Nikola Kalinic landed a three. Stefan Markovic added another to push the lead to 16 points. The game was won and Serbia could look forward to Spain next year. Considering the way in which the previous two games had gone for the young Serbs, with 9 players making their first appearance at a major tournament, the character they showed on Saturday bodes well for the future. Whoever leads this side to Spain will have a battle-hardened and talented outfit at his disposal. Ivkovic isn’t confirmed for the trip but it’s hard to think of a more suitable man for the job.

In addition to missing out on next year’s World Cup, this defeat means Italy must now qualify for EuroBasket 2015.


Podcast: Talking Euroleague, NBA transactions, Lithuania basketball

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #44 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

This week’s podcast pays homage to the axiom that, when in doubt about what to talk about in European basketball, simply go to Lithuania. And who better to discuss Team Lithuania’s chances in Eurobasket 2013, Linas Kleiza’s release from the Toronto Raptors, Zalgiris Kaunas’ exit from the VTB United League and such topics than Lithuania Basket’s Simas Baranauskas? Few, we think. (Spoiler: Simas is “cautiously optimistic” about Lietuva in the Slovenia tourney.)

Hein and yours truly also bring the speculation and chatter about recent moves and events in European ball and abroad, touching on Kostas Papanikalaou staying with prospective threepeaters Olympiacos; Richard Hendrix staying in his niche on Eurocup champs Lokomotiv Kuban; the success of Milwaukee Bucks draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo in the FIBA U20 European Championship tournament; Andrei Kirilenko taking a pay cut to join the Brooklyn Nets (which is clearly about kickbacks and not pursuing an NBA title ); Bogdan Bogdanovic eschewing those same Nets for another turn with Fenerbahçe Ülker; and Bobby Brown attempting to crack the New York Knicks roster.

All this and our sports movie review of the week, the so-bad-it’s-marvelous Jean-Claude Van Damme flick Double Team co-starring none other than Dennis Rodman and Mickey “The Wrestler” Rourke. Ever wonder why The Worm has had to resort to bizarre forays into North Korea for HBO in order to stay in the entertainment biz? Rodman brazenly putting his acting “chops” in this flick will explain all. And remember: Offense gets all the glory, but defense wins championships…

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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Profile: Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors lottery pick

Which player was the sensation of this year’s U19 European Championship (and the guy whose arrival Toronto Raptors fans should be anticipating with optimism)? Jonas Valanciunas of Lithuania, of course! Today, Sam Chadwick takes a look at this rising star and his recent successes in youth tourney play.

Name: Jonas Valanciunas
Country: Lithuania
Club: Lietuvos Rytas
Position: PF/C
Height: 6’11” (2.10 meters)
Age: 19 (born May 1992)
Last year’s U18 European Championship had one dominating force, a player literally and figuratively head and shoulders above the pack. Jonas Valanciunas became the overall no. 5 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, going to the Toronto Raptors in the 2011 NBA Draft; some see him as a potential bust and some see him as the best thing to come out of Europe since Dirk Nowitzki. 
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Preview: Lithuania-Serbia in FIBA U19 championship; on Jonas Valanciunas and (a little) more

The FIBA U19 World Championship closes out today, and BiE is proud to say that two of Europe’s finest basketball powers, Lithuania and Serbia, will be meeting for the title. Following, a few links, video clips and the like serving as a preview for the big youth match.

• The biggest audience in North America for the final game may be in Toronto, as the Raptor Nation considers their first-round draft choice Jonas Valanciunas; FIBA’s official website asks what may be a theoretical question: “How do you stop Valanciunas?” The Lithuanian has averaged tournament highs at 21.4 points (second-best is Team Croatia’s Boris Barac with 19.0), 14.6 rebounds (topping Assem Ahmed of Egypt’s 12.2), and 3.2 blocks (topping the 2.9 logged by Lucas Nogueira of Brazil) per game. The duties today will be handed to Nemanja Besovic, to whom BiE wishes best of luck.

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All-Euroleague Team 2010-11: BallinEurope’s ballot

Beyond checking out the wild Menorca-Caja Laboral Baskonia game yesterday, BiE spent a good deal of time this weekend contemplating an empty 2010-11 All-Euroleague team ballot. The EL folks sure don’t make things easy for the voter, providing 60 names are allowing one to vote for just five – not that anyone would ever think of stuffing the virtual box somehow…

All whinging and indecision aside, then, BallinEurope takes a stand and names the five below-listed players to make up the official BiE All-Euroleague team ballot for 2010-11.

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Nike Invitational Junior Tournament pits defending champs FMP against hometown INSEP (plus fearless prediction)

FMP Belgrade benefited from another nice effort from go-to guy Bogdan Bogdanovic to take their second nail-biter in two days: FMP topped Unicaja, 79-78, on a buzzer-beater by Bogdanovic for his 20th and 21st points in the game. The win capped a perfect 3-0 run for the Serbian side, the only team in this year’s Nike Invitational Junior Tournament to do so.

Meanwhile, France’s INSEP shocked BallinEurope’s pick to take the tourney (another fearless prediction gone awry, i fear), Zalgiris Kaunas, 89-82. In his increasingly dominant play, Livio Jean-Charles was the French team’s top player with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jean-Charles is now averaging 16.7 ppg on 72% shooting (!) over the NIJT finals thus far, quite an improvement over the 10.2 per game on 58.6% he managed in the first stage in Belgrade.

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Impressions gleaned from Nike International Junior Tournament, day one

In tandem with the Euroleague Final Four games going down in Paris this weekend runs the Nike International Junior Tournament, a competition between eight of Europe’s top youth club teams. BallinEurope managed to catch the majority of play in three games yesterday and so a few brief notes for you today.

In the opener, defending champions FMP Belgrade seemingly took apart Benetton Basket, 111-85. Most of this huge gap – in fact all of it – was accumulated in the first quarter, after which the Boys From Belgrade had amassed a 31-11 lead as they simply couldn’t miss while Benetton was having difficulty hitting anything. Seven players scored in double figures for FMP, including Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nikola Pavlovic, Sergej Vucetic, Nikola Jankovic, Nikola Siladi, Danilo Toskovic and Nenad Miljenovic.

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