March Madness ended on Monday. On Tuesday Dario Saric, having just signed a new agent, delivered a triple-double with perfect timing to get the attention of NBA scouts. His 20 points, 13 board, and 10 assists in Cibona’s 96-70 Croatian Cup semi-final win over KK Zagreb. Super Dario certainly knows when to pick his moment.
Cibona Zagreb moved to 2-1, Cedevita stayed perfect, and Krka topped reigning ABA Liga champions Partizan in round three.
The biggest result of the weekend in the ABA was Krka’s 60-52 win over Partizan. The Slovenian outfit returned to the Adriatic league on the back of a four year dominant stretch in its domestic league and moved to 2-1 for the season by claiming a major scalp in round three. In a game where offence was, to put it kindly, below par it was Krka who delivered more consistently. Their 38.7 per cent shooting coupled with a 6-3 advantage from three point land was enough to overcome an awful 29.8 per cent night from the field for Partizan. Edo Muric had 17 points and 8 rebounds for Krka while Malcolm Ray Armstead contributed 13 points, 5 assists, and 5 boards. Joffrey Lauvergne had a double-double for Partizan, with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but the support and accuracy wasn’t around him to make it count.
That loss for Partizan means Cedevita is the lone unbeaten side in the ABA after just three rounds. Miro Bilan had 16 points and 5 rebounds, all on the offensive end, in a 77-63 win at Zadar. Jusif Nurkic chipped in 15 points and 4 boards while Nolan Smith had 16 points and four boards. Smith, the former Duke Blue Devil, is one of two players to reach the Final Four on Cedevita’s roster. Goran Suton, ex Michigan State, had a good night on the boards with 6 rebounds for the Zagreb club. Zadar leaned far too much on Ive Ivanov, who led the team in scoring (16), assists (4), and rebounds (4).
Krka’s win meant they continue to go in the opposite direction of Slovenia’s Euroleague club Union Olimpija. The Ljubljana outfit lost 60-58 at Siroki to drop to 0-3 and sit at the bottom of the ABA.
It was a quiet enough outing for Dario Saric in round 3 but Cibona Zagreb still picked up the win with a convincing 87-63 victory over Szolnoki Olaj. Saric had 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists for Cibona in the win. Four players scored in double digits for the Zagreb team. Jerel Blassingame had 14 points and 9 dimes while Andrija Zizic had 15 points and 12 boards. Cibona got far more work done as a team on the offensive end with a 23-10 advantage overall in assists.
There were plenty of interesting victories at the weekend in the first round of the Adriatic League (ABA Liga) but the player on everybody’s lips lost his game. No matter what happens in ABA Liga this season, all eyes are on Dario Saric.
Dario Saric put in the type of display that will have NBA draftniks salivating in Cibona Zagreb’s 66-82 loss to Radnicki. Saric, who opted against declaring for last June’s draft to enter 2014′s more loaded class, had 17 points on 53.8 per cent shooting with 3 boards for his trouble too. Saric also had 3 turnovers in a display where he tried to be the meast when his side was clearly the least. Mouphatou Monrou had a huge day for Radnicki with 19 points off an 8 of 9 display from the field and he picked up 6 rebounds too. In all the victors had four players in double digits while an 8 point display in just 10 minutes meant Nikola Jevtovic was a valuable contributor from the bench. To save this column turning into being all about Saric every week, we’re going to include a Dario Watch at the end of each ABA Liga round-up from next week onwards.
After being utterly dominant in Slovenia over the past four season, Krka had a winning return to ABA action with a 60-57 win over Buducnost. Malcolm Armstead carried his team over the line with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Reigning champions Partizan got off to a winning start with a 67-56 win over Igokea. Leo Westermann had 18 points and 4 assists for the Belgrade side with Tarence Kinsey 15 points, 4 boards, and 3 assists. Bogdan Bogdanovic made his return to club action after impressing at EuroBasket with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 dimes.
Crvena Zvezda, whose performance in ABA Liga last season catapulted them into Euroleague, got off to a losing start despite showing solid balance. Siroki held on in a nail-biter to win 80-79 in the opening round. Boris Barac, with 25 points, and Domagoj Bosnjak, 17 points and 5 assists, carried the load for the victors. Elsewhere there were wins for Skopje over Union Olimpija 79-60, Zadar over Szolnoki 71-67, and Cedevita over Mega Vizura 72-62.
Round two kicks off on Tuesday night with three games with the remaining four on Wednesday. Saric is next in action with Cibona at Union Olimpija where both sides will be seeking their first wins of the season.
Some exciting news for folks in Zagreb from the English-language section of the news portal Croatia Week: Basketball fans in the big city may be treated to a unique Brooklyn Nets-Cibona Zagreb exhibition match in October in observation of the 20th anniversary of the death of all-time great Drazen Petrovic.
And according to the ‘Week, little stands in the way of such an eventuality: “The Brooklyn Nets, who were called the New Jersey Nets when Petrovic was a star there in the early 1990′s, will play a match against Petrovic’s former club Cibona in Zagreb if there is enough interest…”
Gee, do you think the first-ever appearance by an NBA team in the basketball-mad land could generate enough interest? Start looking into hotel deals now, sports tourists!
Now who saw this one coming? According to Croatia-based news outlet Jutarnji, Cibona Zagreb, having just activated the previously in-limbo Dario Saric (not to mention already eliminated from Eurocup play and in a 6-7 hole in the ABA), will announce the signing of Smush Parker.
Perhaps best known nowadays for serving as Kobe Bryant’s media-side scratching post, Parker has logged court time in China, Greece, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic since last playing in the U.S. with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2008.
Further making things interesting are comments made by Saric’s bombastic father Predrag. As translated by Sportando, father Saric opined that “Cibona owe money to everyone, they don’t have a coach and they expect Dario to save them. The best option for Darius was KK Split…”
(For the record, the same story telling of Parker’s arrival also notes that current head coach Daniel Lutz will in fact remain in the position through 2012-13.)
Predrag further went on to comment that at least 10 clubs were willing to sign his son and immediately loan him back to KK Split; apparently, Predrag had little say in the matter after all, however, since relations among family members has become a bit strained.
And BallinEurope asks could the downward spiral of this legendary European basketball club continue? Kobe’d probably say yes…
While embeddable Adriatic League game clips are somewhat hard to come by through traditional online methods, the folks at the ABA have nicely provided entire game clips on their official website.
As noted by BallinEurope, Dario “The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia” Saric debuted for 2012-13 on Sunday with Cibona Zagreb in the storied club’s win over Euroleaguers Cedevita. European basketball fans and NBA mock draft addicts will certainly want to watch for no. 9 in the video; despite an 0-of-5 mark on threes, Saric contributed eight points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal in a nice display of his array of skills.
The full game may be seen here, while below runs a sliver.
Monday Hangover: Žalgiris Kaunas impressive again; Saric’s 2012-13 debut; Goldsberry’s Bizarro Buzzer-Beater of the Week
So no further ado: Three quasi-brief impressions from the bigger games, done up bullet-style.
• Žalgiris: Ever interesting, ever relentless. BallinEurope’s recommended EL game of the week was Žalgiris Kaunas at Emporio Armani Milano. Žalgiris, with its slight vulnerability shown lately, needed to make a statement in this game in BiE’s opinion. Don’t worry Greens men and women: After this game, your guys will be sure to move up in the BallinEurope Euroleague power rankings…
The Euroleague and its Basketball Institute concluded its “Basketball Rules Summit” yesterday and today has put out a press release detailing some of the recommendations for future EL and Eurocup play. Said media communique follows.
(Euroleague) – …The spirited two-day debate among 13 of the top coaches, players, referees, team and league executives, media, television and marketing experts reached a consensus on proposals to improve a range of game situations that respected the summit’s goal in making the competitions cleaner, fairer and more exciting.
Once again on June 7, BallinEurope takes a look back at one of the all-time greats, without whom the game of basketball would not be the same: Dražen Petrović. The man is still missed.
An entire generation has entered basketball since his untimely passing and while ever-growing numbers of NBA and European stars who have never seen him play emerge, all owe a debt to Dražen Petrović.
It was on this day in 1993 that the only man who realistically could have held claim to the sobriquet of “the European Michael Jordan” was killed in a car accident in Germany. As detailed in the excellent ESPN “30 for 30” documentary “Once Brothers,” Petrović was a fearless, proud player with Team Yugoslavia and later Team Croatia in international play; was on the verge of entering the prime of a Hall of Fame-level career with the New Jersey Nets.
For those of you who never saw Petrović play, do yourselves a favor and take some time to watch below. For those of us fortunate enough to remember this European pioneer blazing trails all over the world, it’s a welcome (if slightly meandering) trip down memory lane. We still miss you, Dražen.
History has been unkind to Petrović vis-à-vis his NBA battles with that 1990s uber-phenomenon, i.e. Michael Jordan. Surely many Nets and Chicago Bulls fans remember the battles between these two powers which were mostly, as they say these days, “epic.”
Reported Eurobasket.com, “Cibona led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. They made 16-of-21 free shots (76.2 percent) during the game. Cibona forced 19 Cedevita turnovers. Continue Reading…