Money does not equal professionalism

The Belgrade derby ends in a 3-on-4 match-up and then an Istanbul derby doesn’t happen at all. These are supposed to be finals, the pinnacle of the season. Emmet Ryan writes on why, irrespective of individual fault, this makes all involved look bad.

It’s been one of those weeks (and a bit), the type we are far too familiar with in European basketball. Had the 3 on 4 last man standing match that was the finish to Game 1 of the Serbian finals between Crvena Zvezda and Partizan been the worst thing to happen this month, it would still have been a rough one. Instead the Turkish league has managed to one-up that situation with the wholly insane finish to its season.

Game 6 of the Turkish finals took a while to come to life, mostly because of how awful Fenerbahce were in the first quarter, but in the end Galatasaray’s victory had a pleasant dose of excitement to round out their impressive performance. The season would go down to a decider, well at least that was the plan. Unfortunately, and at the time of writing this hasn’t changed, there won’t be a Game 7. Galatasaray are boycotting the game over a series of charges they have levelled against the Turkish basketball authorities.

This column is not about the rights and wrongs of Gala’s protest, not least because I haven’t a clue as to what if any legitimacy they hold. If we focus on the single element, which is this boycott, we miss the problem. Game 7 of the Turkish finals isn’t the problem nor is the descent into madness of Game 1 in Serbia. The problem is that for all the progress made on the court in European basketball, we still have a putrid air of amateurism at some of the highest levels of the game.
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Nike International Junior Tournament: Lietuvos Rytas torches Crvena Zvezda to reach finals

Just completed was the deciding game in Group A of the Nike International Junior Tournament – and for Crvena Zvezda the results were ugly indeed.

While Dusan Ristic had his now-standard killer game for the Croatian side with 21 points and 10 rebounds, the tenacious play of the Lithuanians (clearly still rolling from their incredible second half against FC Barcelona yesterday) resulted in a huge 105-69 victory for Lietuvos Rytas. Augustinas Jankaitis chased his double-double of 16/13 yesterday – and augmented his chances of ultimately being named MVP of this tourney – with an amazing 30-point, 11-rebound performance.

Once again, Crvena Zvezda appeared to consciously eschew a physical game, a style which this Lithuanian side is not at all afraid to play. L. Rytas won the battle of the boards handily, with 39 against the Red Star’s mere 26.

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