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.
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.
From Fox Sports via the syndication wire, BallinEurope’ll put this one up here for the sheer audacity of it. Below runs exactly what the BiE headline advertises: The sports network’s admittedly “way too early” 2014 mock NBA draft.
And though it is indeed way too early to be thinking about June 2014, BiE’s already looking forward to seeing the exportation of Croatian ballers Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja to the NBA. Hezonja chose not to participate for Team Croatia in the FIBA U19 World Championship wrapping today, ol’ Super Dario has done his dominant-level best, ranking first in rebounding (12.3 per game), second in points (22.4), second in assists (5.5), plus Worlds-leading marks in minutes played (36.6), free-throw attempts (8.0) and makes (6.1); check out LiveBasketball.TV-produced highlight clip from Saric’s 30-point effort against championship-contending Team Serbia run below.
Naturally, specialists NBA Draft and Draft Express also have their mock drafts up (as do many others in the blogosphere, but only Draft Express appears not to pencil in the various teams with their finish for 2013-14). NBA Draft likes Hezonja and Saric to go at nos. 15 and 17, respectively, while the ‘Express has the guy Fox calls “potentially the next Drazen Petrovic” (really?) landing with a lottery team at no. 8 and Saric hearing his name called at … number 22? (Really?!?)
Roll the tape!
Because it’s never too early to start looking ahead to Eurobasket 2013 – wait a minute, there’s only 11 weeks left until tipoff? Definitely not too early, then, to take a look at the formative rosters for the big Continental tournament.
While only a few national teams (Croatia and Lithuania among them) have released preliminary rosters at this point and a few major leagues still playing (Spain, Greece, Germany, Italy, etc.), we can at least deduce which NBA players will or won’t be playing. After all, the rosters of 93.3% of NBA teams have finished their 2012-13 season – and the Miami Heat have no Europeans!
Below is a rundown of each team and the status of their potential NBA players. A few high-profile draft choices and rights-owned guys expected to jump over soon are also peppered in, along with links to appropriate sources. If you find/hear of anything relevant to the list, please comment below.
And we’ll do this group by group…
Belgium – no current NBA players
France – Kevin Seraphin (Washington Wizards) is out for ’13 but hints he’ll be back in the future.
Ten days ago, based on a L’Equipe report, website Catch-and-Shoot described Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls)’ Eurobasket status as *très incertain*, and after another punishing NBA season seems unlikely.
No official word on Nicolas Batum (Portland), though the Trail Blazers reportedly be “watching Batum’s injury” this offseason. Perhaps some discouragement is forthcoming…?
France-based media outlet Figaro reported back in May that Ian Mahinmi (Indiana Pacers) and Ronny Turiaf (Los Angeles Clippers) would play; this may have been speculation based on prior results, but Turiaf’s presence on Les Blues for this tournament has been on coach Collet’s mind for a while.
Podcast: Interviewing NBA Draft prospect Dario Saric, San Antonio Spurs writer Matthew Tynan; also Forgetting Paris
Episode #38 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes. Hein and yours truly zip through a roundup of rolling-on European league tournaments, including brief commentary on what’s happening in the VTB United League, Germany, Turkey, and those French playoffs guaranteed to be giving Jordi Bertomeu nightmares already…
Thereafter, Taking the Charge presents a chat with Dario Saric, a.k.a. The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia. Saric is surprisingly frank about his plans for the immediate future with regard to the NBA Draft and possibility continuing on with Cibona Zagreb. And by the way, yes, he expects his fully-loaded Team Croatia side to take the gold in the upcoming FIBA U19 World Championship – and honestly, BiE’s gotta side with the wunderkind on this one.
Also joining the show this week is Matthew Tynan of the San Antonio Spurs-centric ESPN TrueHoop Network site 48 Minutes of Hell. Tynan weighs in on Tony Parker’s awesomeness, Tim Duncan’s legacy, Tiago Splitter’s recent emergence as a key factor in San Antonio’s success and the bittersweet difficulty of having to interview Gregg Popovich. Tynan offers us his own Official Fearless Prediction for the NBA Finals, as does Hein himself – and BiE must say that both are surprising, really.
Finally, the movie of the week is a gem of a basketball-centric romantic comedy from the 1990s, Forget Paris. This one was directed, written and co-produced by that no. 1 Los Angeles Clippers fan Billy Crystal in an apparent attempt to get the sports-obsessed guys out there to check out what might be otherwise considered a “chick flick.”
Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/ into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.
What say we close out 2012 with a whole bunch of highlight clips? BiE knew you’d be willing. Tomorrow, a list of the most popular BallinEurope stories of the calendar year will be running, but today comes an attempt to encapsulate the past 365 days in European hoops, YouTube style.
From Ibaka’s blocks to the return of Ricky Rubio, from a stunner in Istanbul to a double miracle in Italy, from the US to the Continent and back again, BallinEurope’s got your highlights right here… Continue Reading…
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…
We’ll be running a poll on this question next week, but please feel free to put forth suggestions in the “comments” section below this post. A few suggested guidelines: Since the winning choice will be immortalized (well, as immortalized as things can get online) in illustrated form, BiE asks that you consider only guys easily caricatured or are at least easily recognizable by the uniform.
After making a few kneejerk-reaction choices, BiE also consulted with this site’s contributing writers and a pilgrim father of BallinEurope. Below runs the tentative list of candidates thus far.