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EuroBasket 2015: Romania the odd team out on the final night +++ Gran Canaria gets the Phantom treatment for USA vs Slovenia +++ TrueHoop breaks down how David Blatt will work with LeBron James +++ FIBA World Cup Preview: Group D +++ BiE’s editor takes the ice bucket challenge, nominates Basketball Ireland boss +++ Žydrūnas Ilgauskas considering a comeback? Wow LeBron has power +++ The Dream Team’s children +++ Highlights: Belgium beat Belarus, Germany stay alive +++ EuroBasket 2015: Bosnia, Belgium, Israel, and Latvia lock up spots +++ First Person: Follow the FIBA World Cup through BiE’s eyes +++
Jun
11

Eurobasket 2013: Which NBA players are in, which are out?

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…

Group A
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.

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Jan
14

Oldboy in London: New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee checks out O2, tweets with fans, disses Brooklyn Nets

Spike LeeUnfortunately criminally underrated in the greater popular consciousness as a film director (to wit: why are films like Clockers, The 25th Hour, Summer of Sam more well-remembered and -respected?), Spike Lee nevertheless enjoys tremendous notoriety as the world’s biggest, most visible New York Knicks fan – and as a fantastic Tweeter as well.

Spike will naturally be sitting courtside for the Knicks’ game against the Detroit Pistons in London’s O2 Arena tonight to support “Africa’s team” (He just said that). And this morning UK time, the director paid heed to the Knickerbocker nation and his own fans by taking to Twitter; BallinEurope today rounds up Spike’s mass media and social media foray…

The verdict on London in general after the first 24 hours or so? Tweeteth the Spike: “London is HIP.” A few more immediate impressions may be seen below, as Spike got plenty of facetime before international media.

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Oct
36

Taking stock of European players in the NBA, 2012-13

Koufos one of four Euronuggets

BallinEurope will be celebrating NBA Opening Day with lots of stuff centered on the big league; firstly, BiE takes stock of Continental ballers in the ‘States.

Taking a look at this year’s roundup, we note that 53 Europeans have been named to NBA clubs’ 15-man roster, just beating the pace of the 52 listed in 2010-11. (BiE didn’t take the tally for last season because, you know, things were kinda confusing during the lockout and all…)

And quite a few teams have seriously European-tinted rosters: Five teams go into the 2012-13 NBA season with four Continental players – and of these 20 players, perhaps only Sasha Pavlovic and Evan Fournier are marginalized at the lower end of the 15-man rosters. If one includes Ty Lawson as an honorary Lithuanian (for at least one more season), the Denver Nuggets could put an all-Euro squad on the floor with Lawson heading up an admittedly odd lineup of Fournier, Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov.

The team-by-team breakdown goes as follows.

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Aug
15

Eurobasket 2013 qualification round bullets – plus Official Fearless Predictions™

With 13 games to play tonight in the EuroBasket 2013 qualifying round, BallinEurope takes a quick look around the blogosphere regarding a few subplots, storylines and players to watch. We’ll do this in the time-honored tradition of the ESPN TrueHoop Network, i.e. bullet-style.

● Some in the Spurs Nation were enthused with Davis Bertans’ play for Team Latvia against Romania and Adam Hanga for Hungary generally.

● Team Israel’s Yogev Ohayon is playing like he did in high school

● …while Guy Pnini “defended his performance” in the first three games by nailing a clutch three in his side’s upset of Serbia, though the woeful shooting continued with a 1-of-5 line.

● After Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons fans will also want to keep an eye out for Slava Kravtsov, described as “dominant” for Team Ukraine against Hungary – after all, team executives are.

● Speaking of Jerebko, *still* no word on whether he’ll be suiting up for tonight’s home game against Bulgaria, but Team Sweden head coach Bradley Dean asserts that “we have no excuses and we don’t want any.”

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Aug
2

FIBA EuroBasket qualifiers: Will Jonas Jerebko play against Team Bulgaria?

Jonas Jerebko has been the key player for Team Sweden in the FIBA EuroBasket qualifying round thus far, with an average line of 20.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.25 assists and 1.75 steals per game – so you can imagine his side may be entering tomorrow’s match with Bulgaria with some trepidation, as Jerebko’s status for the game is still unknown.

The Detroit Piston was injured in Tuesday’s win against Luxembourg; while the injury is not deemed serious (he certainly won’t miss any NBA games), it comes nevertheless at a seriously bad time for the Swedes. Currently at 2-2, Team Sweden is statistically tied with Azerbaijan and Bulgaria for second place in Group B with four games to play. The top two to three teams from the group will advance to the next round.

Official story from FIBA Europe follows.

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Aug
2

Jonas Jerebko: “We’ve got a young, deep team and we’re gonna make the playoffs”

Team Sweden is having its troubles on The Road to Slovenia in the FIBA EuroBasket 2013 qualifying round, currently at just 1-2 in Group B to place them behind Germany, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan (!). After the team’s 81-66 loss on Friday to Team Deutschland, Sweden’s NBA representative and top scorer at 22.0 ppg in the tourney, Jonas Jerebko, was surprisingly optimistic regarding his Detroit Pistons’ chances in 2012-13 and stoically realistic/pessimistic about the national team.

Jerebko was quite sunny about the 2012-13 edition of Pistons. The goal, Jerebko reckons, is to make the playoffs – an aim which, despite playing what the Swede calls “playoff-level basketball,” was well missed in ‘11-12. As for Team Sweden, well … despite a “very bright future,” making a proper splash in EuroBasket competitions will happen “not right now.”

The full interview with the “Swedish Eagle” by the appropriately-named Germany-based Sport Eagle TV runs below – and then a sweet highlight clip.

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Jul
2

The BallinEurope Summer League Review: On 14 NBA aspirants from the Continent

While so much attention is paid to the upcoming Olympics and warm-up games, a number of European players have quietly gone about their business in the NBA Summer Leagues in Vegas and Orlando. BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, takes a look at an extended roster’s worth of European ballers’ performances in the Orlando and Las Vegas summer games.

Alexis Ajinca, San Antonia Spurs (2.8 ppg, 50% FG, 2.8 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.5 bpg in four Las Vegas games)
Ajinca is in a similar position to Ryan Richards: Both played summer league for the Spurs and turned in eerily similar numbers. However, Alexis did manage to hit at least 50% of his shots while also being a slight factor on defence (0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks) in his very low 10 minutes per game. Ajinca’s hopes for an NBA spot, like Richards’, look like a long shot and I expect him to return to France for the coming season. Although a tall and talented big man always seem to earn a roster spot, Alexis just has not developed the way teams hoped he would when he was selected 20th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft.

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Apr
12

British Basketball announces 21-man national team roster, dubbed “strongest Team Britain ever”

Head coach Chris Finch and the British Basketball Federation today released a preliminary roster of 21 players to compete for spots on the host team’s 2012 Olympic team. Given the fairly short modern history of FIBA-level basketball on the ‘Isles, the claim from the federation that this is the “strongest-ever preliminary GB men’s squad” isn’t very debatable.

Said roster draws on quite an international reach, consisting as it does of NBA players Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls), Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons) and Byron Mullens (Charlotte Bobcats); Liga Endesa’s Kieron Achara (Manresa), Robert Archibald (Zaragoza), Dan Clark (Asefa Estudiantes), Joel Freeland (Unicaja Malaga) and Devon van Oostrum (Tarragona); European professionals Ogo Adegboye and Kyle Johnson (Apoel Cyprus), Eric Boateng (Peristeri), Matthew Bryan-Amaning (Hacettepe), Mike Lenzly (CEZ Nymburk), Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Besiktas Milangaz), Sullivan Phillips (Prievidza); the BBL’s Nate Reinking (Sheffield Sharks) and Andrew Sullivan (Leicester Riders); NCAA players Andrew Lawrence (College of Charleston), Alex Marcotullio (Northwestern), Ovie Soko (University of Alabama-Birmingham); and current free agent/San Antonio Spurs draftee Ryan Richards.

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Apr
1

Highlights from Dennis Rodman’s Easter weekend in Bulgaria

Former Detroit Pistons/Chicago Bulls/Torpan Pojat power forward and Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman was in Bulgaria this weekend to help that nation’s league celebrate its all-star break and oh yes, he left his mark.

Ireland-based The Score reported somewhat hyperbolically that the appearance was part of a full-on comeback to the game by the financially-troubled Rodman, but such reports may be greatly exaggerated (more on this below). Via the ‘site, though, here’s a YouTube in which a decidedly civilized and erudite Worm thanks the Bulgarian people for the opportunity, somehow finding a comparison between the country and Texas in that both locations are “very raw” and “very cool.”

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Feb
32

First half report cards for European players in NBA

At the halfway point of the crazy fast 2011-12 NBA season, BallinEurope flexes the university professor muscles a little bit this morning with midterm assessments of individual performance by the big league’s Continental Players. We’ll be using the European grading system, with 5 being the top score possible and 1 the lowest; the Americans may consider the numbers roughly equivalent to the A-F system of U.S. high schools.

Listed along with the player’s name and team are a few metrics employed in handing out the marks, chief among these current Player Efficiency Ratings as devised by ESPN’s John Hollinger.

Now, class. Ready for the second half…?

5. Head of the class
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors (22.1 PER, 23.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg)

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (19.23 PER, 15.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 1.0 spg, 38.1 mpg)

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs (22.32 PER, 19.4 ppg, 8.1 apg, 1.1 spg)

Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves (22.38 PER, 12.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 0.7 spg, 24.4 mpg; in February, 17.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 0.8 spg, 32.2 mpg)

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