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 +++ The 24 must-see regular season games in 2014/15 Euroleague +++ Until it matters, it won’t matter +++ Watch all 40 of Angela Salvadores points against USA +++ LeBron, another sign that David Blatt just keeps on winning +++ Better know a Euro – Alessandro Gentile +++ Better know a Euro – Ioannis Papapetrou +++ Better know a Euro – Nemanja Dangubic +++

On the road to London: Describing Team France’s five-year plan

While much of the Continent enjoys Easter Monday and North America heads back to work, BallinEurope takes the occasion today to clear out a few items from the backburner. First up, here’s part four of the “On the Road to London” mini-documentary series on Team France’s leadup to the 2012 Olympic Games.

This episode dedicated to “perfectionist” Vincent Collet is simply entitled “Le Coach.” In the vid, Collet emphasizes the importance of “Keeping up the attitude and enthusiasm” Les Bleus both displayed and generated among the populace with its silver-medal finish at Eurobasket 2011.”

Collect also describes the comeback of team and program from “hitting rock bottom” in 2008. At Eurobasket 2007, France failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics after squeaking through two rounds of group play and suffering a first-round bouncing from the tournament by eventual champions Team Russia. Les Bleus thus had to rebuild for Eurobasket 2009 – only to be immediately hit with another obstacle when Tony Parker went down early in that tourney.

Nevertheless, the rest is history. Success in ’09 with possibly France’s strongest roster ever led to the podium finish in Lithuania last year.

“Le Coach” features a few comments from Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum (who says “I am where I am today because I’ve had the chance to meet [Collet] during my career,” so thank le coach, Portland Trail Blazers fans) and of course T.P. himself.

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Gershon: “Jasikevicius is key for Panathinaikos”; “Who can stop McCalebb?”

Over at Greece-based, yesterday was posted a nice interview with already-legendary former head coach Pini Gershon. Gershon in Europe is mostly known for his establishment of Maccabi Tel Aviv as a European basketball powerhouse, with Continental titles taken in 2001*, 2004, and 2005 (*actually a FIBA SuproLeague title in that strange season of two European club champions), plus a brief and respectable turn with Olympiacos in the late ‘00s.

Making him a local hero in Bulgaria was his guidance of the national team into Eurobasket 2009, particularly the underdog side’s upset over Team Italy in qualifiers to advance. And Gershon earned his 15 minutes of ESPN Sports Center fame after earning an ejection in October of that year during an exhibition game between Maccabi and the New York Knicks.

Nowadays, Gershon is in a state of retirement but naturally is still keeping up with the game. In the Eurohoops interview, much space is devoted to Gershon thoroughly sounding off on a couple series in the Euroleague’s elite eight tournament round. Most telling are two prescient points on individual performances; this stuff should probably be taken seriously.

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EuroBasket 2011: Notes, quotes, clips and Fearless Predictions™ for France vs. Spain

Hard to believe it’s almost over … after 19 days of intense basketball competition, the 2011 EuroBasket championship game features a matchup at least a few — including BallinEurope’s U.K. guy Sam Chadwick; props! — had forecast as the outcome. Spain seeks to defend its title against a star-laden France playing in its first-ever title match. (Though France has bagged one silver medal in this tournament, this came in the very strange 1949 edition of the tournament, in which no knockout stage was held.)

BallinEurope runs some notes and posts some clips in preparation for tonight’s match; for Official Fearless Predictions™ on this one and the bronze-medal game between FYR Macedonia and Russia, scroll all the way to the bottom.

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Eurobasket 2011 round two: Impressions, links, notes and highlights

With just two days (and one game per team) remaining in 2011 EuroBasket round two, BallinEurope takes a brief look at some issues and trends going down in the tournament – plus links and YouTubes, of course. Read on for quips, quotes and clips.

• Importance of remaining games. Of six games left to play, four are critical to shaping the knockout round while two feature battles of undefeated teams fighting for group supremacy and the no. 1 seed. Both Spain-France tonight and FYR Macedonia-Russia tomorrow determine the group’s top two finishers, while the Slovenia-Finland (definitely) and Turkey-Serbia (most likely) games will lock in the no. 4 teams from the groups.

• Valanciunas vs. Kanter. In terms of prospect-watching, these are the guys observers have their eyes on. In general, Toronto Raptors fans should be fairly stoked – even a tad miffed that the Lithuanian lad won’t be joining their club for the 2011-12 season (should it happen) – about Valanciunas’ progress.

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France vs. Spain friendly: Parker to play 100th for France, Noah gets first warmup

Happy 100th, Tony Parker! As in the 100th appearance he’ll be making for the French national team tonight in a friendly between Les Bleus and Team Spain in Almeria. Parker has been synonymous with both Team France and the FIBA Eurobasket tournament itself; barring injury, the San Antonio Spur’s appearance in Lithuania for this year’s competition would make it six consecutive Eurobaskets in a streak going back to the beginning of last decade.

Parker first suited up for France in 1997, aging his way through U16, U18 and U20 international tournaments to 2002. Tops among his international tournament performances was at the 2000 FIBA U18 European Championship: As France took the Continental title, Parker was named MVP for his 25.8 points, 6.8 assists and a completely insane 6.8 steals per game – a performance which was certainly incentive enough for San Antonio to draft him into the NBA in round one in 2001.

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Vesely named FIBA Europe young player of 2010

[Editor's note: BallinEurope apologizes for a previous edition of this piece which incorrectly identified Jan Vesely as having rights owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder. This was a grievous error of which you surely need not know details. Rest assured that the infinite number of monkeys formerly ravaging the BiE headquarters are now under control of the proper authorities. Thank you for your patience.]

Jan Vesely was yesterday named FIBA Europe’s Young Men’s Player of the Year for 2010, nipping three-time winner (!) Ricky Rubio for the honors. Both fans and a panel of experts voted, with the tallies weighted to produce a final score.

How close was the race between Vesely and Rubio? Vesely received some 53 more popular votes than The Human YouTube Clip of 97,079, a difference of less than 0.06%; in the expert vote, Vesely scored 14 points higher than Rubio of a total 693, or just about a 2% margin.

Finishing third overall was 19 year-old Jonas Valanciunas, currently of Lietuvos Rytas; Andrew Albicy, currently of Paris-Levallois; and “Free” Enes Kanter, currently in basketball limbo thanks to forces beyond his control.

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Euroleague week three talking points (part I)

How good is Bogdanovic? Discuss.

Seven Euroleague games go off tonight as the season rounds into form a bit. The marquee match tonight has got to be the Khimki-Baskonia showdown to establish early supremacy in that tough Group A; Olympiacos-Unicaja will surely be worth the viewing as well, although the way the Reds have dominated on their home floor lately will make things difficult for the Spanish side.

In preparation for the festivities, then, BallinEurope presents some talking points: facts, stats, oddities, history and video relating to the games. Enjoy!

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Baumann of FIBA/IOC levies more demands on British basketball

Oh boy, does Britain need Ben in 2011

Despite the fact that Team Britain has managed to qualify for 2010 Eurobasket tournaments on both men’s and women’s sides, FIBA secretary-general/International Olympic Committee member Patrick Baumann has placed yet another condition to be met in exchange for bids at the 2012 Olympic Games.

According to today’s Scotsman newspaper via a letter sent from Baumann to Basketball Scotland vice-chairman Bill McInnes, Baumann now demands as prerequisite to Olympic entry “that a single governing body in Britain is established for basketball” uniting programs from England, Scotland and Wales.

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How it feels to be a Lithuanian fan

Last Tuesday in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Team Lithuania completed a huge comeback to defeat the heavily-favored Spain 76-73 – just another win on the way to the tournament round, albeit an exceedingly exciting one, right? Wrong.

BallinEurope’s man in Lithuania, known in this space since last year’s LKL championship series insanity as Y., states that the Spain game meant a heck of a lot more for his country, the basketball-maddest in Europe if not the world. For Y. and his countrymen going into an elimination game with Argentina tonight, this edition of Team Lithuania is already heroic.

“Basketball is just a game, after all” – I remember reading this in Lithuanian media once. And I’m always thinking about it, about how that phrase really fits in our country.

In places other than Kaunas games are played in half-empty arenas, LKL mid-level games get astonishing lows in TV ratings, and our top players such as Šarūnas Jasikevičius more often opted out to rest in the summer rather than play for our National Team while, in comparison, other top teams like Spain always enjoy most of their roster intact.

“True,” I thought once, “we are not as mad about basketball as we would like to be.”

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Perovic: No Gasol is the difference for Spain

Perovic: No Gasol, no easy win for Spain

When Serbia and Spain meet tonight to determine which of the European powers will advance to the 2010 FIBA World Championship final four, it will mark the third time the squads meet in one year – in fact, it’s been 366 days since the relatively unheralded young Serbs surprised the sluggish Spaniards in their Eurobasket 2009 opening game.

And the two Eurobasket 2009 games in which the teams faced off is hardly history: 17 of the 24 players on the teams’ rosters have returned for this tournament. It is, however, one of Team Spain’s two absentees that will make the difference in the rubber match tonight, in Kosta Perovic’s opinion: Pau Gasol.

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