BiE’s official Irish awards ballot +++ Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++

D-Willed to victory: Deron Williams goes for incredible 50 points vs. BG Göttingen [Updated]

Now *this* is what Beşiktaş Milangaz fans have been waiting for: In the Eagles’ third FIBA Eurochallenge game of the 2011-12 season, expensive NBA lockout signing Deron Williams emphatically displayed his NBA skills against BG Göttingen last night, going for a career high (and BiE believes all-time Eurochallenge) 50 points in his side’s 105-94 victory; by BiE’s calculations, Williams’ effort represented a 49-point player index rating.

[Update: Talk Basket is running a list of all players with point totals of 36 or more in a Eurochallenge game since the league was formed in 2003. As it turns out, the all-time high to this point was 39, a mark shared by Fernando San Emeterio, then of CB Girona, and Svendborg Rabbits' Johnell Smith. Williams has, no matter how the NBA lockout turns out, left a mark on European basketball that will remain for quite some time, it seems.]

Göttingen simply had no answers for the New Jersey Net, allowing him to go 17-of-23 from the floor, including a 7-of-10 performance on three-pointers; stated the German side’s coach Stefan Mienack in the post-game: “We played against one of the elite teams of Europe. They’re absolute contenders for the title and they have great players. It’s so hard to win agaınst a team in which Deron Wıllıams plays for.”

Check out the video below for a highlight clip stuff with Williams’ relentless attacking; the Violets’ backcourt of Dale Lewis, Kyle Bailey, Paris Horne et al will certainly be suffering nightmares for months. Official FIBA writeup follows the clip.

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FIBA denies EuroBasket doping rumor; Macedonian media trash-talks Lithuanian counterparts

Though Team FYR Macedonia eliminated hosts Lithuania from the 2011 EuroBasket tournament in mid-September, a certain amount of talk-trashing about the match continues in the blogosphere.

Yesterday, FIBA was forced to do a bizarre bit of damage control after Lithuanian media – specifically, who else but powerhouse club sponsor Lietuvos Rytas? – reported that two players competing in EuroBasket had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs; the piece quoted representatives from the Lithuanian Anti-Doping Agency stated abnormalities had been found and that further testing would have to be done by FIBA on the samples of the two players.

FIBA Europe was quick to deny any such claims, however, soon releasing the following tersely-worded statement on the subject:

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EuroBasket Women: A “huge moment” for Turkey against Russia

If there were any doubt that Turkey is experiencing a bona fide golden age of basketball, look no further than the FIBA EuroBasket Women championship match tonight. The unheralded Team Turkey will take on pre-tournament favorites/historically dominant Russia in Lodz tonight.

At stake is an automatic bid in the 2012 Olympic Games, but one can’t help imagining both of these sides to be playing in London next year: The losing team is already set to play in the Olympic qualifying round, along with Croatia, the Czech Republic and France.

Turkey overcame defending champions France in the semifinal in a 66-62 overtime thriller, leading to what center Nevin Nevlin calls “a huge moment for Turkish basketball. It’s history. We’re part of it. We’re very proud and we know 70 million people back home are proud of us.”

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European Vocation: Early fallout from NBA lockout

The NBA fan’s nightmare came to pass yesterday with the expiration of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players, the concomitant announcement of a player lockout, and fresh new fear that professional basketball in 2011-12 might not even happen in the ‘States.

BallinEurope’s gut reaction, at least on a visceral Eurocentric level? Cool! Bring on the empty stadiums and bring in the players to Europe! Whisperings since 2010-11 tipped off had some top clubs claiming to be stockpiling cash for NBA players should the lockout happen; combine this awareness with the desire for some of these guys to, you know, just *play* somewhere, America’s loss could truly prove to be The Continent’s gain – at least after the 2011 FIBA Eurobasket tournament, for which, not so incidentally, the NBA may also have a profoundly negative affect.

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Fratello named Team Ukraine coach for Eurobasket 2011

Former Atlanta Hawks coach/Marv Albert’s right-hand man Mike “The Czar” Fratello has been named coach of Team Ukraine in advance of Eurobasket 2011. According to press releases and Associated Press reportage, Ukrainian Basketball Federation president Olexandr Volkov stated that “We have a verbal agreement and will sign an official contract any day now. This will be a short-term deal to prepare the team for EuroBasket 2011.”

In 16 seasons with the Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies, Albert compiled a 666-542 record in the regular season plus a 20-42 mark in 11 playoff appearances.

Though his two-plus years with the Grizzlies ran from 2004 to 2007, Fratello has been more well-known for his television work since at least 2000, typically teaching up with Marvelous Marv on American TV.

Volkov played for Fratello’s Hawks in two seasons, averaging 6.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 16.5 minutes played per game

Team Ukraine will be playing in its first-ever Eurobasket tournament this summer in Lithuania, qualifying for the round of 24 by dint of FIBA Europe’s decision to expand the former tournament of 16 by invite.

Press release follows.

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A week in highlights: Spanish block party, mighty Milos, Utah rap and some dude dunking in L.A.

Yes, readers, it’s Sunday. Or, as BallinEurope likes to think of it, “YouTube Trawlday.” (As though BiE avoids the ‘Tube on the other six days. Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.)

Whatever you want to call it, start your day with these 10 video clips starring Nando De Colo, Mirza Begic, Mehmet Okur, Milos Teodosic, Ibrahim Jaaber, Bojan Bogdanović and, you know, what’s his name from the Los Angeles Clippers. Enjoy!

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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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Apoel Nicosia-Pinar Karsiyaka war spreads to cyberspace

Fan violence extreme enough to result in injuries to players and law enforcement officers, FIBA sanctions and fines, Prime Ministerial denouncements, official apologies, and now high-level hacking in the name of basketball: Who knew Eurochallenge ball could get so controversial?

The distinctly un-Christmas atmosphere has tinged the international competition ever since the craziness that followed Cyprus side Apoel Nicosia’s 82-80 victory over TBL team Pınar Karşıyaka on the island on December 21. Immediately following the game’s conclusion, the hometown fans threw rocks, chairs and other debris onto the court, according to club executives in attendance.

(The below video certainly bears this out, by the way.)

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Slovenia to host 2013 Eurobasket by default?

Congratulations, BallinEurope supposes, should go out to the Slovenian Basketball Federation, which seemingly has won the bid to host the 2013 Eurobasket tournament. This slightly bizarre news was run via Slovenian news service this morning:

Slovenia is the only candidate to host the 2013 European Basketball Championship. The European basketball championships will expand to 24 teams starting in 2013…

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Greece vs. Russia: He who wins shall lose?

Rosie knows it

“Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic globule, from which one extracts what one needs.” – Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Teams USA, Turkey and Lithuania for getting tickets punched into the knockout tournament as VIP no. 1 seeds. And while the Argentina-Serbia battle tonight to determine how Group A shakes out should be a dandy, the one to watch – particularly if you’re a FIBA official or conspiracy theorist – will be Russia vs. Greece.

In what is definitely a case of “he who wins shall lose,” the no. 2 seed in Group C will face what appears to be the most difficult path to the championship game in the bracket. Assuming Team Spain handles winless Canada, the winner of tonight’s Russia-Greece contest would first draw Espana as no. 3 seed in Group D in the “eight finals,” followed by (Team USA) the winner of USA vs. Angola/Australia.

The loser of Russia-Greece would get a bracket that includes an opening game against France followed by the winner of Argentina vs. Brazil/Croatia – while hardly an easy road, which do you think David Blatt and Jonas Kazlauskas would prefer?

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