Apologies from BallinEurope for not weighing in on this … thing until this morning, but after rereading it for the nth time, BiE felt the rant building but wanted to avoid posting an overly emotional response. Perhaps a day and a good night’s rest would temper my viewpoint; maybe upon waking this morning, we’d all discover after logging in to FIBA.com that the Eurobasket manipulation had all been a smokescreen for the hiring of Mike D’Antoni. Or something.
Some good news from the developing basketball program in Armenia came to BallinEurope today as the country’s federation announced the first official training camp for the newly-established men’s national team, set for the 2013 off-season in Yerevan. It’s the first step on the path to the 2014 FIBA Europe Division C Men’s Basketball Championship, Team Armenia’s first-ever appearance in the tournament.
Zareh Zargaryan, formerly of CSU Dominguez Hills, stated that “It’s truly an honor to be able to play for Armenia. I have been dreaming of this since my childhood days.” Team Armenia coach Carl Bardakian echoed the sentiments in saying that “Our coaching staff and players are fully aware of the significance and responsibility of competing under the tri-colored flag of Armenia.”
Now here’s an encouraging rumor about Dario Saric’s potentially disastrous contract situation: According to Euro-Step, one team which can afford to do so will step up to foot the €550,000 transfer fee demanded by KK Zagreb to release the Croatian wunderkind.
As rumor has it, “Nikola Vujcic is acting as an intermediary” in a deal which would have “Saric sign[ing] with Anadolu Efes before joining KK Split on loan.”
Saric has reportedly been working out with Split for the month he’s been in contract limbo. Originally slated to play for Bilbao Basket of the Liga Endesa this season, the transfer was stopped when the now-second division Zagreb club demanded at least €1 million to win the prospect’s services. FIBA arbitrators ruled that the price would be €550,000.
Hopefully things will work out for The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia, who had been looking at the prospect of a Kanteresque sat-out season as Saric looks to continue moving up his basketball career ladder.
It’s Wednesday once again and thus time for another episode in the “Taking the Charge” podcast series presented by heinnews and BallinEurope.com. Yes, it’s another gabfest loaded with topical news and views plus interviews, music and Os Davis’ movie recommendation of the week. The episode program goes something like this.
• Hein and BiE weigh in on a pair of destiny-shaping events in Europe, namely the exit of David Blatt from Team Russia and the sad decision in FIBA’s arbitration of the KK Zagreb/Bilbao Basket contract dispute over Dario “The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia” Saric;
• A brief look at the recent fortunes of four Euroleague contenders – Zalgiris Kaunas, CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and Real Madrid – and their changing landscapes early on in the 2012-13 season;
• A talk with Chinese basketball-centric NiuBBall editor/Beijing-based American expat Jon Pastuszek about Tracy McGrady, the NBA influence in the big country, Panathinaikos’ machinations to attract Chinese talent last summer and certain oddities within the CBA rulebook;
• An interview with former Augusta State University/Phoenix Suns big man Garret Siler, who recently returned to China and the league which granted him his first top-division job out of college; and
To hear the entirety of “Taking the Charge,” episode seven, please click here. And talk to you next week!
After defending Euroleague champions Olympiacos took care of business in an 85-81 win over Caja Laboral Baskonia last week, Greece-based media outlet Ekathimerini spun their game wrap under the headline “Greek stars gift Reds opening Euroleague win.”
Indeed, last year’s heroes Giorgos Printezis and Vassilis Spanoulis were instrumental in the comeback victory, providing 33 points combined as the team’s high scorers. And Olympiacos management seems light-years removed from their former fascination with overpaying the Josh Childresses of the basketball world by investing in homegrown talent Dimitrios Mavroeidis and Stratos Perperoglou while otherwise standing pat with much of the 2010-11 final roster.
NBA Europe Live Tour and Euroleague American Tour games tip off tomorrow, giving a few fan bases a glimpse at some possible future prospects already drafted and with rights owned by a big league club.
Following up on yesterday’s brief look at five rights-owned European players developing their games on The Continent, today is offered another quintet for your consideration. Fans of Chicago, Charlotte, and San Antonio will particularly want to pay attention – and tune into some Euroball in 2012-13…
• PF Nikola Mirotic, Real Madrid (2011 NBA draftee; rights owned by the Chicago Bulls).
Few players are more greatly anticipated – and few could be more immediately useful to such an injury-prone frontcourt – in Chicago than Nikola Mirotic.
Mirotic rolled on last season after bagging the Euroleague Rising Star award for 2010-11, nearly doubling his EL scoring average from 6.6 to 12.5 ppg; not to mention a like increase in touches. Unfortunately for Bulls backers, Mirotic is contracted to Real through 2016 –although he’ll only be 25 years old by then and BiE wouldn’t be surprised to see Chicago at least attempt a hefty buyout within the next four seasons.
(To induce further covetousness in the Windy City, check out the 26-point, 10-rebound, 46-PIR damage Mirotic did in Real’s game two Liga Endesa victory over Blancos de Rueda Valladolid last night…)
Exactly what the title says then – BallinEurope takes a look at the seedings for the EuroBasket 2013 draw and riffs a bit. As we know, the six groups from which the final divisions will be comprised look as follows.
No. 1 seeds: Spain, France, Russia, FYR Macedonia
No. 2 seeds: Lithuania, Greece, Slovenia, Great Britain
No. 3 seeds: Italy, Croatia, Germany, Montenegro
No. 4 seeds: Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina
No. 5 seeds: Georgia, Belgium, Latvia, Turkey
No. 6 seeds: Czech Republic, Serbia, Israel, Sweden
Mulled-over reactions follow.
From the folks at FIBA comes a dispatch on the guy who may already be Lithuania’s most popular player in North America, Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas arrived in Toronto this week as he begins preparations for the 2012-13 NBA season…
Those who tuned into David and Davis’ podcast over at heinnews this week and/or have been reading the rants posted on BallinEurope on Milos Teodosic’s play in the recent FIBA EuroBasket 2013 qualifiers know that BiE fears something is amiss in Serbia. BallinEurope’s contributing writer from over there, Marko Savkovic, today tells us that head coach Dušan Ivković attempted to address some of the issues dogging his Team Serbia yesterday. Did Duda succeed in his explanation? You be the judge…
Team Serbia walked a very thin line last Tuesday, narrowly escaping elimination from EuroBasket 2013. Three days later, its coach Dušan “Duda” Ivković faced the press.
Yes, Israel was beaten fairly convincingly on Tuesday evening. If it hadn’t been for a couple of late three-pointers from Guy Pnini, Omri Casspi’s strong 1-on-1 display and some staunch 4th quarter defense, Serbia would have won by a margin far greater than 19 points necessary to finish second in the group. Belgrade’s Pionir Arena welcomed home team’s rise from the state of complete disarray into which it had fallen in after its disgraceful loss to Estonia. Yet the smiles and cheers were those not so much confidence or gratitude, but of relief. Relief for a nation which – you have to compare – 10 years ago celebrated its last world championship.
On Friday, coach Duda spoke to the press.He accepted part of the blame for the team’s abysmal showing in the EuroBasket qualifiers, but also argued that “we [Serbia] are not a team going about to disgrace our nation.”
Last night’s recap of the action in FIBA EuroBasket 2013 qualifying round, in brief: Serbia and Turkey took care of business, the miracle campaign of dark horse Azerbaijan ended sadly, and the 24 teams that will comprise The Continent’s big tournament are now known.
BallinEurope has a podcast with Germany-based heinnews on more general matters regarding the qualifying teams scheduled for later today, so a few thoughts will follow. For now, however, contact the virtual trophy makers, because BiE’s announcing its official All-Qualifiers Team. Without further ado, the first five are…