Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++

Podcast: Interview with Team Poland/Lietuvos Rytas coach Dirk Bauermann

Taking the Charge podcast series Episode #39 of the weekly “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online.

Co-host David Hein and BiE have kept this one mercifully (relatively) short. Recorded directly after game three of the San Antonio Spurs-Miami Heat NBA championship – not to mention directly thereafter game two of the Liga Endesa finals, game two of the Greek League finals and game one of Italy’s Serie A championship series – we do touch upon some happenings in these, but at center…

…is an interview with Dirk Bauermann, former head coach of Team Germany and Bayern Munich and currently with Team Poland and Lietuvos Rytas. Bauermann talks to us about his hopes for his new charges in Eurobasket 2013 (unfortunately seemingly without Marcin Gortat), what to expect from L. Rytas next season and, naturally, on earning his keep in the great basketball state of Lithuania.

As for the sports movie of the week film review, we check out probably the greatest baseball movie you’ve never heard of, namely The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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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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Podcast: Interview with Team Spain U19s head coach Luis Guil; review of The Last Boy Scout; gobs of basketball talk

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #36 of the weekly “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online and, if you think the end of the Euroleague season means a paucity of subjects to discuss, well, you don’t know BallinEurope and heinnews once we get started…

At center is an interview with current Team Spain U19s/former Murcia head coach Luis Guil. Guil, who’s tutored the likes of Ricky Rubio, Sergio Rodriguez, Victor Claver, Sergio Llull, Carlos Saurez, Xavier Rabaseda and Alex Abrines among others, tells us about his highs and lows coaching youth hoops plus what he sees as a big Spanish export market for coaches worldwide.

Beyond this, any number of basketball-centric topics are on the radar, including the NBA Draft lottery; those awesome San Antonio Spurs; an incipient player strike in Spain; VTB United League, German Bundesliga and TBL playoffs; and, inevitably, upcoming FIBA tournaments.

And from the We Watch These Things So You Don’t Have To Department is our sports movie review of the week. This time, it’s the distinctly non-epic Bruce Willis flick of 1991, a.k.a. the year American professional football died, The Last Boy Scout. (See below for the wonderfully over-the-top loopy opening scene and ignore the rest. It’s for the best, really…)

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!

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Serious stunner: FIBA introduces five-point shot, effective immediately in international competition

In what is apparently an effort to either increase fandom or sheerly generate publicity for international basketball tournaments, FIBA officials started their week by announcing the introduction of an entirely new wrinkle to the game: Any shot taken from or behind the half-court mark will now be awarded five points. Reportedly, the rule change – which is effective immediately – was done with the intent to “ensure that such spectacular actions finally get the rating that they deserve,” according to a FIBA official speaking through Google Translate.

German Basketball Federation (DBB) president Ingo Weiss explained his “yea” vote for the five-pointer with, “You can draw from such a decision of FIBA your hat. You can imagine how chaotic the conference, with more than 200 participants and a translation expires in 36 languages and dialects, but in the end, almost all the participants have decided, we also naturally from DBB. We were also able to enforce the fact that the center line and not used, as another line is drawn. The new scheme is a further nuance our great sport – its impact cannot yet be assessed.”

Referees’ signal for successful five-pointer

The DBB’s official website goes on to say quote Team Germany head coach Frank Menz as predicting that “What’s going to happen for sure is that specialists are trained from childhood for these litters. A completely new position and function has been born. I’m curious to see what types of players will emerge in the end of the 5-point launcher. There will also be a number of new defensive options.”

According to FIBA statistics, successful half-court shots occur in approximately 0.12% of games; analysts for the German federation estimated, however, that some 5% of game outcomes could be affected by the new rule.

Further explain DBB officials: “This requires only that the center line will be painted in a red signal color. For the referee’s 5-point rating is not a problem: They show a shot attempt with outstretched hand (five fingers) to, at the other hand comes to success. This is also a reason that of the originally planned 6-point scoring again was abandoned…”

BallinEurope will now weep for the future of basketball. Directly after having Google Translate taken outside and shot, that is.

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March Madness: Three teams (and nine players) to support in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

Can Harris, Gonzaga continue to ride the wave?

Can one website support three teams in a single competition? Hey, it’s March Madness, so why not? Earlier, BallinEurope took a brief look at half the European players set to compete (or not) in the 2013 NCAA Tournament; today, nine more – and a bit of a conundrum Though some 18 names on Big Dance rosters represent the Continent in this year’s tourney, three teams have each amassed a European triad – not to mention a few certain NBA draft picks and difference-makers in the tournament.

The easy choice for the European basketball fan would of course be Gonzaga. With a realistic shot at winning the whole enchilada and having perfected that up-tempo style for which this basketball program has become known, why not get on the bandwagon? After a topsy-turvy season during which it felt like a new no. 1 topped polls weekly, the Bulldogs finally emerged atop the ratings, only to see that ranking immediately erased thanks to bracket-building.

Of course, one could eliminate the Zags from contention for your Tournament-time devotion on a technicality. Guy Landry Edi’s hometown according to the NCAA and media sources is Paris, France. However, serious followers of FIBA ball will recall that, after playing with Team France in the U16s, he then suited up – thus changed his eligible nationality in FIBA terms – for Côte d’Ivoire in the 2010 FIBA World Championship (and subsequently the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship).

So could it be that Edi is finally worn down? Or, put another way, what happened to this guy in 2013? Since the New Year’s Eve game at Oklahoma State, Edi has totaled nearly as many personal fouls (11) as points (16, including seven in the Seniors Day Game blowout against Portland). Heck, he hasn’t scored a point since January 24, since going 0-for-13.

BiE wonders if we’ll ever see this player again (and thinks, yeah, maybe in Pro A next season):

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Team Russia to be AK-less for Eurobasket as Andrei Kirilenko announces retirement

Kirilenko in 2008

But what a way to go out, eh…?

Russia-based Sport Express and FIBA are this morning reporting what many have suspected all along what was inevitable: That Andrei Kirilenko is to retire from international play. Kirilenko explained that he’d already recently discussed the possibility with Russian Basketball Federation president Alexander Krasnenkov and that he “didn’t want to keep everyone in suspense for long.”

Citing common concerns among international players about fatigue and personal life, Kirilenko told Sport Express that “I’m not ready to spend most of the summer with the team and not with the family.” He hopes that the fortunes of Team Russia remain high and that he wishes to “transfer the authority and responsibility to” the younger generation of national teamers.

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Podcast: Interviewing German Bundesliga CEO Jan Pommer, viewing basketball in Pittsburgh

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #21 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-hosted “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now online. With the entire Euroleague taking a bye this week, David Hein and yours truly keep the EL-centric talk to a minimum, but stay focused on basketball nevertheless with an interview of Bundesliga CEO Jan Pommer.

Pommer is not only enjoying some nice success as the German league has continuously and consistently broken attendance records, but is also one of the more strident voices sounding off against FIBA’s planned reform (BiE prefers to think of it as “deform”) of international tournament structure…

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Follow the leader: FIBA commission likely to approve NBA court dimensions, rules

This one goes out by request. After a few hours of research (and lots of time spent frustratingly chasing dead ends) BallinEurope comments on FIBA’s first big official move of 2013 – the seemingly inevitable rule changes coming to international basketball representing further acquiescence in the shadow of the NBA.

The story
So here’s what’s known. Back in July, a group of 13 from all around the basketball and business worlds produced a list of proposals under the auspices of the Euroleague’s Basketball Rules Summit.

The summit’s chief goal was to tweak the game to make “the competitions cleaner, fairer and more exciting,” and while most prescribed changes were cosmetic (e.g. jump-ball rules, timeout changes), one radical idea then put forth would make the uniform standard court size based on NBA specifications.

In late November, the Euroleague Commercial Assets Assembly (CAA) met on the subject of certain proposed rule changes with regard to, well, the bottom line of top-level European basketball clubs. While the CAA typically addresses and assesses issues connected with ticket sales, broadcast rights, investment, corporate social responsibility, etc., the commission took it upon itself to discuss two wide-sweeping transformations: the recommendations from the summit and FIBA’s proposed reshaping of international tournaments.

After this meeting, the CAA agreed to send onto FIBA the rule-change proposals, including: Continue Reading…


BallinEurope’s most popular stories of 2012

BiE likes to write up this particular roundup at year’s end for a couple of reasons: Firstly as a thank you to the readers who check out BallinEurope however frequently; like they say in sports, this website wouldn’t exist without the audience.

Secondly, a look back at which BallinEurope stories drew the most attention provides a nice microcosm of what was most of the minds of European basketball. Yes, national heroes playing in the NBA still reign supreme, but international tournaments happily still get ample due here on The Continent.

So without further ado, here are the stories that you, the readers, decided were the true headline-grabbers in 2012.

1. Splitter opines Adelman key to Rubio’s success; Ginobili says “impressive”
When Ricky Rubio finally eked his way into the Timberwolves’ starting lineup, the results were immediate and positive. Of course, those of us who’ve been following The Human YouTube Highlight Clip since his days as the youngest-ever player for Barcelona could sit back and say “I told you so” – like Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili did.

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On Hezonja, Todorovic plus a couple of Swedes: FC Barcelona’s future as bright as the present?

Barcelona’s future: Alex Abrines, Mario Hezonja, Marko Todorović

As though FC Barcelona’s red-hot play – they’re now at 14-4 overall after an 0-2 start in Spain – weren’t enough to keep European basketball devotees watching, here are two more reasons for you: Mario Hezonja and Marko Todorović.

At just 17 years old and despite missing the entire 2011-12 regular season, Hezonja finally got a taste of the action in Barça’s 78-48 laugher over Beşiktaş in Turkey last Friday night. His Euroleague debut stat line read five points, two rebounds and one steal in a few ticks under 12 minutes of play.

Hezonja again did not play in Spain this weekend, unlisted on the roster for Barca’s 81-64 win over Cajasol in Liga Endesa play; the 12th-man spot was filled by 20-year-old Todorović of Montenegro. In the Beşiktaş game, Todorović’s 12 minutes of court time was the most he’s gotten all season and the national teamer was good for four points, four rebounds and two blocks.

Potentially the nucleus of a shiny new Barca frontcourt? Continue Reading…