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 +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++

Tim “Der Nächste Nowitzki” Ohlbrecht moves up to Houston Rockets, to become eighth-ever German NBA player

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Tim Ohlbrecht, who has made the jump to the NBA in signing with the increasingly interesting (and increasingly European-spiced) Houston Rockets – and whoa, are some Germany-based news outlets excited.

In reporting on the contract, which has the former Frankfurt Skyliners/Telekom Baskets Bonn/Rio Grande Valley Vipers big man locked in with Houston through this season plus a club option through 2014-15, Bild labels Ohlbrecht “der nächste Nowitzki” while getting positively giddy about the possibility of the 24-year-old matching up against Dirk (and sidekick Chris Kaman) when the Rockets face the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Der Spiegel meanwhile quotes recently-hired Team Germany head coach Frank Menz as stating that he was “impressed by Tim’s development in the U.S., particularly [in athleticism],” noting that “It shows great will and ambition to [get to the NBA] the hard way, through the D-League.”

Less than a week ago, Ohlbrecht’s agent Tyler Glass informed Sportando that his client had turned down a 10-day contract offer from the Boston Celtics; in hindsight, this appears quite the shrewd move by Glass, who perhaps knew of the much more attractive offer from the playoff-contending Rockets.

After four seasons with Giants Leverkusen and Brose Baskets Bamberg, Ohlbrecht declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft back in 2010, but his name went uncalled. He returned to the German Bundesliga thereafter to play with Bonn and Frankfurt in turn before reentering the Rockets system this season with the D-League Vipers; his stat line there includes marks of 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. And since 2008, Ohlbrecht has played summers with Team Germany.

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Down goes Goliath: Bonn plays David, slays Bamberg in playoffs opener

Biggest shocker of European domestic-league basketball playoffs thus far? David Hein posts this brief report on German Bundesliga no. 8 seed snapping top dog Brose Baskets Bamberg’s 48-game winning streak in the first match of their quarterfinals meeting – there’s even a quality Luol Deng-like buzzer-beater to boot…

Telekom Baskets Bonn squeaked into the German Beko BBL playoffs, but that didn’t stop Mike Koch’s team from pulling an absolute shocker in the opening game of the postseason. Benas Veikalas’ tip-in just before the buzzer gave the eighth-seeded Bonn a 75-74 victory at two-time defending champions and top-seeded Brose Baskets Bamberg.

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Eurocentric play of the night: Robertson block + Ohlbrecht dunk = Fuel for streaking Skyliners

You want your highlight clips? Courtesy David Hein, Germany’s Bundesliga, Fraport Skyliners and good old YouTube, BallinEurope offers one heck of an end-to-end play from the Skyliners’ emphatic 45-point victory over hapless Phoenix Hagen last night. Enjoy!

The Fraport Skyliners are streaking towards the playoffs as they have won nine of their last 11 games in the German BBL and moved into the postseason spots with a 92-47 walloping of Phoenix Hagen.

The victory was punctuated by a fantastic exchange at the defensive and offensive ends. Frankfurt guard Quantez Robertson rushed back for a monster block on Hagen’s Davin White and then back on offense dished the ball to a streaking Tim Ohlbrecht for a thunderous two-handed dunk.

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NBA stars playing in Europe: What are the odds…?

You know Tony's coming over...

First, BallinEurope would like to a couple more American players to The Continent, as Milwaukee Bucks second-round draft pick Jon Leuer has signed with the Bundesliga’s Frankfurt Skyliners to play during the NBA lockout and undrafted Colorado State University forward Andy Ogide has joined the ranks of LEB club Breogán.

But as the BiE schadenfreudometer works overtime, the Euroleague Transfers Table loads up with NBA names (Hello, Mr. Farmar and bienvenue to you, Monsieur Batum!), and the working assumption currently figuring the big league to be playing an abbreviated schedule in 2011-12 at best, BallinEurope admits that he’s becoming spoiled about new news on NBA players jumping the Atlantic to play ball here.

And so, without too much hard fact recently on NBAers, marquee or otherwise, making said leap, BiE today presents odds on some players rumored to be plying their wares in Europe soon. Readers should note that these odds are offered at no bookmaker service and are completely arbitrary (which is to say mostly made up).

Dirk Nowitzki: 3/5. The incredible story of the Bayern München basketball club’s resurrection to primacy would be made complete by signing Dastardly Dirk, hero of the 2011 NBA Finals.

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Marcus Goree to stay another three years in Moscow

Our friends over at undrcrwn Europe are former basketball professionals (Ibi Diarra, Frankfurt Skyliners) and stay in contact with their former team mates. One of Ibi´s friends, Mario Kasun battles for the ACB championship right now, but unfortunately is down 0-2 against Tau Ceramica.

Another friend of Ibi, Marcus Goree has won everything this season – most important thing: the Euroleague. Marcus recently visited Ibi at his show room in Frankfurt, Germany.

As we learned there, Marcus Goree will stay another three years with CSKA Moscow – not too bad of a choice I guess…