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Jul
0

Former Galatasaray baller Jamont Gordon talks about the road to recovery

jamont_gordon

Jamont Gordon’s season with Galatasaray came to an early end when he tore his ACL. Now the former CSKA Moscow, Cibona, and Bologna player is looking to prove he’s ready to come back and be a force in Europe. BallinEurope caught up with 2013 TBL Finals MVP to find out how his efforts to get back on the hardwood are going.

BallinEurope: What was the toughest part of being out injured with a torn ACL?
Jamont Gordon: Not being able to be on the court and play the game I love was tough. Also not being able to help my teammates in the games.

BiE How has your recovery been going? Do you feel like you’ve got your strength back?
JG: The recovery has been tough but I’ve made great strides. I’m getting strong and stronger every day. When the season starts I will be 100 per cent.

BiE: Have you or your agent heard from any clubs yet?
JG: Yes I have heard from a bunch of different teams. Right now it’s about finding the right situation and the right fit.

BiE: Do you miss playing for Galatasaray?
JG: I will miss my brothers. We accomplished a lot. Good luck to all of my former teammates.

BiE: What do you think you have to prove to convince teams to give you a shot?
JG: I’m sure most teams want to see if I can regain my explosiveness and my strength. When I do come back I will show that I am better player than I was before I got injured.

Gordon has released a video charting his progress which shows the work he is putting in to be ready to contribute again.

Jun
0

Money does not equal professionalism

Galatasaray-Fenerbahce
The Belgrade derby ends in a 3-on-4 match-up and then an Istanbul derby doesn’t happen at all. These are supposed to be finals, the pinnacle of the season. Emmet Ryan writes on why, irrespective of individual fault, this makes all involved look bad.

It’s been one of those weeks (and a bit), the type we are far too familiar with in European basketball. Had the 3 on 4 last man standing match that was the finish to Game 1 of the Serbian finals between Crvena Zvezda and Partizan been the worst thing to happen this month, it would still have been a rough one. Instead the Turkish league has managed to one-up that situation with the wholly insane finish to its season.

Game 6 of the Turkish finals took a while to come to life, mostly because of how awful Fenerbahce were in the first quarter, but in the end Galatasaray’s victory had a pleasant dose of excitement to round out their impressive performance. The season would go down to a decider, well at least that was the plan. Unfortunately, and at the time of writing this hasn’t changed, there won’t be a Game 7. Galatasaray are boycotting the game over a series of charges they have levelled against the Turkish basketball authorities.

This column is not about the rights and wrongs of Gala’s protest, not least because I haven’t a clue as to what if any legitimacy they hold. If we focus on the single element, which is this boycott, we miss the problem. Game 7 of the Turkish finals isn’t the problem nor is the descent into madness of Game 1 in Serbia. The problem is that for all the progress made on the court in European basketball, we still have a putrid air of amateurism at some of the highest levels of the game.
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Apr
8

Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs

BallinEurope only went 6 of 8 in picking the teams to make the post-season and one of those sides we didn’t have faith in won’t be happy with how we see the playoffs shaping up. It’s fearless prediction time.

Barcelona vs Galatasaray

Pick: Barca in 3.

So we didn’t think Galatasaray would make it this far and now we’re saying there roll a doughnut in the post-season. Harsh? Perhaps but we’re standing by it. Barcelona’s slump at the end of the Top 16 can’t disguise a 22-0 start to Euroleague this season. This team is going to Milan, the question is how many games it will require. Much as Galatasaray deserve credit for holding their nerve in the wild battle for fourth in Group F, they look to have drawn a pairing suited to exploit them. If it’s any comfort, we seem to have given Pops Mensah-Bonsu some added motivation.

Real Madrid vs Olympiacos

Pick: RMB in 4.

This was a tough call to make and not for the reason you might think. Real Madrid look to have the most complete team in Europe this season. If they weren’t utterly unbackable, I’d take RMB to walk into a 2-0 series lead without blinking. The question in my mind is whether they will be able to finish the Reds off quickly or if it will require them going back to Madrid. In the end I split the difference and called it Real in a 3-1 win.

CSKA Moscow vs Panathinaikos

Pick: CSKA in 5.

Honestly, this was the easiest call of the lot. You could slot in any opponent and I’d have trouble believing this CSKA team would take care of business the easy way. It’s just not been their style all season. If any series goes the max, this will be it. Panathinaikos still look capable of taking care of business back home but neither of the Greek giants looks like final four material this year.

EA7 Milano vs Maccabi Elektra Tel-Aviv

Pick: Milano in 4.

This is about as good a style match-up as Milano could have hoped for. They have the weapons to hurt Maccabi and to do so repeatedly. Home court in the final four isn’t something that comes around every year and that’s plenty motivation for Milano. It could have been a source of nerves but the maturity this outfit showed in the Top 16 makes me think otherwise. For the first half of that phase Milano kept stumbling, not quite doing enough to convince skeptics like me (who said they wouldn’t make the post-season) of their worth and then boom they caught fire. The Barca win is what most remember but the change had already happened. They had evolved from could-bes to probablys.

So where have I gone horribly wrong? Please vent your frustrations in the comments.

Dec
0

Group F: The knowns and the unknowns

The slate is clean for the Top 16. We’re breaking down what we know about each team in the second phase, what we want to know, and what we think we still won’t know after 14 rounds of action. We went through Group E yesterday, now it’s time to look at Group F.

Real Madrid
What we know: They are an offensive monster. Going 24-0 in all competitions to date, this is the best start enjoyed by any Real Madrid team ever.
What we want to know: Their weaknesses. Even a team this good has to have some but nobody’s come close to testing them yet.
What we won’t know: How they handle a low-scoring match-up.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv
What we know: They are so Maccabi. This team is business-like but stops well short of flashy. Yup, sounds like what we expect from this outfit every year.
What we want to know: How they stack up to RMB.
What we won’t know: Their ceiling. This is the weaker of the two groups and a 10-4 record is possible without causing any major shocks.

CSKA Moscow
What we know: They are flawed. Talented, yes, and en route to the playoffs but inconsistency has dogged this team when it was the one aspect Ettore Messina was expected to fix this year.
What we want to know: If they can settle on their best line-up.
What we won’t know: If any of this matters. In a flip from last year’s team, the ability to get hot in a hurry may be this side’s saving grace.

Galatasaray Liv Hospital
What we know: They are weaker than their record. All statistical measures outside the W-L column point to this team being in much worse health than the regular season record indicated. Over 14 games, that’ll be tough to mask.
What we want to know: If there’s a plan longer than half a season.
What we won’t know: See above.

Zalgiris Kaunas
What we know: They are survivors. No VTB League campaign, struggling in LKL, yet here they stand in the Top 16.
What we want to know: How they are going to balance their priorities.
What we won’t know: What the long-term future is.

Lokomotiv Kuban
What we know: They are seriously motivated to make an impact in Euroleague, as evidenced by a regular season where they silenced many doubters.
What we want to know: What was on their bulletin board to get them so fired up through the autumn.
What we won’t know: Where to buy a good beer in Krasnodar.

Partizan Belgrade
What we know: They will give one of the top three teams in this group a heart attack on their home court.
What we want to know: If they can play consistent enough to mount a real challenge for the last playoff spot.
Whzt we won’t know: If this is a renaissance or a blip.

FC Bayern
What we know: They are the most dangerous looking team from the Bundesliga to enter the Top 16 in a long time, which admittedly isn’t much of an achievement.
What we want to know: If they can capitalise on a soft group and get that last playoff spot.
What we won’t know: The date at which all of Europe should realise these guys ain’t playing anymore and a real power is emerging out of the Bundesliga.

Fearless prediction: Real to take top spot, Maccabi to squeeze CSKA for second, leaving the mother of all fights for fourth. Kuban look the best bet on paper but…this is a fearless prediction so nope. FC Bayern to steal it from the cookie jar.

Oct
0

Bamberg & Galatasaray record stylish victories on Euroleague’s opening day

The Turkish Airlines Euroleague season got underway on Wednesay with Brose Baskets Bamberg and Galatasaray Liv Hospital getting off to a flying start. Bamberg defeated Strasbourg 84–70 in what was a comprehensive victory in the Brose Arina while Galatasaray saw off Montepaschi Siena 75–84 in the Nelson Mandela Arena.

Bamberg didn’t have the best of starts, trailing 16 – 21 after the first quarter, but when Jamar Smith came off the bench, the flow of the game changed. Making his Euroleague debut, Smith scored 11 points for the German champs, consisting of two jumpers, a three-pointer and a driving layup to bring Bamberg to within 25-26. Overall, he scored 19 points during his 14 minutes on the court, an impressive scoring rate.

Also helping out in the game was Anton Gavel who added 16 points and 6 assists, Sharrod Ford scored 11 while Maik Zirbes got 10. After Smith brought the side back into contention, it was Ford and Rakim Sanders that pushed them ahead 35 – 28. The final six minutes saw Bamberg finish the second quarter with a 19 – 1 run, bringing them into half time with a 43 – 29 scoreline.

However, Strasbourg wasn’t going to go down without a fight and always tried to catch up with Bamberg. Despite a forgettable third quarter where it trailed 66 – 45, Antoine Diot and Alexis Ajinca, who was Strasbourg’s top scorer with 19 points, brought the deficit down to 69 – 56. Yet it was Bamberg’s night as additional scores from Smith and Ford saw them lead 80 – 66 with two minutes left. Romain Duport reduced the lead to 12 but it wasn’t enough to worry Bamberg who ended the game comfortably.
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Oct
61

Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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Oct
0

Is Heat-spurned Malcolm Thomas the answer for Maccabi?

(Malcolm Thomas image courtesy NBA.com)Could David Blatt be panicking? Armed with a retooled roster after last season’s Euroleague disappointment, Maccabi Tel Aviv 2012-13 edition hasn’t overwhelmed in preseason play with little team cohesiveness or incorporation of the Team Russia coach’s patented defensive game plans in evidence. The Israel side washed out in a the four Euroleague-team Domreiter Cup in September before redeeming themselves slightly in Paris, winning the pre-season tourney there last weekend (albeit against lesser competition).

Before topping Galatasaray for the tournament title, Blatt sounded off a bit after his players got by with a win over home team Paris Levallois. “We had two offensive rebounds in 40 minutes,” said Blatt. “You know, I’m 50 and I would have gotten more than two offensive rebounds if I had been on the court.”

But Blatt offered a solution on Saturday which appears to be a matter of fact now, in light of Pops Mensah-Bonsu’s recent release from the club: “Malcolm [Thomas] is exactly the kind of player you need to play a team like Paris Levallois. He is very athletic, fast and plays above the rim. It brings a lot of energy, but also creates a lot of easy baskets … Thomas is very good at offensive rebounding and he will bring what’s missing [on the team].”

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Jun
2

“What has happened here?” The best Euro-centric buzzer-beaters of 2011-12

In clearing out the virtual desk of 2011-12 basketball season stuff, BallinEurope today presents this compilation of the year’s top Euro-centric buzzer-beaters. The requirements to make the list were two: the primary player in the buzzer-beater most be of European nationality or the shot must take place in a game featuring European teams; and the buzzer-beater must take place at the end of a quarter, i.e. no shot-clock buzzer-beaters considered.

Greater weight was given in consideration to the relative importance of the win earned with the highlight shot. Keeping one’s team alive is more important than YouTube glory, after all.

And on with the list. Firstly, honorable mentions go to:

Travis Diener for Banco di Sardegna Sassari against Fabi Shoes Montegranaro on April 15. Sassari would go on to win in overtime, 79-77, and continue in a successful season which had them ultimately placing fourth in the Serie A. Unfortunately for the purposes of this post, not quite a buzzer-beater.

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Jun
3

Besiktas 80, Anadolu Efes 76: The BallinEurope review of a triple-crown season

Besiktas introduces Deron Williams: It seems like so long ago...

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, who capped a fascinating whirlwind run last night with an 80-76 victory over Anadolu Efes in game six of the TBL championship series. The Black Eagles may add the trophy to their Turkish Cup and FIBA Eurochallenge title in 2011-12, certainly the most successful – and among the most bizarre – seasons the club has ever experienced.

Beşiktaş’ season, like any power in club hoops, began in the summer. All they did to top last year’s high-profile signing of the ultimately marginal Allen Iverson was ink Deron Williams, a franchise guard at his peak, to the biggest contract in European basketball with an NBA out-clause when the player lockout was to be settled.

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Jun
13

Olympiacos wins! Olympiacos wins! Olympiacos wins! (a.k.a. *The* European basketball story of 2011-12)

Let’s put this into perspective. The last time Olympiacos took the Greek national title, they were led by David Rivers and Dragan Tarlać. Vassilis Spanoulis was 15 years old and not near professional club play. Dejan Bodiroga was in the middle of his career and Mirsad Turkcan had just turned 21.

Across the pond, Lebron James was 13; Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and *those* Chicago Bulls were about to earn their fifth rings; Kobe Bryant had just become the NBA record-setter as youngest NBA starter ever. In international play, Team USA still wore an aura of invincibility. The World Trade Center was still standing and the European Union was optimistically looking forward to including former communist-led countries as member states.

It seems like a dream to BallinEurope, so one can only goggle at how Olympiacos fans must be feeling today (aside from hungover, that is). Yes, the Reds in the decisive game five of the national championship series took the 82-76 victory over rival Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos, nine-time consecutive champions and typically previously perpetual Olympiacos nightmare this time of year.

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