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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 +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++
Sep
15

FIBA Facing World Cup Wild Card Dilemma

Greece’s double-overtime loss to Croatia compounded a problem that has been growing for FIBA since the continental tournament season began. Who gets the four wildcards?

Who says you can’t get too much of a good thing? FIBA has four World Cup wildcard slots to award and plenty of willing suitors. Whatever happens, somebody is going to be upset. The headache for FIBA began at the FIBA Asia Championship where China, went out in the quarter finals to Chinese Taipei. That made on of the big draws in world basketball and immediate front runner for a wildcard spot.

Fast forward a few weeks to the FIBA AfroBasket and two of last year’s Olympic participants, Nigeria and Tunisia, failed to secure a bid for the World Cup. As it stood there was actually a reasonable chance that one of these sides would get a wildcard. There just needed to be no major upsets in the Tournament of the Americas or EuroBasket.

Yeah about that. Brazil went 0-4 in Venezuela, leaving the 2016 Olympic hosts in need of a wildcard to make the World Cup. Canada, with a NBA stacked roster, almost did FIBA a solid. The Maple Leaf nation looked on course to secure an automatic spot but lost its last two games to come fifth, one place short of an automatic ticket to Spain next year. So far so crazy but it took EuroBasket to turn this into a full-on migraine.

The first round saw Germany, Russia, and Turkey, all fall. Turkey hosted the last World Cup and Turkish companies, Beko and Turkish Airlines most notably, provide major sponsorship to the sport in Europe. Russia is Russia and Germany’s Bundesliga has brass across the world excited by its development. Things were pretty bad as they stood before Monday. Then Greece lost in double overtime to Croatia, ending their involvement in EuroBasket. With that defeat, the Greeks joined the list of teams FIBA would like in the World Cup that failed to qualify automatically. Let’s go through these teams in the order they fell to see their shot at earning a reprieve.
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Jun
10

Kobe says Dirk best non-US player ever; BallinEurope respectfully disagrees

No disrespect to Dirk Nowitzki and what he’s accomplished in his 15 NBA seasons and international play, but BallinEurope felt obliged to respond to a 141-character length injustice this afternoon.

Said Kobe Bryant, via FIBA:

But BiE begs to differ. Again, no disrespect.

BallinEurope suspects a few readers might agree. Of course, there’s also…

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Jun
10

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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Jun
0

Weekend tipoff for Reality Check streetball tournament in Frankfurt

Fans of streetball in Germany will want to mark Saturday, June 15, in their calendars: In Frankfurt that day the annual Germany’s Reality Check tournament tips off with a qualifying round tournament to compete in July’s finals in Cologne.

The upcoming tournament will represent the sixth edition of the professional streetball competition which draws teams from all over The Continent – and produces some pretty swell highlight clips; see below. The second round of qualifiers happens the following Saturday, June 22, in Düsseldorf.

For more information on Germany’s Reality Check, visit GRC-competition.com.

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Mar
0

Podcast: Interview with Larry Gordon of Bundesliga Cinderella story Phoenix Hagen (plus Euroleague patter and review of Rollerball)

Larry GordonEpisode #28 of the heinnews/BallinEurope co-produced podcast series is now available online. This week, we’re proud to have as a guest Larry Gordon, currently starring for upstarts Phoenix Hagen of the German Basketball Bundesliga. A product of NCAA Division II college Cal Poly Pomona, Gordon not only brings his electrifying spark plug of a game to Hagen but also makes for a nice symbol of his team’s recent fortunes.

After something of a troubled early upbringing, Gordon only took up basketball at about age 12 but his natural gifts (among them incredible leaping ability) got him a starting spot on the (Calif.) Montclair High School varsity team, with whom he’d average 24.6 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.

He then went on to play at Cal Poly after receiving offers from a handful of Division II schools; though his alma mater could be considered the go-to choice for a local boy, Gordon put a little more thought into his decision with an eye on the future: “I didn’t want to rebuild,” he explained, “I wanted to be in a team that was already good and bring what I have to make them even better.”

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Mar
0

Omar Samhan shows his stuff on German TV (wow, cool tattoos, man…)

Does the brilliant Awful Announcing have a German-language version? If so, they’ll definitely want to give some props to Sascha Bandermann of Germany’s Sport 1.

While awkwardly giving a report direct from the locker room of the Bundesliga’s Ratiopharm Ulm for the TV magazine “Basketball – Der Countdown,” Bandermann somehow had to maintain composure through a rather odd-looking bit of Philipp Schwethelm’s pre-game exercise and an attempt to spark conversation with banana-scarfing team captain Steve Esterkamp. And then known jokester Omar Samhan adds his two, um, cents to the proceedings. Yeah, this one’s probably NSFW…

Shout out to heinnews for the tip!

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Mar
4

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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Mar
1

Podcast: Interviews with Per Gunther, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia; plus riffs on Rodman in North Korea, the Harlem Shake, Space Jam (P.S. Win a free T-shirt!)

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode 25 in the Taking the Charge podcast series is now available online, and in general this one reflects the wackiness of the week in basketball just gone by. So Bill Simmons’ “B.S. Report” over at Grantland is described as “a free-flowing conversation”? Co-host David Hein of heinnews and yours truly sail our own stream of consciousness this time out, touching upon diverse subjects including the Harlem Shake phenomenon, Dennis Rodman’s basketball diplomacy in North Korea, Tim Ohlbrecht in America, the ever-interesting behind-the-scenes happenings in Greece, and, in our sports movie review of the week, the all-time classic Space Jam.

A bit of gravity – but just a wee bit – infuses the show in an interview with our first guest, Ratiopharm Ulm’s Per Günther. Günther tells us about his club (arguably one of the most notable European underdogs in 2012-13 who currently find themselves near the top of the Bundesliga table and in the Eurocup elite eight) and the prospects for Team Germany in Eurobasket 2013.

Also joining us is Sportando co-founder Emiliano Carchia, who offers some insight into the recent towering success of the European basketball-centric website.

And in the first-ever Taking The Charge promotion, earn a chance at winning a T-shirt absolutely free – tune in to find out (Don’t worry: Details are just a few minutes into the ‘cast).

Finally, we’re pleased to announce that Taking the Charge podcasts are now available through iTunes; subscribe by entering the following into the aggregator: http://heinnews.com/feed/podcast. Alternatively, the entire episode may be heard here.

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Feb
2

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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Feb
0

Podcast: What’s up in Kaunas and Bamberg? Interviews with Marko Popovic, Bamberg scouting director Brendan Rooney

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #23 — a belated 50th birthday gift to His Airness, then — in the heinnews/BallinEurope-coproduced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online.

David Hein and yours truly feature two interviews this time out, fortuitously timed in the wake of last week’s Brose Baskets Bamberg-Zalgiris Kaunas cliffhanger. First up is Marko Popovic, Zalgiris’ hero in the game for, as coolly as ice, sinking three consecutive free throws with literally 0.0 left on the clock in overtime for the Greens’ win. Popovic speaks candidly on the off-court transactions affecting Zalgiris’ play particularly in the Euroleague Top 16 round and about Team Croatia’s chances in the FIBA Eurobasket 2013 tourney.

Also joining us for some jibber-jabber is Bamberg scouting director Brendan Rooney, who not only tells us exactly what his job is and how a St. Louis native ended up in Germany, but also sheds some light on his team’s woes in the big league this season.

Finally, our sports movie review feature this week is a good ol’ double feature — though both flicks are only marginally related to sport. We look at the 1951 Alfred Hitchcock classic “Strangers on a Train” and the Strangers-inspired “Throw Momma From the Train” starring high-profile Los Angeles Clippers fan Billy Crystal back in 1987.

This entire episode of “Taking the Charge” may be downloaded here. Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!

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