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 +++

Round-up: Siena take Supercoppa, fight in Lithuania, Nanterre and Strasbourg squeeze out wins

Four Euroleague teams returned to domestic action on Tuesday night. In Italy, Montepaschi Siena took the Supercoppa, while there were league wins for JSF Nanterre and Strasbourg IG in France. Lietuvos Rytas also won in the LKL but their victory at Juventus was marred by a brawl.

After a one and done display in the Euroleague qualifiers, Cimberio Varese looked to get one over on Italian kingpins Montepaschi Siena in the Supercoppa on Tuesday night. The EuroCup outfit managed to hold a one point lead at the break. Aubrey Coleman, 23 points and 7 rebounds, and Achille Polonara, 17 points and 7 rebounds, did the heavy lifting for Varese but they lacked the strength in depth to stay in the contest down the stretch.  Siena bust them open with a big final quarter. That 29-19 final frame turned a competitive clash into a comfortable 81-66 victory for the Italian champions. Joshua Coleman led Siena in scoring with 18 points and picked up 4 boards while Daniel Hackett had 14 points and 6 rebounds.

There was no drama on the scoreboard, although plenty on the floor, as Lietuvos Rytas blew out Juventus in the LKL. Fresh off their success in the Euroleague qualifiers, the Vilnius club stormed to a 15 point lead by the end of the first quarter and the gap had grown to 47-27 by half-time. Dirk Bauermann’s side eventually secured a 92-67 road win but not before this went down…

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Block of the year? Nemanja Nedovic denies dunk, defies physics in Lithuania

Time may be running out all over European domestic leagues, but there’s well enough left for addition to the year’s best plays list – and this one certainly qualifies.

Check out Nemanja Nedovic destroying from behind a would-be dunk by Prienai’s Gediminas Orelikas in Lietuvos Rytas’ 75-67 LKL quarterfinal win last night. Note the strange physics involved as it is Nedovic who continues flying off the screen while Orelikas stays put in the key in dismay.

Nedovic added 20 points, four assists, four boards and two steals to this thunderous stat and must be considered an early nominee for Sportando European Team of the Week consideration…

Shout out to YouTube user M@nt@s for the post!

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Joan Plaza: “I can’t imagine” leaving long-term Zalgiris project

In an extensive 15-minute interview, Žalgiris Kaunas head coach Joan Plaza manages to pack in quite enough to make Greens fans highly optimistic about the future.

While not commenting on his boss, Žalgiris’ notoriously wacky owner Vladimir Romanov, the Spanish mastermind does fearlessly take on heavy questions of race and culture. Plaza is admirably learning Lithuanian and emphasizes how important it is to learn that second (or third) language to communicate with players – but finds certain attitudes toward 21st-century multiculturalism a “little shock” in his country of residence.

On the plus side, Plaza sees hope and promises that he is devoted to “working on creating a new generation of [Lithuanian] players” and that he “can’t imagine” leaving Žalgiris with his long-term plan in mind.

(Sudden thought: Might we someday see Plaza helming Team Lithuania?)

Plaza also manages to get in a plug for his novel-writing (!), with his 2009 book Les Mantes de L’Angelina translated into Lithuanian and a second tome set for spring 2013 release in Spain. While the latest novel is not about basketball, its female protagonist (!!!) is a character “fighting for dreams,” a theme Plaza knows something about.

The full interview runs below.

kava su IQ_ Joan Plaza from Intelligent Media on Vimeo.

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Romanov hit with key Žalgiris question: “Will Plaza be sacked as quickly as Zouros?”

Tick, tick, tick…

Over at Russia-based Sport Express is a lengthy interview with Žalgiris Kaunas basketball/Heart of Midlothian football club owner Vladimir Romanov. Popularly Sometimes known as “Mad Vlad,” the Ūkio Bankas man weighed in on quite a few topics related to his basketball team, including the Sonny Weems departure, the state of Russian basketball and just what the heck happened with Ilias Zouros last season.

An English-language extrapolation of the interview follows. As of this writing, Liga Endesa-imported coach Joan Plaza still holds his position with Žalgiris, but Romanov’s evasive answer to the question of Plaza’s short-term future aren’t exactly enthusiasm-generating…

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Vlado Ilievski: FIBA partly to blame for FYR Macedonia defeat

How do you say “sour grapes” in Macedonian? In looking for reasons for his side’s loss to Team Dominican Republic in Olympic qualifiers, Vlado Ilievski sounded off on FIBA organization itself.

Teams from South America had more time for preparation,” Ilievski is quoted in FYR Macedonia-based Dnevnik. “They played in continental championships and were [in sync]. We had players whose seasons ended on June 15. I was injured and I was with the team for just 10 days. How can you prepare in such a short time? This is no excuse for losing, but at least we tried. We had a chance to become the first team from Macedonia to play in the Olympics and so we are disappointed. If we’d won, we would have had two more chances, but life goes on. Thanks to this generation [of players], the world knows about Macedonia…”

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Euroleague 2012-13: An attempt to deduce the composition (plus Official Fearless Prediction™)

At least this much is clear...

Yesterday, the basketball-centered bit of the Twitter universe was centered in two real-life locales: New York City and Barcelona. Topics in play were the falling of ping-pong balls in New York City and Euroleague’s incipient decision on the construction of Euroleague 2012-13. Hopefully, BallinEurope will get something together on the former later, but for now, BiE’ll attempts a quick look at the roster of teams for the upcoming season.

The three-year A-licenses are currently under review, but you gotta figure Caja Laboral Baskonia, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahçe Ülker, CSKA Moscow, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Montepaschi Siena and Žalgiris Kaunas are in. Asseco Prokom Gdynia is in the second year of its license, making them the 12th of the 24 teams.

Also up for review is Unicaja Malaga. While Spain is still even officially considered *the* best domestic or regional league in Europe (more on this momentarily), the big league could certainly defend a yanking of the license based on the team’s bottom-half finish in the Liga Endesa and consistently better recent performance by Valencia BC.

Virtus Roma is the only original A-license team to have been removed from the EL roll call, getting its placement in Euroleague ball “suspended for having finished in the bottom half of its national competition.” Unicaja might easily find itself on the Eurocup level for 2012-13; let’s just say a *lot* of things would have to happen to even get the team into the EL qualifiers.

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Ramunas Siskauskas: The BallinEurope video tribute

On Monday, European basketball great Ramunas Šiškauskas announced his retirement from the game: A story that was noteworthy enough for even North Korean sports fans to be notified. In his official statement, Šiškauskas said that he’d “made my choice in the middle of the season. It was not connected with anything specific – I just feel I should stop. I can only be excited about my career” and that “I am glad I was able to quit as a significant player, playing for such a great team and organization as CSKA Moscow.”

At 33 years of age, Šiškauskas put together a 16-season career with BC Sakalai Vilnius, Lietuvos Rytas, Benetton Treviso, Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow plus seven years with Team Lithuania in FIBA and Olympic play – good for a gold and two bronzes.

And in that decade and a half, Šiškauskas amassed just under 1,500 points in seven Euroleague seasons on 49.8% shooting including 42.3% on threes. His back-to-back EL titles earned in 2007 and ’08 are among his many individual-career and team highlights … aw, hell. Let’s dispense with further formalities and get to the Ramunas Šiškauskas career tribute in traditional BallinEurope fashion, i.e. with lots of YouTube clips! We’ll miss ya, Ramunas…

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Injured and possibly done for season in Lithuania, Sonny Weems tweets an S.O.S.

Bad news from Lithuania for Žalgiris Kaunas, NBA teams seeking a viable free-agent guard for 2012-13, and Sonny Weems himself. After suffering a foot sprain in Žalgiris’ LKL 88-71 victory at Rudupis, Weems’ season may now be done and, if so, the former Toronto Raptor reports he’ll be heading back home to the ‘States.

Making matters worse is a reported lack of proper medical treatment in Lithuania. In short, Weems tweeted this morning that “This is ridiculous. I can’t even get treatment on my injured here!!! This is ridiculous!!

If you wanna see something really ridiculous, take a look at the state of Weems’ left foot on Yikes. Best of luck to Sonny in getting back on the court for 2012-13…

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Surprise! With five weeks to play, Lithuanian league reduces playoff tournament

Only in Lithuania? In what is surely perceived of by fans of Lithuanian teams such as Pieno žvaigždės, KK Baltai, Kėdainiai and Juventus as (an unwelcome slap in the face) a controversial decision, LKL officials have decided today (!) to reduce the league’s playoff tournament from eight to six teams.

Yesterday, league commissioner Mindaugas Balčiūnas announced today’s meeting, all but stating then the surprise chance would take place. The move is designed to shorten the season out of deference to Team Lithuania players, who will in theory get more time to prepare for the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament. Further, Balčiūnas noted that the Russian PBL also shortened its post-season with this motivation – though not nearly at this late state of the season.

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Sonny Weems + LKL dunk contest + awesome production values = Video of the month

The best basketball video clip of the roughly half-done month? Well, about a week before James White was bagging his fourth European dunk contest crown, Zalgiris Kaunas’ Sonny Weems was earning his first in Lithuania.

Below runs not just any dunk contest highlight clip, but an amazingly edited 100-plus seconds replete with amazing angles and time-lapse special effects all backed up with the excellent “Prelude No. 11” by contemporary composer Chris Zabriskie. Gorgeous stuff.

(Note, too, that, in winning the LKL crown, Weems applied many of Cellini & White’s principles for taking such competitions – these rules work, BiE tells ya…)

LKL Žvaigždžių dienos dėjimų konkursas from Fotodiena on Vimeo.

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