Aug
0

Get to know Dragan Bender

16 year old Dragan Bender has taken social media by storm with his impressive displays for the Croatian national team at the FIBA Europe Under 18 men’s championships. Bender spoke to FIBA earlier this week and it’s worth watching before Croatia take on Turkey in today’s semi-finals.

Bender, who has a 7 year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv with a NBA out after 4 years, is 2.11m tall and has averaged 15.1 points 11.3 rebounds and 4.4 assits per game in these championships.

For another view on Bender, check out BiE’s interview with Coach James Weldon who saw the Croatian sensation in action earlier this week.

Jun
1

David Blatt to interview for Cleveland Cavaliers job

David-Blatt-Maccabi-Euroleague-Cleveland-Cavaliers

David Blatt, who stepped down as coach of Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv after completing a clean sweep this season, will interview for the vacant head coaching position with the Cleveland Cavaliers according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Blatt, who has been tipped to become Steve Kerr’s assistant at the Golden State Warriors, stepped down from the top job after winning Euroleague, Israeli League, and Israeli Cup honours with Maccabi this season.

According to Wojnarowski, Blatt will be interviewed for the top job in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Blatt has previously been linked with the CSKA Moscow job, with the Israeli-American saying “you know I love Russia” right after Maccabi won the Euroleague title in Milan.

Blatt has enjoyed a wildly successful career across Europe, including the EuroBasket 2007 title and Olympic bronze with Russia in 2012, EuroChallenge with Dynamo St Petersburg in 2005, the Italian league (2006) and cup (2007) with Treviso, along with 5 Israeli league titles, 1 Adriatic league title, and 6 Israeli cups with Maccabi.

May
0

Final Four movie…good job Euroleague

This is actually pretty great. Euroleague has put together a short film following all four Final Four teams through Thursday and Friday. Gives a great look inside the game and is really well produced. Take 9 minutes to check it out.

May
1

Final Four: The Final preview

Final Four Milan Assago Forum

In just a few hours we will know who the champions of Euroleague for the 2013/14 season are. Real Madrid are the favourites but Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv will have the crowd on their side. Emmet Ryan makes his call.

The dramatic finish to Maccabi’s semi final win over CSKA Moscow was incredible. The Israelis gutted it out to snatch a win at the death. It’s hard to see such a miracle comeback happen a second time if they fall into a hole against Real Madrid.

The ACB champions delivered one of the most dominant displays in Final Four history as they routed Barcelona on Friday night. Pablo Laso knows that if his side can get ahead early, it’s tough for any team to keep up. Despite sweeping Maccabi in the Top 16, Real were pushed all the way in both games. The Tel Aviv club matches up well in most positions with RMB. Real have superior talent but not so much that their are any mismatches that could prove liabilities for Maccabi.

Fundamentally it comes down to how Maccabi slow Real’s offence. The only way to live with Madrid is to stop them scoring in bunches. Twice this season, Maccabi have managed that but still come up short. Still, it bodes well for a competitive match-up.]

Then there’s the not so insignificant factor if the crowd. This will be a home game for Maccabi. As I sat down to write this the blue and gold horde was already building up outisde. They will be loud and make this feel anything like anything but a neutral site game.

Real’s pursuit of history brings pressure to their squad. It’s been 19 long years since they were crownd champions of Europe. Every player in white knows the burden they carry but, based on their display against Barca, it looks as much as source of motivation as one of pressure.

For all of Maccabi’s heroics on Friday and their stout displays against Real this season, there is a lingering fear that this could be another runaway win for Real. Barring an absolute meltdown by Maccabi early on, that shouldn’t be the case but it’s still hard to see them toppling the uncrowned kings of the continent. Real will ascend and claim the throne.

Apr
89

Euroleague Bracketology: According to Twitter, the 2013 Euroleague champion will be…

Twitter-Bird-BasketballNow that BallinEurope has posted this website’s Official Euroleague Bracket as well as the only truly unassailable set of predictions, BiE takes stock of a little EL Bracketology from good ol’ Twitter. What sort of conclusions may be drawn from a sample size of 30 tweets (well, 29 plus Sannti’s) hashtagged with #ELbracket? Well…

The clear popular favorites within the sample to win their quarterfinals series are CSKA Moscow (with 93% of tweets liking the Red Army), FC Barcelona and Olympiacos (each with 77% of the “vote”). Surely to no one’s surprise, fandom was divided on the Real Madrid-Maccabi matchup, with Los Blancos liked 19-11 among our group.

Of the 16 possible finals matchups, seven combinations were covered. Again unsurprising was the fact that no one was gutsy enough to gamble on Anadolu Efes Pilsen getting so far, but two brackets with Caja Laboral Baskonia hoisting the trophy were found – and after the way these guys have squeaked in to advance twice this season, who can truly scoff? A final outcome of CSKA defeating Barca was chosen by nearly 33% of those who picked a tournament winner, and 60% predicted CSKA for 2013 Euroleague champions.

And some of BallinEurope’s favorite brackets were…

● In the category of “Best Presentation of a Euroleague Bracket” which BiE just made up, the winner is JovicaTasevski. Future bracketcrafters, this is your standard.

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Dec
41

Poll: Which is the best European team going into 2013?

Right. So. Especially after this –

– and with the calendar page about to be flipped into 2013, BallinEurope’s question is: Which is the best basketball team in Europe right now?

Straight by the qualification system, the top four teams in Euroleague round one were Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Barcelona and Žalgiris Kaunas – not a bad start there, but Eurobasket.com’s mathematically-derived rankings on Monday morning includes CSKA Moscow at no. 1 and Olympiacos at no. 3. Maccabi, likely saddled by the competitive imbalance they enjoy back home in the Ligat Ha’Al, places a lowly eighth…

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Oct
0

Sunday hangover: Notes, clips from Euroleague week one

Since BiE will typically have to play catch-up with a week’s worth of Euroleague games on Saturdays, a new concept comes to the website in the Sunday hangover. Those of you who have followed BallinEurope since the days of its origins may recall the old “Monday cigarettes” column – and this one hopes to recall those days (but with video clips!). And so, notes and observations from the opening week of play in the big league…

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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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Sep
0

Podcast: Peeking at the Euroleague, riffing on Hecking, interviewing The Iran Jobbers

Now up and running is episode two in the Taking the Charge podcast series, a gabfest brought to you by heinnews and BallinEurope. On the menu over there is a nice spread of basketball-related matters, including:

• a look at recently-run tournaments in Germany: the 2012 Domreiter Cup in Nürnberg with defending Euroleague/Greek League champs Olympiacos besting Brose Baskets Bamberg, Maccabi Tel Aviv and BC Khimki; and the Beko BBL Cup, which saw 2011-12 Euroleague runners-up CSKA Moscow top Bayern München, Beşiktaş JK and Žalgiris Kaunas. (In advance, BiE will say that whoa, eight interesting storylines really demonstrates the allure of the big league: fresh, dramatic storylines that change week to week…);

• some riffing on FC Nuremberg football coach Dieter Hecking’s, um, interesting comments of last weekend and the German basketball federation’s response; and

• a lengthy and fascinating interview with Till Schauder and Kevin Sheppard, producer/director and subject, respectively, of the excellent newly-released documentary The Iran Job. (BiE’ll have a bit more on this later for the more textually-inclined.)

Enjoy the podcast and stay informed about our new releases and comment to your heart’s content via our spiffy Facebook page. Like us! We love your likes!

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