The Euroleague’s 2013 Nike International Junior Tournament started in London today for four first round contests. Defending champion Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius dropped their first game to Joventut, 77-65. 6’5” Alberto Abalde (1995) led Joventut with 21 points, making 3-of-6 three-pointers. 6’8” Jose Nogues (1995) helped out with 11 points and seven rebounds. 6’9” Gediminas Zalalis (1995) led Rytas with 14 points and 6’5” Benas Vaitulionis (1995) had 12 points.
The NBA All-Star What Contest? Over in the ‘States, basketball superstars created highlight-reel clips while facing little opposition … so forget canned exhibitions (especially Flight White’s sad showing) and check out a show most missed: Croatian wunderkind Mario Hezonja submitted the dunk of the weekend with an incredible one-handed finish to an alley-oop pass from fellow youth-ball player Joan Creus in FC Barcelona’s 67-66 squeaker of a LEB Gold league victory over Leyma Basquet.
The 17-year-old Hezonja went on to put in a game-high 17 points, most of which were highlight-worthy. See the man-among-boys for yourself below — and remember the name.
At just 17 years old and despite missing the entire 2011-12 regular season, Hezonja finally got a taste of the action in Barça’s 78-48 laugher over Beşiktaş in Turkey last Friday night. His Euroleague debut stat line read five points, two rebounds and one steal in a few ticks under 12 minutes of play.
Hezonja again did not play in Spain this weekend, unlisted on the roster for Barca’s 81-64 win over Cajasol in Liga Endesa play; the 12th-man spot was filled by 20-year-old Todorović of Montenegro. In the Beşiktaş game, Todorović’s 12 minutes of court time was the most he’s gotten all season and the national teamer was good for four points, four rebounds and two blocks.
Potentially the nucleus of a shiny new Barca frontcourt? Continue Reading…
We’ll be running a poll on this question next week, but please feel free to put forth suggestions in the “comments” section below this post. A few suggested guidelines: Since the winning choice will be immortalized (well, as immortalized as things can get online) in illustrated form, BiE asks that you consider only guys easily caricatured or are at least easily recognizable by the uniform.
After making a few kneejerk-reaction choices, BiE also consulted with this site’s contributing writers and a pilgrim father of BallinEurope. Below runs the tentative list of candidates thus far.
On this, the eve of Euroleague basketball 2012-13 edition, David Hein and BallinEurope (unleash) present a serious gabfest on all things Euroleague (and some NBA) with two of our favorite hoops scribes. It’s two hours of solid basketball talk, a.k.a. episode four in the “Taking the Charge” podcast series, which Hein took to calling “The Euroleague Bonanza” early. Show segments – really, this thing is so long, segmentation is necessary – are:
• A chat with UK-based John Hobbs of Talk Basket – Having attended several media events in Germany as well as the actual Alba Berlin-Dallas Mavericks NBA Europe Live tour game itself, John joined David Hein and myself to talk about Dirkamania, marketing the NBA (particular in that tricky British market) and the actually quite substantive >David Stern ‘n’ Jordi Bertomeu press conference of last week. Plus, fearless predictions from the Basket Talker … sort of.
Congratulations from BallinEurope go out to KK Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje, who are the 2011 Nike International Junior Tournament champions after defeating Žalgiris Kaunas, 76-65, in the championship match this morning. A few observations on the match, if you will…
• First and foremost, there’s Dario Saric. You don’t need BiE to tell you to believe the hype on this dude billed as the next Toni Kukoc after he notched a triple-double of 15/12/10 in this game, but whoa was Saric head and shoulders above the field today.
Saric displayed an incredible all-around game featuring rebounding, leading the fast break, beating his man off the dribble and gorgeous no-look passes – and all this came on the first two Zagreb possessions. Even when his shooting touch was off early (he went for just 3-of-12 shooting in the first half), Saric still established himself as a serious presence in the middle that forced the ball into Žalgiris’ undersized guards’ hands. And the Lithuanian side managed just a woeful 2-of-18 outside the paint in the first half as a result.