Serbia and Croatia make statements at FIBA U18s +++ Coach James Weldon gives his thoughts on Dragan Bender +++ Sarunas Jasikevičius retires, joins Zalgiris in coaching role +++ Vintage Drazen Petrovic jersey up for auction +++ Ireland announce select squad for Luxembourg friendlies +++ We really need you to nominate beers +++ Mykhailiuk operating almost under cover +++ Nando de Colo has the best location for a basketball camp +++ Ireland end famines with two slices of Danish bacon +++ Former Galatasaray baller Jamont Gordon talks about the road to recovery +++

Igokea: How about this for a start?

The team from Aleksandrovac suburban area of Banja Luka has surprised everyone early on with a perfect 6-0 start to its 2012-13 Adriatic League season. With a veteran roster under his command, coach Dragan Bajic can only smile at his opponents’ disbelief. BallinEurope contributing writer Marko Savkovic tells us how they’ve done it…

Igokea has never been a frontrunner in the Adriatic. However, it’s a steady contender which, similarly to KK Siroki, is capable of chipping off points from more favored teams. What makes Igokea different and somewhat inferior to the Herzegovinan side is that it relies less on its youth program. Backed by the powerful Dodik family, Igokea enjoys stable financing and is capable of hiring proven professionals. The team’s home ground accommodating 4,000 spectators is one of the few purpose-built basketball arenas in the league.

In this debt-laden season with many teams facing financial difficulties, Igokea management played it smart in the offseason. They brought in two veteran players, Sinisa Stemberger and Branko Jorovic, strengthening their backcourt options. Best remembered by some for the below-shown incident, Stemberger is a refined shooter with solid defensive skills and should add composure when things get tight. So far in 2012-13, only Clifford Hammonds has played more minutes for Igokea.

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FIBA Eurochallenge Final 16 tips off tonight

The FIBA Eurochallenge Final 16 tips off tonight with seven games to played among the whittled-down field. Among the survivors are two Cyprus-based squads, three German teams and at least two red-hot circus offenses (BC FMP Belgrade and Banvit BC). The round-robin play continues through February, with the last games scheduled for March 9.

The games going down tonight are the following.

Group I: BG Göttingen vs. Proteas EKA AEL
. It was a good news/bad news scenario for Göttingen in group play. While the German side managed to go 2-0 against seemingly tough BCM Gravelines Dunkerque and thus squeak into the Final 16 via tiebreaker, Göttingen lost both matches against eventual group winner Buducnost. Proteas backed in to the Final 16, dropping their last game to Elan Chalon, 81-74. Key stat for this game: At 3-3 in Eurochallenge group play, Proteas won all three games in Cyprus and lost all three away; tonight, they’re in Germany. I’m just saying is all.

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