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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 +++ FIBA Europe Under 20 final highlights and top plays +++
Jun
3

Europeans in 2013 NBA Draft: Consensus, Best-Case Scenarios, Official Fearless Predictions™ on our Top 10

NBA Draft Day 2013 is upon us and while US-based media mostly grouses about the lack of high-quality players this time ‘round, European basketball fans have much to look forward to one year after a first round passed with no Continental player selected. In the 2013 edition, a dozen or so European ballers are reasonably in the running to hear their names called within the 60 picks – and several will go in the first.

BallinEurope today takes a look at our top 10 prospects for this NBA Draft and Officially Fearlessly Predicts the fates of each. From thousands of mock drafts floating about the blogosphere, BiE called on seven good sources in order to form something of a “consensus” opinion. (“Consensus” is in quotes there for this oddest of drafts in which even the no. 1 overall is a question mark – and any semblance of agreement is lost by no. 7 on this list…) In seeking wisdom from all corners great and small, the mix includes specialists NBAdraft.net and Draft Express; big media outlets Yahoo Sports and the USA Today’s “common sense” mock; and the Hoops Hype, Dime Magazine, Real GM and Prospects in Europe websites.

Let the speculation roll on and enjoy the show tonight (this morning CET)!

The BallinEurope top 10 includes the following…

Alex Len is the poster boy for the uncertainty principle overriding the 2013 NBA Draft as the conception of Nerlens Noel has gone from prohibitive no. 1 choice to possibly the second-biggest center available behind Len. The Ukrainian first garnered serious buzz on opening day in 2012, when he was able to torch Noel and his Kentucky Wildcats for 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks; unfortunately for Len (though maybe also fortunate, as Noel’s stock drops), ankle surgery preempted his pre-Draft workouts.

Consensus: A top six pick, most likely by the Cleveland Cavaliers at no. 1, the Charlotte Bobcats at no. 4 or the New Orleans Pelicans at no. 6. (This draft is awesome.)

Best case scenario: Is Len facing lose-lose situations with any of these three teams, each of which worked him out in the pre-Draft? If taken at no. 1, Len gets a fat contract with immediate high expectations and Bargnaniphobia as just the second-ever European chosen first. At no. 4, he goes to the Bobcats and, well, they’re the Bobcats; at no. 6 with the Pelicans, Len figures to get quality time but with a smaller paycheck. All things considered, BiE sides with the personal cash grab: Best for Len is to go to the Cavaliers … and help the city of Cleveland hold its breath in anticipation of Lebron James’ impending freedom in 2014.

Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™: Len to the Charlotte Bobcats – and gods have mercy on him…

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Jun
1

Euroleague American Tour 2013: CSKA Moscow scheduled for Minnesota, San Antonio visits

euroleague-basketball-nba logosThe Red Army is coming to the US as part of the always fun and interesting Euroleague American Tour 2013: Euroleague and NBA officials today announced that in October, CSKA Moscow’ll be taking on a couple of teams with nice Continental/ international ties in the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs. No word yet on whether a second Euroleague side might also be making the trip, as is customary on the ‘Tour, but the schedule for NBA team appearances in Europe is set.

Official press release on CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague American Tour 2013 and the schedule for the NBA Global Games follows.

(Euroleague) – Euroleague Basketball and the NBA today announced that CSKA Moscow will make its third trip to North America in the past five seasons this October when the team headlines the Euroleague American Tour 2013. The Russian champion and 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague semifinalist will play games in the U.S. against the 2013 Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

On October 7, CSKA will travel to Minneapolis to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose 2012-13 roster included former CSKA star and Euroleague MVP Andrei Kirilenko, former CSKA player Alexey Shved, as along with former Euroleague champions Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio. On October 9, CSKA will visit San Antonio to face the Spurs, whose 2012-13 squad included another former Euroleague champion, Manu Ginobili, and three-time All-Euroleague selection Tiago Splitter among six Euroleague alumni.

This will be the third trip for CSKA Moscow to the United States and Canada to play preseason games. In 2008, the team Russian powerhouse played against the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors.

In 2010, CSKA crossed the pond again to played games against the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers. CSKA’s victory in Cleveland made it the first European team to have ever beaten an NBA team on United States soil.

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Jun
11

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
1

NBA site spotlights Marcin Gortat’s days with Anaheim Arsenal

Marcin Gortat on Anaheim ArsenalFriday saw the NBA official website launch a new feature on its pages devoted to the D League. The new “D-League Alumni Spotlight” page currently sports six highlight videos featuring current-day NBA players who came into the big league the hard way. BallinEurope was pleased to see the Phoenix Suns’ Marcin Gortat among the half-dozen.

Though Gortat had been making a name for himself in his home country, Germany and Euroleague ball by the time he was ready to join the Orlando Magic at 23 years old in 2007, team execs figured The Polish Hammer needed some polish and/or would go woefully underused behind Dwight Howard. What followed was a brief stint with the now-defunct Anaheim Arsenal; the Alumni Spotlight video captures some rarely-seen footage of Gortat from ’07.

No embeds for the highlight clip are yet available, so you’ll have to check out the video through the NBA site. As we await a future Alumni clip featuring the Rio Grande Valley Vipers/Houston Rockets’ Donatas Motiejunas, here’s something else for you: Gortat’s game of 2012-13, a 23-point, seven-block display against the Charlotte Bobcats…

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May
3

Podcast: Talking Miami Heat with Hot Hot Hoops, Bayern Munich business with club GM; reviewing underrated basketball movie classic He Got Game

Episode #37 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes. After the usual patter on Euroleague rumors (especially this one) and VTB United League playoffs, the good stuff starts happening.

First up to guest on the show is Bayern Munich general manager Marko Pesic, who chats up heinnews on the seemingly overwhelming and undeniably impressive growth of the club since the beginning of this decade and its second-division Bundesliga standing. BiE continues to be fascinated with team’s master plan built on little more than the club’s football brand and um, well, that’s it, really. The fact of the matter – call it a BallinEurope Official Fearless Prediction™ if you will – is that this team, barring unforeseen financial or personnel disaster, will be playing Euroleague ball within two seasons. Thus is Pesic good to hear from.

And the GM gives us insight into the truth to rumors that Bayern will make a run at signing Ratiopharm Ulm’s John Bryant. Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

Following Pesic is Jay Ramos, writer for the Miami Heat-centric SB Nation site Hot Hot Hoops. Ramos speaks to us about, well, the Miami Heat; more specifically, topics include mostly Lebron, more Lebron, Dwyane Wade, a tiny bit of Ray Allen and Shane Battier, Lebron, you get the idea. But can BiE put the fear of Tony Parker in Ramos? Tune in to find out – Ramos’ own predictions for the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Championship outcome are also here, as are BallinEurope’s.

Incidentally, when was the last time an NBA playoff series stood at 2-2 yet was so widely accepted to be a foregone conclusion…?

The Taking the Charge sports movie review of the week focuses on He Got Game, an unfairly under-seen film by New York Knicks ultrafan Spike Lee starring Denzel Washington and now-Heat former-Milwaukee Bucks/Boston Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen. The short take: See this film. If you already have, watch it again. For many more reasons why, listen in…

Finally, also of note is our bumper music: Fantastic and rights-free material from Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and DJ Danger Mouse – great stuff you may never have heard before.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter this into iTunes or any podcast aggregator: http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/.

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May
8

Spanish media: Bogdanovic coming to Brooklyn; Splitter rebuffs wacky Real Madrid overture

It’s good news for international hoops fans into the NBA in a pair of stories via Spain-based Marca today.

Earlier this morning, the outlet reported that Mikhail Prokhorov and his Brooklyn Nets will buy out Bojan Bogdanovic’s contract with Fenerbahce Ulker for some $570,000. Bogdanovic was originally drafted by the Miami Heat at no. 31 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, and his rights subsequently bounced to Brooklyn through the Minnesota Timberwolves in a series of trades.

For Fenerbahce this season, Bogdanovic was good for 15.9 points in 28.25 minutes per game in Euroleague cumulatively – and 20.5 in just over 32½ in the Top 16 round. Back in Turkey, Bogdanovic averaged 13.0 in 25.3 minutes.

Any buyout of Bogdanovic’s contract would become official on July 1.

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May
2

Highlight amid the disappointment: “Demolition” Marc Gasol turns in play of the night

After last night’s 104-93 overtime win by the San Antonio Spurs over the Memphis Grizzlies in game three of the Western Conference semifinals, BallinEurope fears that NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol and his guys won’t be playing much further in the 2012-13 edition of the big league, but at least the Spaniard was able to add one more jam (not to mention the swell nickname “Demolition Marc”) to his career highlight reel – namely this smoking of Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard…

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Mar
2

It’s official: Enes Kanter is the toughest player in the NBA — and possibly the world

The most amazing thing about the dislocated shoulder injury that Turkey’s Enes Kanter suffered last night in the Utah Jazz’ win against the Phoenix Suns last night wasn’t the way TV cameras gave the audience such a prolonged view of the visibly excruciating damage or even the manner in which the Jazzmen held on short-handed (or -armed) for the win.

Nope: Most surprising of all, rather, was the Turkish tough guy’s reaction, i.e. To pick himself off the floor and walk off court himself. Can you imagine this reaction from, say, Luke Ridnour? And what exactly is the big man’s threshhold for pain?

Best guesses reckon Kanter could miss up to two weeks of action, but after watching this video, doesn’t anyone else believe he’ll be back out there by the weekend…?

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Mar
Mar
5

Infographic: 2012-13 Miami Heat vs. 2004-05 CSKA Moscow – Who’s more impressive?

As the Miami Heat look to add another W to their ongoing historic 23-game streak when playing at the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, here’s a nifty little argument discussion starter put together by BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Y.

Sure, the Heat’s run is mighty impressive, but just look at what CSKA Moscow did to the competition in both Euroleague and Russian play in 2004-05: The Dusan Ivkovic-led side featuring all-time greats Theo Papaloukas and J.R. Holden strung together 42 consecutive wins over a six-month period for a record that may never be broken. The team ultimately took the Russian League and Cup titles, but fell in the Euroleague Final Four. (An ominous sign for King James & Co.?)

So see below and/or click on the image for larger version and tell BiE: In the parlance of our times, who’s the “more dominant”? (Y.’s title for the infographic may have been ironic…)

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