Podcast: Interviews with Per Gunther, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia; plus riffs on Rodman in North Korea, the Harlem Shake, Space Jam (P.S. Win a free T-shirt!)

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode 25 in the Taking the Charge podcast series is now available online, and in general this one reflects the wackiness of the week in basketball just gone by. So Bill Simmons’ “B.S. Report” over at Grantland is described as “a free-flowing conversation”? Co-host David Hein of heinnews and yours truly sail our own stream of consciousness this time out, touching upon diverse subjects including the Harlem Shake phenomenon, Dennis Rodman’s basketball diplomacy in North Korea, Tim Ohlbrecht in America, the ever-interesting behind-the-scenes happenings in Greece, and, in our sports movie review of the week, the all-time classic Space Jam.

A bit of gravity – but just a wee bit – infuses the show in an interview with our first guest, Ratiopharm Ulm’s Per Günther. Günther tells us about his club (arguably one of the most notable European underdogs in 2012-13 who currently find themselves near the top of the Bundesliga table and in the Eurocup elite eight) and the prospects for Team Germany in Eurobasket 2013.

Also joining us is Sportando co-founder Emiliano Carchia, who offers some insight into the recent towering success of the European basketball-centric website.

And in the first-ever Taking The Charge promotion, earn a chance at winning a T-shirt absolutely free – tune in to find out (Don’t worry: Details are just a few minutes into the ‘cast).

Finally, we’re pleased to announce that Taking the Charge podcasts are now available through iTunes; subscribe by entering the following into the aggregator: Alternatively, the entire episode may be heard here.

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German Bundesliga playoffs: Bamberg, Ulm grab Games One at home; Pleiss injures knee

The semifinals are underway in Germany and, as always, David Hein has one eye on the action there. Read on to find out about the Brose Baskets Bamberg-Artland Dragons and Ratiopharm Ulm-s.Oliver Baskets matchups in game one … plus, a bit of distressing news for forward-thinking Oklahoma City Thunder fans.

The top two seeds in the German Beko BBL playoffs defended home turf to start the semifinals as two-time defending champions Brose Baskets blasted Artland Dragons, 103-70, while ratiopharm ulm knocked off s.Oliver Baskets, 77-65.

Bamberg’s win over the Dragons could prove costly, however, as star center Tibor Pleiß went down with a right knee injury in the fourth quarter and reportedly underwent an MRI yesterday to determine the extent of the injury.

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BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings 3.0

All right, now everything about the 2010 FIBA World Championship is coming into focus!

For example, now we know how good the relatively unknown Lithuanian squad will be – because they beat Slovenia after having to come back and go overtime against the Czech Republic. Um, and Argentina showed they’re awesome by … blowing a 20-point lead at half on their home court. Uh, well, one thing we can all agree on, at least: Team France is damn near sunk before this thing starts after another litany of no-shows.

These ratings are sure to be shaken up after many of these teams will be participating in tournament play or one-off exhibition games against fellow Worlds competitors this weekend. Up until Saturday night, however, BallinEurope sees the power flowing in the following 16 directions…

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First look at Team Germany

From the heinnews website comes coverage and analysis of Team Germany’s 21-man squad, from which head coach Dick Bauermann will ultimately be shaping his roster for this year’s Eurobasket tournament … but wait a minute. No Chris Kaman? No Dirk Nowitski?!?!? What in the name of Uwe Blab is going on here?
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