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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 +++
Aug
26

US NBA stars beat Spain to take gold



(via AFP)

The United States Dream Team of NBA stars captured their second Olympic men’s basketball gold medal in a row and the 14th overall for America by beating Spain 107-100 in Sunday’s final. The US multi-millionaire lineup of NBA elite claimed their fifth crown in the past six Olympics, improving to 62-since revamping the national team program after settling for bronze in 2004.

The Americans ran through the tournament undefeated just as they did in 2008 when they defeated Spain 118-107 in the Beijing final. The latest roster had five gold winners from Beijing and five from the US 2010 world champions.…

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Aug
5

USA 59, Spain 58 after 20 minutes: Notes and such

Here we go … Team USA vs Spain for the gold! What more needs to be said?

The first hype pushed at 4pm on the NBC broadcast: Kobe vs. Pau! (Clearly, BiE’s in touch with the American broadcasters…); Kobe is 1-0 in Olympic Games, doesn’t want to lose to Pau, doesn’t want to lose at all, etc.

Key stats from the final game in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; that game saw Kobe Bryant go 7-of-14 for 20 with six assists, Juan Carlos Navarro scored 18 after struggling throughout the tournament, and 56 fouls were called.

Spain is following the Liga Endesa-prescribed plan at best as possible, forcing USA to play a very slow game. Fast break points in the first quarter went just 4-0 for Team USA, and Pau Gasol is exploiting the mismatch against Carmelo in the post when possible, though that hasn’t been often.

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Aug
19

2012 Olympics: Is Spanish dominance over? (Plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

BallinEurope may be pulling the trigger a bit early on this one, but has to ask: Was the loss to Russia on Saturday a harbinger of things to come from Team Spain? Not to put too fine a point on it, but is the marathon (by today’s standards) golden age of Spanish basketball in international competition over?

It is that sheer length of the era of Spanish dominance that makes one wonder about the security of Los Rojos’ presumptive top-dog status going forward: Since 2001, Team Spain has medalled in nine of 13 international tournaments – including the Olympic Games, FIBA Eurobasket, FIBA World Championship/Cup and Mediterranean Games. In the past six years, the Spanish have taken home three golds and five silver from FIBA and the IOC, the sole missed podium coming at the 2010 FIBA Worlds, when Pau Gasol no-showed and Team USA brought its “B Team.”

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Aug
18

Imagery of the 2012 Olympics, as tweeted by basketball stars

Between the amazingly-named US women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo calling out Olympic TV commentator/former Team USA star Brandi Chastain in the 141-character format and the nasty little bugger who shall not be named here (not to mention the censorship of a British reporter critical of NBC coverage of the ‘Games), Twitter is having a bad Olympics.

But perhaps this will make up for things a bit … the folks at image-sharing site Pixable have put together the widget embedded below, a continually-updated real-time slideshow composed of photos and images uploaded unto Twitter by basketball Olympians. Amid the personal shots players posing with family members, fellow athletes or, in one case, Prince Harry himself, are some quite nice in-game shots – and one of handball by loyal tweeter Pau Gasol.

Also lending their photographic efforts and/or retweeting skills are Lebron James, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, Rudy Fernandez, Swin Cash, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, Émilie Gomis and Deron Williams’ shoe.

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Jul
49

BallinEurope’s Official Fearless Predictions™: 2012 Olympic Basketball Group B

And now, round two. Or maybe that should be “round B.” With BallinEurope having (sort of) Fearlessly Predicted the entries for the 2012 Olympic basketball knockout stage from Group A, it’s onto the Official Fearless Predictions™ for Group B – and we’ll do this one from the bottom up.

BallinEurope's upset specialists: Team Britain...

6. China (0-5)
5. Australia (1-4)
4. Britain (2-3)

Damn right BiE’s going there, taking Team Britain to advance for purely selfish reasons: BiE wants the European sweep. BiE supports the fledgling program they’re trying to maintain on the Isle where basketball is a low (*low*) priority in sports fans’ hearts. BiE loves the proverbial pluckiness, the dogged daring, Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. And because BiE wants the highlight YouTube clip potential of a USA-Britain Olympic tournament game.

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Jul
0

In Spain game, Gelabale gets monster block, ejection, possible suspension

Quel dommage! Eurobasket 2011 runners-up France are finding the road to London bumpy indeed recently. Already losing Joakim Noah throughout the 2012 Olympic Games due to injury, Les Bleus must temporarily sit Boris Diaw and Nando de Colo due to NBA-related insurance issues. And now Mickael Gelabale faces penalties from FIBA, including possible suspension for part of the ‘Games.

With France chipping away at a seven-point third-quarter Spain advantage in yesterday’s “friendly,” Les Bleus forced a turnover out of Rudy Fernandez which led to a breakaway layup for two. Gelabale, meanwhile, was confronted by Fernandez with the expected results. Gelebale was ejected from the game, necessitating a report to FIBA by the official – a report which could in turn become suspension for one Olympic match or more.

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May
4

Revealed: The EuroChallenge championship curse

(image courtesy Hurriyet Daily News)

Yes, but *should* they be celebrating?

Winning the EuroChallenge title is a good thing, right? After all, it’s typically the first Continental trophy to display on the mantelpiece and the champions label wins the club to right to play in the more prestigious (and more big-bucks) Eurocup competition the following season.

Well, Uygar Karaca may convince believers otherwise. In the first of a two-part series for BallinEurope.com, Karaca flips through the pages of recent EuroChallenge history to reveal the success – or lack thereof – championship clubs have experienced directly following a title bid. Hint: It’s pretty bleak stuff after 2004. Sorry, Beşiktaş

Winning a competition, especially on the Continental level, is a great achievement. However, titles come with a price. When success exposes players to the market, for example, clubs with better offers take the stars away. Alternatively, in order to get a trophy, clubs sometimes spend more than they can afford, which triggers the process of eventual financial collapse.

In this article, I tried to see whether winning the FIBA EuroChallenge tournament signals brighter days for the club or rather indicates a peak with the way forward pointing downward. Continue Reading…

Mar
2

Rubio out ‘til 2012-13; options and outlook for Team Spain, Minnesota Timberwolves [Updated]

A moment of silence, please, in memory of Ricky Rubio’s 2011-12 season.

After Rubio suffered an injury in Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves fans held their collective breath, and the Human YouTube Highlight Clip got another video added to his virtual collection – one that La Pistola certainly never wanted to see.

Yesterday, the team was forced to announce that Rubio in fact had torn his left ACL, an injury that ends his NBA season with a surprising Timberwolves side who’d gotten as high as no. 8 in the Western Conference. Worse yet for international hoops fans, Rubio will miss the entire 2012 Olympic Games, a bit of blow to Team Spain.

National team head coach Sergio Scariolo was quoted on Saturday morning as stating that “I woke up to the bad news this morning, although there remains the slight hope that it isn’t too serious.” Of course, it ultimately was.

Spain-based website Te Interesa contemplates Sergio Scariolo’s moves for the Olympics, with Jose Calderon suddenly thrust from a platoon role to full-time starter. The website also reckons that Real Madrid’s Sergio Llull might be shifted to the no. 2 spot, while Team Spain will certainly have to deemphasize the playmaker role – the latter of which BiE figures is a strategy tantamount to death in international ‘ball.

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Feb
32

First half report cards for European players in NBA

At the halfway point of the crazy fast 2011-12 NBA season, BallinEurope flexes the university professor muscles a little bit this morning with midterm assessments of individual performance by the big league’s Continental Players. We’ll be using the European grading system, with 5 being the top score possible and 1 the lowest; the Americans may consider the numbers roughly equivalent to the A-F system of U.S. high schools.

Listed along with the player’s name and team are a few metrics employed in handing out the marks, chief among these current Player Efficiency Ratings as devised by ESPN’s John Hollinger.

Now, class. Ready for the second half…?

5. Head of the class
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors (22.1 PER, 23.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg)

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (19.23 PER, 15.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 1.0 spg, 38.1 mpg)

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs (22.32 PER, 19.4 ppg, 8.1 apg, 1.1 spg)

Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves (22.38 PER, 12.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 0.7 spg, 24.4 mpg; in February, 17.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 0.8 spg, 32.2 mpg)

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Feb
5

Kyle Singler filling Rudy Fernandez’ shoes nicely for Real Madrid

When Real Madrid’s brief affair with Rudy Fernandez ended with the dissolution of the NBA player lockout, Los Blancos looked to up-and-coming Detroit Pistons draft pick Kyle Singler to fill the Denver Nugget’s Nikes. While still adapting to Pablo Laso’s system, Singler has not disappointed thus far and has shown steady improvement through the end of last year into 2012. The Spanish-language blog Sentimiento Amarillo y Naranja today runs a piece detailing the progress of the former Duke Blue Devil in Spain and Euroleague play; an extrapolation follows.

Kyle Singler landed at Real Madrid after the departure of Rudy Fernandez, who had played the first 10 league games with Los Blancos, back to the NBA after the player lockout ended. The Real brain trust then decided to spring for the Real Madrid forward who until then had played the start of the 2011-12 season with Lucentum Alicante, contributing great performances and helping Alicante to stand firm in the top positions in the Liga Endesa.

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