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 +++

BC Khimki overcome Caner-Medley, Valencia to take 2012 Eurocup title, 77-68

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to the first entrant into Euroleague 2012-13, BC Khimki Moscow region, with their win over BC Valencia in the Eurocup championship game yesterday. In a possible Euroleague title-game preview – at least in terms of home bases – the Russian side topped the Spaniards, 77-68. In the consolation game, Lietuvos Rytas bagged a bronze medal in taking out Spartak St. Petersburg, 71-62.

Game highlights and official writeup of the final match follow.

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Tony Parker, Ronny Turiaf star as Asvel Basket tops Valencia in Eurocup opener, 87-78

Here’s more fuel for the fire vis-à-vis American players in Europe: Re-imports Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf were notables in last night’s Eurocup opening night for Asvel Villeurbanne as the French side overcame 2009-10 champion Valencia Basket.

Whoever questions NBA stars’ ability to adapt to the European game may see Parker’s performance of last night to be a partial answer: The locked-out San Antonio Spur essentially iced EuroCup Player of the Week honors in scoring 34 points for Asvel, including 13 in his team’s high-flying 29-point fourth quarter. Parker also dished five assists and added one steal to his stat line.

Meanwhile, Ronny Turiaf came off the bench to become one of Asvel’s five double-digit scorers, contributing 12 points and five rebounds over 25 minutes in the win.

Official game writeup follows the break.

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Must-see EB: Ten Eurobasket round one games to watch

Just the weekend remains before European basketball (and by extension, NBA) fans get to enjoy some tremendous high-level hoops competition in the 2011 Eurobasket competition. Despite the seeming overload of underdogs – full-on 14 of the 24 teams in the tournament are ranked 34th or lower in the official FIBA rankings – the first week still contains a notable number of compelling matchups to spark the interest and make a profound effect on the next round.

BallinEurope will be attending pool play in Panevėžys, but will certainly put in an effort to track the following 10 games; for best results, BiE recommends marking the calendar for the followingsure-to-be compelling matches.

31 August: Serbia vs. Italy. BiE’s got France and Germany taking the top two spots in Group B; this game could therefore shape the race for number three (and advancement to round two) early. Team Italy will have to avoid its traditional slow start in international competition if they seek to compete against a talented-if-uncertain Serbia side; the next day sees Germany coming to the court with a team well suited to beat Italia at its own game.

31 August: Montenegro vs. Macedonia. Group D is not only loaded with regional rivals including Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and these two teams, but the third spot in the group appears totally up for grabs. This opener will surely affect all pool play in the group thereafter. Continue Reading…


Real Madrid-Power Electronics Valencia: Recaps, videos, notes and Fearless Prediction™

The final game of the Euroleague Playoffs is tonight as Power Electronics Valencia goes to Real Madrid in a decisive game five matchup – and the seventh time the teams have faced off this season. Tipoff is set for 8.45pm CET and without further ado, let’s open up the BallinEurope notebook on the series by recapping the first four games first…

Game one: Real Madrid 71, PE Valencia 65
Emanuele Molin depended on his starters plus sixth man Nikola Mirotic and D’Or Fischer to do all the work, with these the only Blancos to play more than nine minutes. Ante Tomic was high scorer with 14 points, while Felipe Reyes recorded a near double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds – eight of which were an offense (!) – in just 20 minutes on the court. (For highlights of this one, you’ll have to click here.)

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Déjà vu in Ukraine? Proposed role models for Fratello’s new team

When Mike Fratello arrives to head up his national team coaching gig in Ukraine, he won’t see too many familiar faces beyond Sasha Volkov. Volkov played for the Czar’s Atlanta Hawks for a couple seasons way back when; unfortunately, Volkov hasn’t actually played ball at any level since year 2000. Coupled with the fact that Fratello hasn’t coached at any level since washing out of Memphis in 2006 and, wow, the television guy is facing lots of unknowns.

Here’s to thinking Fratello will rely on past experience to guide his new team. His historical preference for grind-it-out defense is sure to mesh well with a big, physical Team Ukraine; the side is also blessed with lots of shot blocking at its disposal. Will the Czar be imagining past glories as he trains in Europe? To when in the past will he look while watching his players in the present? BallinEurope looks at some potential role models for Eurobasket 2011.

• Serhiy Gladyr

Current team: Basquet Manresa

Scouting report: “Gladyr is a 6’5” shooting guard with nice athletic ability … What makes Gladyr intriguing is his shooting: He’s one of the better pure shooters in the draft. His shooting numbers are not overwhelming (36% on three-pointers), but he clearly has a sweet-shooting stroke … [at 19 years old, he] already shows the ability to drill shots coming off screens. … He’s not strictly a shooter thanks to his athleticism and good ball-handling. Pretty nice handle where he loves to use his left hand, and has an effective crossover dribble. Did have some issues when trapped on pick-and-rolls … had some issues in general when a second defender approached him … Solid rebounder for a 2-guard … Sergiy is a pretty good athlete by Ukrainian League standards, but how he rates as a NBA athlete is hard to gauge. If he was a Top 10 scorer in Spain or Italy then I’d feel more assured of his potential.” (The Painted Area, June 2009)

What he’s doing in 2010-11: So now Sergiy is 21 and, while averaging 9.1 points per ACB game – second-highest on his team to Uros Slokar – doesn’t put him onto Spain’s top 10 scorers list, BiE thinks The Painted Area must be pleased with Gladyr’s progress. It seems Gladyr’s three-point shooting still underwhelms, as he averages 1.6-for-4.7 shooting beyond the arc per ACB game, good for right around – you guessed it – 35%. Nevertheless, the future looks bright for this Ukrainian; could an NBA draft selection be in his future…?

Role model: Dan Majerle, who Fratello himself may barely remember, as Deadly Dan played just a single season with the Cavaliers and started only 15 times. Like Majerle, Gladyr is noted for his ball-handling skills and is particularly difficult to stop (or to stop from shooting) anywhere on the floor if single-covered. As Majerle is today one of the relatively unsung heroes of those Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns teams of the 1990s, so would a sharpshooting Gladyr should Team Ukraine surprise.

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The Spanish league explained: Part one

The quality of a national league here in Europe is not given by the value of top teams – every league has a number of top teams – but is more appropriately determined by how good the medium-to-low range clubs are.

Spain’s are good like no others are: This is why ACB is today the most important league on The Continent; even more important is the evident superiority when we talk about basketball houses, social involvement, and financial investment. Oh, and don’t forget the Spanish national team is European Champions, World Champions and Beijing Olympics runners-up. Dear sirs and madames, here it is, the giant ACB.

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