Croatia won the bronze medal match at the 2014 FIBA Europe Under 18 men’s championship with a 75-71 win over Greece. Much like their semi-final with Serbia, the Greeks didn’t lack grit but Croatia had too much quality in the end. Marko Arapovic had 24 points and 16 rebounds and Dragan Bender had 14 points and 10 assists for the victors.
Turkey will get their shot at winning back-to-back FIBA Europe Under 18 men’s titles after beating Croatia 74-67 in front of 7,000 fans in Konya. A win for Turkey against Serbia on Sunday would make it the first time since 2011 that the same nation won the Under 20 and Under 18 titles in the same year along with the first time a nation won back to back Under 18 crowns since Yugoslavia in 1986 and 1988.
James Weldon, in town for the FECC had the best take on this one:
Turkey locked up the fourth and final spot in today’s FIBA Europe Under 18s men’s semi finals with a convincing 78-53 win over Latvia. After a tight first quarter, the hosts pulled away in Konya. Furkan Korkmaz led Turkey in scoring with 22 points and 6 rebounds, as Turkey took a commanding 14 point lead into the final frame before closing the game out with a 19-8 fourth quarter.
In the classification games there was finally some good news for England who recorded their first win of the tournament, beating Poland 83-74. Aaron Menzies had 17 points and 15 boards while Jules Dang Akodo socred 18 points, had 8 assists, and 4 steals, as England kept their survival hopes alive. Poland are relegated to Division B as a result of this defeat while England must win one more game on Sunday, against either Czech Republic or Belgium to survive.
Finally, in Division B BiE’s home team Ireland lost their final game of the tournament 64-63 to Switzerland to finish in 22nd and last place. The semi-finals of the tournament take place later today in Sofia with Ukraine taking on Finland and Sweden playing Germany.
The first stage is in the books and it will be all but stricken from our memory by around 14.29 CET. Before we cast it off to history, BiE’s rounded up our favourite plays from the opening stage.
Oh man Janis Blums. You’re the best.
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…
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.
Taking a look at this year’s roundup, we note that 53 Europeans have been named to NBA clubs’ 15-man roster, just beating the pace of the 52 listed in 2010-11. (BiE didn’t take the tally for last season because, you know, things were kinda confusing during the lockout and all…)
And quite a few teams have seriously European-tinted rosters: Five teams go into the 2012-13 NBA season with four Continental players – and of these 20 players, perhaps only Sasha Pavlovic and Evan Fournier are marginalized at the lower end of the 15-man rosters. If one includes Ty Lawson as an honorary Lithuanian (for at least one more season), the Denver Nuggets could put an all-Euro squad on the floor with Lawson heading up an admittedly odd lineup of Fournier, Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov.
The team-by-team breakdown goes as follows.
With semesters coming to a close in European universities (well at least here in BallinEurope’s Budapest headquarters), BiE’s mind turned to the U.S. college game and specifically the European ballers playing in the NCAA. Below therefore runs some recent news – and video clips, natch – on 12 players plying their wares in the ‘States this season; starring Elias Harris, Denis Kilicli, Patrick Heckmann, Brice Massamba and more.
• Patrik Auda, Czech Republic; Seton Hall. In his sophomore year, Auda has earned the starting lineup for the 7-1 Pirates to produce an impressive 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game; in early December, Auda went for a career-high 17 points – all in the second half – against Auburn.
Auda has fit perfectly with the Seton Hall speedy offense this season, though it must be said that the Czech and his teammates haven’t met a true test against an NCAA superpower yet: That’ll come on December 28 when visiting current no. 1 Syracuse.
BallinEurope just received an email from Magnus Dahlborn, who is quite the heavy hitter in the world of Swedish basketball broadcasting; he says that “I have been following hoops since the mid-70’s and I am doing play-by-play TV commentary in Sweden on Euroleague and Swedish League (plus the FIBA World Championships and Eurobasket…): 90 games this season and around 500 the last 10 years.”
Today, then, a brief look at the 13 Europeans participating in today’s first round action.
Headlining the Europack is definitely Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor. Hailing from Norrkoping, Sweden, the junior averaged a fantastic line of 15.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 stocks (steals plus blocks, stat category courtesy Bill Simmons) – all career highs excepting the boards – while representing the centerpiece of the Commodores’ offense after packing 25 pounds on during the offseason.
Worse yet for Vandy opponents Richmond: Local media covering the SEC tournament report that Taylor has found “a part of his game that has been missing at times this season,” namely aggressiveness – to the tune of 20.66 points per in three tourney games on 19-of-27 shooting on twos. “I think before [the SEC Tournament], I kind of faded in and out of aggressiveness,” the Swede was quoted as saying. Said aggression would prove useful in the bigger tournament: Vanderbilt has run up a record of 17-3 this season when Taylor scores 15 points or more.
‘Stateside, this weekend saw the tipping off of college basketball across the country and, while most prospects from The Continent are avoiding the Kanter treatment to simply play with club teams here, BallinEurope still has eyes on a handful of European players looking to make an impact in the NCAA in 2010-11. Our official preseason NCAA All-European team comprises the following players, quite a few of which should be playing high-level professional hoops before all is said and done.
• Patrik Auda, Czech Republic; Seton Hall. Kevin Willard got something of a nice working holiday this spring as he checked out players at the Carnarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands. The fans were then gifted with their new 6’9” lefty forward in Auda. Willard and his recruiters reportedly had an eye on Auda throughout last season, including the Czechs’ personal highlight of an All-Tournament Team nod for the National Prep School Invitational held in Rhode Island in February.