Jul
2

Podcast: Talking international hoops with GB U20s coach Douglas Leichner, SellOutXBoy

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #45 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

This week we’re talking (mostly) international competitions, though Hein does get off a good rant (well, as ranty as the guy gets) on FC Bayern Munich’s apparent moves to sop up all available talent from the BBL, while BallinEurope is in shock and awe over FC Barcelona’s acquisition of Bostjan Nachbar – seriously, just look at this roster.

*Then* we’re on to international competitions. First up in guesting to the show is the tweeter known as SellOutXBoy to explain just what in the name of Naismith is going on with the Russian national program in the wake of the shock firing/quitting/dismissal of national team head coach Fotis Katsikaris as well as the departure of federation president Alexander Krasnenkov. Believe it or not, it’s political. And possibly bleak.

Also joining us is Douglas Leichner, head coach of the U20s Team Britain; Leichner’s young charges ended up taking second place on the podium in the Division B side of the U20 European Championship and thus will move up to the top level for next year. Among other topics, Leichner touches upon Britain’s own Golden Generation of players…

Finally, there’s the sports movie review of the week. Check out the clip below, sort of a teaser-trailer for Mystic Ball, a 2006 documentary about Greg Hamilton of Canada and his attempts to learn the national pastime of Myanmar, Chinlone. In short the game can be described as a ball sport with only one team on the playing field at one time – and with no scorekeeping.

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


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Mar
7

Yes! ACB releases new Pops Mensah-Bonsu highlight video!

It’s about time we got a fresh Pops Mensah-Bonsu highlight video … On the happy occasion of Pops’ return to European courts with Cajasol Sevilla for the final six games of the season, the Liga Endesa official website reminds us of Pops’ great moments on Spanish hardwood during stints with CB Granada and DKV Joventut Badalona in 2008.

The BallinEurope fave hasn’t seen action since the summer due to a knee injury taking him out of the 2012 Olympic Games just after finishing 2012-13 in fantastic fashion with Beşiktaş.

Video of representative hops by Pops (plus the occasional nice play on defense) runs below…

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Jan
46

Luol Deng to David Cameron: “Basketball is too valuable to be chucked away”

Luol DengLess than a year after endless wrangling with FIBA and the International Olympic Committee to get Team Britain into the 2012 Olympic Games, governing body UK Sport seems fit to impart some slashing of the national basketball budget – this despite pressure from FIBA going into the London Games that an automatic bid for the men’s national team would be granted only with assurances that British basketball had some viable future.

An eleventh-hour debate on the basketball-funding question is slated for tonight and will be led by Conservative Party MP Stephen Mosley; an online petition created by Sam Neter of Britian-based Hoops Fix self-explanatorily called “Get UK Sport to Fund British Basketball” has over 11,650 “signatures” as of this writing.

Perhaps no one is taking the upcoming cuts more seriously than Chicago Bulls/Team Britain star Luol Deng, however. Deng today fired off a 1½-page open letter to British prime minister David Cameron in hopes of essentially saving the national program in the runup to the 2016 Olympics; the just-this-side-of-vitriolic text runs below.

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Sep
13

EuroBasket 2013 draw seedings: Some thoughts

Exactly what the title says then – BallinEurope takes a look at the seedings for the EuroBasket 2013 draw and riffs a bit. As we know, the six groups from which the final divisions will be comprised look as follows.

No. 1 seeds: Spain, France, Russia, FYR Macedonia

No. 2 seeds: Lithuania, Greece, Slovenia, Great Britain

No. 3 seeds: Italy, Croatia, Germany, Montenegro

No. 4 seeds: Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina

No. 5 seeds: Georgia, Belgium, Latvia, Turkey

No. 6 seeds: Czech Republic, Serbia, Israel, Sweden

Mulled-over reactions follow.

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Aug
4

2012 Olympic basketball: The perspective from Spain on the gold-medal game (plus really specific Official Fearless Prediction™)

Marc and Pau: So key yet again

The Liga Endesa official website editorial staff today attempts to answer the question on the mind of USA-detractors and underdog-backers, i.e. “¿What must happen for Spain to win Olympic gold?” Below runs an extrapolation of the article, featuring eight bits of advice of varying degrees of difficulty, plus BallinEurope’s own ever-lovable Official Fearless Prediction™ on the final game of the 2012 Olympics.

Team USA is transparent enough that everyone seems to know their weaknesses and how to exploit them; the blueprint is universally known, but no one is able to implement the game plan. The enormous quantity of talent on Team USA means that playing even a perfect game does not translate to a win.

“We will try not have too many possessions, not miss many shots and control the boards,” said Juan Carlos Navarro. Doing it all at the same time is difficult, but we will try. I don’t know if we’ll reach 100 points … but the points are not important. [What’s important is] to play good defense.”

What else must be done:

Limit turnovers. It is evident that the U.S. defensive pressure up top results in many steals that finish with easy baskets on the other end. Attacking with the ball and getting off to a quick start offensively is key to the USA game. And against Team USA, passes to the wing or inside expose the offensive to further losses amidst the quick hands and speed of the American defenders.

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Aug
5

2012 Olympic basketball: Rising and falling stock after the first round

While we’re a little ways away from actually awarding medals for 2012 Olympic basketball, the first round showed international hoops fans quite a lot. Though the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, reputations have changed over the past five games to cause some individual and/or teams losses beyond these Olympics. BallinEurope today takes a look at those whose stock has risen and those who’ve fallen in the early going of the London Games.

Rising
Lebron James. Yeah, like this guy needs a further upward trend in his already all-time lofty-looking career. Four years ago, ESPN’s Bill Simmons proclaimed (correctly, in BiE’s opinion) that in 2008 ‘Games crunch time, “everyone deferred to Kobe, who made some monster plays to clinch it. Know that in the history of the NBA we have never had the best-player-alive argument resolved so organically.” In 2012, King James has proven himself to be the best player on the best team in this Olympic tournament.

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Aug
33

2012 Olympic Basketball: Official Fearless Predictions™ for games five (well, most of ‘em, anyway)

BallinEurope will have something on the marquee Olympic basketball games – namely, Team USA vs. Argentina and Spain vs. Brazil – later today, but once again wanted to post the Official Fearless Predictions™ before early games tip off.

Having already clinched the top spot in Group B, Russia will likely go deep into the bench, and, whoa is that bench deep indeed. BiE says resting Russia nips Australia in the teams’ third meeting of the summer. The oddsmakers give Russia a 7½ point handicap for this one; the final result may even be closer. On paper.

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Aug
28

2012 Olympic basketball: Today’s Official Fearless Predictions™ (with now-95% record at stake)

“Ladies, ladies, I don’t mean to brag but, I’m the greatest.” – Sidney Deane

Kudos go out today from BallinEurope to, well, BallinEurope. And thanks to Team Russia, whose stirring 77-74 win from an early 22-5 deficit against favored Team Spain brings BiE up to a 19-1 mark in Official Fearless Predictions™ thus far.

These have already been written up on BiE in one form or another, but we’ll just make these Fearless Predictions™ on the remainder of today’s games. Official now: BiE’s got USA over Lithuania (but by fewer than 34.5 points); Brazil over China; Argentina over Nigeria in a deceptively close one after the African side redeems themselves after the USA Armageddon Game; and, in the upset special of the day – and with two players short and Oz hot, this one would really be an upset – Team Britain over Australia.

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Aug
29

Games three, 2012 Olympics: Official Fearless Predictions™

Just enough time to get in some Official Fearless Predictions™ this morning … note that BallinEurope is at 12-0 through two days of Olympic competition. Note, too, that only serious homers and lobotomized octopi should be less than 11-1 at this point anyway, depending on the person/being’s choice for the Argentina-France game.

So here goes on a day with what should be a couple of fair battles and a bunch of blowouts: Lithuania over France (still running with this pick); Australia over China; Argentina over Tunisia; Russia over Brazil in today’s match of the day; Spain over Britain; and Team USA over Nigeria.

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Jul
28

Plan Y for Team Lithuania (plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Skyped BiE today with two words on his mind: “Lithuania’s doom.”

“Today?” BiE countered.

“No, it already happened two days ago,” said Y. and he was off with a prescient, simple formula for success after the 23-point blowout at the hands of Argentina.

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