You decide: Who should be the new BallinEurope logo? Should “Pau” be retired?

“Pau”, Ramunas have served BiE well…

Sooner or later, it had to happen. With Ramunas Siskauskas – half of BallinEurope’s logo – now retired from the professional ranks, the icon (or possibly icons; more on this later) of this website must change. And so today we’re asking the question at top, i.e. Who should be the new logo?

We’ll be running a poll on this question next week, but please feel free to put forth suggestions in the “comments” section below this post. A few suggested guidelines: Since the winning choice will be immortalized (well, as immortalized as things can get online) in illustrated form, BiE asks that you consider only guys easily caricatured or are at least easily recognizable by the uniform.

After making a few kneejerk-reaction choices, BiE also consulted with this site’s contributing writers and a pilgrim father of BallinEurope. Below runs the tentative list of candidates thus far.

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Sunday hangover: Notes, clips from Euroleague week one

Since BiE will typically have to play catch-up with a week’s worth of Euroleague games on Saturdays, a new concept comes to the website in the Sunday hangover. Those of you who have followed BallinEurope since the days of its origins may recall the old “Monday cigarettes” column – and this one hopes to recall those days (but with video clips!). And so, notes and observations from the opening week of play in the big league…

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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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Jonas Valanciunas: “I’m ready for the NBA”

From the folks at FIBA comes a dispatch on the guy who may already be Lithuania’s most popular player in North America, Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas arrived in Toronto this week as he begins preparations for the 2012-13 NBA season…

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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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Fearless Predictions™ by BallinEurope readers, contributors: USA, Russia, Argentina will medal

Right, things will be tipping off shortly in London with eight teams remaining in bids for a podium spot. And with the votes in and brackets fashioned, let’s see what BallinEurope contributors (including David Hein, Enrico Cellini and Sam Chadwick) and readers find in their own crystal balls…

Gold medal: USA (with 86% of votes)
So probably the only surprise here is that it wasn’t unanimous. Dissenting votes were logged for Spain and Russia, though the latter may carry a bit of an asterisk. The sole voice liking the Reds to take it all was commentator El Diablo from Australia (!) who took his home side to win the gold, then backed down, explaining “I still reckon that Russia will beat the US, assuming Shevd doesn’t lose his shit again…

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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.

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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Sarunas Jasikevicius: “I don’t get” why Team USA players’ traveling uncalled

European fans (and many others) have often noted that NBA players appear to be traveling on many a routine or highlight-clip play, and Team USA backers are certainly shocked at the number of such turnovers their side has been guilty of through four games – seriously, have Lebron James and Kobe Bryant ever racked up so many travels in such a short span?

But old-timer Sarunas Jasikevicius is still seeing some bending of the rules. Saras was quoted over at Talk Basket after the Lithuania-USA game as saying, “I don’t get it. There are FIBA rules [that say that] if a player takes the ball and runs two meters, travelling must be called,” he said. “Maybe the rules will be changed in the future, but at the moment that’s travelling.

“I’m not saying that [the referees] were indulgent towards Americans, or that we lost due to the referees’ fault. Absolutely not. Simply there are rules according to which the play must be whistled; it doesn’t matter if it’s [an everyday player] or Kobe Bryant.”

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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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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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