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The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
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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Apr
3

France’s Livio Jean-Charles leads World Team to 112-98 shootout win, first back-to-back victory since 1999 [Highlights]

Those squeezing in viewings of the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit game between NBA playoff matches yesterday not only saw quite the shootout featuring world-class talent but also a bit of history: In upping their all-time record to 5-11 against Team USA with the 112-98 win, the World Select Team earned their second back-to-back win ever in the competition and first repeat since 1999.

The big news individually speaking was ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne’s Livio Jean-Charles, who overshadowed his more headline-grabbing teammate Andrew Wiggins of Canada, with a huge 27 points and 13 rebounds. (For the record on this day, Jean-Charles is currently projected as a #36 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft over at Draft Express; surely this guy’s stock will be rising before the Day…) Team World overcame fierce performances from prospective Duke Blue Devil Jabari Parker (22 points) and Kentucky Wildcat-to-be Julius Randle (19 points, eight rebounds).

But without further ado – To the highlight clips!

Oregon Live put together a “top 15 plays of the game” clip for your debate perusal – No, one second thought, BiE’ll go with “debate”. How did Rondaé Hollis-Jefferson’s insane pickpocket steal of and follow-up jam on Mouhammadou Jaiteh only land at no. 10, for example? For another, how did Randle’s reverse baseline dunk get beaten by Dante Exum’s circusy and-one? In any case, see for yourselves…

Here’s a more styled game-highlight compilation put together by BallisLife which puts the emphasis on the individual, showing how the showcase features of the ‘Summit…

And major props to the always excellent Euroleague Adventures, for their excellent job video-recording *everything* in the leadup to the game. A couple samples from their post-game work run below – there’s Jean-Charles described (correctly) and the should’ve-been-game MVP, followed by Team Russia/Triumph Lyubertsy’s Sergey Karasev on “Being a Sharp Shooter”. BiE seriously urges you to check out ELA’s massive cache of clips from the Nike Hoop Summit as well – right here.

Congratulations again to the World Select Team on the victory; we’ll leave with a Tweet, perhaps a suggestion for success to future Nike Hoop Summit squads: Maybe it’s all about the bonding…

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Mar
0

Podcast: Interviews with Sasha Kaun, Fotios Katsikaris; lotsa talk on Russian, Lithuanian ball

Taking the Charge podcast seriesNow available online is episode 26 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-hosted podcast, Taking the Charge. It’s a heavy serving of Russia with a side of Lithuania this week. This week the list of subjects on which we natter includes the following.

• Interviews with CSKA Moscow’s Sasha Kaun, who reveals a touch of March Madness, and Eurocup semifinalist Bilbao Basket/Team Russia coach Fotios Katsikaris, the guy who’s been handed the reins formerly manned by David Blatt – and perhaps a shell of the Olympic bronze-winning team…

• The respective fates of CSKA Moscow and Zalgiris Kaunas going into Friday’s Euroleague game. After this podcast was recorded, the will-he-won’t-he story on Ksystof Lavrinovic broke; while early sources reported the twin’s departure to be a done deal, a BallinEurope reader has pointed out that Ksystof informed Lithuania-based media that he would “remain with Zalgiris regardless of the situation.

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Feb
1

Team Russia to be AK-less for Eurobasket as Andrei Kirilenko announces retirement

Kirilenko in 2008

But what a way to go out, eh…?

Russia-based Sport Express and FIBA are this morning reporting what many have suspected all along what was inevitable: That Andrei Kirilenko is to retire from international play. Kirilenko explained that he’d already recently discussed the possibility with Russian Basketball Federation president Alexander Krasnenkov and that he “didn’t want to keep everyone in suspense for long.”

Citing common concerns among international players about fatigue and personal life, Kirilenko told Sport Express that “I’m not ready to spend most of the summer with the team and not with the family.” He hopes that the fortunes of Team Russia remain high and that he wishes to “transfer the authority and responsibility to” the younger generation of national teamers.

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Dec
2

Podcast: Interviews with Ettore Messina, Viktor Khryapa; ruminations on, well, a lotta stuff

Now up and running is episode #12 of the “Taking the Charge” podcast series, a co-production of heinnews.com and BallinEurope.

Amid a lot of chatting on recent events in basketball including the frankly bizarre $250,000 fine handed the San Antonio Spurs for recently not suiting up stars to play the Miami Heat in a televised game; Team Spain’s new coach Juan Antonio Orenga, who BiE believes could well have been the perfect choice for the job; questions of who might be the perfect coach for Team Germany (to be announced tomorrow) and Team Russia (to be announced on/by December 24), a question to which BiE has a perfect answer for either; and various Euroleague/NBA speculation, analysis and such.

The real highlights, however, are the brief-but-telling interviews with CSKA Moscow head coach Ettore Messina and his big man Viktor Khryapa. David Hein’s chat with Messina comes particularly recommended: In fewer than 500 words, the Red Army general manages to succinctly explain why CSKA will only get better as the Euroleague season goes on (yikes!), two areas in which his coaching was improved by his year with the Los Angeles Lakers organization and his take on FIBA’s international tournament format changes.

Plus, as always, Taking the Charge brings you fresh music (this time it’s Vir, post-punk hailing from New Zealand and operating in Oakland, plus the movie of the week, the classic American football-themed Marx Brothers flick “Horse Feathers.”

Check out the entire podcast here, and talk to you next week on Taking the Charge!

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Oct
1

Podcast: From Euroleague to China to the cinema; plus interview with Garret Siler

It’s Wednesday once again and thus time for another episode in the “Taking the Charge” podcast series presented by heinnews and BallinEurope.com. Yes, it’s another gabfest loaded with topical news and views plus interviews, music and Os Davis’ movie recommendation of the week. The episode program goes something like this.

• Hein and BiE weigh in on a pair of destiny-shaping events in Europe, namely the exit of David Blatt from Team Russia and the sad decision in FIBA’s arbitration of the KK Zagreb/Bilbao Basket contract dispute over Dario “The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia” Saric;

• A brief look at the recent fortunes of four Euroleague contenders – Zalgiris Kaunas, CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and Real Madrid – and their changing landscapes early on in the 2012-13 season;

• A talk with Chinese basketball-centric NiuBBall editor/Beijing-based American expat Jon Pastuszek about Tracy McGrady, the NBA influence in the big country, Panathinaikos’ machinations to attract Chinese talent last summer and certain oddities within the CBA rulebook;

• An interview with former Augusta State University/Phoenix Suns big man Garret Siler, who recently returned to China and the league which granted him his first top-division job out of college; and

• A review of “Who Shot Mamba?” an independent movie which long-time readers may recall BiE gushing about to Brian Spaeth’s great embarrassment, doubtless.

To hear the entirety of “Taking the Charge,” episode seven, please click here. And talk to you next week!

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Sep
1

Kirilenko, Mozgov, Marciulionis headline all-star team at Basketball Without Borders Russia

For the first time ever, the NBA/FIBA collaboration known as Basketball Without Borders heads to Russia. This month, some 50 European youth basketball players will get schooled – that is to say, be educated by – quite the roster of international talent.

Headling the program are Team Russia’s own Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Timofey Mozgov (Denver Nuggets); this troika will be joined by the likes of retired legends Sarunas Marciulionis and Alexander Volkov as well as Americans Danny Green (San Antonio Spurs, briefly of Union Olimpija), MarShon Brooks (Brooklyn Nets) and Brian Cardinal (Dallas Mavericks). Not too shabby a roster there, particularly if you could time-travel Marciulionis and Volkov back a couple of decades.

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Aug
2

BC Khimki appeals for return of Vitaly Fridzon’s stolen bronze medal

In the days of the Cold War, a certain type of story would inevitably circulate in American newspapers after the Olympic Games were over; you made have heard it more recently about, say, North Korean athletes. The claim was always that, due to poor performance in such-and-such an Olympics, the sportsmen and –women in question were coldly stripped of certain priveleges, often getting their state-granted cars repossessed along with eviction notices from luxury (relatively) apartments.

Well, it seems in the 21st-century capitalist world, Russian basketballers who finish with the bronze medal have a different obstacle to face.
On Saturday, the home of Team Russia’s Vitaly Fridzon was broken into. Among the items stolen was the 2012 bronze medal just earned in London; today, Fridzon’s professional club, Euroleague side BC Khimki Moscow region, has put out a plea to the perpetrators to return the valuable bit of hardware. The statement runs as follows.

We, the Khimki basketball club and its fans, appeal to the consciences of the [thieves of Vitaly’s home]. Return Vitaly’s Olympic medal! This award is priceless and is the result of years of work by an incredible athlete. For you, an Olympic medal is only an object of gain, but for Vitaly is the memory of a lifetime. We ask you to return to our captain and leader of the Russian team his well-deserved Olympic bronze medal.”

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Aug
1

Russia 81, Argentina 77: Alexey Shved leads way to team’s best Olympics finish of modern era

Though Team Russia didn’t quite reach the lofty heights BiE had forecast, a hearty congratulations go out to the team today for its 81-77 win over Argentina to take the 2012 Olympics bronze medal in its best showing of the post-Soviet Union era. Wire report runs below.
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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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