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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 +++
Oct
61

Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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Sep
1

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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Jul
0

2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Lithuania

The 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tips off in Venezuela today at 11am local time (11.30am EST, 5.30pm CET) with the Russia-South Korea match. Of the 12 national teams competing, four are European. The last of BallinEurope’s previews of these qualifiers features an assessment of Lithuania.

Roster: Tomas Delininkaitis, Paulius Jankūnas, Mantas Kalnietis (Žalgiris Kaunas); Deividas Dulkys (Florida State University); Simas Jasaitis (Lokomotiv Kuban); Šarūnas Jasikevičius (Panathinaikos); Adas Juškevičius (BC Rūdupis); Rimantas Kaukėnas, Jonas Mačiulis (Montepaschi Siena); Antanas Kavaliauskas (VEF Rīga); Linas Kleiza (Toronto Raptors); Martynas Pocius (Real Madrid); Darius Songaila (CB Valladolid); Jonas Valančiūnas (Lietuvos Rytas); head coach Kęstutis Kemzūra (Team Lithuania)

How they got here: As hosts of Eurobasket 2011, expectations in hoops-mad Lithuania were high for the home side. Right from the pre-tournament friendlies, however, the roster appeared weird at best and utterly out of sync at worst.

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Jun
2

The BallinEurope video tribute to Anthony Parker

For those not necessarily in the know about European basketball, the announcement of Anthony Parker’s retirement from professional hoops today may not have exactly made most sit up and take notice – just another Cleveland Cavalier gone, right?

Except that Parker’s six-year European CV is loaded with team accomplishments and individual accolades, bringing Maccabi Tel Aviv a superpower’s worth of trophies in the mid-2000s. His brief run earned him a spot on the “50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors” list in ’08 – just one of 35 players and one of five Americans – after racking up consecutive EL MVP awards, one EL Final Four nod and three European rings (two EL, the other the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague title).

BallinEurope today posts its traditional tribute to retiring greats, i.e. career rundown plus YouTube clips! To get started, then…

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Jun
2

“What has happened here?” The best Euro-centric buzzer-beaters of 2011-12

In clearing out the virtual desk of 2011-12 basketball season stuff, BallinEurope today presents this compilation of the year’s top Euro-centric buzzer-beaters. The requirements to make the list were two: the primary player in the buzzer-beater most be of European nationality or the shot must take place in a game featuring European teams; and the buzzer-beater must take place at the end of a quarter, i.e. no shot-clock buzzer-beaters considered.

Greater weight was given in consideration to the relative importance of the win earned with the highlight shot. Keeping one’s team alive is more important than YouTube glory, after all.

And on with the list. Firstly, honorable mentions go to:

Travis Diener for Banco di Sardegna Sassari against Fabi Shoes Montegranaro on April 15. Sassari would go on to win in overtime, 79-77, and continue in a successful season which had them ultimately placing fourth in the Serie A. Unfortunately for the purposes of this post, not quite a buzzer-beater.

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Apr
0

Bundesliga weekly recap reveal: Jared Jordan a more valuable playmaker than Nash, Rondo?

It’s time for another BallinEurope shameless plug. Contributing writer David Hein has produced yet another great writeup over at the German Bundesliga’s official website. Check out a column chock full of videos and recaps, including the now semi-obligatory update on Team Zimbabwe/BG Göttingen’s Vitalis Chikoko.

BiE can’t help but spill the beans on one scintillating item in the piece, though: Just take a look at how much former Marist College/Lietuvos Rytas point guard Jared Jordan means to Telekom Baskets Bonn below – “playmaker,” indeed.

For comparison’s sake, below run some of the top assist guys in the NBA and their ratios of contribution to their teams’ success.

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns: 26.61%
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics: 26.48%
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers: 22.26%
John Wall, Washington Wizards: 21.96%
Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets: 21.26%
Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors: 20.63%

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Apr
3

Lietuvos Rytas: Stable in Motion (and Jonas Valanciunas, too)

In the leadup to the 2011-12 Eurocup Final Four tournament beginning on Saturday, Eurosport Turkey basketball commentator Uygar Karaca contributes a series of previews on the remaining quartet entitled “Four Teams, Four Stories” to BallinEurope. Today, Karaca takes a look at Lietuvos Rytas – and the club’s amazing ability to continually come back and adapt.

Valencia is not alone in its ambition for the third crown. Their opponent in the semifinals, Lietuvos Rytas, for the last five seasons has demonstrated the model on how to come back again the damage they have suffered. Nobody can deny that L. Rytas is a difficult place to work for coaches, but somehow, with different players and different head coaches, this club has managed to book a ticket for the final four of Eurocup in Khimki.

It seems Lietuvos Rytas has a similar scheme although the names change: One US-based star and three domestic leaders. Recall 2005, when they got their first crown in the ULEB Cup. Coach Vlade Djurovic left mid-season and Tomo Mahoric, the young Slovenian coach, led them to victory against Makedonikos in the finals with players like Delininkaitis, Stelmahers, Robertas Javtokas and Tyrone Nesby.

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Apr
2

Boston Celtics to take on Fenerbahce Ulker, Milano in October

For the first time since 2007, the Boston Celtics will do some training camp and play exhibition games in Europe this autumn. Reports the Boston Herald: “Sources have confirmed that, barring any logistical problems overseas, the Celts will hold workouts and face European teams in [Istanbul and Milan]. There are still some contracts to be signed, but at present the C’s will play in Turkey on October 5, and in Italy on October 7.

Of course, those expecting to see the big-name Shamrocks of the present season (much less those that played the Toronto Raptors in Rome five years ago) may be a bit disappointed; after all, the Herald itself remarks darkly in the cited article’s lead that 2012-13 season “figures to be filled with major changes” for the aging club.

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Apr
11

Kemzura releases extended Team Lithuania roster: No to Lavrinovic brothers, yes to Kleiza

Kleiza gets the call

National head coach Kestutis Kemzura has released his list of 18 candidates who could be suiting up for Team Lithuania in the 2012 Olympic qualifiers and beyond. On paper at least, the selection looks pretty good – particularly compared to the Eurobasket 2011 version of the team which included a single true no. 3 after a few early injuries took their toll. The squad includes four players from Lietuvos Rytas and five currently with Zalgiris Kaunas; among the lot, too, are five others from 2011-12 Euroleague teams and one (yes, Linas is back) from the NBA.

Notable exclusions include Darius Songalia plus Kšyštof and Darjus Lavrinovič; Songalia’s spot on the preliminary roster was filled with Mindaugas Katelynas of Lietuvos Rytas, while CSKA Moscow head coach Jonas Kazlauskas reportedly wanted Darjus to stay home and rest up this summer anyway.

On board is the young sensation Canada wants to see in Jonas Valanciunas; returning after absences in the 2011 FIBA tourney are Linas Kleiza and Jonas Maciulis; and, though he’s been remarkably tight-lipped about yet another return to the national team, good ol’ Sarunas Jasikevicius is penciled in as well.

Below runs the prospective 18; how do you like Lietuva’s chances?

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Mar
1

Injured and possibly done for season in Lithuania, Sonny Weems tweets an S.O.S.

Bad news from Lithuania for Žalgiris Kaunas, NBA teams seeking a viable free-agent guard for 2012-13, and Sonny Weems himself. After suffering a foot sprain in Žalgiris’ LKL 88-71 victory at Rudupis, Weems’ season may now be done and, if so, the former Toronto Raptor reports he’ll be heading back home to the ‘States.

Making matters worse is a reported lack of proper medical treatment in Lithuania. In short, Weems tweeted this morning that “This is ridiculous. I can’t even get treatment on my injured here!!! This is ridiculous!!

If you wanna see something really ridiculous, take a look at the state of Weems’ left foot on TalkBasket.net. Yikes. Best of luck to Sonny in getting back on the court for 2012-13…

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