March Madness a la Europe, Part I: Walk-ons, bench guys, standouts

OSU's Della Valle: It's gotta be the hair...

OSU’s Della Valle: It’s gotta be the hair…

The easy way to introduce a piece like this: Are you ready for March Madness? But of course that’s a rhetorical question as – despite the morphing NBA playoff picture and the Euroleague Top 16 round homestretch – the basketball world’s attention turns to the U.S. college game.

Fans of international ball will be pleased to note the distinct foreign accent in the 2013 NCAA Tournament: 47 of the 60 sides with spots clinched in the competition list non-U.S. players on the roster. And while Canadians and Australians (including three on Albany and two with Luc Longley’s alma mater the University of New Mexico) lead the bunch, 18 European players remain on tourney team rosters.

Below runs a brief look at the first half of Europe’s representatives in the big bracket; with the other nine set to play for one of three tournament teams, BallinEurope will pay particular attention to these guys in an upcoming article.

First up: The two guys listed on rosters who will not see action. Notre Dame’s Eric Katenda (France) announced this summer that he was ready to get onto the court for the Fighting Irish after suffering a freakish potentially career-ending eye injury while still officially a recruit. Unfortunately, this comeback story has only a bittersweet ending thus far: While coach Mike Brey has stated that Katenda’s scholarship will be honored, the Frenchman did not suit up for the team this season.

Continue Reading…


Euroleague Final Four, 2011: Some trivia and factoids on this year’s tourney

As with any major sport tournament these days, the informational factoids flow freely through fandom, giving both typical fans and stat addicts extra stuff to look for in the games ahead … and who is BallinEurope to buck such a habit? Below run a few interesting milestones, achievements and straight-up trivia about the 2011 Euroleague Final Four clubs, players and coaches with which to impress your fellow enthusiasts. Enjoy! (And damn, is Derrick Sharp *really* that old…?)

• Real Madrid has played in an all-time record 14 Euroleague title games and eight titles – yet hasn’t even been to a Final Four since 1996, when some guy named Arvydas Sabonis was running things. Maccabi Tel Aviv is second in the record books, having appeared in 13 title games.

• Derrick Sharp will be playing in his seventh Final Four – all with Maccabi Tel Aviv – one ahead of Tal Burstein for most with the club. At eight, Fragiskos Alvertis, J.R. Holden and Theo Papaloukas are the only Euroleague ballers to have appeared in more Final Four tournaments than Sharp. Eight players have won four European titles previously; both Sharp and Burstein are looking to join that elite group.

Continue Reading…


Morning Eurohoops news: November 26

In what will hopefully become a regular, i.e. everyday, feature here at, we present a brief rundown of some headlining sports news. And yes, a video clip, too. In Europe-centered hoops news this morning are the following.

(Incidentally, Happy American Thanksgiving!)

Splitters in

Splitter's in

• Splitter will play against CSKA Moscow tonight. As reader/BallinEurope fantasy basketball coach Radallo reports, the ACB has Tiago Splitter suiting up for Baskonia against the Red Army in one of tonight’s marquee matches.

• Weighing in on the draw. The quotebook is still filling up in the wake of the 2010 World Championship for Women draw. The award for reaction of the day, however, definitely goes to the loftily-titled Malian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Her Excellency Fatoumata Sire Diakite: “I have been praying all night for the team of Mali to be in Group C or D, and not A or B. And my prayers have been heard. I would like to ask the representatives of the Czech Basketball Federation to send the cup to Africa this time, because it has already traveled all the continents except for ours.”

Continue Reading…