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FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++ EuroBasket 2015: Wins for Macedonia, Belgium, and Georgia +++ Q&A with Alex Krstanovic on the Belgrade Trophy +++ Thomas Klepeisz shows you how to celebrate a winning bucket +++
Aug
1

FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C


We’re going group by group with what you need to know to enjoy the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball. Today we’re looking at Group C.

The teams
Dominican Republic
Qualified: Fourth place at 2013 FIBA Americas, they return to the World Cup for the first time since 1978.

Finland
Qualified: ANGRY BIRDS. Ok not entirely but Rovio played a big role in helping the Finns secure the wild card for their first World Cup appearance.

New Zealand
Qualified: Second at 2013 FIBA Oceania championships. In Oceania, second is also known as ‘not Australia’ as it was once again a two-team tournament with both certain of their place in Spain.

Ukraine
Qualified: Finished 6th at EuroBasket 2013 with borscht-loving Pooh Jeter at point guard. This is their first appearance at the World Cup.

United States
Qualified: Gold medal winners at the 2012 summer Olympics. No Durant, no Love, no question the defending champions are still loaded.

Turkey
Qualified: Another wildcard, albeit not with the colourful background of Finland securing the same status. Turkey hosted the last World Cup where they took the silver medal.
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Aug
0

Basketball World Cup of Beer – Group C

BWCB Opening Ceremony

After two straight slaughters in the battle for top spot, we’ve got a real battle for first place in Group C of the 2014 Basketball World Cup of Beer. The rules are simple, every nation in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball gets a beer, most have been nominated by fans or journalists from the nation in question. Today we’ve got 6 beers for the 6 nations in Group C with 4 progressing to the knockout stages.

Let’s meet the contenders in the deepest group to date of the competition…
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Aug
0

Highlights: Turkey secure back to back titles at FIBA Europe U18s


Turkey became the first team since Yugoslavia in 1986 and 1988 to win consecutive titles at the FIBA Europe Under 18 men’s championships. The home side, buoyed on by a raucous crowd in Konya, topped Serbia 85-68 in Sunday’s final. The victory also makes Turkey the first nation since Spain in 2011 to win the European Under 18 and Under 20 titles in the same year. Egumen Guven was named MVP and here’s the team of the tournament.

And for the final time this week, meanwhile in Sofia…
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Aug
0

Highlights: Serbia overcome Greece 60-55, Ukraine promoted

Serbia outlasted a gritty Greek team in the first of Saturday’s FIBA Europe Under 18 men’s semi finals. Neither team did well from beyond the arc but Radovan Djokovic’s pair of treys gave Serbia some breathing room in the fourth before Greece rallied. The victory secured Serbia’s place in the final for the first time since 2011.
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Aug
0

Highlights: Turkey beat Latvia 78-53 at FIBA Europe U18s

Turkey locked up the fourth and final spot in today’s FIBA Europe Under 18s men’s semi finals with a convincing 78-53 win over Latvia. After a tight first quarter, the hosts pulled away in Konya. Furkan Korkmaz led Turkey in scoring with 22 points and 6 rebounds, as Turkey took a commanding 14 point lead into the final frame before closing the game out with a 19-8 fourth quarter.

In the classification games there was finally some good news for England who recorded their first win of the tournament, beating Poland 83-74. Aaron Menzies had 17 points and 15 boards while Jules Dang Akodo socred 18 points, had 8 assists, and 4 steals, as England kept their survival hopes alive. Poland are relegated to Division B as a result of this defeat while England must win one more game on Sunday, against either Czech Republic or Belgium to survive.

Finally, in Division B BiE’s home team Ireland lost their final game of the tournament 64-63 to Switzerland to finish in 22nd and last place. The semi-finals of the tournament take place later today in Sofia with Ukraine taking on Finland and Sweden playing Germany.

Jul
4

Serbia and Croatia make statements at FIBA U18s

It’s nearing the business end of the FIBA Europe U18 men’s championships and two teams stood out above all on Wednesday.

Serbia and Turkey were locked in a tight battle for most of their clash in Konya before the Serbs stepped up a gear in the second half to beat the hosts on a convincing 82-62 scoreline. That win secured top spot for Serbia in Group F, with Turkey having to settle for second. Spain and Greece booked their passages to the knockout stages with wins over Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Croatia however remain the team to beat in these championships. Italy gave them a good test in the battle for top spot in Group E but, as has been the case throughout this tournament, they had to lean too much on the Mussidori. Federico Mussini and Diego Flaccadori accounted for 38 of Italy’s 65 points with no other Italian player breaking double digits. Croatia’s greater depth proved telling in the second half, as even on a quiet (by his standards) day for Dragan Bender they were able to score at will. Marco Arapovic had his third 20 point game of the tournament as Croatia eventually coasted to victory 81-65.
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Jul
0

Mykhailiuk operating almost under cover

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

It’s an accident of birth to some degree, actually several, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk will be all over our screens when he suits up for Kansas but with no live feed from the FIBA U18 European championships B Division the Ukrainian is taking care of business in Sofia this week.

Niall McDermott of The Courtside Collective has been charting the Irish team’s progress at the tournament and they ran into Mykhailiuk and Ukraine on Sunday. In this guest post, McDermott explains why the guard is something of a mystery…
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Jun
0

FIBA Europe confirm Ukraine won’t host EuroBasket 2015

FIBA Europe confirmed what most observers have been expecting for months earlier today. EuroBasket 2015 will not be hosted by Ukraine and instead be moved to an alternative nation or nations.

In addition to confirming the move, FIBA Europe left the door open for Ukraine to host in 2017. EuroBasket 2015 will also see a change in format, with the competition become a straight knock-out tournament after the opening group stage.

Here’s the full statement from FIBA:

The Board of FIBA Europe has decided to relocate EuroBasket 2015 from Ukraine to a new destination, during its meeting in Munich, Germany on Friday.
The decision was taken after a careful consideration of the continuous political situation and security issues in Ukraine, which are deemed as less than favourable for the staging of such an important and demanding event.

The Board took note of the efforts made by the Ukrainian Federation and the country’s giant strides in recent years, including a 6th place finish at EuroBasket 2013 and their participation in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

In that regard the Board declared its willingness to help the Ukraine Federation in its efforts to promote basketball and decided to authorise the President of FIBA Europe Turgay Demirel and the Secretary General Kamil Novak to start negotiations immediately with the Ukrainian side on the possibility of the country hosting EuroBasket 2017, provided that some necessary conditions are met.

With regard to EuroBasket 2015, a new bidding process will now be opened to all European Federations, inviting single or multi-country bids.

All interested parties will have to present the required official documentation and guarantees by 31st July, 2014.
A decision on the new EuroBasket 2015 hosts is expected by 30 September, 2014 at the latest.

The Board has also decided that next year’s event will be played with the new system of competition which was originally set to come into force in 2017. It also confirmed the competition dates.

The above means that EuroBasket 2015 will take place between 5 -20 September, 2015 and will still feature 24 teams but after the initial group phase (four groups of six teams each) the teams will enter a knockout phase.

The necessary bid documentation will be sent to the Federations by the end of next week (20 June).

Mar
0

Even inaction is political for FIBA in Ukraine

The last thing on most people’s minds when it comes to the crisis in Crimea is basketball. FIBA Europe don’t have that luxury. Emmet Ryan says that whatever call FIBA makes on EuroBasket 2015, they will suffer for it.

The road to EuroBasket 2015 had been rocky enough already before last weekend. The Crimea crisis has escalated matters and there are many furrowed brows in FIBA Europe’s headquarters in Munich right about now. Ukraine is set to host the continent’s premier basketball competition next year, that presents a political nightmare for the basketball body.

Let’s look at the options facing FIBA. Only two really matter, keep the tournament in Ukraine or move it. The former requires no new action from FIBA Europe, the latter most certainly does. Neither is pleasant.

The lone upside to keeping the tournament in Ukraine is that FIBA Europe technically isn’t making a political statement if it proceeds with the plan. There’s just a slight problem, if Russia says it’s a political statement then it might as well be. Russia could pull out of the tournament, removing every Russian eyeball and the TV money that goes with it. More importantly, it’s a blatant opportunity for Vladimir Putin to grandstand. And all of this while FIBA Europe does literally nothing to change its current course of action. The financial hit is one the body could take in the short-term but pissing off a big market isn’t advisable beyond it.

Removing the tournament from Ukraine has obviously negative implications from a face-saving point. It’s basically a continent-wide governing body saying Kthanxbai and leaving a member hanging. Whatever your views on the political administration in Ukraine, their governing body of basketball is hardly one to shoulder the blame here. What no-one else will say is that if Ukraine loses the tournament, the only nation likely to boycott is Ukraine. Many more will cluck but they’ll still show up to ball.

The only way FIBA Europe gets out of this jam easily is if Ukraine becomes unviable as a host for the tournament. There are two ways this could happen. Political instability is the less pleasant option. Should matters escalate, and it’s safe to say that’s not a good thing, then FIBA can cite safety concerns but it would really wish it didn’t have to. The second is infrastructure. Does Ukraine still have the physical infrastructure and financial resources to deliver EuroBasket? It’s not exactly a nice idea either but infrastructural concerns, especially substantial ones, would be by far the easiest option for FIBA Europe to use to abandon Ukraine.

Whatever way it pans out, FIBA Europe is going to take an absolutely beating in the press. There are often fair and reasonable reasons to mock the governing body. This really isn’t one of them but it will be one of the more visible and it will end badly for them.

EuroBasket 2015 isn’t the first potential clash of politics and basketball in this crisis. With Ukraine’s Budvielnik Kiev and Khimik Yuzhne still in EuroCup, along with Russian outfits Khimki Moscow Region, Unics Kazan, and Nizhny Novgorod, the competition could yet deliver a match-up where politics takes precedence over basketball.

There’s also the small matter of the VTB United League. The next game scheduled between teams from both nations is between Triumphy Lyubertsy and Azovmash Mariupol. Given Mariupol’s home game with Russia’s Khimki was postponed on 23 February, it’s safe to say that games between Russian and Ukrainian sides in the league are likely to go unplayed for the foreseeable future.

Sep
0

Pooh Jeter, Ukrainian hero

Ukraine’s hopes in EuroBasket 2013 hung on how Pooh Jeter played. When it mattered most, the borsht lover delivered.

Let’s compare two players at EuroBasket 2013.

Player A: 7.25 PPG, 2.75 APG, 2.25 RPG

Player B: 18 PPG, 5 APG, 4.2 RPG.

Unless you didn’t read the title of this column you’ll have guessed that both players are Eugene ‘Pooh’ Jeter. Player A is Jeter’s worst four games in the tournament. Player B is his best six. Both samples are tiny but within them lies the story.

Just like Bo McCalebb’s amazing run with Macedonia in 2011, a nation’s hopes and dreams rested on the shoulders of an import guard. Like McCalebb, Jeter sees Ukraine as more than just a route to a European passport. He has embraced the national team and played his heart out for his adopted home. It’s quite an evolution for the former Portland Pilot.

Jeter never tasted success in NCAA ball. No trips to the big dance or even the NIT. He’s bounced around Europe and China, finding work. Sometimes with big teams, sometimes not so much. It’s the connection he made with BC Kyiv during his career that has brought him to this new height. As Flinder Boyd said in his great column on McCalebb, it’s easy for an American to just take the passport and phone it in with his new national team. It’s entirely on the player if they decide to do something with it.

That’s what we saw from Jeter in EuroBasket 2013. He’s far from the perfect guard but when he is on, Pooh has the ability to dominate. After a quiet start to the tournament he exploded against Germany and France. In stage two it was Jeter who came up big again with 20 points in an upset of Serbia. It was that result that, eventually, put Ukraine into the quarter finals.

Jeter’s off days have made his big outing all the more extraordinary. Latvia shut him down, Great Britain’s rag-tag line-up limited him. When Jeter’s game was off, Ukraine were lost. Jeter didn’t have good days and bad days. He had everything and nothing days. On Friday Jeter didn’t just bring the solo show, he brought the best out of those around him.

Facing Italy for a place in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Jeter nailed 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting. The guard grabbed 4 boards, all on the defensive end, as Ukraine restricted their more noteworthy opponents to just 24 points in the second half. Around Jeter there were Ukrainian men standing up and believing. Sergii Gladyr, Maxim Korniyenko, and Viacheslav Kravtsov grabbed 6 rebounds each. Ihor Zaytsev added 5 more. Individually no Ukrainian could deliver on Jeter’s level, collectively they refused to lose. Having never made it passed the first stage of EuroBasket before, Ukraine will finish at worst sixth this year. Pooh Jeter will finally go to the big dance only it won’t be in March. Next autumn in Spain, he’s going to carry his new home’s hopes once again.