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Sarunas Jasikevičius retires, joins Zalgiris in coaching role +++ Vintage Drazen Petrovic jersey up for auction +++ Ireland announce select squad for Luxembourg friendlies +++ We really need you to nominate beers +++ Mykhailiuk operating almost under cover +++ Nando de Colo has the best location for a basketball camp +++ Ireland end famines with two slices of Danish bacon +++ Former Galatasaray baller Jamont Gordon talks about the road to recovery +++ FIBA Europe Under 20 final highlights and top plays +++ VIDEO: Ettore Messina’s coaching philosophy +++
Jul
6

The 35 Greatest Basketball YouTubes of All-Time: Nos. 11-15

It’s a bit of a dunkathon today at BallinEurope as we enter the top 15 of BiE’s official 35 Greatest Basketball YouTubes of All-Time, which were determined by these guidelines. (Usage of “guidelines” in previous sentence is very loose, indeed.)

There’re thrills, chills and a few ills in today’s selection of eminently watchable and rewatchable YouTube videos. Enjoy!

15. Top 10 Dunks over Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, 2008-09. While Boumtje-Boumtje was a big fan favorite playing for EWE Baskets Oldenburg, his devotees still realized his shortcomings. This fan (really) vid is pretty amazing as a result. You know, it’s hard to believe that “Schadenfreude” is a German word…

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Jun
8

Official 2010 BallinEurope mock draft, version 3.1: Round two, the second 15

One more time, then. BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick concludes this website’s official mock draft with his final 15 choices for round two. As for BiE, well, even if there’s a lack of players from The Continent forecast for picks 46-60, i’m still pleased as punch a UNM alma mater gets in there…

46. Phoenix Suns: Derrick Caracter (6’9”, PF, UTEP, Junior). If Amare Stoudamire is heading out of town to join Lebron James in New York or going somewhere for that ever-elusive max contract, then the Suns may need a new athletic power forward who can continue to run pick-and-rolls with Steve Nash. If Dirk Nowitzki comes to the Suns, Caracter can be a valuable backup.

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Mar
7

Are the Harlem Globetrotters still relevant?

Budapest last night played host to the Harlem Globetrotters, and BallinEurope was among the approximately 4,000 in attendance. Though a generally good time appeared to have been had by all – and particularly, of course, the preteens for whom the team’s brand of tomfoolery is really for – BiE just couldn’t help but wonder at just how relevant this 1920s creation is in the 21st century, despite basketball’s still-burgeoning popularity worldwide.

With a promise to keep the when-I-was-a-lad curmudgeonly rhetoric to a minimum, BiE can tell you i last saw the Harlem Globetrotters in Budapest in 1999 before a crowd nearly twice the size as last night’s. Having essentially gone the entire decade not having seen the Globetrotters in any form, i thrilled to the old refreshing antics, maybe 80% of which i’d utterly forgotten and thus were nearly as amusing at thirtysomething as at eight years old.

In between then and now, of course, the entire basketball landscape – how it is organized, played and especially watched – has changed utterly, slamming gears into the 21st century and quite possibly leaving the Harlem Globetrotters well behind. It is possible in North America to literally watch 24 hours of back-to-back basketball with a little assistance from TiVo (and certainly many tens of thousands have recently attempted this feat with March Madness in full swing); thanks to the expansion of live-streaming and IPTV technology, anywhere in the world equipped with fiber optics can allow a basketball enthusiast outside the ‘States to do likewise.

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Mar
1

Best of the (basketball) net: Past, present and future edition

“Best of the (Basketball) Net” is one day late this week, but that extra 24 hours or so will surely make all the difference in terms of quality. For some most interesting recently-posted basketball-related stuff from the interweb, read on to check out excerpts from a classic of basketball literature, see highlights from a big ACB upset, discover Dirk Nowitzki’s secret weapon, and to witness the first-ever truly 21st-century dunks. Enjoy!

• Anybody who remembers the seminal book Heaven is a Playground will definitely want to check out this interview with Rick Telander conducted by the amazingly-named Bethlehem Shoals. For those of you not-in-the-know, be sure to check out the extended excerpts from the book which ran at Slam online in October 2008 and precipitated the book’s recent new edition out of University of Nebraska Press; and you can click here for the book’s official site.

Incidentally, the book was also morphed into a, um, not-so-great film starring D.B. Sweeney in the Telander role and featuring ballers Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon (no, really) and former NBAer/Hank Gathers teammate Bo Kimble.

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Jan
20

Is Dirk Nowitzki really the greatest European NBA player ever?

“When it’s all said and done Dirk will end up being the greatest European basketball player to ever play in the NBA, if he isn’t already.” So ran the tangential line from within a story at Bleacher Report entitled “A New Decade: A New Future.”

Though this contention is taken for granted in the U.S., in this instance the mention of Nowitzki’s preeminence was a stopper. Perhaps it was the prospect of reading more on the really very awful New Jersey Nets or just the simple acknowledgement of a mostly utterly non-clutch player (in the NBA) as the league’s finest ever, but such a premise deserves further inspection.

To the straight-up statistics first – we’ll talk intangibles and relative career success a bit further on – shows one monster compilation of stats indeed. Nowitzki’s career highlights in the NBA include:

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May
0

“Nowitzki era has not been used”

Remember Ademola Okulaja? In terms of college basketball, he is probably the most known German professional basketball player ever. He was on a North Carolina team with players like Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Ed Cota, Shammond Williams and Makhtar N’Diaye and was named MVP of the Tar Heels in his senior year.

Right now Ademola plays in Bamberg, Germany, while trying to keep the German national team alive – alongside Dirk Nowitzki, of course.

In a recent interview with the German sport magazine SportBild, Ademola and fellow national team member Patrick Femerling talked about what’s wrong with German basketball.

You have to give these two guys credit since for speaking up! For someone who follows the German league closely, it is obvious that something isn’t working right. The official statement from the German federation and the “BBL”: “Not enough fans – everything revolves around soccer!”

Ademola and Femerling disagree:

“When we play in Germany with Dirk in the summer, the arenas are always full. It can’t be that hard to motivate sponsors and fans, if they fill the arenas every time for preseason games! We think that there is much more potential in German basketball, but the German federation has so far done a bad job in using the “Dirk Era.”

Germany right now is not among the best 10 teams in Europe, there is no way to compare Germany to Italy, France, Greece, Spain or Russia. The reasons? According to Femerling and Okulaja (the latter has a fancy web site by the way), the German league officials are the reason.

“It is important that fans can identify with their players and right at this moment they just can’t because of the lack of German players. This season, only three guys had to be German – next season it will be four. That does not improve the situation. We need at least six players and two of them have to be on the court all the time.”

This rule is nothing new. Countries like Italy and Spain have played with the rule for years while producing players like Navarro, Gasol, Bargnani and now Gallinari: guys that go at least 25 minutes a game in their domestic league and Euroleague play.

In Germany, German players average about 0-5 minutes per game and are paid accordingly. They have to keep a second job besides basketball to ensure they can earn money at all after their “career.”

So who does play in the German “BBL”? According to Femerling, the clubs prefer to get “cheap $20,000 Americans that stay in the league for three months and then move on.”

Germany had a good chance to develop basketball into a national sport that is respected and broadcast on TV with successful national teams in 2001, 2002 and 2005 when Dirk & Co. were among the top four teams at the European Championship. Now, they have fight to get to the Olympics in a qualifying tournament in Greece this July.

With rumors of Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Kaman joining the German national team soon, German basketball has another chance to go “big.” We all hope the federation does not squander this chance again.