Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ 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 +++

Podcast: Tony Parker! Ricky Rubio! New BiE editor!

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #54 (alternatively “Volume II, Episode 2”) of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

But enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get right to the headliners. From the post-games of last week’s Eurobasket 2013 final matches come words from perhaps the biggest names we’ve ever had on the show. First up is 15 minutes’ worth of post-game press conference from the peerless Tony Parker along with Team France coach Vincent Collet in the afterglow of Les Bleus’ triumphant gold-medal win over Lithuania.

Following this is the positively gregarious Ricky “The Human YouTube Highlight Clip” Rubio after Team Spain’s bronze-medal win; in the post-game, hard-working David Hein gets La Pistola to weigh in quickly on his national team’s future as well as the importance of Nikola Pekovic.

But that’s not all: new BallinEurope editor-in-chief Emmet Walsh has introduced himself at length online but gets audio room in which to stretch his wings when he guests on this edition of Taking the Charge. Emmet tells us about his motivations for running and his love of the European game before he and Hein face off in a “Fact or Fiction”-like round of Q&A regarding some thematic motifs. What does Emmet think about, say, Olympiacos’ chances for a Euroleague three-peat? Tune in to find out…

Finally, the sports movie review of the week is a documentary set in the world of Emmet’s other sports love, that utterly unique game called Gaelic Football. This Irish national television production is called “Jimmy’s Winnin’ Matches” and is one fantastic look at how important a coach/trainer/manager – in any sport, really – can be.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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Cinderella story in France as no. 8 seed JSF Nanterre wins LNB title, 2013-14 Euroleague spot (theoretically)

Nanterre celebrates winBallinEurope’s favorite European domestic-league champion this season? It’s gotta be JSF Nanterre, yesterday’s crowning of whom as French LNB kings has surely guaranteed who will be the underdog of all underdogs for the 2013-14 Euroleague season.

Backing into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak to squeak in by dint of tiebreaker with a regular-season record of 15-15, Nanterre proceeded to 7-1 in the tournament, sweeping top seeds Gravelines Dunkerque and defending champions Elan Chalon before winning a concluding game four in the best-of-five championship series against Strasbourg, 83-77.

In yesterday’s final match, Ohio State alum David Lighty again led the way for Nanterre, with this third 20-plus point game of the playoffs, notching 21 to top-score for the upstarts – but perhaps the most kudos should go to coach Pascal Donadieu, who faced Team France/Strasbourg’s Vincent Collet with the pragmatic attitude that got his team through the playoffs: Against Gravelines, [the game plan] was to neutralize [Dwight] Buycks. Against Chalon, [Blake] Schilb; and against Strasbourg, [Alexis] Ajinça.”

Indeed, in game four, Ajinça’s influence was limited to just 12 points and six rebounds, both below his season averages.

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Team France roster for 2012 Olympics released: Yes, Tony Parker’s included

Vincent Collet today released his final roster of Team France for the 2012 Olympic Games. Best news for Les Bleus’ (and perhaps San Antonio Spurs’) faithful is, of course, the inclusion of Tony Parker in the roster, implying that recovery from his eye injury is meeting no setbacks.

The final twelve for France is: Continue Reading…


Joakim Noah: “I’m absolutely not ready,” won’t play for Team France in Olympics

Team France’s aspirations for Olympic success in 2012 have taken quite a hit today, as Joakim Noah announced that he will not after all compete in the London Games with Les Bleus.

Noah made the announcement today, as reported in L’Equipe, explaining that “I’m absolutely not ready, not ready to run, not ready to jump. And even less to play. I need more time and work. I’m not in form for someone who wants to compete in the Olympics. And given the problems that I have with my ankles, not going to the Games seemed to be the most reasonable decision.”

The Chicago Bull had suffered an ankle injury in his NBA team’s playoff series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Worse yet, France is still on hold with regard to Tony Parker’s eye problem, the result of a bizarre incident in New York (one that he’s suing for $20 million over, incidentally). Head coach Vincent Collet must submit a final roster for his team tomorrow.

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On the road to London: Describing Team France’s five-year plan

While much of the Continent enjoys Easter Monday and North America heads back to work, BallinEurope takes the occasion today to clear out a few items from the backburner. First up, here’s part four of the “On the Road to London” mini-documentary series on Team France’s leadup to the 2012 Olympic Games.

This episode dedicated to “perfectionist” Vincent Collet is simply entitled “Le Coach.” In the vid, Collet emphasizes the importance of “Keeping up the attitude and enthusiasm” Les Bleus both displayed and generated among the populace with its silver-medal finish at Eurobasket 2011.”

Collect also describes the comeback of team and program from “hitting rock bottom” in 2008. At Eurobasket 2007, France failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics after squeaking through two rounds of group play and suffering a first-round bouncing from the tournament by eventual champions Team Russia. Les Bleus thus had to rebuild for Eurobasket 2009 – only to be immediately hit with another obstacle when Tony Parker went down early in that tourney.

Nevertheless, the rest is history. Success in ’09 with possibly France’s strongest roster ever led to the podium finish in Lithuania last year.

“Le Coach” features a few comments from Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum (who says “I am where I am today because I’ve had the chance to meet [Collet] during my career,” so thank le coach, Portland Trail Blazers fans) and of course T.P. himself.

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Following Parker, Noah, De Colo and Team France “On the Road to Britain”

With about four months to go before the 2012 Olympic basketball qualifying round tips off, the Fédération Française de Basketball (FFBB) and director Benoit Dujardin have launched a series of short documentaries on Team France’s preparation for the London Games.

Episodes in the 14-part “On the Road to Britain” series will be released on YouTube and DailyMotion every Thursday. This is a French-language series but subtitles are available on the DailyMotion uploads and the embeds below.

As Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Kevin Seraphin, Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw and Les Bleus’ others are currently plying their trades elsewhere, much of the focus in early “On the Road to Britain” chapters is on preparation and preview. In “Lancement de tournée,” we learn of Team France’s summer schedule – featuring reportedly the most games ever played in La Republique in a single summer by the national team – and of head coach Vincent Collet’s expectations.

Says Collet, “After the favorites, USA and Spain, between four and six teams can dream about a medal. And we are among team. So let’s be ambitious.”

On the road to London la série – Lancement de… by FFBB

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Spain 98, France 85: Behind Pau Gasol, Navarro, Ibaka, Spain makes it back-to-back titles

Big congratulations this morning go out from BallinEurope to Team Spain, which defended its European title in besting France in the 2011 FIBA EuroBasket championship game, 98-85.

Particularly brilliant in this final match was Serge Ibaka, who provided five blocks and smothering defense off the bench. Five Spaniards scored in double figures, with tournament MVP Juan Carlos Navarro following up his 35-point barrage against FYR Macedonia with 27, including 12-of-12 from the free throw line, against the French. Pau Gasol put in 17 points to go with 10 rebounds and Jose Calderon also added 17 for the victors.

High scorer for Team France was Tony Parker, with 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting. Nicolas Batum, who many saw as key to Les Bleus’ success in the game, managed just 10 points including a 2-of-8 performance from three-point land. Boris Diaw contributed 12 to go with seven assists.

With the victory, Spain becomes the first team since Yugoslavia of 1997 to repeat as European champions and only the second back-to-back title winner in the post-Soviet era.

Named to the all-tournament team along with Navarro were Parker, Pau Gasol, Bo McCalebb of FYR Macedonia, and Andrei Kirilenko of Russia.

In the bronze-medal game, Russia held off those lovable dark horses of FYR Macedonia, 72-68. These two teams will join Lithuania and Greece in the Olympic qualifying tournament next year, while Spain and France have sealed their bids for the 2012 Games.

The official FIBA writeup follows the break; and if you’ll excuse BiE, a bit of a break may be in order…

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France vs. Spain friendly: Parker to play 100th for France, Noah gets first warmup

Happy 100th, Tony Parker! As in the 100th appearance he’ll be making for the French national team tonight in a friendly between Les Bleus and Team Spain in Almeria. Parker has been synonymous with both Team France and the FIBA Eurobasket tournament itself; barring injury, the San Antonio Spur’s appearance in Lithuania for this year’s competition would make it six consecutive Eurobaskets in a streak going back to the beginning of last decade.

Parker first suited up for France in 1997, aging his way through U16, U18 and U20 international tournaments to 2002. Tops among his international tournament performances was at the 2000 FIBA U18 European Championship: As France took the Continental title, Parker was named MVP for his 25.8 points, 6.8 assists and a completely insane 6.8 steals per game – a performance which was certainly incentive enough for San Antonio to draft him into the NBA in round one in 2001.

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Euroleague Qualifying Round Briefs: The thrill of Hemofarm, the agony of France

Could the opportunity for a second French team to join Cholet Basket in 2010-11 Euroleague play be over after tonight? The three squads from La Republique – Chorale Roanne, Asvel Basket, and Le Mans Sarthe – are all likely facing elimination tonight (though Roanne could manage to keep Alba Berlin close and thus back in the second round of play) in yet another blow to France’s professional basketball scene.

In fact, this competition is quite noteworthy already, as Western European sides will already be moribund by the next round and could be eliminated altogether by the quarterfinals. With big CEZ Nymburk win against Spirou Basket tonight plus all other favorites winning, only the winner of Chorale Roanne/Alba Berlin would remain to represent the West among a fascinating final eight also comprised of Unics Kazan, BC Khimki, KK Hemofarm, Buducnost, Budivelnyk and Banvit BC.

Running below, BiE presents some news briefs, links, factoids and video on the games tonight.

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Greece vs. Russia: He who wins shall lose?

Rosie knows it

“Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic globule, from which one extracts what one needs.” – Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Teams USA, Turkey and Lithuania for getting tickets punched into the knockout tournament as VIP no. 1 seeds. And while the Argentina-Serbia battle tonight to determine how Group A shakes out should be a dandy, the one to watch – particularly if you’re a FIBA official or conspiracy theorist – will be Russia vs. Greece.

In what is definitely a case of “he who wins shall lose,” the no. 2 seed in Group C will face what appears to be the most difficult path to the championship game in the bracket. Assuming Team Spain handles winless Canada, the winner of tonight’s Russia-Greece contest would first draw Espana as no. 3 seed in Group D in the “eight finals,” followed by (Team USA) the winner of USA vs. Angola/Australia.

The loser of Russia-Greece would get a bracket that includes an opening game against France followed by the winner of Argentina vs. Brazil/Croatia – while hardly an easy road, which do you think David Blatt and Jonas Kazlauskas would prefer?

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