Jan
17

On BC Khimki crisis: Desperate plans made; club president meets with players; an ocean without water

BallinEurope was going to run its Euroleague Power Rankings — and perhaps a paean to Dimitris Diamantidis’ deceptively excellent play in Panathinaikos’ win over Unicaja Malaga last week — this morning, but a greater issue calls. BiE feels a rant coming on, so let’s present part one of the power rankings for the week, instead. We’ll do this in reverse order this time, starting the list with…

16 (↓↓↓). BC Khimki Moscow region (2-1 Euroleague Top 16, 7-5 overall; 8-3 VTB United League). Why, despite a solid win against PGE Turow in the VTB yesterday and decent play (at least for 30 minutes) last week against scary-hot Bobby Brown and Montepaschi Siena? Why else but finances, that bane of existence for apparently nearly every basketball club in Europe in the ’10s…?

(image courtesy of VTB United League)

BC Khimki fans at PGE Turow match

Within a few hours, the entire roster of BC Khimki is set to strike, thanks to the club’s failure to pay player salaries for three months; naturally, this paucity points to greater financial realities and the VTB League’s official site brings us to the reality of Khimki’s extinction: “One of the most interesting teams in Russia, and all of Europe, might cease to exist in the near future in the form we know it now.”

The VTB piece diplomatically goes on to note that “According to the press, Khimki’s financial problems arose after they changed presidents.” (More on this below.)

The decision was announced earlier in the week and this morning Eurobasket.com quotes an unnamed player as stating yesterday that “It seems we have reached a deadlock. We still haven’t received notice from the board that we will get the money.”

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Dec
41

Poll: Which is the best European team going into 2013?

Right. So. Especially after this –

– and with the calendar page about to be flipped into 2013, BallinEurope’s question is: Which is the best basketball team in Europe right now?

Straight by the qualification system, the top four teams in Euroleague round one were Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Barcelona and Žalgiris Kaunas – not a bad start there, but Eurobasket.com’s mathematically-derived rankings on Monday morning includes CSKA Moscow at no. 1 and Olympiacos at no. 3. Maccabi, likely saddled by the competitive imbalance they enjoy back home in the Ligat Ha’Al, places a lowly eighth…

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Dec
3

Monday Hangover: Žalgiris Kaunas impressive again; Saric’s 2012-13 debut; Goldsberry’s Bizarro Buzzer-Beater of the Week

Goldsberry, who won for losing

Damn, BallinEurope watched a lotta sports this past 72 years: Euroleague games, highlights, quarters here and there, a VTB United game, three hours of late-Sunday night NFL football, two sports-related films for upcoming Taking The Charge podcasts … life is ball games … and especially basketball, but unfortunately BiE watches almost nothing live and compresses most viewing into the weekend.

So no further ado: Three quasi-brief impressions from the bigger games, done up bullet-style.

Žalgiris: Ever interesting, ever relentless. BallinEurope’s recommended EL game of the week was Žalgiris Kaunas at Emporio Armani Milano. Žalgiris, with its slight vulnerability shown lately, needed to make a statement in this game in BiE’s opinion. Don’t worry Greens men and women: After this game, your guys will be sure to move up in the BallinEurope Euroleague power rankings

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Dec
0

Here come the Men in Red and Blue!

Dear CSKA Moscow Studios,

BiE was happy to hear that the exciting new cinematic blockbuster from your studios has now entered the production phase. The choices for leads in the “Men in Red and Blue” (or “MiRB” – nice bit of online-centric marketing consciousness shown there, might BiE say) motion picture are intriguing, indeed. Sonny Weems and Viktor Khryapa definitely have that je ne sais quoi-level of star power; BiE likes the idea of Khryapa as an invincible Schwarzeneggeresque action-flick hero for years to come.

But BiE digresses. With MiRB in pre-production, BiE hereby offers his services as songwriter for the soundtrack. My CV is attached … nah, that’s a lie. There is no CV. Let’s say instead that Os Davis is just some guy with a strong willingness to wrap.

Below run the lyrics to the proposed theme song, “Men in Red and Blue.” Thank you. My people will be waiting to hear from your people.

Yours,

Os Davis

“Men in Red and Blue”
© BallinEurope.com, 2012

Here come the Men in Red
(Oooh, in the red and blue)
(Oooh, in the red and blue)
Here come the Men in Red (Red and Blue)
You’re certain to remember

Yeah, yeah, yeah
The good guys dress in red, remember that,
Just in case we ever meet head-to-head and make contact.
We call ourselves the M.I.B.R.
And what we got means we got to go far.
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Nov
1

Monday hangover: Power struggles in Italy, Spain; Zalgiris’ continued rise; Obama vs. the Lakers Rule

It’s never too late for the ‘Hangover (or so BiE’s telling himself). Excuses aside, following are a few Eurocentric impressions, notes, highlight clips – and the no. 1 reason why Barack Obama is thrilled the Los Angeles Lakers went down in the playoffs last season…

Power vacuum in Italy? Coming into 2012-13, most pundits in the European basketball sphere reckoned Montepaschi Siena was due for an off year after an off offseason which saw them downgrade at several positions. And while it appears that Siena won’t be giving up its stranglehold on the Italian national title easily (they’re currently at 4-1; more on this shortly), the team’s dismal Euroleague play indicates this isn’t a Montepaschi team in the mold we’ve become accustomed to.

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Oct
0

Monday hangover: Real Madrid awesome; CSKA Moscow vulnerable; Arvydas Sabonis rules

Right, with the weekend over and many an hour spent viewing the roundball, BallinEurope rounds up some news items – and video clips! – from the week that was.

Could this be Real Madrid’s year? Los Blancos are exactly one Rudy Fernandez miss from a perfect 8-0 overall mark early in 2012-13 after topping Caja Laboral Baskonia, 83-81, in overtime this weekend in the Liga Endesa.

Baskonia got a combined 47 points from Nemanja Bjelica and Maciej Lampe while turning over the ball just once – thus not allowing Real to demonstrate their nice quick transition to the fast break – yet ultimately couldn’t answer what’s looking like the best team out of Spain this season.

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Sep
8

Romanov hit with key Žalgiris question: “Will Plaza be sacked as quickly as Zouros?”

Tick, tick, tick…

Over at Russia-based Sport Express is a lengthy interview with Žalgiris Kaunas basketball/Heart of Midlothian football club owner Vladimir Romanov. Popularly Sometimes known as “Mad Vlad,” the Ūkio Bankas man weighed in on quite a few topics related to his basketball team, including the Sonny Weems departure, the state of Russian basketball and just what the heck happened with Ilias Zouros last season.

An English-language extrapolation of the interview follows. As of this writing, Liga Endesa-imported coach Joan Plaza still holds his position with Žalgiris, but Romanov’s evasive answer to the question of Plaza’s short-term future aren’t exactly enthusiasm-generating…

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Jun
2

List of European champions, 2011-12: Final edition

Last week saw the final game in a handful of major European domestic basketball leagues – including Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Serbia – and so BallinEurope offers the final and complete roundup of this year’s champions. And it seems like the season just began … ah, well, onto the 2012 Olympics!

(Incidentally, conclusion of the playoffs means that the new version of the ever-popular Euroleague Transfers Table will be uploaded in a day or two; BiE’s working on it now…)

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Jun
2

List of European champions, 2011-12: Future nearly upon us edition

While Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Italy and Serbia have yet to crown this season’s basketball champions, most other domestic leagues have, thus allowing us to visualize the makeups of the 2012-13 Euroleague, Adriatic League and (kinda sorta) Eurocup.

Newly welcome champions to the BallinEurope include those from Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina (with some disheartening financial news), Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland – plus updates on the aforementioned championship series and more video highlights, of course. Now cue up the Queen!

Euroleague: The top level in all of Europe provided one of the Continent’s top-level upsets when Olympiacos topped the highly-favored CSKA Moscow on Georgios Printezis’ runner which exploded the internet with less than two ticks remaining on the game clock. Olympiacos created an instant classic this year, nipping the Red Army, 63-61, after lagging behind for nearly the entire game – utterly subjectively speaking, the marvelous comeback kinda recalled two NBA playoff matches from way-back-when, a.k.a. 2002: this and this.

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May
4

List of European champions, 2011-12: End of May update edition

Can the Eurochallenge champions add a TBL title?

Basketball grinds on in Europe’s three dozen or so domestic leagues and so BallinEurope today updates the “List of European Champions” page. Since last posting, new champs have been crowned in Israel (guess who), Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Holland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

Things are progressing meanwhile in Europe’s larger leagues including Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Germany, and entries for these countries have been updated as well. Plus, new highlight clips and links have been peppered into the list as well; scroll down for BiE’s honorary roll call of European basketball champions.

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