If it were up to Asvel Basket general manager Pierre Grall, at least two of his players would have found a stockingful of coal this morning for their recent lackluster play.
A 2009-10 Euroleague team, Asvel was ignominiously bounced from Eurocup contention this week despite beating KK Hemofarm Stada, 81-80, before over 4,600 fans in France. Having lost to the Serbian side earlier in the season by four, Asvel was at least one three-pointer short of advancing to the “Last 16” round.
Asvel’s Eurocup season had been looking up after its miserable 1-3 start (including its instant-trivia status as the first international team to lose to Allen Iverson’s Beşiktaş Cola Turka), as the French side upset BG Goettingen in Germany and thus were in control of their own destiny for the Hemofarm game.
Grall soon teed off to French media in assessing Asvel’s performance against Hemofarm; the GM wanted to make clear that, while Eurocup elimination itself was disappointing, the real problem was the *way* the bid was lost.
“We had to make things very interesting and we bandied about all game. From the standpoint of performance, this team is extremely disappointing and Tuesday’s game was one of the worst in a month and a half. But it reflects on some of our players and only confirms their limits.”
(“Nous venions de faire des choses très intéressantes et là, nous avons tout galvaudé sur un match. Du point de vue du rendement, cette équipe est extrêmement décevante et le match de mardi a été l’un des plus mauvais depuis un mois et demi. Mais il reflète ce que sont certains de nos joueurs et ne fait que confirmer leurs limites.”)
While Grall went on to praise Mickaël Gelabale in addition to bench players Kim Tillie, Bangaly Fofana, Paul Lacombe and Leo Westermann, he sourly added that “Unfortunately, we were unable to [win] the game because we have two ‘bling bling’ players that cost us dearly.”
(“Malheureusement, nous avons été incapables de tenir le match parce que nous avons deux joueurs «bling bling» qui nous côutent très cher.”)
Said two players are Matt Walsh and Davon Jefferson, who represent Asvel’s two biggest contracts and went a combined 10-for-31 in the Hemofarm game.
Grall darkly hinted that changes could soon be coming to Asvel – presumably even as soon as this weekend in the leadup to the team’s January 2 date with Le Havre. “We work to [create a] balance, but nothing is fixed,” said the GM. “It’s clear that we are not very good at the 1 and 5 spots and that we are bloated on the outside.
“We will get tougher,” he promised.
Asvel is currently in eighth place in the LNB with a 5-6 record.