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Author Topic: § EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments News & Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket  (Read 527651 times)
BGA J.J. Diaz
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 25, 2013, 12:02:11 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Waiting for the Eurobasket Slovenia 2013...
Remembering Unforgettable EuroBaskets !

Jeff Taylor's Eurovision
There are a lot of similarities between this time of year and Christmas for the international basketball fan.

We have great expectations about what Santa Claus is going to leave under the three, just as we get excited about the coming battles at Olympic Games, FIBA Basketball World Cups and as is the case this year, EuroBaskets.

In the last decade, there have been unforgettable games and moments in Europe's top competition for national teams.
The following stand out for me:

At EuroBasket 2001, hosts Turkey squared off against Germany in the Semi-Finals, with Hedo Turkoglu and Dirk Nowitzki both early in the early stages of their hugely famous careers.

Nowitzki had 22 points and 10 rebounds but the Germans fell in overtime, 79-78.

Turkoglu amazed with 23 points, including a game-winning shot in the closing seconds when he dribbled the ball up the floor and got into the lane before scoring in traffic with a lay-up.

The packed Abdi Ipekci erupted and hailed Turkoglu as their hero, the player who had given them their most famous sporting achievement.

In 2003, Italy, losers of their first two games at the EuroBasket in Sweden, went on a remarkable run to the bronze medal.

Once in that third-place game against France, who had beaten Italy 85-52 in group play, the Azzurri won a thriller.

The contest ended when a young Tony Parker, who had a game-high 24 points and was blossoming into a superstar, dribbled past Massimo Bulleri and put up a runner from the right baseline that fell short of the rim.

The Italians qualified for the Olympics and went on to capture a silver medal in Athens.

In 2005, Serbia and Montenegro hosted an extraordinary EuroBasket.

I remember the coffee bars in Belgrade, and also the the Greek comeback against France in the Semi-Finals that was remarkable.

Despite training 58-51 after a Parker three-ball, Greece came back with Theo Papaloukas pulling the strings and Dimitris Diamantidis burying a game-winning shot from the arc just three seconds from the end.

Greece then beat Germany in the Gold Medal Game, 78-62.

The tournament's most beautiful moment came when Nowitzki asked to leave the game with 3:22 remaining and his side trailing, 69-52.

He looked up at the crowd that was heavily Greek and heard an incredible roar of appreciation.

Nowitzki proceeded to hug everyone - including the trainers - on the Germany bench before sitting down.

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He was the MVP of the tournament.

In 2007, JR Holden came up with the play of the tournament in Madrid to give Russia a surprise 60-59 victory over hosts Spain, who were just one year removed from their gold-medal triumph at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Photograph: RIA Novosti by Anton Denisov

In 2007, JR Holden came up with the play of the tournament in Madrid to give Russia a surprise 60-59 victory over hosts Spain, who were just one year removed from their gold-medal triumph at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

Holden dribbled to his right and came to a jump stop before giving a pump fake to get his defender, Jose Calderon, off his feet.

He then put up a soft jump from 10 feet.

The ball hit the front and then the back of the rim before bouncing up and falling through the hoop for a famous Russia triumph.

In 2009, Slovenia finished without a medal yet had thousands of fans travel to Poland to support them and help the side on a roller coaster journey to fourth place.

The team lost players to injuries yet dug deep with coach Jure Zdovc doing a masterful job.

In the Semi-Finals, Slovenia lost a 76-72 overtime heartbreaker to Serbia and then against Greece in the Bronze Medal Game, they narrowly came up short.

Vassilis Spanoulis missed two free-throws with four seconds remaining and Greece on top, 57-56.

Slovenia's Bostjan Nachbar rebounded, hurried the ball up the floor and put up a runner after crossing mid court that missed everything.

In 2011, the game that everyone remembers was a Quarter-Final involving the host nation, Lithuania, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MKD) stunned hosts Lithuania after a frantic last 30 seconds.

Bo McCalebb was off target with a drive down the left side of the lane for MKD and Darius Songaila rebounded for Lithuania, only to make an errant pass intended for Sarunas Jasikevicius that ended up back in the hands of McCalebb.

Jasikevicius defend McCalebb well but Rimantas Kaukenas left Vlado Ilievski to double-team the naturalized guard McCalebb.

That left Ilievski wide open behind the arc, and McCalebb passed to his teammate who then drilled a go-ahead three-pointer.

Lithuania failed to score at the other end and MKD had their most famous-ever win in sports.

In 2013?

Twenty-four teams are going to be at the EuroBasket in Slovenia and there is at least one guarantee.

There is going to be plenty of drama.

I just wonder what the signature moment of this year's tournament will be.

Jeff Taylor from FIBA

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BGA John Volger
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« Reply #23 on: Aug 18, 2013, 12:01:56 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Eurobasket Slovenia 2013 Favorites and Underdogs... !

George Eddy's International Show
Everyone seems to agree that Greece, Spain and France are the pre-tournament favorites concerning the upcoming 2013 Eurobasket in Slovenia.

After watching Greece dominate France in the second half of their preparation match in beautiful Strasbourg yesterday, I agree with French coach Vincent Collet that Greece is farther along in their preparation than France, thanks to a deep roster, aggressive defense and wonderful passing and shooting.
All this, despite adapting to a new Italian coach, Andrea Trincheri, who worked wonders in Cantu with his positive approach and ability to convince players to do things together.

The Greek players reacted well to this optimistic method and seem under less pressure compared to the recent past, despite the absence of Euroleague MVP, Vassilis Spanoulis, who was out with back spasms.

NBA stars Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum only scored two points each as the Greek defense tactically put pressure on the guards and wings and invited the French big men to try and score. Which they did, but wasn't enough to beat Greece who makes an art out of the "extra-extra" pass to set up magnificently their top notch three-point shooters all over the court.

France will need to take a page out of the Greek playbook and defend with more intensity to counter their excellent ball movement but also search for some fluidity in their own passing game.

I was particularly impressed by X-generation star Kostas Papanikolao who will leave Olympiakos for a mega-contract in Barcelona next season. His mobility at 2.06m is incredible because he has the fundamentals and dribble drive of a scoring guard, with the height of a power forward similar to a Kevin Durant at the NBA level.

After this defeat, France knows what it needs to work on before playing Spain twice in the next two weeks. France also knows the importance of finishing first or second after the second round in Slovenia in order to avoid Greece or Spain in the decisive quarter-finals! Greece and Spain are probably telling themselves the same thing concerning France because Parker and Batum won't score only two points very often!

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I also saw Croatia and Germany play this past weekend in Strasbourg and both teams seem to have limited rotations coming from the bench, which will put added pressure and fatigue on their starters.

Bojan Bogdanovic, future Brooklyn Net, who scored 25 points against the tough Greek defense, is Croatia's offensive leader (AP Photo)
Photograph: atlantic twine

Bojan Bogdanovic, future Brooklyn Net, who scored 25 points against the tough Greek defense, is Croatia's offensive leader, along with Roko Ukic. Barcelona's top center Ante Tomic will have to pick up speed in the upcoming weeks in order for Croatia to avoid disappointing their numerous fans who will come and support them in Slovenia. They will be an underdog in Group C behind Spain and Slovenia but will have their chances against the other contenders for the third qualifying spot.

Same thing for a very young German team in Group A, the weakest first round group, where France should win all their games but it will be a toss-up between the other five teams for the two remaining spots to qualify for the second round.

France will start running into some difficulty when Group A crosses paths with the mega-strong Group B in the second round. I see France and three Group B teams moving into the quarter-finals. Watch out for Lithuania with its young and talented NBA big men, Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto) and Donatas Motiejunas(Houston). They should be a handful especially now that Nikola Pekovic has pulled himself out of the Montenegro team because of his NBA contract situation.

In Group D look for Greece and Turkey to qualify with the third spot a toss-up between Italy and Russia.

Of course, surprises can and will happen, as The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MKD) proved two years ago in Lithuania, but in the end I see the usual suspects (or favourites) on the podium. The question will be, in which order ?

George Eddy from FIBA

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ESB Mario Sebastiani
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 04, 2013, 02:13:31 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Eurobasket MVP candidates

In my last article I went over a non-exhaustive list of players who will not participate in the Eurobasket in Slovenia.

Players like Pau Gasol, Juanca Navarro, Luol Deng or Andrei Kirilenko who all would have made fine candidates for the MVP trophy or a perennial spot in the Top 5 players of the tournament.

So now, who will carry the torch in Slovenia, leading his team to important victories while racking up some big statistics?

I would start my list with Tony Parker, who just came off his best season as a Spurs and was brilliant in the NBA Finals which he rightly feels the Spurs should have won! Tony, very faithful to the French national team and as motivated as ever, will pull out all the stops to make up for the absence of several centers.

Portland's Nicolas Batum should have a breakout performance as the second major scoring option behind Tony.

Vassilis Spanoulis should have the same type of role and impact with Greece that Parker will have with France because both players are scorers first and playmakers second.

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Be assured that opposing defences will try to force them to PASS! If Greece wins the Eurobasket I see Spanoulis, at the summit of his art, as the MVP.

Vassilis Spanoulis should have the same type of role and impact with Greece that Parker will have with France because both players are scorers first and playmakers second.
Photograph: ClutchFans

You might be surprised that I see Goran Dragic having a breakout tournament too. He'll be playing at home and if legendary coach Boja Maljkovic gives him the keys to the locomotive and freedom to play his uptempo game, he should speed around defences like a race car and possibly lead Slovenia into the semi-finals which would confim his excellent season-individually speaking- with Phoenix.

Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol are MVP candidates if Spain goes far in the competition even though they are such a strong team collectively, the stats will be spread around between alot of talented players.

Another surprise, in the vein of what F.Y.R. of Macedonia accomplished at the last Eurobasket, could come from Montenegro which boasts the best tandem of inside players in the tournament with the two Nikolas, Vucevic and Pekovic who represent building blocks for the future in Orlando and Minnesota.

Vucevic has superior rebounding skils and Pekovic is a fabulous back to the basket scorer. Both players are much better than expected at the NBA level. Those are the main stars to watch for MVP but let's not forget Russia's new leader,also from Minnesota, Alexey Sved or Bo Mccalebb who surprised everyone two years ago in Lithuania.

I would add Marco Belinelli, the new Spur and Andrea Bargnani the neo-Knick, who are both prolific scorers on an Italian team that looks to recapture past glory similar to Milos Teodosic with Serbia.

As Tony Parker said recently, the key at the Eurobasket will be to not waste time worrying about who is absent while putting in the time and work to get the most out of those who are present!

George Eddy from FIBA

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HBC Brian Denver
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« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2013, 10:07:27 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

All Euroleague Rising Star Trophy winner
Papanikolaou does is win

David Hein's Eye on the Future
Kostas Papanikolaou is a winner - that's all there is to it. And the Olympiacos forward, who is on his way back to the Euroleague Final Four, has proven all season that he's the worthy winner of the 2012-13 Euroleague Rising Star Trophy.

Papanikolaou follows in the footsteps of Real Madrid's Spanish star Nikola Mirotic, who had won the last two Rising Star awards and finished second to the Greek international in this season's voting.
The 22-year-old Trikala native played a huge role in helping Olympiacos to their first Euroleague title since 1997 in May 2012, leading the Greek powers with 18 points in a spectacular 19-point comeback in the final 12 minutes over CSKA Moscow. Papanikolaou and Olympiacos also finally broke through in the Greek league, winning their first league crown since 1997.

Papanikolaou had fully arrived on the professional stage after picking up a long list of youth trophies - gold at the 2008 U18 European Championship, 2009 U20 European Championship and 2008 Albert Schweitzer Tournament as well as silver at the 2007 U18 European Championship, 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship and 2010 U20 European Championship.

The lock-down defender graduated to the senior Greek national team in 2011 and played a solid role at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania and nearly helped Hellas to the 2012 Olympics with a superb performance at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Venezuela. And he will undoubtedly be a key factor for new Greek coach Andrea Trinchieri.

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Despite not turning 23 until late July, Papanikolaou has also long become a staple in Olympiacos' success since arriving in Piraeus in 2009.

Kostas Papanikolaou is a winner - that's all there is to it. And the Olympiacos forward, who is on his way back to the Euroleague Final Four, has proven all season that he's the worthy winner of the 2012-13 Euroleague Rising Star Trophy.
Photograph from Sentimiento AyN

This season Papanikolaou started slowly - and not surprisingly Olympiacos as well, with two losses in first three games. After averaging 4.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in the first three games, Papanikolaou picked up his production with 13.1 points and 4.9 rebounds as Olympiacos reeled off seven straight wins to finish off the Regular Season.

Papanikolaou - as well as the whole Olympiacos team - was a bit up and down in the Top 16. But he stepped it up when it mattered most at the end of the Top 16 stage, nailing 4-4 from three-point land in scoring 16 points against Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul and then going a perfect 6-6 from downtown for 21 points along with 12 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the final game against Khimki Moscow Region for a spot in the Quarter-Final Playoffs.

Papanikolaou collected 6.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the Playoffs to get Olympiacos to their third Final Four in the past four seasons.

Most impressive about Papanikolaou's Euroleague stats line this season (9.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game) was his shooting 52.7 percent (49-93) from three-point range. That number is up from 33.3 percent last season in the Euroleague.

"In addition to team practice, you have to work on your own if you want to improve and help the team more. I worked the whole summer and during the season with our coaches, who have helped me a lot. I am trying to improve my game," said Papanikolaou, who had three-point showings of 5-6, 4-7, 3-3, 3-6, 4-4, 6-6 and 4-6 this season in the Euroleague.

Papanikolaou is hardly a youngster - especially in terms of winning hardware. But combine his performance at last year's Euroleague Final Four with the 2012-13 season and it's clear he is a winner.

Of course, the Rising Star Trophy is a nice individual award. But this winner is thinking bigger titles - and becoming the Euroleague's first repeat winner since Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2005 would be a great way to close the Euroleague season.

David Hein from FIBA

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« Reply #20 on: Feb 04, 2013, 09:38:04 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments & Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Seskus looks to prove himself, help Lietuvos Rytas defend NIJT title

Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius will get the chance to repeat their title at the famed Nike International Junior Tournament after knocking off Lithuanian rivals Zalgiris Kaunas 100-81 in the Siauliai Tournament to book their spot in the finals at the Euroleague Final Four in London.

Rytas hope to make history and become the third team to repeat their crown following CSKA Moscow’s three-peat from 2004 to 2006 and FMP’s wins in 2008 and 2009.

The Vilnius club would also be the fourth side with multiple NIJT titles as Zalgiris Rytas won in 2003 and 2007.

Rytas’s star Edvinas Seskus will get his chance to make history as well. Seskus collected 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 rebounds as Rytas beat Fenerbahce 88-70 in last May’s NIJT final in Istanbul.

After losing two of the team’s main weapons – Augustinas Jankaitis and Tautvydas Jodelis – Seskus was in charge of taking over the leadership. And the Prienai native collected 26 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in the Siauliai final against Kaunas. Back with Seskus from last spring’s success are Gediminas Zalalis, Alvydas Zarskus, Lukas Ganas, Deividas Kumelis and Karolis Razukas.

But the NIJT will go a long way in proving just how valuable and good Seskus is. The 1995 generation in Lithuania isn’t considered that strong with Seskus being one of the few prospects of an unimpressive class.

For all the success that Seskus has had with Rytas, the shooting guard has been unable to live up to the huge expectations with the Lithuanian national team. And he’s leading a generation which has a series of medal winning classes ahead of them.

With Lithuanian basketball officials rarely mixing generations on the national team, the gold standard is the 1992 class topped by Jonas Valanciunas. The future NBA center won U16 European gold in 2008, U18 European gold in 2010 and gold at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.

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The rest of the generation proved they can win without Jonas by taking the 2012 U20 European crown as well.

Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius’s star Edvinas Seskus will get his chance to make history as well. Seskus, here under the defense of Lucas Grabauskas from B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas, collected 26 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in the Siauliai final against Kaunas. Photograph: BasketNews.LT

The 1993 class followed that up with U16 European silver in 2009, fourth place at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship and U18 European fifth place in 2011.

The 1994 Lithuanian generation had the unfortunate burden of being born the same year as Croatian superstar Dario Saric as the Balkan nation finished second to the Croatians at the 2010 U16 European Championship and the 2012 U18 European Championship.

Seskus and his 1995 class? Well, they finished 13th and in the relegation round of the 2011 U16 European Championship. And then, despite being hosts, Lithuania took ninth place at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship with an overtime win over Korea, a one-point victory over Egypt and a solid victory against France in seven contests.

Those are hardly the results that Lithuanians are accustomed to. And Seskus has to answer to those critics since he is the leader of the team.

At least he’s doing the job at the NIJT. A second title would go a long way to proving at least himself as a winner.

David Hein from FIBA

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WBC Deborah Volger
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« Reply #19 on: Dec 18, 2012, 10:53:05 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Gobert and Ajinca

George Eddy's International Show
There's a brewing controversy in French  concerning the future of top prospect Rudy Gobert.

The 20-year-old athlete has NBA scouts drooling over his 2.15m heigh, 2.36m wingspan as well as his running and jumping skills which are off the charts and might make him the highest French draft pick since Joakim Noah was chosen in ninth position in 2007.
Gobert's potential is enormous but he is rail thin and only averaging 7,5 points in 20 minutes of playing time per  for Cholet in the French Pro A.

His best stats are blocked shots and rebounding, especially when you take into account his limited playing time, and he has clearly stated his case to his  and team in order to play more but he has been hampered by a sore ankle for several weeks.

His club coach Jean Manuel Sousa and the French national team coach Vincent Collet have pleaded with his entourage to give him more time in Europe to develop his skills and physique but Rudy seems set upon joining an NBA franchise next season.

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Ten NBA scouts and numerous media were present for his latest performance against Collet's Strasbourg team which exasperated coach Sousa but highlighted the way modern day scouting and recruiting put a premium on   and potential, sometimes to the detriment of the best development of the player's career.

The battle for the ball between Rudy Gobert (left) from Cholet and Marcellus Sommerville from Manceau (right). Photo AFP

The scouts came to Cholet hoping to see a match-up between Gobert and former NBA -warmer Alexis Ajinca but the latter was injured and replaced by former Cholet player Romain Duport (2m17!) who played the best game of his career (19 points and 15 rebounds!) getting some sweet revenge on his old team, which had cut him earlier in the season to open up more playing time for Gobert.

Rudy finished with nine points, three rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes in Cholet's close victory but we must ask ourselves, is he really ready for the NBA? He could look at Ajinca's career as an example of a tall and frail center drafted in the first round who played little in the NBA, a little more in the NBDL, during four unmemorable seasons before returning to France where he is, at the age of 24, playing his best basketball for Strasbourg (averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds a game).

Centers take longer to develop than guards and they often reach their peak around the age of 27.

Other French or European big men have given the priority to their financial future by going too early to the NBA and it's difficult to criticize their choice from an economic standpoint.

However, this has too often been disastrous for their playing career because the most important thing for any young player is to PLAY.

The system needs to be tweaked with the possibility to loan drafted players to foreign teams so that they can play and develop their skills.

The logical progression and successful path that a lot of players like Luis Scola, Tiago Splitter, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez or Manu Ginobili - among many others - have chosen, is to dominate in Europe before going to the NBA as a more mature and experienced player.

The goal for Gobert and his entourage is to succeed over the long term and have a career along the lines of the Pau and Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka and avoid the NBA disappointment of an Alexis Ajinca or Hasheem Thabeet.

 George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #18 on: Sep 14, 2012, 11:54:19 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Survive and advance

Was that a collective sigh of relief we heard on Tuesday night when both Turkey and Serbia booked their places at EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia?

You bet it was.

International basketball heavyweights, both national teams left it until the last night of the Qualification Round to seal places in the Final Round in Slovenia.

Sweden, Belgium, Latvia and Israel also sealed their spots in next year’s Final Round, though the latter had all but punched their ticket in their penultimate game against Slovakia on Saturday.

For the European teams with designs on reaching the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, they first had to make it to the EuroBasket – the European zone’s qualifying event for the major event in 2014.

The pressure was immense on Tuesday night for those sides that still had not reached EuroBasket 2013.

So what is to be made of the tough summer for both Serbia and Turkey, teams that squared off in the Semi-Final of the 2010 FIBA World Championship?

Mark Twain once wrote: "The report of my death was an exaggeration."

There were certainly reports that Turkey's men's team was dead and not going to Slovenia next summer.

Missing key men from years past and relying on a bunch of youngsters (20-year-old Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter not among them) to qualify for the EuroBasket, Turkey went into their game last night in Istanbul against the Czech Republic needing a victory to assure themselves of a place in next year's Final Round.

They had lost to Italy, the Czech Republic and Italy again to put their progression in serious doubt.

The most calamitous of all the setbacks was the second against the Italians on 5 September, as the Turks blew an 18-point advantage at home and lost, 83-82.

In their eighth and final Qualification Round game against the Czechs on Tuesday, though, Turkey not only rolled to victory but did so by 23 points.

They had to win by more than 18 to leapfrog the Czechs into second place in Group F, and they did.

"We had two goals before these qualification games," said Turkey coach Bogdan Tanjevic.

"The first was of course taking the ticket to Slovenia and the second one was testing the young players.

"It was risky, but it was included in the Turkish Basketball Federation's new plan.

"We wanted to give a chance to the young generation to gain experience."

Youngsters that would appear to have a very good chance of playing in Slovenia after their performances in the Qualification Round are Dogus Balbay and Ilkan Karaman.

Balbay, a point guard, and forward Karaman both averaged more than 21 minutes per game this summer.

Furkan Aldemir, a 2.07m power forward, is a great talent who played an average of 10.5 minutes per game but his time may not come in Slovenia.

"Now, we have different goals such as a medal at EuroBasket 2013, qualification for the World Cup and the Olympics," Tanjevic said.

"Next year, we will have a combination of young and veteran players and I hope we will get new success."

Serbia barely made it, too.

The Blues' ups and downs were understandable and perhaps even predictable.

They knew this summer was going to be extremely difficult in Group A, the hardest of the six in the EuroBasket Qualification Round.

Group A was the only pool with six teams, so sides had to play 10 games and not eight.

Serbia also had to cope with long journeys to Iceland, Estonia and Israel.

And Group A opponents Montenegro and Israel are very good teams.

Serbia had to play without captain Nenad Krstic the first couple of games while the veteran center battled back from an injury.

And this summer, the team also missed its firebrand point guard off the bench, Stefan Markovic, with a back injury making him unavailable.

When Montenegro hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer from beyond half-court in Belgrade for a 73-71 win on 18 August - just the second game for the teams – Serbia’s confidence was knocked down a peg.

They appeared to find some balance in their game with victories the next two times out against Slovakia and Estonia, yet they ran into an Israeli buzz saw on 28 August in Tel Aviv.

The Israelis already had two defeats and simply could not afford to lose that game.

They defeated Serbia, 89-76.

Serbia ended up falling in two more games, at unbeaten Montenegro and at Estonia.

The message from Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic before Tuesday's home clash with Israel was to win at all costs, and they did, though not by the 19-point margin that would have left them advance as the second-place team from Group A.

As it was, Israel, Serbia and Estonia all finished with 6-4 records and the Estonians failed to advance on goal differential.

"The main thing is that we qualified for EuroBasket 2013 despite very big problems," Ivkovic said.

Krstic added: "We needed to win, and we showed character.

"We wanted to beat Israel with a margin higher than 19 points, but it's ok because we reached our main goal."


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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2012, 02:17:06 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

San Antonio Internationals

The last two weeks have been eventful as I was fortunate to commentate an incredible Euroleague Final Four in Istanbul.

All the games were full of suspense and excitement but the Final was beyond belief as the golden young Greek generation of players from Olympiakos put on the greatest comeback ever against CSKA Moscow's armada of expensive superstars. What a story!

The year that Olympiakos must reduce its budget by half is the year they break through to win their second Euroleague title thanks to the energy and intensity of a unexpected small ball line-up that fronts the bigs and pressures the passers the way Oklahoma City Thunder is doing it to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dusan Ivkovic gave the young team confidence and superior tactics just like a legendary coach should.

With all the economic problems the country has been facing, this was at least one occasion for the Greek population to smile and be proud of its homegrown basketball players!

I am sure that Greg Popovich, with his Serbian background, was impressed by this incredible performance too. The genius of coaches like Ivkovic or Zeljko Obradovic is no secret to Pop, who has often sung the merits of international basketball.

His San Antonio team, like Dallas last season, is putting on a clinic during these surprising playoffs about how to use international players and styles of play at the NBA level.

Popovich, who loathes individual awards like Coach of the Year, is also a direct descendant of the Dean Smith-Larry Brown school of "Play hard, play smart and play together" basketball. This translates on the court to a lot of crisp rotations with a minimum of fouls on defense while sharing the ball, making the extra pass, spreading the court and milking the corner three-point shot or Tim Duncan's inside presence on offense.

This season, the Spurs' roster is more international than ever before with players who come from France to Australia or Canada to Brazil with a few stops in Argentina or the Virgin Islands!

Pop laid down the blueprint for the edifice, a rejuvenated Tim Duncan is the crew chief, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are the brilliant painters with creative, artistic hands and all the other workers are totally in acceptance of their roles right down to the last man!

Pop has created top notch players out of rookies and also-rans this season and intelligently added important weapons like Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson late in the season just to make sure all the positions were oppurtunistically backed-up in case of injury.

Diaw, whose altruistic style fits in perfectly, is reborn while starting during this incredible playoff run and his best buddy Parker did his team a favor by lobbying for Boris' signature.

Parker is playing the best ball of his career as Pop and Duncan have anointed him the leader and go-to player of this 2012 team and the Frenchman has responded by reducing his errors of judgement and producing a career year in assists which keeps everybody happy and on the same page.

I'm not sure that all these human and international qualities will be enough to eliminate the young lions of Oklahoma City, but we should be headed for one of the best Western Conference Finals ever, which, in my opinion will provide the future NBA champions.

The Thunder are young, mega-talented, energetic, intense and have shown during these playoffs an amazing capacity to learn from past errors (see Russell Westbrook) and to come back from being down to win close games with guts and rage (see Kevin Durant).

Kind of reminds us of Olympiakos, n'est-ce pas?

by George EDDY from FIBA

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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2012, 05:40:08 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Golden Greeks just win again with Olympiacos

Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas and Evangelos Mantzaris are the leaders of Greece’s next golden generation.

Despite combining to win loads of youth competition hardware, it was still a shock that the golden trio helped Olympiacos surge back from a 19-point deficit to upset mighty favorites CSKA Moscow for the 2012 Euroleague crown.

But maybe it shouldn’t have been.

Having looked up to and idolized the likes of Theo Papaloukas, Dimitrios Diamantidis, Nikos Zisis and Vassilis Spanoulis as teenagers, Papanikolaou, Sloukas and Mantzaris teamed up in 2008 to win the Albert Schweitzer Tournament and then give Greece their first-ever U18 European Championship crown. In 2007, Papanikolaou and Sloukas won U18 silver.

In 2009, the trio first won silver at the FIBA U19 World Championship and then claimed gold at the U20 European Championship. And in 2010, they added U20 silver to their collection.

The trio of youngsters was also making in-roads into the Greek senior national team – thanks to efforts to inject an aging Hellas side with young talent.

Papanikolaou nearly made the Greek team for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey, but joined Sloukas in the Greece side at EuroBasket 2011. And Mantzaris could likely make his senior team debut this summer at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

Papanikolaou, who doesn’t turn 22 until July 31, is certainly the bigger talent of the three. NBA scouts are drooling over the 2.04m (6’9”) forward’s defensive prowess, which is enough to look over his slight offensive shortcomings.

Papanikolaou is finishing off his second season as a starter for Euroleague powers Olympiacos. Throughout last weekend's Euroleague Final Four, he absolutely proved his winning mentality.

He played great defense against Barcelona in the semi-finals and then stymied Euroleague MVP Andrei Kirilenko in the final.

Oh, and Papanikolaou also made all five of his shots – including three three-pointers – and five of six free-throws, including a pair with 10.1 seconds left with all the cool of a 10-year veteran to cut the game to one point. Kirilenko, Milos Teodosic and Ramunas Siskauskas, meanwhile, all missed foul shots for CSKA in the final two minutes.

Sloukas and Mantzaris – who both joined or re-joined Olympiacos this season – did not have as much impact on the final, but both played a big part.

Mantzaris nailed a three-pointer – his only basket of the game – just before the third quarter buzzer to cut the deficit to 13 points. Sloukas opened the fourth period with a triple of his own – also his only basket in the final. Both played strong hard-nosed defense at the guard position.

The Euroleague final once again showed that this group of young Greeks has the will and skill to succeed – this time at the senior level.

Some nickname crazy observers may try to come up with something for this Greek trio. Something silly like “PapaSloukZaris” or “MantSloukaNikolaou”.

Here’s one, it’s not exactly creative or flashy, but it hits the point: “Winners!”

by David Hein from FIBA

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« Reply #15 on: Apr 07, 2012, 05:56:12 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Diamantidis brilliant

Dimitris Diamantidis wrote another glorious chapter in his magnificent career on Thursday by leading Panathinaikos past Maccabi Tel Aviv and into the Euroleague Final Four.

The former Greece international had 25 points, including the go-ahead free-throw with five seconds remaining, and then came up with a steal to seal the 86-85 victory in Athens.

Meanwhile, the Tall Blacks in the New Zealand Breakers squad were influential in the team’s Game 2 win at Townsville Crocs.

The 93-83 victory has set up a Game 3 decider for Saturday in New Zealand.

Diamantidis the Great

Greece fans are hoping that Diamantidis will reconsider his retirement and play for the country again this summer when they attempt to reach the Olympics in London.

Diamantidis decided to quit playing international basketball after his country’s elimination at the World Championship in Ankara but has remained one of the best players in the sport.

The point guard did most of his damage at the line on Thursday against Maccabi, making 15 of 18 free-throws.

Maccabi boss David Blatt, whose team lost to Diamantidis and Panathinaikos in last year’s Final, said: "Details decided the winner, and also Dimitris Diamantidis, who is my nemesis.

"I like him as a person, but I don't want to see him in front of me in the future.

"He is a great player.

"He was named the 2011 MVP and he can be it again.

"Big players show up in crucial games. I would like to lock him in his hotel room."

Lithuania veteran Sarunas Jasikevicius was the only other Panathinaikos player to reach double figures with 13 points.

Maccabi's Greek international Sofoklis Schortsanitis had eight points and two rebounds in just under 11 minutes.

Panathinaikos will meet CSKA on the opening day (11 May) of the Final Four in Istanbul.


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« Reply #14 on: Jan 10, 2012, 06:04:22 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

FIBA Europe gives chances to Hungary, co-hosting

Looking ahead to the 2012 summer schedule of youth European Championships, two things really stand out: first of all, FIBA Europe wants to give Hungary as much preparation as possible for EuroBasket Women 2015; and secondly, the European continental basketball body appears ready to give co-hosting tournaments another chance.

In 2015, Hungary will be hosting EuroBasket Women for the fifth time in their history having done so in 1950, 1964, 1983 and 1997. And even though Hungarian basketball clubs have a long tradition in European club competitions, FIBA Europe is once again doing the correct thing in giving Hungary youth championships ahead of time to prepare for the big event in three and a half years time.

The proposed 2015 host cities are Budapest, Sopron, Gyor, Szombathely and Veszprem. While those will likely be awarded youth events in coming years, this summer Miskolc will be the backdrop of the U16 European Championship for Women in July and the U20 European Championship for Women will take place in Debrecen in August.

Before Miskolc hosted the U18 European Championship for Women Division B tournament last summer, it had been some time since Hungary last welcomed national team basketball to its borders. The 2006 U20 European Championship for Women took place in Sopron while the 2005 U18 women’s tournament was played in Budapest. Before that, Sopron hosted the U16 women in 1997 – actually after that year's EuroBasket Women.

FIBA Europe made the right choice in bringing the EuroBasket Women back to Hungary, where clubs like Sopron, Pecs and Gyor have represented their country well outside of their homeland. And the youth tournaments are a huge help in building up the local populations and organisations to prepare for bigger events and determine what infrastructure still needs development.

One city surprisingly missing from the EuroBasket Women plans is Pecs, which this season failed to reach the EuroLeague Women for the first time in 16 years, but did host the 2004 EuroLeague Women Final Four.

The youth tournaments will also prepare Hungary to host other events in the future.

Attila Czene, the country’s Secretary of State for Sport, said at the awarding of EuroBasket Women 2015 that Hungary are also considering to bid for the Youth Olympics in 2017.

The other major note of interest from the selection of youth tournament hosts came with the decision regarding the U16 and U18 European Championships Men, which in 2012 will both be co-hosted by neighbors Lithuania and Latvia.

It was widely regarded in the industry that FIBA Europe had shunned countries co-hosting tournaments since the 2007 U20 European Championship Men in neighboring towns Nova Gorica, Slovenia and Gorizia, Italy – which was complicated by the fact that Slovenia was not yet in the Schengen Area, meaning that teams, officials and fans continually needed to go through border controls when going from one arena to the other.

The fact that the Germany/France-conceived EuroBasket 2015 bid appeared destined to be approved before falling apart at the last minute hinted that FIBA Europe has since softened its non-official stance. And it seems the case for certain now that FIBA Europe has allowed Lithuania and Latvia to co-host two tournaments this summer.

Lithuanian basketball fans – and officials – were looking forwards to bigger things this summer, hoping for both the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (awarded to Venezuela) and the U20 European Championship (awarded to Slovenia) – the latter which could have possibly seen Jonas Valanciunas play in his final youth tournament. But one summer after hosting EuroBasket, Lithuanian fans still get to see both the U16 and U18 men’s tournaments not to mention the FIBA U17 World Championship in late June and early July.  

The U20 men decision makes sense as it gives the EuroBasket 2013 hosts Slovenia a chance to prepare for Europe’s top tournament.

FIBA Europe’s reversal on co-hosting meanwhile also makes sense. Two host nations hosting their teams’ groups promise more fan support for all games – which was the underlying premise of Germany and France’s EuroBasket 2015 bid along with Croatia and Italy.

Should Lithuania and Latvia succeed in co-hosting their tournaments this summer, European basketball fans may see more of neighboring countries teaming up to host events.


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« Reply #13 on: Oct 19, 2011, 07:47:00 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments News & Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Fortune and misfortune
"...The misfortune of some is the good fortune of others..."

In France there's an expression: "The misfortune of some is the good fortune of others". This can apply to the stock market as well as to basketball.

While the NBA lockout is creating misfortune or unemployment for many workers connected to the NBA business machine, it is also creating wealth for many lawyers and buzz for European teams with NBA players on their rosters.

While the billionaires and millionaires haggle over indecent sums of money without regard for the fan (or taxpayer) who eventually pays, or the minimum-wage employee who sells hot dogs in the arenas or after-game beers near the arenas, the Euroleague starts this week with a lot of NBA-labelled talent to attract more and more fans into THEIR arenas.

In France, Nicolas Batum will play his first Euroleague game with the ambitious Nancy team this week in Cantu and the presence of Tony Parker (and soon Ronny Turiaf) on the Lyon-Villeurbanne roster has created an unprecedented media impact following up beautifully the French national team's highly-mediatised and brilliant performance at the Eurobasket.

Parker is promoting basketball everywhere: from the primetime news shows on national TV to numerous advertising spots and even a recent cartoon show to seduce the youngest generation of fans!

Tony will fill arenas and boost TV ratings along with his team's chances of figuring well in the Eurocup competition. Yes, the same Eurocup which Deron Williams failed to qualify his Turkish team for.

In fact, Deron only scored 11 points in his first Turkish League game this past weekend which proves that it won't be so easy for the NBA guys to dominate the tough competition over here because it's a different style of basketball than the NBA.

Deron's situation also underlines the risk of reducing some of the NBA's marketing luster as international fans discover up close some NBA stars who are not necessarily miles above the competition.

Remember the recent experiences of Allen Iverson in Turkey or Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis in China.

The NBA sells a dream game with incredibly gifted athletes playing in wonderfully-lighted modern arenas in front of 20,000 fans and an international television audience that often watches in the middle of the night.

The NBA seems to be from another idyllic planet but the lockout is bringing everyone crashing back down to earth and I wonder if even big basketball fan Barack Obama can get the warring parties to negotiate intelligently.

All future percentage point gains in Basketball Related Income (BRI) by the players over a six-year deal will be negated by lost salary after just two months of a lockout!

When anger and ego replace reason in a complex negotiation, this not a good sign.

After such a successful season in 2010-2011, it is hard to fathom that all the actors in this disappointing NBA melodrama continue to strangle mercilessly the goose that layed all those golden eggs!

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While the owners try to protect themselves from their own mismanagement and players lose touch with the everyday reality of the common fan, even more Americans than usual will watch football and Europeans will marvel at this oppurtunity to see NBA stars up close because life goes on.

by George EDDY from FIBA

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« Reply #12 on: Sep 21, 2011, 04:56:47 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Fun Final

The best EuroBasket of all time was organised in a country where the game is a religion and the fervent Lithuanian fans created a magical, high decibel atmosphere.

The fun Final was icing on a beautiful cake with lots of run and gun, uptempo action and it ended with the logical crowning of Europe's Dream Team, Spain, which recorded a rare back-to-back in EuroBasket competition.

France played chin to chin with Spain and made some good runs, but Juan Carlos Navarro & Co always found a solution or a miracle shot at the end of a possession to keep them at bay.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia was better at slowing down Spain's runaway freight train in their Semi-Final, but this was because France has the thoroughbreds to keep up but not the excellent and consistent execution that the Spanish players have developped together over the last decade.

Don't forget that this group went through some heavy disappointments before it became World Champs in 2006 and France can look at Spain's recent past and use it as a blueprint for its own future.

The French just need to develop the same shared experience with this roster but in any case they are already fully satisfied with reaching their first EuroBasket Final ever, and getting a direct ticket to London and in knowing that basketball has become, once again, a major sport in France in terms of popularity and TV ratings!

The fact is, Spain are dominating European sports in general and their sports system and infrastructures can be a blueprint for anyone these days!

The two key stats that favoured Spain in the Final were points off turnovers and blocked shots (Serge Ibaka!) which proved that the Spanish defense fueled, and was just as good  as, its brillant offense.

That was not so much the case for France which gave up an historical number of points.

Individually, Navarro was in the twighlight zone from the Quarter-Finals onwards and his best friend Pau Gasol seemed happy to let him walk off with a much-deserved MVP trophy.

I should say run off because no one can catch the Barcelona star who looks like you and me off the court but is a unique player on the court thanks to his quickness and technique which are similar to Tony Parker's.

Navarro's shooting off of one foot or while moving to his left is unstoppable and he has a variety of cool moves that young players should admire and copy like his catch-and-shoot off of screens, his teardrop shots from all angles and his change of direction dribbles before dishing  assists out of the high pick-and-roll.

What a pure genius this guy is while being exactly the contrary of typical modern sports stars who all look like body-builders!

You can say the same thing for Parker (a mature leader now) who joined Juanca on the All-Tournament team along with Mr All-Around, Andrei Kirilenko (whose foul trouble against France in the Semi-Final was key), Bo McCalebb who helped Macedonia become the revelation of the tournament while turning the heads of some NBA scouts, and last but not least, Pau Gasol.

The gentle giant was go-to insurance as usual down low whenever Spain needed a big play and his pairing with his brother Marc worked fabulously within the framework of a team of stars who accepted to share the ball, self-sacrifice on defense and watch out for each other  as Pau so pertinently pointed out after the Final.

The coaches of the Final Serge Scariolo and Vincent Collet can be proud of the way their players bonded together for the common cause from day one.

These two smart coaches also intelligently let their players take centre stage and I would say the same thing for the referees who did a good job and were less penalising to NBA players compared to the past while also giving more baskets plus the foul in continuity situations when players attack the basket the way they do in the NBA.

The one change I would make in the EuroBasket formula would be to give one rest day before those decisive classification games for the last two spots at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament which logically went to Lithuania and Greece.

All of this top notch play in Lithuania has me salivating already for the Olympics in London where Spain will try and upset  Team USA in the battle of the Dream Teams and France can legitemately hope for a medal.

What do you think?

by George EDDY from FIBA

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« Reply #11 on: Sep 15, 2011, 12:32:51 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

It's Olympic crunch time !!!
 Eight team, six places - who'll be booking their place for London?

With the second round now behind us, London now quite literally gets closer for eight teams as the tournament moves west to Kaunas for the final stages.

When EuroBasket arrived at the same stage in the previous tournament that doubled as an Olympic qualifier in Madrid, Spain in 2007; six of the eight teams that were there then are again here now in 2011. Of those six teams Spain, Russia, Lithuania and Greece would go on to book Olympic berths whilst Slovenia would fail in their bid to experience the Olympics for the first time in their short history, and France would not be able to return for the first time since winning silver back in Sydney in 2000.

Joining those six in the final eight are newcomers F.Y.R. of Macedonia who have never before made it to this stage in a tournament and hence never been to the Olympics; and Serbia who are hoping to return to the Olympics following an eight year absence.

Playing in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday, Spain will be confident of moving one step closer to direct Olympic qualification when they take on a Slovenian side whose time in Lithuania has to date resembled something of a rollercoaster. Slovenia's recent talk - at least to the media - has been that a top six finish and the subsequent Olympic Qualifying Tournament berth are where their ambitions lie.

Having exceeded expectations by making it this far, F.Y.R. of Macedonia will be feeling the pressure released from their shoulders, which may well be a key factor when taking on Lithuania, for whom the pressure will mount every day, in the second of Wednesday's semis.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia Head Coach Marin Dokuzovski has seen little minutes from his bench in this tournament and fatigue in his key players may start to play a role. Coupled with the fact that it looks likely that inspirational starting center Todor Gechevski will miss the game with injury, F.Y.R of Macedonia could be struggling against the Lithuanians, who will have the unwavering support of the crowd behind them and who benefit from an extra day's rest.

With some teams looking to the future by bringing a number of fresh faces to this year's tournament, France is one team bucking the trend with their minds firmly set on winning EuroBasket and worrying about the Olympics later with French Head Coach Vincent Collet telling FIBA that this team was brought to play this tournament alone with no places within the side guaranteed for next year.

On the other hand, Collet's Greek counterpart Ilias Zouros has stated time and again that this tournament's team is one for the future, with a number of veteran players staying at home or being left there. Zouros' work in progress will have the ultimate test against a French team bringing back Tony Parker and Joakim Noah who were both rested in France's previous outing.

The last time that Russia needed to qualify for the Olympics they didso by beating World Champions Spain in the final of EuroBasket 2007. If they are to take the same direct qualifying route here then they are going to have to continue the tournament as the only unbeaten team up until the gold medal game.

Fresh off a win over F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Russia also showed they can get the job done without star Andrei Kirilenko who had an off-night shooting.

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Yet despite their unbeaten status, Russia remain wary as they prepare to take on Serbia who only made it this far when Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova missed a buzzer-beater that would have instead put his team in the last eight.

Having arrived to this point in such a fashion Serbia will now be all the more determined not to go home and as Russian Head Coach David Blatt pointed out to media, they will also be all the better for having had a rest day more than the Russians.

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« Reply #10 on: Sep 07, 2011, 06:15:34 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Greetings! Eurobasket of surprises

The first round of the strongest Eurobasket of all time is over and some surprising things have already occurred.

For example, in Group C who could have predicted that Croatia would be already eliminated, that Finland would qualify for the second round with F.Y.R. of Macedonia, and that the latter would dominate Greece for first place!

Group C was wide open from the start and it was only fitting that the third qualifier would squeak through on a three-way point differentiel. Unreal! When I commentate these games on TV I always insist that the final margin is almost as important as the result because when you base the standings on so few games, the point differential is often decisive.

The equally wide open Group D was another case in point, where Georgia sneaked through despite losing its last game to Bulgaria. If point differential is hard to explain to casual basketbal fans, it does make EVERY possession important.

In the second round, Russia and Slovenia should logically emerge as quarter-finalists, led by their NBA stars, Andrei Kirilenko and Goran Dragic. Kiri is dominating the stat sheet for the top notch Russian team that has recuperated its best players and wants a repeat of their amazing 2007 finish. Dragic can't buy a three point shot but is still playing a good all-around game while being significantly helped by Erazem Lorbek the leading scorer and rebounder for a Slovenian team that only lost by one point to powerful Russia. F.Y.R. of Macedonia and Greece should join them in the quarters and the second tour will be themed, in my opinion, by teams jockeying for position in order to avoid Spain in the quarter-finals!

The Spanish demonstration vs. Lithuania and its fans was absolutely incredible. Spain was younger, quicker, and more intense from the opening tip behind a Juanca Navarro festival and the Lithuanians looked like they were running in mud. When you added up the speed and shooting of the outside players with the size and technique of the inside trio of NBA stars, Spain looked unbeatable. Ibaka's second half was so good that coach Scariolo decide he could let Pau Gasol rest his ankle the next day against a resuscitated Turkish team,another surprise entrant who was saved by Great Britain beating Poland the last day. Without Pau and worn out by the short turnaround after the emotional Lithuania win 18 hours earlier, Spain looked human again missing open shots and only scoring TWO points in the fourth quarter, proving that one must be doubly careful vs. a team that dodged elimination miraculously! Maybe Spain got a little overconfident, something they will want to avoid in the second round when they play Germany, Serbia and France!

For me, it is much less clear which teams will qualify for the quarters out of Group E compared to Group F, even though France starts out in the best position after going 5-0 in the first round behind their brillant MVP candidate, Tony Parker and his other NBA pals, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, Joakim Noah etc. France will want to immediately punch its ticket for the quarters vs. Turkey on wednesday in a high pressure battle which arrives a bit rapidly for a tired and beaten up BUT euphoric French squad playing its best basketball since 2005 (bronze medal in Belgrade). The France-Serbia matchup was the best played game(they saved the best for last!) of the first round by far with lots of points,excellent execution,suspense, and spectacular action and it only seemed fitting that the result should be decided on an unlucky miss from close range after Serbia rained in eleven amazing three-pointers! Both teams deserved to win this one but the turning point was when Milos Teodosic was eliminated for five fouls at the end of regulation on a flagrant foul he should have avoided!

For once, France was just as mentally tough and determined as the Serbs which is a good sign for what lies ahead for them. In my opinion, they will qualify with Spain, Serbia and Lithuania but it won't be easy for any of them! What do you think?

by George EDDY from FIBA

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