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Author Topic: § EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments News & Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket  (Read 527642 times)
Posts: 73

« Reply #9 on: Sep 03, 2011, 10:57:28 PM »

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

EuroBasket - NBA players with key roles

After writing about Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker last week, I would like to go into the key roles that many other NBA players will have at the EuroBasket.

This week I will concentrate on Groups A and B, by far the strongest groups and next week we will look at groups C and D where Russia, Greece, Croatia and Slovenia line up as strong favourites to make the Quarter-Finals.

In powerful Group A, you have the two probable finalists in Spain and Lithuania plus FIBA World Championship finalists from Turkey who emerge as favourites to go to the Second Round.

For Spain,  the top seven players played or will play in the NBA as major actors (not as benchwarmers), which proves their talent level and their shared experience in winning big games since 2004 is unparalleled; they are everyone's favourites!

Playing all but one of their preparation games at home was good for filling the federation's coffers and pleasing the home fans, but we must not forget that their only loss came against Lithuania in Kaunas. Maybe they should have played stronger opponents away from home.

With Linas Kleiza, their best scorer in Turkey, absent, the NBA presence on the Lithuanian team is less important but former NBA players, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Darius Songaila can still take and make money-time shots and Jonas Valanciunas has a brillant future waiting in Toronto and a role to play at the Eurobasket.

The fabulous support of their basketball-loving home crowd should give them wings!

Turkey should qualify as the third team from Group A behind Ersan Ilyasova and Hedo Turkoglou but turning the page on the Bogdan Tanjevic era and the euphoria of last summer's World Championship Final won't be easy as we have seen with Turkey's up and down results during the preparation games.

Chicago's brillant scorer, Luol Deng, will have to move mountains by himself to get Great Britain into the Second Round but it will be fun watching him try.

Group B is by far the most dense with Serbia and France as clear favourites but fighting off Italy and Germany won't be easy.

Serbia, like Lithuania, is more of a European style roster but their results in the last two years speak for themselves. If Milos Teodosic stays a calm leader throughout, he should be the best point guard at the EuroBasket along with Parker.

Tony leads a French team where the top seven players play in or were drafted by NBA teams.

France has by far the greatest athletic potential of all the teams in Lithuania, which can translate into some lockdown defence when needed as in 2005 when they won the bronze in Belgrade.

However, the defensive leader then was the Phoenix Suns' Mickael Pietrus who is injured and will be missed along with the Knick's energetic Ronny Turiaf.

France won nine out of 10 preparation games but only played four tough opponents and six of the wins were too easy. Maybe they should have played more top flight teams at the end of their long preparation schedule.

The pressure will  be on from the get-go because Italy has three NBA stars to build around and Germany has two and these two teams feel that they can go to the Second Round too!

The big question for Italy is, can their trio of NBA shooters share the ball and play enough defence to qualify?

For Germany the question is: can Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman (who will probably score half their team's points) get enough scoring help and quality play from the guards to qualify?

The irony for the teams that qualify for the quarters from Groups A and B is that possibly their toughest opponents will already be behind them, but as we all know, anything can happen when all the marbles are riding on one game!

In any case, the teams in Groups A and B will have to take the competition step by step because being upset by a weaker opponent just one time might mean you don't qualify for the next round! What do you think?

George Eddy from FIBA

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Posts: 399

« Reply #8 on: Aug 18, 2011, 06:30:51 PM »

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

Spain scarily good

There will only be two tickets for London up for grabs at this summer's EuroBasket in Lithuania and one of them seems almost pre-stamped for a scary good Spanish squad.

Of course favorites don't always pan out but in Spain's case, there are so many factors in their favor, you just have to bow down to their excellence.

Let's take a look at those factors in the light of their three easy wins against France, Lithuania and Bulgaria to start off their preparation for the upcoming Eurobasket with a bang!

By the way, in those three wins coach Sergio Scariolo played the piano with his roster, limiting the playing time of his biggest stars who were still quite efficient.

He can afford to bring them along slowly in order to reach peak form during the elimination round. For example, Juanca Navarro scored 19 points in 12 minutes in the latest win v Bulgaria on five of seven shooting from three-point land.

Wow! This golden generation of Spanish players has come of age together around the Gasol brothers, Navarro, Rudy Fernandez and Calderon to name a few, and Scariolo had so much talent on hand he left the excellent Barcelona center Fran Vasquez at home.

I know a few national team selections where he would have been the best inside player!

Since this generation has played and won together for so many years, their team chemistry is off the charts and they circulate the ball and hit the open man with their eyes closed! These guys don't take many forced or bad shots and that is the sign of a champion. It's like they have an internal honor code for the group and bad shot selection is just not acceptable.

Okay, you might feel I paint too rosy a picture because in the recent past, sometimes Juanca and Rudy would be competing to be the top dog offensive threat from the wing, but this is only natural in such an elite hyper-competitive setting. Everyone will keep their ego in check for the greater good as they usually do because of the dominance and leadership of Pau Gasol, the ultimate go-to player in European basketball.

Now that his brother Marc is as good as he is, Spain has a double-whammy inside presence and you can make that a triple with the arrival of Serge Ibaka to bring athleticism and shot blocking to the already powerful mix. Not since the golden generation of Yugoslavia ( Divac, Radja, Kukoc ) have we seen such an impressive trio of in the paint superstars.

Spain has all the answers for upcoming defences in Lithuania and a seductive, fan pleasing, spectacular style to boot!. They can play really fast thanks to their quickness and steals on defence or slow the game down and pound the ball inside while surrounding the Gasols ( excellent passers ) with dead-eye three point shooters.

About the only tactic left for opponents is to leave Ricky Rubio open and zone up around the big men with alot of help from Rubio's defender.

That's when Scariolo can go to Calderon, a much better shooter and so on and so forth. This team has no weakness, ah, except maybe one... or two...

They must avoid getting overconfident or complacent and they must avoid arrogance and constant complaining with the referees which we have regretted in the past.

Of course, an upset is always possible but frankly, after lining up all these factors in Spain's favor, I have a hard time believing they won't get a direct ticket to the London Olympic games in September!

by George EDDY from FIBA

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Posts: 77

« Reply #7 on: Jul 30, 2011, 10:42:18 PM »

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

FIBA clears NBA players to play abroad during lockout

FIBA has confirmed it will approve the transfer of players under contract with the NBA deciding to play for clubs of FIBA affiliated leagues during the on-going lockout.

During a lockout NBA players who continue to be under contract with an NBA team are free to play anywhere they want, whether for their national teams and/or for club teams.

If an NBA player requests to play for a club of a FIBA affiliated league, the NBA will not object but will state that the player will have to return to his NBA team as soon as the lockout ends. Consequently, FIBA will deliver a letter of clearance subject to the receipt of a declaration signed by the player, stating that he will return to his NBA team when the lockout is over.

“As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labour dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled,” said FIBA Secretary General and IOC member, Patrick Baumann.

“In view of our role to promote basketball worldwide, we support any player wishing to play the game, wherever and whenever. We do so while obviously taking the interests, rights and obligations of all parties into account,” he added.

“We are delighted to see that, in spite of widespread doubts related to the lockout, National Teams competing in this summer’s Olympic Qualifiers will be able to count on the participation of most of their NBA stars.”

Any NBA player deciding to play during the lockout, does so at his own risk, notably if he sustains an injury.

FIBA has stated that it is up to the clubs to decide whether or not they shall sign a waiver clearing them of any responsibility towards the player in case of injury and other reasons preventing him from returning to the NBA and from fulfilling his obligations vis-à-vis his NBA team.

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« Reply #6 on: Apr 09, 2011, 01:48:51 AM »

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

Here come the batmen!

At the beginning of the third quarter of the Euroleague quarter-final decider between Real Madrid and Power Electronics Valencia on Thursday night, an 11th player entered the game.

A bat began to dart this way and that, dipping as low as eye level for the players.

The ball flew through the air, but so did the bat.

Valencia's players might have believed that was a good sign for their team because the bat is the symbol of their city.

There are bats on manhole covers in Valencia, above the town hall, on team shirts - everywhere.

What they may not have realized, though, is the affinity Madrid's players have with that winged creature.

"That's our lucky bat," Clay Tucker said.

"We practiced with bats all week long.

"Once the bat came, I told everyone we were going to win."

So, while Manu Ginobili swatted a bat to the court while playing for San Antonio last season in an NBA game and earned the nickname Batman, there was no chance of his Argentina teammate, Real Madrid point guard Pablo Prigioni, doing the same.

Maybe the bat just wanted to be a part of history because Madrid wrote a famous chapter in theirs by beating Valencia 66-58 on Thursday to win the five-game series, 3-2, and reach the Final Four.

The last 10 minutes were something you won't soon forget, but would like to.

It was ugly.

Like an NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago on a bitterly cold Sunday in January, it was a defensive struggle with the last period ending 8-7 in favor of Madrid.

All that mattered for Madrid was their victory.

It had been 15 years since the famous club had reached the Final Four.

The coach everyone expected to take Madrid to Barcelona was Ettore Messina, but he upped ship and left after a home demolition at the hands of Montepaschi Siena at the end of the Top 16.

The loss didn't impact Real Madrid in the standings as they had already clinched top spot, but Messina rightly pointed out that if fans are going to spend time and money to watch the team play, they deserve the best the players have to offer and against Montepaschi that night, maybe they hadn't given their best.

Messina's departure could have done two things.

It could have sent the club into a tailspin, or helped unify the players and fans, which is what he said he hoped would happen.

As the 3-2 series triumph over Valencia suggests, Messina's exit did the latter.

It brought everyone closer together.

"Messina's a great coach," said Tucker, one of the players left stunned by the coach's departure.

"He's a great person on and off the court and you can't take anything away from that.

"He made the decision to walk away from the team and we couldn't do anything about that.

"We respected his decision.

"But it did help us mentally in coming together as a team.

"With that happening, it prepared us for this (five-game series) and we were ready to get through it."

The man that deserves a lot of credit for Madrid reaching the Final Four is Emanuele Molin, Messina's longtime assistant.

Instead of leaving with his boss and good friend, Molin told Madrid he wanted to finish the job that Messina had started.

"It was a very strange situation for him," Tucker admitted.

"Messina and Molin had been together for what, 20 years?

"The one thing about Molin stepping in and taking his place, we kept the same system.

"Had another coach come in, it probably would have taken us a little bit more time to get used to it.

"So we were fortunate to have Molin step in."

One other thing that saved Madrid is the passion that exists at the club.

Madrid basketball is historically important, and you felt that during this entire five-game series.

They won two of the three games at the Caja Magica and also came from behind and won Game 3 at Valencia.

Everyone was at Game 5 on Thursday night, including club president Florentino Perez and football superstar Ronaldo.

The most important figures, though, were the banner-waving, drum-beating Madristas.

They created an awesome, ear-splitting atmosphere.

It was loud, intimidating.

The noise was continuous and gave the Madrid players a lift.

There were also the journalists of Madrid, some of whom Messina took a parting shot at when he left the club.

There were hugs in the mixed zone because those journalists had seen the basketball team play second fiddle to Barcelona for so many years.

"It made a huge difference," Tucker said.

"The fans really came out and supported us.

"We packed the house tonight and like you said, that ugly fourth quarter got us through."

At least one aim has been accomplished for the season.

Madrid has ended their long spell without a Final Four appearance.

"With the way this club is, and the surrounds, I'm amazed they haven't been to the Final Four in such a long time," Tucker said.

"But every team goes through a stretch where they don't get any championships, in the Super Cup or the ACB or getting to the Final Four.

"Now that we've got past that stage, it's up to us to go and try to win the Final Four."

Jeff Taylor from FIBA

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Posts: 69

« Reply #5 on: Mar 30, 2011, 02:08:27 AM »

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

Tucker sees how coaches come and go

If Real Madrid guard Clay Tucker has learned anything the past few weeks, it's that coaching is a volatile profession.

The 30-year-old guard watched one of the best coaches in Europe, Ettore Messina, walk out the Madrid door at the beginning of the month and on Monday, Tucker’s friend and former University of Wisconsin-Green Bay coach, Bruce Pearl, was fired by the Tennessee Volunteers.

Players come and go, and so do the men that lead them.

Pearl, who turned the Vols into one of the best teams in the SEC, endeared himself to his players and students at Tennessee with a gung-ho attitude that was impossible to dislike.

More than anything, he got people excited about men’s basketball at Tennessee, a school best known for a powerhouse football program and a rich tradition in women’s basketball.

Handed the reins five years ago, Pearl went 145-61 with Tennessee.

He made headlines off the court, too.

Pearl, with his players, once showed up at a women's basketball game with his body painted orange.

For that night, Pearl was like any other fan on the Tennessee campus, rooting on women’s coach Pat Summitt and her nationally ranked team.

Pearl was known for something else after big wins.

He’d charge into the locker room and high-five his players.

Pearl was immortalized at Tennessee in a video that shows him running into the locker room after one big win when and ripping off his shirt and doing an Incredible Hulk imitation before hugging his players.

"Bruce is probably any player's ultimate dream coach," Tucker said.

"He's into the game, he brings energy.

"He's never negative no matter what the situation is.

"He keeps the team positive."

Pearl knew his stuff during the game, too, according to Tucker.

"On the X's and O's, he's perfect," Tucker said.

"He scouts like no other coach.

"He can tell you any out-of-bounds play that a team is going to run for a last-second shot, or early in the shot-clock.

"But for me, he's best at motivating his team to get ready to play."

Tucker thinks Pearl will be working again soon.

"It all depends on what his buyout was," Tucker said.

"I'm sure if something good comes along, he'll step up and take it."

If it was uncomfortable watching Pearl be shown the door by Tennessee, Tucker was much closer to an unexpected turn of events at Madrid.

Messina, with Madrid having qualified for the Euroleague quarter-finals, decided to leave the team after a heavy home defeat to Montepaschi Siena in the Top 16.

"It was shocking,” Tucker said.

“He came into the locker room after the game we'd lost here and told us.

"But we've moved on. We have to play as professionals and do our job."

Emanuele Molin, Messina’s long-time assistant, was put in charge of Madrid for the rest of the season.

Tucker did not go into the Valencia series in the best of shape.

He was hurt in Madrid’s weekend defeat to Unicaja Malaga but played through the pain barrier and appeared in both games.

Tucker winced on more than one occasion in Tuesday’s game.

“I was in terrible pain the other night, but it's no excuse,” he said.

“It's a physical sport.

“I tried to fight through it and help the team get the win. We got the win on Tuesday but we came up short the second time.”

On Thursday night, Valencia bounced back from the 71-65 defeat and won 81-75.

The two games against Valencia at the Caja Magica have reinforced Tucker’s belief that he is playing basketball at a very high level, a fact that might not be appreciated back in the United States.

A native of Ohio, Tucker said: “People back home don't understand how real basketball is in Europe. And in my opinion, it's a lot more serious.

“They take it more seriously than NBA basketball.

“In the NBA, they play 82 games and a lot of guys don't play until the fourth quarter of some games and then they really pick it up.

“And a lot of teams don't pick it up until play-off time.

“Here, every game counts. You have to bring it every game or you can come up short like we did today.”

Madrid and every one of the teams in the Euroleague quarter-finals are in the same situation.

Each best-of-five series is knotted at 1-1.

Tucker knows it’s going to be a real dogfight the rest of the way.

"Valencia is a great team,” he said.

“They struggled at the beginning of the year.

“They switched coaches (dismissed Manuel Hussein and appointed Svetislav Pesic), found their stride and they're playing excellent basketball on both ends of the floor.

"We knew coming in that they were going to give us their best shot. They did, they came out successful and now it's our time to go to Valencia to try and steal a game there.”

Games 3 and 4 will be played in Valencia TODAY and Thursday.

Jeff Taylor from FIBA

Visit: The eBA Basketball & Statistics Encyclopedia
Posts: 98

« Reply #4 on: Feb 01, 2011, 11:09:16 PM »

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

The draw for EuroBasket 2011 maps out tough routes to medals and Olympics

The draw for EuroBasket 2011 took place at the National Drama Theatre in Vilnius on Sunday evening with tournament hosts Lithuania being drawn in the same group as Spain.

With only two automatic Olympic places and three to four Olympic Qualifying spots on offer, a top five or six* finish will be essential for any team with Olympic ambitions.

But making it beyond the first round, from which only the top three of each group qualify, will be a challenge in itself for some of the countries with big ambitions and strong basketball pedigrees.

Group A looks especially daunting, with defending Champions Spain drawn alongside World Championship silver and bronze medallists Turkey and Lithuania.

Great Britain, who should now be able to count on at least two NBA stars, are seen as the dark horse in the group, while Poland and an additional qualifier complete the lineup.

Some have already singled out group A as the 'group of death', but the strength of European basketball is such that none of the other three groups will leave respective players, fans and coaches particularly comfortable.

Some of the most talented young players in World Basketball will be on show in group B, with Serbia, France and Germany headlining the show.

Israel, Italy and Latvia will provide stiff competition, and will hope to do more than just battle it out between them for the fourth and final second round ticket.

Group C has a distinct regional flavour to it, with all but the as yet unknown qualifier hailing from the Balkan peninsula.

European heavyweights Greece are joined by Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and FYR Macedonia with the second of the three additional qualifiers completing the lineup.

Russia and Slovenia look to be the heavy favourites in group D where they are joined by Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia and Ukraine.

The Additional Qualifying Round will be disputed by Finland, Hungary and Portugal.

*The number of European Olympic Qualify places will be three if Great Britain are awarded an automatic place in London, otherwise it will be four. The decision will be made by the FIBA Central Board on 12-13 March 2011.

from FIBA

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« Reply #3 on: Aug 03, 2010, 04:37:35 AM »

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

London 2012 Olympics the goal for GB as Luol Deng
returns in EuroBasket qualifiers

Luol Deng, having been prevented from appearing in the warm-up matches by an insurance dispute with the NBA and the Chicago Bulls, finally reappears for Great Britain tonight as they kick off their qualifying campaign for the 2011 European Championships against Hungary in Szolnok.

Luol Deng will return for Great Britain's basketball team against Hungary in the Eurobasket qualifiers that will determine whether the team plays at

Deng, who averaged nearly 18 points and six rebounds a game for the Bulls last season, last appeared for Great Britain during their successful EuroBasket 2009 qualifying campaign but was forced to miss the finals in Poland with a stress fracture of the leg.

His reassuring presence is timely because Great Britain face a tricky qualifying tournament, playing eight matches in the next three weeks with home and away fixtures against Hungary, Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Macedonia.

GB go into the tournament without the injured or resting trio of Joel Freeland, Rob Archibald and Andrew Betts who have been outstanding in recent seasons while the debut of the Detroit Pistons' Ben Gordon has been delayed again after he failed to recover from ankle surgery.

On a more positive note Pops Mensah-Bonsu has been able to attend the training camp and warm-up matches and a clutch of Britain's most promising talents - Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Ashley Hamilton, Justin Robinson, Dan Clark and Ogo Adegboye - are about to get an extended campaign to prove their worth.

"We still have a strong squad and it's the best opportunity some of the young players will ever have to step up and become part of that Olympic dream," said coach Chris Finch. "We have nucleus of players who have been on the programme for the last three years or so and the new talent coming in can provide fresh impetus. They played with a lot of excitement in our warm-up games.

"If we had everybody available I would say we would be strong favourites to qualify automatically - certainly we would be the scalp others would looking for - but it's probably a bit more even now. We have got a big job to do but I am enjoying the way things are coming together."

"I'm not the slightest bit worried by the interesting road trips we have. We have lived on the road for the last three years, it's part of what we are and we have produced some very good performances and results under pressure in hostile arenas. I see that as a positive."

For every other team sport at the London 2012 Olympics Great Britain have been granted an automatic right to field a side but basketball's world governing body FIBA are making life as difficult as possible for the new kids on the block.

In fairness there are probably 15-20 teams who fancy they might just have a shout at a medal in the 12-team Olympic tournament so a place in the competition is highly prized and not given away lightly.

FIBA have already moved the goalposts once, however, going back on a previous assurance that reaching last year's European Championship Finals in Poland would be deemed sufficient evidence of Great Britain's "competiveness". There, weakened by injury, they lost all three games in a 'Group of Death' but did lead world champions and subsequent European champions Spain with less than three minutes to go. GB were nothing if not competitive.

"We need to know that the basketball family in the UK has a clear view of where it wants to go when the Games are finished," said FIBA secretary Patrick Baumann recently. "How is the game going to be structured? What are they going to be doing over the next four to eight years to make themselves competitive with other nations? If these things come together, there's no reason why GB should not be at the Olympic Games."

Which all seems a bit beyond FIBA's brief. This is the Olympics, not the world championships which is their fiefdom. And the last time the Olympics was held in a non Basketball nation - South Korea in 1988 - the hosts were included from the off and aquitted themselves with honour in both the men's and women's competitions.

Finch is well aware of the bigger picture. "We have got three plans running concurrently. There is the 2010 plan - qualify for the European Championships and secure Olympic inclusion. There is 2012 itself and our target of a quarter-final place and then there is 2016 and beyound when we want Great Britain to be genuine medal contenders in all major competitions."

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Great Britain Eurobasket 2011 qualification fixtures

Aug 2: Hungary v GB (Szolnok)
Aug 8: GB v Macedonia (Northumbria University, Newcastle)
Aug 11: Bosnia-Herzegovina v GB (Novi Grad)
Aug 14: GB v Ukraine (Birmingham NIA)
Aug 17: GB v Hungary (Birmingham NIA)
Aug 23: Macedonia v GB (Skopje)
Aug 26: GB v Bosnia-Herzegovina (Liverpool Echo Arena)
Aug 29: Ukraine v GB (Dnipropetrovsk)

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« Reply #2 on: Jun 02, 2010, 11:37:52 PM »

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

Is Rubio going to be the next star out of Europe?

Merhaba! Yes, you may hear it all before, but it's undeniable that this kid out of Spain could be elevating himself to a legitimate star if he succeeds in the World Championships this year.

The 19-year old (!) point guard already proved to belong to the best by winning the Euroleague-title a month ago and his team Regal FC Barcelona is also on route to be crowned champions of the domestic league.

Now the sole question is, will be Ricky able to lead the Spaniards to a surprising win over the heavily-favored U.S. Americans?

If he does, even without the support of Pau Gasol, then Ricky should be considered as the next big star out of Europe following the footsteps of players such as Drazen Petrovic, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker or Dejan Bodiroga.

His next goal would have to be winning the NBA-title to prove doubters wrong. Compared by many to legendary "Pistol" Pete Maravich, the speedy Catalan is acting calm and relaxed under the circumstances given.

Needless to say, that he loves being at home surrounded and protected by his family in Catalonia after turning down to play for the troubled Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA and opted instead to join Barca to snatch "Euroleague Rising Star" honors this year.

With a backcourt consisting of Barcelona-teammate Juan Carlos Navarro and Rubio, along with NBA-center Marc Gasol, NBA-guard Rudy Fernandez and charismatic forward Jorge Garbajosa, the Spaniards should be having no problems to advance at least to the quarter-finals if not the final itself.

The month of August and the World Champs are just two months away, but after checking out the highlights of Ricky on the videos below, I wish they would start within some minutes.

I'm out like doubters.

Kris Santiago from FIBA

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Posts: 73

« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2010, 01:54:48 AM »

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

Italy - Bargnani ready as Italy prepare for ‘group of death’

Andrea Bargnani would prefer to compete for a world title this summer.

Instead, he’ll have to settle for being the talisman in the Azzurri squad when Simone Pianigiani’s men attempt to qualify for EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania.

Bargnani held a press conference in Rome to remove any doubts about his availability this summer.

“We are going through a difficult time and I feel that responsibility but there's also the willingness to return to enjoy myself having an important role at international level,” he said.

Italy received a wild card to play at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and advanced from the Preliminary Round, but they failed to reach the Quarter-Finals of EuroBasket 2007 in Spain, which knocked them out of contention for a spot at the 2008 Olympics.

They also didn’t qualify for EuroBasket 2009 in Poland.

The Italians will take on Latvia, Israel, Montenegro and Finland in a Division A ‘group of death’ this summer.

Sitting alongside Italian Basketball Federation president Dino Meneghin, Bargnani said: "I didn't need to be convinced by Dino Meneghin or by coach Simone Pianigiani.

"My decision (to play) has been spontaneous at a time when Italian basketball is going through a period of an ugly crisis.”

Italy have been a hugely important team on the international stage over the years, but Bargnani says no side deserves to have anything given to it.

"It's right that this new cycle brings the Azzurri back to the level it merits,” he said.

As far as the intentions of his Toronto teammate, Marco Belinelli, Bargnani said: "Belinelli? I cannot speak for him, but I obviously hope that he also returns to the national team."

The other player in the NBA Italy would like to have is Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks.

Injuries have kept him out of action for the Italians dating back to before EuroBasket 2007 in Spain.

Italy will play eight games in three weeks as they attempt to reach EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania.


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« on: Jun 17, 2007, 09:12:30 AM »

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

This topic intents to provide information and analysis about all  EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments.

Visit: The eBA Stats Group WITH YOU on Twitter !

Este tópico intenta dar cabida a toda la información y análisis referidos a los Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket.

Visit: The eBA Stats Group Channel on YouTube

keywords= basketbal,basketball statistics, basketball analysis,statistics,european basketball,Eurobasket
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