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Author Topic: § Basketball World Events, Celebrations & Anniversaries • Celebraciones, Aniversarios y Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto  (Read 160638 times)
BGA Sandra Mirsov
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« Reply #48 on: Jun 09, 2013, 08:39:35 PM »

Basketball World , Celebrations and Anniversaries  • Celebraciones, Aniversarios y Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

• Weekend eBA Basketball Magazine: Steve Goldberg's Wheel World

Mrs Smith goes to China
Steve Goldberg’s Wheel World
What caught my eye were the directions.
They ended with 'transfer to Bus No. 381 or rent a bike'. Rent a bike…that's not an option I've ever seen suggested here in the United States.

Toto, I've a feeling that we're not in Kansas anymore.
Those directions weren't for anything in Kansas for sure but for an event in Guangzhou, a city of over 10 million people in southern China.
A few weeks back, on May 17, an article on the website notified readers that two American sports experts would soon be there for a presentation at the Guangdong Science Center.

One of them would be Dr Andrea Woodson-Smith, a veteran of the USA Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team and assistant professor specializing in adapted physical education at North Carolina Central University. With her would be Dr Becky Clark, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who played basketball at the University of Tennessee one season before moving to volleyball where she represented the USA in the Deaflympics.

Organized through the SportsUnited program of the U.S. Department of State, which has done numerous sports-based exchanges and many around basketball, this was the first time the State Department has sent envoys with a disability and the first to focus on adaptive sports. It was timed to coincide with the National Day of Caring for the Disabled in China.

The headline above references 'Mr Smith goes to Washington' a popular James Stewart movie from 1939 about a young senator determined to do the right thing. Essentially, that is the same mission of Woodson-Smith who figuratively jumped - she's recovering from the first of two hip replacements as you read this - at the opportunity to participate when the request came to be a Sports Envoy.

Before her trip, Woodson-Smith told the China Daily that her objective was "to bring about more cultural awareness on disability" and to share the changes she has seen at home, "discussing issues that the U.S. has overcome and is still working on."

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"I'm hoping this will allow for more engagement in decision-making to include all individuals, specifically those with disabilities," she added.

Inge Huitzing of Netherlands (L) is fouled by Andrea Woodson-Smith of United States during the women's Wheelchair Basketball bronze medal match between USA and Netherlands on Day 9 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Basketball Arena.
Photograph from Nguoi Vietnam Bon Phuong

Woodson-Smith has an impressive basketball resume if not the one she originally envisioned. While playing collegiately at James Madison University, she suffered three hip fractures when she was undercut while going up for a rebound. Her shot at the WNBA became the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA). Diagnosed in 1991 with arthritis in her hip and spine, an irreversible lower extremity disability, she's been involved with the wheelchair game for over a decade.

Her blocked shot in the waning moments helped the USA win the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF)'s World Championship over Germany in 2010 - the Americans' first world title since the inaugural event in 1990 - and she was on the team that took the silver medal in 2006. She earned a gold medal in the 2011 Parapan American Games and has represented the USA on and off since 2003. Nationally, she's won NWBA championships with the Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks women's team and also played with the Charlotte Rollin' Bobcats Championship Division men's squad.

Woodson-Smith and Clark worked with Guangzhou women's team - of which two players were on China's Paralympic team last summer in London - and also did clinics with hearing and visually impaired students in basketball, badminton, goalball, and table tennis.

The 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing were a huge boost towards redefining perceptions of disability in China and continued development and success in Paralympic sports will be critical to keep that moving forward in a positive fashion.

Perhaps the medal count will help that. China led all nations with 231 total medals in London. None came in basketball but the Chinese women had a reasonably successful trip to London last September where they finished fifth, up two spots from Beijing. Will a medal game be next in Rio?

In pool play, they lost to eventual gold medalists Germany by six points and to the defending champion USA by three in overtime, after leading by 11 through three quarters. After falling to eventual bronze medalists Netherlands in the Quarter-Finals, they beat hosts Great Britain before dropping Canada - gold medalists from 1992 to 2000 - 73-70 with three players scoring 20 or more.

But there is still far to go. According to the China Disabled People's Association, there were 85 million Chinese with disabilities at the end of 2010. With all of the improvements made leading up to hosting the Paralympic Games in 2008, China is still coming to terms with the perception and reality of people with a disability.

Woodson-Smith says the desire is there but social change is still required.

"Seeing them segregated from the general population was difficult. Also, seeing girls segregated from the boys and the lack of equipment for the girls to use in activities," she said.

"They are progressing but not very fast."

She hopes that an exchange such as this one will help accelerate the development.

"They were very receptive. They asked a lot of questions about what we do in the United States. They wanted to know about our experience and were very happy to have two people there with different types of disability to assist in their programs, to work with their children and to work with their wheelchair basketball team."

While the Chinese women are improving, the men’s team has only made one Paralympics as hosts in 2008.

In a country that has taken to basketball as much as China has, that needs to change. Someone get Yao Ming a chair.

Steve Goldberg from FIBA

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BGA J.J. Diaz
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« Reply #47 on: Apr 28, 2013, 08:54:06 PM »

Basketball World , Celebrations and Anniversaries  • Celebraciones, Aniversarios y Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

I am Gladiateur - The CWBL and NWBA crown tournament champions

Perhaps you're thinking it's the Parisian take on a classic Russell Crowe movie line? Not this time, though that would be cool.

It's an introduction to the new Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) champions from the French-Canadian province of Quebec.

It was championship week for the two major North American circuits with the Canadian CBWL and the USA's National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) having their season-enders on successive weekends.

The Canadians went first with the 2013 CWBL Open Championship in Montreal. The final game was for both national and Quebec bragging rights with Gladiateurs de Laval winning over the Bulldogs de Quebec 72-52. The 20-point margin was Laval's closest game in the tournament.

National team stalwart, 2012 London Paralympics gold medalist and Montreal homeboy David Eng led the Gladiateurs to their first title since 1999 with a triple-double - 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Carl Pelletier added 26 points on 12 of 19 shooting for the Gladiateurs, while Maxime Poulin had a game-high 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Quoted on the website, Eng expressed how important the win was for his team: "None of us were on the team that won in 1999, and we have been very close a lot of times, so for the new generation of players to be able to win it here today in front of family and friends is incredible."

Eng's Canada teammate Adam Lancia went for 35 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Nova Scotia Flying Wheels 68-46 over the Tornade de CIVA. Two Palmers, the brothers Benjamin and Nicolas, kept the double theme with 14 points and 12 rebounds and 13 points and 10 rebounds respectively.

Poulin was named the tournament's MVP, while Lancia and Eng were named to the tournament all-star team along with Ben Marston (Nova Scotia Flying Wheels), Evan Fenrich (Saskatchewan Club '99) and Ross MacDonald (BC Royals). Full results can be found here.

While the Canadian tournament featured the top seven open teams, the NWBA event featured almost every division with titles decided for Championship, Division III, and Juniors (Varsity, NIT and Prep) in Louisville, Kentucky, coincidentally home to the new NCAA men's champion Cardinals.

This wheelchair basketball festival drew over 3,000 players, coaches and fans to Kentucky which made for some noisy neighbors for at least one player trying to get some rest before the next day's games. Jason Nelms, one of my favorite gym rats, posted the following Facebook note: "So wide awake at midnight in Louisville and the people next to my room are all jacked up and loud (sharing that weird side door). But still so excited after talking to some great jrs, that I don't even care.

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Live it up nationals room neighbors cuz I’ll be up all night anyways and you only live today once."

Canada celebrates after winning gold in the London 2012 men's wheelchair basketball competition. The Canadian men’s and women’s senior national teams for this year 2013 have been revealed, but they don’t include superstar Patrick Anderson. Photograph by PPC / Getty Images
Photograph from

To Nelms, a USA team regular who plays for the Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks and coaches the University of Texas-Arlington women's team, every chance to play is a gift and if the loud joy of basketball next door is keeping him awake, so be it.

Sleep is evidently overrated when it comes to the Mavericks machine. As they have been all year, Dallas were top dogs of the Championship Division (D1) and it would end that way with a 67-53 win over the RHI Pacers from Indianapolis in a rematch of last year's game.

In the final, the court was littered with Paralympians and national team level talent. The Pacers offered up USA vets Steve Serio, Brian Bell, and Jeff Townsend while Dallas countered with Nelms, Jermell Pennie and Danny Fik as well as Colombia's Dwight Howard lookalike Rodney Hawkins.

Down two at the half, RHI surged to a seven-point lead early in the second before Dallas chipped away and finally regained the lead at 52-51.

Dallas went big - and I mean really big, with Hawkins, Bobbie Nickleberry and Anthony Pone - and Indy shots stopped falling. With Nelms and Pennie controlling the pace, Dallas surged ahead to 64-51 before Bell finally hit a pair of free-throws with 1:53 left.

Nelms, the little engine that could, was named the game's MVP for his 24-point and six assists performance. At the risk of offending a Pat Riley trademark, this is a four-peat for the Mavericks and their 12th national title.

The first five of the All-Tournament team included Nickleberry, Pennie and Hawkins (10 points and 10 rebounds in the final) from Dallas; Serio and Bell from RHI. Townsend (RHI) made the second team with other USA vets Jeremy Lade and Matt Lesperance (both Milwaukee Bucks), Tyrone Griner and Aaron Patterson (both University of Arizona).

Still called Division III even though it's the second rung on the NWBA ladder, the champions are the Detroit Diehards, 58-47 winners over the Tampa Bay Strong Dawgs.

The various Junior Division level winners were the Lakeshore Lakers (Birmingham, AL) in NIT, Chicago (IL) Skyhawks in Prep, and the TIRR Memorial Hermann Hotwheels (Houston, TX) in Varsity.

The NWBA Intercollegiate - partial results here - and Women's divisions were played separately a few weeks ago. The University of Alabama men won their first title over the University of Texas-Arlington 71-52 while the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, led by USA star Becca Murray's 28 points, beat Alabama 56-41. German Paralympic gold medalist Annika Zeyen led Alabama with 14 points. You can see the final games story here.

The Dallas Lady Mavericks, led by USA teamer Andrea Woodson-Smith, won the women's division title with a 49-47 win over the University of Arizona Lady Wildcats.

So, très bien to Gladiateurs de Laval, and congratulations to Dallas, Detroit, Lakeshore, Chicago and TIRR for their season-long resilience and being the last teams sitting.

And Laval, if by chance you make up a cool "Je suis Gladiateur" t-shirt, @FIBAWheelWorld wears an XL.

Steve Goldberg from FIBA

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BGA John Volger
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« Reply #46 on: Jan 14, 2013, 06:05:12 AM »

Basketball World , Celebrations and Anniversaries  • Celebraciones, Aniversarios y Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

Canada  Celebrates 90th Anniversary

( para la Traducción al Español: Ver a Continuación )

Canada  is ready to kick-off its 90th anniversary with an evening of celebration at the 8th Annual Canada  Night at Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors tip-off against the Philadelphia 76ers as the country’s national governing body in the sport of  commemorates 90 years of hoops at home. As the year unfolds, Canada Basketball will launch a series of initiatives in recognition of the past while tracing the journey of The Maple Leaf on the court.

In Canada, the  has seen an unprecedented level of growth and development in recent years. From children playing on the local court to the Senior ’s National Team at the London ; from high school hoopsters to a record eight Canadian players in the National Basketball Association to start the season – the country continues to show its support and dedication to the sport that a Canadian invented.

President and CEO of Canada Basketball, Wayne Parrish, is pleased with how far the game has come, but sees the coming year as an important stepping stone in the continued development of basketball in Canada. “At all age-groups of the game, our  and  have demonstrated the exceptional level of talent that this country possesses. In the coming  season, the collective efforts of our fine athletes, coaches and trainers will be on display for the world to see as Canada strives towards excellence on the  stage.”

In conjunction with Canada Basketball’s 90th anniversary, a national multimedia campaign is being launched with the support of our Toronto-based Agency of Record, Derooted, to provide fans with the opportunity to show that Canada’s Got Game. The wealth of skill and passion behind the sport in this country runs deeper than those playing organized basketball. Michele O’Keefe, executive  of Canada Basketball, recognizes the contributions of those off-the-court and believes that “The backbone of a successful team, at any level, is the people who fill the stands. Without the support of this country’s basketball community, Team Canada would not be where it is today. This online campaign is our chance to give back to the fans and show that together, we are a nation of basketball.”

Beginning today, fans of any age or level of skill can show the country how innovative they can be when it comes to the game they love.

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Whether they are on the court with a ball or at home with a rolled-up pair of socks and a laundry basket, Canada Basketball invites fans across the nation to film their shot and share it online with the world to show that Canada’s Got Game – that #WECANBBALL.

Canada Basketball

Comienza la celebración de los 90 años de Canadá Basketball

 Canadá Basketball ha puesto en marcha una serie de iniciativas y eventos a lo largo de 2013 para celebrar los 90 años en el baloncesto y trazar el recorrido de la hoja de arce en la cancha.

Como Presidente y CEO de Canadá Basketball, Wayne Parrish, tiene todos los motivos para estar satisfecho con la forma en la que el juego ha evolucionado, pero también considera el próximo año como un importante paso en el desarrollo continuo de baloncesto en Canadá.

"En todos los grupos de edad, nuestros hombres y mujeres han demostrado el nivel excepcional de talento que posee este país", afirmó. "Durante la próxima temporada competitiva, los esfuerzos colectivos de nuestros atletas y excelentes entrenadores estarán en exhibición para que el mundo vea como Canadá se esfuerza por la excelencia en la escena internacional".

El juego se ha visto en un nivel sin precedentes de crecimiento y desarrollo en los últimos años en Canadá.

Desde los niños que juegan en las canchas locales, hasta la Selección Femenina de Mayores compitiendo en los Juegos Olímpicos de Londres, por no hablar de los Hoopsters de secundaria y un récord de ocho jugadores en la NBA para comenzar la temporada actual - el país continúa mostrando su apoyo y dedicación a el deporte que un canadiense, el Dr. James Naismith inventó.

Uno de los eventos fue una noche de celebración en la 8 ª Noche Anual de Baloncesto de Canadá en el Air Canada Centre la noche del miércoles, cuando los Raptors de Toronto recibieron la visita de los 76ers de Filadelfia.

Y, para el 90 º aniversario cumplido, Canadá Basketball está poniendo en marcha una campaña multimedia nacional para ofrecer a los aficionados la oportunidad de mostrar que "Canadá Tiene Juego”.

La riqueza de la habilidad y la pasión detrás de este deporte en el país va más allá de aquellos que juegan al baloncesto organizado de acuerdo con Michele O'Keefe, directora ejecutiva de Canadá Basketball, que también reconoce las contribuciones de aquellos fuera de la cancha.

"La columna vertebral de un equipo exitoso, en cualquier nivel, es la gente que llena las gradas", dijo. "Sin el apoyo de la comunidad de baloncesto de este país, el equipo de Canadá no estaría donde está hoy.

Esta campaña online es nuestra oportunidad de devolver a la afición y demostrar que juntos, somos una nación de baloncesto".

FIBA Américas

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« Reply #45 on: Sep 03, 2012, 05:31:42 AM »

Basketball World , Celebrations and Anniversaries  • Celebraciones, Aniversarios y Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

Paralympic 's tournament as much a toss-up as Women's

It’s a bit like the sea, the  and Paralympic Games, a series of tides washing in and rolling out, influxes of elation followed by the ebbs of melancholy.

It begins with the first announcement of which city has won the games, which is soon followed by the harsh realities of what it takes to stage them and how that plays out over the next seven years.

Then comes the great joy as the  finally arrive; it seemed they would never get here, then like they would never end.

The tide stays high but the next couple of weeks speed by like the Javelin train and suddenly the games are gone and a sadness, much like the loss of a loved one, settles in.

And then, after a couple of weeks the anticipation rebuilds as the Paralympics approach and the joy is back.

That’s where we are today in London, the rain giving way to the glory of the thousands of athletes who marched into the opening ceremonies at the London /Paralympic Stadium.

The preparation is over. As I last wrote about the competitive balance of the women’s tournament, this will focus on the men’s bracket.

Not to be redundant but this is going to be just as much a toss-up as the women’s side with no less than four teams having a valid shot at taking it all.

In the opening games, first-timer Turkey open their Paralympic account against the United States and one-time contender Spain look to find the magic once more against Italy.

Australia, the Beijing titlists, will open their defense against newcomers South Africa later in the day.

The Aussies are a real threat to repeat their success in Beijing but Canada, the 2000 and 2004 gold medalists, the Americans, and host Great Britain all have realistic designs on the top step of the podium.

The USA may see themselves as the current version of the Yanks’ 2008 Olympic squad which called itself the “Redeem ”.

Wheelchair  has enjoyed global parity much longer than the stand-up game – six different countries have won Paralympic gold compared to just three in the  - and the USA haven't taken gold since 1988, a major motivator for the game’s originators.

Canada, who made it to the Beijing Final after a double-overtime defeat of the Americans, are older but no doubt boast the talent to make the Final again.

Great Britain have taken three medals in the last four games, including a silver in Atlanta and bronze in both Athens and Beijing. Having the home crowd behind them might just be the sixth man needed for a run at the gold.

By no means though is this just a four- tournament. Germany have been steadily improving and have the capability to win against anyone here.

Columbia, another debutant from the Americas, could be a spoiler as they were in the Parapan American Games upsetting Canada.

Turkey will show what they’ve learned by hosting one of the world’s top professional wheelchair basketball leagues.

Some will win as expected while others will be exposed. There will be heroes and villains, the celebrated and the unsung.

This is what the games are about. Let the games begin.

 Steve Goldberg from FIBA

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Camilo 007
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« Reply #44 on: Aug 31, 2012, 10:41:46 PM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

Final thoughts on London

The Olympics are done and dusted.

Looking back, almost every team in the Men’s Tournament had something to be happy about in London.

Only China, who lost all five of their games, looked completely overmatched.

The United States beat Argentina in the Semi-Finals and then Spain in the title game for the second Olympics in a row.

Remember Athens 2004, when the Americans lost to Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Argentina?

The days of the American national team crisis are long gone.

All hail USA Basketball President Jerry Colangelo, the managing director who had a vision of creating a national team program for the Americans before the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

The only loss for the USA since Colangelo’s involvement remains the 101-95 setback to Greece at the Worlds in Japan six years ago.

We haven’t seen the last of the USA v Spain rivalry, either.

The Americans have qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup as Olympic champions while Spain will compete as the host nation.

Don’t bet against these sides meeting in the Final of that event.

Team USA’s Kobe Bryant and Spain’s Felipe Reyes have retired from international basketball but everyone else should be available for 2014.

The biggest challenge for both teams will be which players to include.

Spain’s Ricky Rubio will be fit again after missing this summer with a knee injury.

There is a tantalizing prospect of having both Rubio and Sergio Rodriguez in the Spanish squad.

Derrick Rose will be back for the Americans at the point, possibly replacing Chris Paul.

Neither USA coach Mike Krzyzewski nor Spain boss Sergio Scariolo has ruled out remaining with the teams in 2014.

In London, Russia reached the podium in a Men's Olympic tournament for the first time.

David Blatt’s team had to beat a veteran-laden Argentina, 81-77, in a thrilling Bronze Medal Game to do it.

The Argentinians, eight years removed from their gold-medal win in Athens, had plenty of highlight reel plays with 35-year-old Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni and Luis Scola (both 32) strong.

As Scola said after Argentina's 82-77 Quarter-Final win over Brazil: "To be in the Semi-Final stages of the Olympics can never be a minimal aim, but rather the maximum.

"It's something great to reach the last four."

He knew how difficult it was going to be for Argentina, bronze-medal winners in 2008, to get back to the podium for a third Olympics in a row.

The question for Argentina now is how to move forward.

Olympic rookie Facundo Campazzo, the point guard who drew the ire of Team USA by hitting Carmelo Anthony with what the Americans called a “cheap shot”, will be a part of the Argentinian future.

For Russia, the main objective has to be to keep Blatt involved but that may prove difficult.

He took over the Russia team in 2006.

London may have been his swan song.

Brazil didn't capture a medal but did come in fifth in their first Olympic experience since 1996.

All signs point to Ruben Magnano's team being a force at the World Cup in Spain, and in 2016 when Brazil host the next Olympics.

France appeared in their first Summer Games since 2000 and came in sixth.

Les Bleus should use their gritty and determined effort against Spain in the Last Eight as a launch pad for bigger things.

The only two defeats for Vincent Collet's team came against sides that played in the title game, and the future is bright with a vast pool of talent to draw from.

Australia battled back from a second consecutive 0-2 start at an Olympics to reach the Quarter-Finals and might have done even better had they not continued their tradition of taking on the USA in their first knockout game of a major tournament.

In 2006 at the World Championship, the USA beat Australia in the Last 16 and at the last two Olympics, the Americans beat the Aussies in the Quarter-Finals.

The Boomers introduced youngsters Pat Mills and Joe Ingles to the world in Beijing and they were twice as good in London.

Mills had a buzzer-beating shot at the death to down Russia in Australia’s last Preliminary Round game and Ingles was a star in the defeat to the USA.

Don’t be surprised if Ingles joins San Antonio guard Mills in the NBA in the near future.

Lithuania had their string of Semi-Final appearances, which dated back to the 1992 Games, snapped with a hard-fought defeat to Russia in the Last Eight.

But the Baltic side did well just to reach London.

They had to pull out all stops at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela to claim one of the three spots on offer.

Great Britain claimed just a single win against China.

The host nation of the Olympics nearly upset Brazil and never quit against Spain, losing by just a single point to Scariolo's team.

The Brits will compete at the EuroBasket in Slovenia next year and will hope to have the solid nucleus of Joel Freeland, Dan Clark, Eric Boateng, Andrew Lawrence and Devon van Oostrum in the squad.

Britain’s Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls is in his prime but was non-committal about next summer after the Olympics.

Maybe the chance to play at the first World Cup in Spain will provide him with the incentive of staying involved.

London marked the first time two African nations competed in the Men’s Tournament.

They were Olympic newcomers Nigeria and Tunisia.

The former can remember its successful qualifying campaign in Caracas when it knocked out Greece in the Quarter-Finals and claimed one of three spots for London.

Had the Nigerians not lost point guard Ade Dagunduro to a knee injury in just their second game at the Olympics, maybe they would have scraped another win or two and progressed to the last eight.

The Africans were much better than their historic 156-73 drubbing to the United States indicated.

The Americans' tally was a record number of points scored by a team at an Olympic Games.

Tunisia are in unchartered territory.

They have played at a World Championship, won an African title and completed at an Olympics in a three-year spell.

Injuries limited their point guard Marouan Kechrid to just two appearances.

When all of the games had been played, and the Americans stood atop the podium, there was no doubt about the dominant side in the world.

They hold the number one spot in the FIBA Men's Ranking and deserve to as well.

What the London Olympics proved more than anything else is that international basketball continues to grow, with seemingly tougher competition around the world than ever before.

In two years, at the 24-team FIBA Basketball World Cup, the United States will once again start as favorites.

At no time can you expect them to take any opponent lightly.

To do so would be asking for trouble.

The biggest certainty of all is that the FIBA Basketball World Cup is going to usher in a new era of the sport, and it’s going to happen in a country with a huge appetite for the game.

The Americans and Spaniards will be there, but who will join them?

It’s going to be an exciting two years finding out.

See you in Spain.

Jeff Taylor from FIBA Today

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« Reply #43 on: Aug 14, 2012, 09:09:27 PM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

Men's Final, the remake

I guess another shootout was possible. In the end, Spain DID have four quarters of top notch offensive basketball in them and the 2012 Men's Olympic Final DID live up to the incredible level of the 2008 Final opposing the same two teams.

Just think, to build an eight-point lead at the end of the first quarter, Team USA had to make seven of 10 three-point shots (!) because Juan Carlos Navarro re-became the ruthless scorer he was as the MVP of the last Eurobasket, too quick for Kobe Bryant to catch on his way to 14 points in the first seven minutes.

Unfortunately for Spain, Navarro had to nurse a foot injury all season and lacked game conditioning from there on. As predicted, Spain played a lot of zone defense but at the start of the second quarter they came out in a man-to-man and regained the lead behind Marc Gasol and Sergio Rodriguez.

Coach Sergio Scariolo was slow to pull Marc after his third foul and he immediately picked up his fourth which glued him to the bench until the fourth quarter. This could have really hurt them, but Spain held strong thanks to Serge Ibaka and Rudy Fernandez to be only one point behind at halftime, 59-58, winning the second quarter 31-24, something Team USA was definitely not used to!

Spain scored 58 points in the first half against the USA's solid defense after only scoring 66 against France and 67 vs. Russia in the whole game! Coach K's team never panicked getting some timely baskets against the zone from Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams in the first half and timely scores and assists from LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant throughout the game.

In the third quarter, Spain took back the lead when an excellent Pau Gasol (who finished not far from a triple-double) scored seven straight points. He and his teammates played good defense and controlled the boards as the Team USA shooters hit a cold stretch.

Ibaka finished strong making a lot of free-throws and two buckets to compensate for Marc Gasol's absence and Spain attacked the fourth quarter still behind by one point, 83-82, the ideal scenario for them because they played well in the fourth quarter in the quarters and semis.

On the other hand Team USA had seen enough and attacked the fourth quarter playing aggressive defense and LeBron and Paul took over the scoring load before KD shook Spain's box and one defense to increase the lead.

As usual, Fernandez got under the skin of a few guys with his flopping and hard fouls but overall, he had a pretty good game. With two minutes to go it was a two-possession game at 99-93 before LeBron and Paul closed it out 107-100.

Both teams scored a hundred, 22 three-pointers were made, turnovers were low with 11 for each team, the score was close throughout and some nice assists, dunks and blocks will fill up the highlights.

Spain once again started an international tournament slowly, losing to Russia and Brazil, but as the elimination games advanced, Spain looked better in each round.

In the Final we saw the culmination of all those years playing and winning together as their quality of play will attest to but this was still not enough to deny Team USA, a team with a good attitude, respect for the game and their opponents and more than anything, NBA All-Stars coming off the bench right up to the 11th man which is one heck of a lot of pure basketball talent.

Since the ensemble was also darn well coached, Spain and all the other beaten opponents could only accept defeat with dignity and tip their hats to James (what a summer for the King!), Durant et all. This final was once again a wonderful promotion for the game and the good news is that all the NBA stars will be back in Rio in four years for another turn on the Olympic merry-go-round!    
George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #42 on: Aug 14, 2012, 08:03:10 AM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

OLY - An Olympics to remember

Another Olympics has come and gone for basketball, a sport that took center stage in London.

At the Summer Games, the appetite for big-time international hoops was huge, both for the men's and women's tournaments.

Players fed off the energy in the Olympic Basketball Arena, and the North Greenwich Arena.

Tickets were a hot item.

Even when games had 9am starts, or tipped off after 10pm, there were, as they say in Great Britain, bums on seats.

There were some blowouts, but close contests were the norm.

The United States reigned supreme for the second Olympics in a row, but both sides had to clear significant hurdles.

For some of the teams, the summer was extra long because of the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in Ankara, Turkey (women), and Caracas, Venezuela (men).

Turkey, France, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Canada entered the women's field after competing in Ankara, while Russia, Lithuania and Nigeria made it to London from Caracas.

Nigeria’s progression meant that for the first time, Africa had two teams in the men’s Olympic tournament.

They joined Afrobasket champions Tunisia in London.

The qualifying tournament clearly helped Russia.

Their men cut down the opposition in Venezuela like a scythe slicing through wheat, and in London, they overcame all opponents before falling to Australia on the last day of the Preliminary Round.

Turkey, France and especially Canada appeared to benefit from the women's qualifiers.

Basketball will be remembered in London because of spectacular plays.

Australia were involved in three.

The Opals' Belinda Snell made a shot from beyond half-court, one that travelled more than 16 meters, at the buzzer to force overtime against France in the Preliminary Round.

Opals center Elizabeth Cambage dunked in another Preliminary Round encounter against Russia.

Pat Mills hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Boomers victory over Russia.

Before that, Russia had won a thrilling encounter against Brazil when a closely-guarded Vitaliy Fridzon drilled a three-pointer from the left corner just three seconds from the death.

France had their moments, including one that Celine Dumerc provided when nailing a long three-pointer at the buzzer in overtime for a victory over hosts Great Britain in the women’s tournament.

Great Britain’s basketball teams won a combined one game, yet they were in several close contests.

“I think the British (men’s) team didn't let us down,” said FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann.

“It's always hard to come to the Olympics for the first time and even try to win a game.

“They won a game (against China) but also they lost very narrowly in a couple of other games (to Brazil and Spain) and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come and certainly given that the financing will continue for the next four years, they should have a good chance qualifying for Rio 2016.

“That's something very positive because having basketball grow in this market is something we've all been looking forward to.”

The bronze-medal game in the men’s tournament between Russia and Argentina could not have been any closer.

Alexey Shved drilled a go-ahead three-ball with 37 seconds to play for Russia, and David Blatt’s team then survived a frantic finish.

Manu Ginobili and Pablo Prigioni trapped Fridzon at midcourt, and Ginobili came up with a steal.

The ball ended up in the hands of Prigioni, who dribbled but then had the ball taken away by Shved.

Russia added a Fridzon basket before time expired for an 81-77 victory.

“I was next to him and he got fouled,” Ginobili said.

“Refs are human and of course you get upset. But it's part of the game.

“Before that, I fouled Fridzon on a three-point shot and they didn't call it and we were not complaining about that one.”

One of the best women’s games in the knockout round came when France fought back from a double-digit deficit to stun the Czech Republic.

The United States also trailed Australia in the Semi-Finals after Cambage scored 19 first-half points, yet the Americans won that contest.

The men’s tournament had several thrilling encounters, including Quarter-Finals between Spain and France, Lithuania and Russia and Argentina against Brazil.

Spain had to come from behind to defeat Russia in the Semi-Finals while in the gold-medal game, the United States were behind in the second half against Spain but eventually won, 107-100.

Kevin Durant had 30 points for the Americans in their win.

“We've had amazing games at nine in the morning,” Baumann said.

“There have been great games.

“It wasn't clear who next to the USA would go to the Final seeing how Spain played during these two weeks.

“No one could have guessed for sure it would be the remake of the Final in Beijing.”

Fans were able to see a high level of performance from many teams.

“Certainly the technical level in the men's tournament is even better than Beijing,” Baumann said.

“I think that's visible for everyone.”


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« Reply #41 on: Aug 11, 2012, 02:04:43 AM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

OLY Basketball Men's Semi-finals, one from the heart !

Spain goes into a mammouth Semi-Final with Russia less dominant and serene compared to the recent past but still confident that they can battle and claw their way to victory despite the adversity.

Spain beat France with Pau Gasol scoring only ten points and Juan Carlos Navarro going 3/11 shooting.

They mixed up man and zone defences intelligently, put the stops on Tony Parker and Nicholas Batum thanks to Sergio Lull and Rudy Fernandez, and were more cool-headed down the stretch.

It was symbolic that Marc Gasol's deciding basket in the last minute came after two passes from Navarro and Pau because those three have been accumulating medals and titles for seven years together!

Both teams played fabulous defence for four quarters but Spain got to the free throw line more often and hit just a few more clutch shots. Of course, France was frustrated to see the same scenario play out once again vs. their arch-rival, coming ever so close in what Vincent Collet called the game of their lives for the Parker generation.

Collet regretted after the game not having rested Parker to start the fourth quarter because Tony didn't have 38 minutes in his legs and it showed on his last few shots which were all short. Spain's craftiness(France would translate this to flopping and complaining to the referees!) once again prevailed as they never panicked and did just enough to win.

Pau said that this difficult win came from the heart! Spain will need all this and much more against a strong, deep and balanced Russian team built around their extraordinary all-around leader Andrei Kirilenko.

Russia like Spain made just a few more decisive plays and shots than Lithuania (thank you captain Sergei Monya, who came out of nowhere in the 4th quarter)but the Russians are bigger and more physical than France whose defence is built more around quickness so Spain will have to play a completely different, more rugged type of game in the semi-final.

If France could finally come SO close to beating Spain, this might be a sign that Russia will be able to do it as they did in Madrid in the 2007 Eurobasket Final. That game came down to the last shot and this one may too!

In the other semi-final, we will finally see what Team USA is really made of because Argentina only lost to them by six during preparation and played great defence to beat Brazil.

This one should be much closer than the first round game opposing the two teams because Argentina won't try and win a shootout with USA this time.

On the contrary, they will do the opposite and slow the pace to force a low-scoring defensive struggle from the trenches as they did vs. Brazil. This is their only chance to bother Team USA who blew out Australia in the fourth quarter of their Quarter-Final.

In any case the Ginobili-Scola-Nocioni-Delfino generation can be proud of their spot in the semi-finals. After the gold in Athens and the bronze in Bejing, what a fitting finish to an incredible run!

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #40 on: Aug 08, 2012, 09:35:50 PM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

Top 10 from first week

After a week in the men's basketball tournament, here's my top 10 of key events so far.

10. If Lithuania logically beats Tunisia on Monday, then the four teams eliminated will be the four we expected before the start of the competition. No surprises there.

9. Australia beat China by 20 and Great Britain by 31 to handily qualify for the quarters behind Patty Mills, who is tied as the leading scorer of the competition with Luis Scola at 22.5 points per game.

8. The most eye-opening dunks for Team USA have come from Russell Westbrook who floats above the rim and benefits the most from the gorgeous super slow-motion camera coverage.

7. The loser of the Spain-Brazil match-up on Monday will finish third in  Group B and would play France in the quarters, then Russia in the semis instead of Argentina then USA. Does this mean the coaches are going to play their bench players extensively? Let's hope not!

6. Players who have upped their stock with NBA franchises during this tournament are Mills, Joel Freeland, Ike Diogu, Alexey Shved, Timofey Mozgov, Linas Kleiza and Yi Jianlan.

5. Argentina has three blowout victories thanks to experience, a superb passing game and Scola and Manu Ginobili who are on top of the leading scorers board and despite some bizarre contributions from several of the subs!

4. In France's three wins, Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum have found their legs despite missing most of the preparation. Tony is the seasoned money time finisher and leader while Batum continues to be a formidable lieutenant as the second scoring option and France has once again reached its high level, defensively and collectively, of last summer's brillant Euro campaign.

3. The USA-Nigeria game was a record-breaker for scoring, win margin, shooting percentage and Carmelo Anthony's record 37 points on 10 three-pointers in only 14 minutes. What an offensive orgy!

2. Oddly enough, Team USA followed that up with a nail-biter against Lithuania, winning by only five points. The coaches and players welcomed the wake-up call and congratulated the hot shooting and passing Lithuanians, who played much better than against Argentina and France and will be full of confidence and a dangerous adversary for Russia when the quarter-finals begin on Wednesday.

1. The best and most exciting game so far opposed Russia and Spain. This seasaw battle for first place in Group B lived up to its billing with Russia coming back from a horrible 2-20 start to rip away its second lucky win in a row (after Brazil) behind Vitaly Fridzon's and Anton Ponkrashov's career nights. Russia is up and down but has the resourcefulness and talent to come back from any dire situation. This is why I would not be surprised to see them play Team USA for the gold. In basketball, timing is everything and during the elimination round, it's more important than ever to be lucky AND good!

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #39 on: Aug 06, 2012, 07:52:17 PM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

No basketball entitlement for USA Men

In 1992, the United States went nuclear with the Dream Team and introduced the NBA to Olympic Basketball. A loss to the USSR in a Seoul Semi-Final four years earlier drove home the point that the game had gone global. Another bronze medal in Athens made it clear that even American NBA stars weren't a shoe-in for victory.

Yet still, when it comes to basketball, there seems to be a public sentiment that because the game was born in the U.S. (albeit by a Canadian), we should still own it. The Brits know what I'm talking about. They still hold on to that fantasy when it comes to football. But we like they, are wrong.

Sure, LeBron and his boys are laying waste to opponents in the Preliminary Round of London but they've been well coached not to take anything for granted. “Remember Puerto Rico!” is, or should be, the battle cry.

While the American men won the first seven Olympic titles until the controversy of Munich, on the Paralympic side, parity came earlier with Israel winning in 1968 and 1980, and France in 1984.

The USA won seven of the first 10 Paralympic titles but have not worn gold since 1992. (The Americans did win the gold medal game in Barcelona but were disqualified when one player tested positive for a pain medication.)

The last four Paralympics have been ruled by the Commonwealth with Australia and Canada taking two each. After taking bronze in Atlanta and Sydney, the USA didn't even medal in Athens or Beijing. So where would a sense of entitlement come from?

"I think we're beyond that," says American coach Jim Glatch. "I've got a group of guys who have never won a gold medal so instead of feeling like they've automatically earned it; they all really want it bad. You can see that in their work ethic."

Go on.

"I don't think it's a sense of entitlement but more a sense of 'We want that'. They have it; we want it."

He says his players "want to be on that medal stand, not because they think they deserve it; they want to feel like they earned it."

Paul Schulte, who hit the buzzer-beating shot that won the last bronze medal for the USA in Sydney, agrees.

"I think there is more of an expectation than an entitlement," he said.

"That begins with the players and the coaching staff. We believe each time out that we are a major contender and that we can get that gold."

Schulte was in Beijing last go round when the Americans lost a double overtime Semi-Final thriller to Canada which would've guaranteed at least a silver. He'll be on the court in London. Like most players, he knows the score.

"In able-bodied ball and in wheelchair ball, there were certainly a number of years where the U.S. became used to being a dominant force," he went on.

"It's simply not the case anymore and that's for the betterment of the sport. Any of the top four can win it and I think that kind of parity adds excitement."

Schulte reiterates that it's more expectation than entitlement that drives the USA men.

"The expectation comes from being competitors and athletes. I don't think that anybody would tell you that to represent our country with honor or in a correct way in London that we would have to win gold," he offered.

"But I think our competitive nature and our desire to be the best in our sport is what makes us think about gold so much."

It's certainly not entitlement that's motivating Glatch.

He's been told "you've got to win the gold to keep the job."

From that standpoint, it's not entitlement, it's self-preservation.

Steve Goldberg from FIBA

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« Reply #38 on: Aug 02, 2012, 01:48:25 AM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

OLYM – Potential challengers emerge

Spain have had a great team ever since their 2006 FIBA World Championship gold-medal triumph in Japan and carried the moniker of the biggest challenger to defending champions Team USA at the London Games.

Pau Gasol and Co pushed the USA to the limit in Beijing, losing 118-111 in one of the best Finals of all time, and no one has forgotten their efforts that day.

After grinding out a 97-81 opening day win against China, Spain started slow on Tuesday against Australia but shifted into a higher gear in the second quarter and won 82-70.

The way Russia, the team that beat Spain in the gold-medal game of EuroBasket 2007, have been mowing down opponents this summer, they may also represent a threat to American hegemony.

After their 73-54 victory over China in the first game of the day on Tuesday, losing coach Bob Donewald was asked about Russia's prospects.

"I think they're long, I think they're physical and they kicked our butts," Donewald said.

The United States have only brought one true center to the London Games, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler.

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have shown their versatility, though, and been very effective this summer both defending in the low post against other centers and also forcing opposing big man to leave their comfort zone and guard them outside.

Russia are a big, physical team with centers Sasha Kaun and Timofey Mozgov, and they have tenacious, unrelenting play of Andrei Kirilenko.

Are they dangerous opposition for the USA?

"I think the Americans are the most dominant team I've seen here so far, but I think there are a few teams that can surprise them in a one-night game," Donewald said.

"Russia are good. Their foot speed can become an issue against all those (American) athletes, but they've given them a scare before and I wouldn't be surprised if they could get to them.

"(Russia coach) David Blatt is another reason they can go far because he's really good. He makes the game a little bit different with his switching, his presses and they don't have a lot of foot speed. He does a good job of changing things up."

Russia pushed the USA hard in the Quarter-Finals of the 2010 FIBA World Championship, winning only 89-79.

Kirilenko didn't play that summer, and rising star Alexey Shved wasn't in the team.

The Americans also didn't have Anthony, James, Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams or Chris Paul.

Blatt talked about the strength of Group B after his team’s win over China.

“I thought initially that Spain was the top team in the group,” Blatt said.

“After seeing Brazil play in the preparation and then seeing China play Spain (on Day 1) so tough and so hard in a game that was much closer than the final score, it makes it all the more evident to me it’s hard to differentiate between teams in this particular group.

“Every game is a monster.”


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« Reply #37 on: Jul 29, 2012, 06:49:56 PM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

Dream Team special

Since the invention of basketball by James Naismith there have been a lot of major events and turning points that have left their indelible mark on the history of the game.

In chronological order from my subjective point of view: the creation of the Harlem Globetrotters in 1927, the first Olympic participation in 1936, the creation of the NBA in the late 40's, the arrival to the NBA of black players and the 24-second clock in the 50's, the Russsell-Chamberlain rivalry and rule changes in the 60's, the ABA with it's three-point shot and dunk contests. The Magic-Bird era which relaunched the NBA, the arrival of the first non-american players into the NBA in the 80's, the taking off of Air Jordan and the biggest turning point of them all, the Dream Team in Barcelona in 1992.

I will use the example of my experience in France which is similar to what happened elsewhere around the world when the NBA stars were finally permitted to play in the Olympics, a real stroke of genius orchestrated by Borislav Stankovic and David Stern, two visionaries who ran FIBA and the NBA at the time. In France, the NBA games were shown on pay TV with yours truly running the show.

The Dream Team was the opportunity for the 90 percent of the French population which didn't subscribe to pay TV to see in the flesh the NBA stars that their kids were gluing to their bedroom walls through posters found in popular basketball magazines.

All the Dream Team games were shown simultaneously on three major channels which proved the impact and popularity that basketball had never experienced before at the Olympics.

As an insider, I saw this coming when Michael Jordan came to Paris in the summer of 1990 for a modest exhibition with some local players. His shoe partner rented a small gym which seated 1,500 people and when 10,000 showed up!

My job was to get on top of a bus and tell most of them they had to go home but also convince Jordan to go on with the exhibition despite his own fears of being eaten alive.

Michael's major media locomotive, went on to win two NBA titles and then lead the Dream Team to glory in Barcelona. The Dream Team was the biggest factor towards the internationalisation of the sport and the 90's was the golden era for basketball in general.

Playgrounds starting popping up all over France and kids were preferring basketball to soccer in some important French surveys. Adversaries went from asking for autographs and photos with the Dream Teamers to realizing they could play with them and probably one day improve to the point where they could beat them, which was the case in Indianapolis and Tokyo at the World Championships and in Athens at the Olympics after USA survived a scare vs. Lithuania in Sydney.

The progression was constant as Croatia stayed with the Dream Team for a quarter in the Barcelona Final, then Yugoslavia hung around for a half in Atlanta before the scare in Sydney etc.

A perfect example is Toni Kukoc,who went from young European star looking like a Bambi with headlights in his eyes,victim of Jordan and Scottie Pippen's jealousy and monster defence in Barcelona, to triple NBA champ as a teammate of the two aforementionned superstars in Chicago.

In 1992, teenagers like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Dirk Nowitzki chose basketball over soccer after being astonished and seduced by the Dream Team's capacity to share the ball and produce beautiful basketball despite all those Hall of Fame egos on the roster.

The Dream Teamers played team ball, were obviously happy 'Magic Johnson's smile' to be together to participate in something historic and  were at the crossroads of several glorious generations.

The players respected the game, the opponents and the fans and were fabulous, enthusiastic ambassadors for the sport so it's fitting that their twentieth anniversary be celebrated through books, articles and documentaries because their legacy as the greatest TEAM of all time in ANY sport lives on.

Their image, aura and charisma go far above and beyond any stats about winning margins or whatever. I was very fortunate to be able to follow them each step of the way, from Portland to Monaco to Barcelona.

The link over these last twenty years is coach Mike Krzyzewski who was an assistant to Chuck Daly in Barcelona and has been the architect for the resurgent supremacy of Team USA in international competitions since 2008.

In fact, I'm already salivating at the idea of a rematch of the greatest game of all time, the Bejing Olympic Final between USA and Spain.

It will be small ball vs. tall ball between a wagonload of NBA and international stars in a London Olympic Final where all knowledgeable observers will keep in the back of their minds to what extent the Dream Team of '92 permitted all of this to happen!

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #36 on: Jul 21, 2012, 10:26:29 PM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

Key Olympic points

France finally got some encouraging news with a highly-disputed (Mike Gelabale and Rudy Fernandez were ejected!) 75-70 defeat to Spain in Paris in front of 15,000 fans.

Tony Parker has described the French team's preparation as the worst he's ever experienced because of numerous absences and NBA contract or insurance issues that have prevented them from practising or playing together with a complete roster.

The biggest absence, of course, is that of Joakim Noah who heroically but stupidly tried to play TWICE after frightfully twisting his ankle in the NBA playoffs. The Chicago Bulls' coaching and medical staff made a costly mistake that day letting him foolishly go back out on the court and this folly was compounded by permitting Joakim to go on a one-month vacation without rehabilitating the serious injury!

Noah will regret for a long time this unique but missed opportunity to play in the Olympics especially when this will likely be the last Olympics with star players over the age of 23.

France really missed his height and presence in the lane against Spain, who dominated the rebounding and inside defense stats thanks to Serge Ibaka and Pau Gasol.

Spain is as scarily dominating inside as Team USA is outside, but they have had some key problems of their own to handle with Ricky Rubio's knee injury and the slow return from a foot injury of Juanca Navarro who did play some against France but will seriously lack competition in London.

That is a problem which will also hurt Parker, who admits that he is far from being in top shape after sitting so long because of his eye surgery.

France will have to defend and team rebound out of a small ball format and also hit some outside shots to qualify for the Quarter-Finals in London, but their ambition of winning a medal will be hard to come by when you see the level of teams like Brazil, Argentina, Russia and Lithuania!

These teams are full of NBA stars too and have been preparing together for much longer than France and the Russians and Lithuanians were recently battle-tested by the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

Team USA and Spain are still the favorites for the Final but a surprise loss in the group play is always a possibility for the Spanish who are often slow starters and strong finishers in international play.

However, a loss by Team USA at any point would be an unbelievable upset.

Blake Griffin's absence because of his knee injury will lower the excitement factor in London because we were all expecting him to top the Vince Carter over Fred Weis historic dunk in Sydney in 2000!

On the other hand, the depth of talent on their roster is so incredible I feel that nothing can stop them.

I will be filing articles every few days during the Olympics and will be looking forward to all your comments!

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #35 on: Jul 10, 2012, 04:53:51 AM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

A great Russian tale

There’s been a wonderful story in Russian basketball this season.

The name of it is Triumph Lyubertsy.

The team is coached by Vasily Karasev, and one of the leading players is his son Sergey Karasev.

Vasily was the long-time point guard for Russia's national team, a man who played in five European Championships and three World Championships.

Three times he reached the Finals of major events.

He played in the gold medal games at the 1993 European Championship in Munich, the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Toronto and the 1998 FIBA World Championship in Athens.

There was no greater honor for him than to wear the Russia shirt.

Sergey is only 18, yet he is already known as the brightest of the stars in a new generation of Russian players.

Last year, he played at the FIBA U19 World Championship and helped the Russians upset the United States in the Quarter-Finals.

The team eventually captured a bronze medal.

The two are with Triumph at the EuroChallenge Final Four this weekend in Debrecen, Hungary.

That is not the only cause for celebration for all basketball-loving fans in Russia.

In addition to Sergey Karasev, a 2.02m shooting guard/small forward, Triumph have a rebounding machine in 2.05m forward Evgeny Valiev, who is another player in the Russian youth teams.

Then there are the 1.97m guard in Dmitry Kulagin, and 1.96m guard Artem Vikhrov, two of Karasev’s Russia teammates last year in Riga.

Vasily Karasev never looked prouder as a coach than he did after his team completed a surprise 2-1 victory over Spanish outfit Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada five weeks ago to punch their ticket to the EuroChallenge Final Four.

"They are the future of the Russian national team," he said of his youngsters.

What makes this even better is the genuine love and respect that all of these players have for each other and their coach.

For Sergey Karasev, he distinguishes between Vasily Karasev the coach and Vasily Karasev the father.

"When we come home, we speak about life - father and son - not like coach and player," he says.

Kulagin says Vasily Karasev has been an inspiration, and a friend.

"He was a brilliant player: speedy, smart, and full of self-sacrifice,” Kulagin said.

“I can learn a lot from his game.

“We all respect Karasev a lot.

“We consult with him not only about basketball, but life."

Sergey Karasev says that when it comes to basketball, the biggest lesson he has learned from his dad is that he can’t back down from anyone.

Maybe that’s why he has been fearless this season, playing big minutes to not only help Triumph reach the EuroChallenge Final Four but also clinch third place in the Russian PBL regular season.

"My father was a very aggressive player," Sergey says.

"He didn't want to be the fifth or sixth player in the team but the first.

"I want to do the same.

"When I came to Triumph, I was the young one.

"But I take the ball and try to be aggressive."

All of the players have a long way to go before they can compare themselves to Vasily Karasev.

But they are having a great start.

This week, Russia coach David Blatt announced that Sergey Karasev has a shot at playing at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

The youngster, who won the dunking contest at the U18 All-Star Game at last year’s EuroBasket in Lithuania, has been included in Russia’s 16-man preliminary squad for the OQT in Caracas, Venezuela.

Jeff Taylor from FIBA Today

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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2012, 05:09:17 AM »

Basketball World Events • Eventos Mundiales del Baloncesto

How do you make book on this?

I don’t know* if there’s betting on Paralympic sport but since bookies in Britain will put odds on pretty much everything, I feel quite sure that they are examining the form of teams competing in the BT Paralympic World Cup this week. (* Of course I know there’s betting, it’s England for God save the Queen’s sake.)

After looking at the results of last week’s 4 Nations tourney in Frankfurt, Germany and the currently running BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, England, when it comes to figuring out the favorites in wheelchair basketball, it must be truly maddening for the bookmakers right now.

Granted, it’s not a full window on what to expect in September as there are only four teams in each bracket of the BT World Cup hoops, which also includes athletics, boccia and football competition, but these are all teams worthy of the podium on the final day.

On Saturday when the medals are handed out, we may have a clearer picture on what to expect in four months time. And then again, looking at the results of games played so far in Manchester and others from the 4 Nations, maybe not.

Teams playing in both tournaments include the USA men and women, Germany men and women, Great Britain men, Japan men and Australia women. The British women are playing in their home event while the Netherlands women played in Frankfurt.

So what have we, and the bookmakers, learned so far? One thing is that there are no sure things.

The American women, reigning queens of the court with a string of two Paralympic gold medals and a world championship on their crown, are recently having trouble putting the ball in the basket. After taking the Germans and the Dutch in their first two matches of the 4 Nations, the usually potent American offense disappeared against Australia in a 25-point defeat and didn’t make it back in a 57-50 loss to Germany in the final.

Whether that is an aberration or a sign of something more troubling wasn’t clearly addressed in their first two games in Manchester where they beat the Brits handily but fell again to the Germans who finished second to the Americans in Beijing as well as the World’s. Who’s going to be in better form come September? Who knows?

As noted, the Aussie women blew away the Americans but then lost to the Netherlands in the 4 Nations. I don’t know how they did against Germany in Frankfurt because the 4 Nations website was decidedly un-German with missing scores and information.

Back in Manchester, the British women have yet to win and will need to up their game. The GB men split their first two games, beating Germany by four but losing to the USA by 30 in a rematch of the Beijing bronze medal match won by the Brits.

The USA men on the other hand continue to show strength, going 3-1 and taking Germany by 31 points in the 4 Nations final after losing to the hosts by three in round robin play. The big win over Great Britain in Manchester will definitely be a morale booster as the Americans are on a mission to get their first Paralympic medal since bronze in Sydney. They haven’t stood on the top step of the podium since Seoul after getting disqualified from a gold medal run in Barcelona.

The German men are still working to find their mojo. They did get that initial win at home over the USA, but dropped matches to Japan and Great Britain. They will be a long shot in September.

Check out the BT Paralympic Cup results here.

Conspicuous by their absence from either event are the Aussie men who will most definitely make a run at a second consecutive gold in London.

In Manchester, there are still games to be played and champions will be crowned. In any other year, the BT Paralympic Cup trophy itself would be a big prize but there’s not a player or coach there who will tell you that a medal in May is better than one in September.

You can bet on that.

Steve Goldberg from FIBA

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