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Author Topic: § FIBA World Basketball & Free Comments • Baloncesto Mundial FIBA & Comentarios Libres  (Read 473464 times)
fanFIBA69
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« Reply #31 on: Jul 22, 2012, 06:46:22 PM »

FIBA Basketball & Free Comments • Baloncesto FIBA & Comentarios Libres

Nigeria crash Olympic party

The madness in basketball is normally reserved for the month of March, when the NCAA Tournament is played in the United States.
 
There are Davids and Goliaths and upsets galore.
 
This month's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Caracas proved to be just as crazy.
 
John Calipari, just a few months removed from leading the Kentucky Wildcats to the NCAA title, would probably agree.
 
Coach Cal guided the Dominican Republic at the OQT in Caracas and came up one win short of a spot in the London Games.
 
After his team's 95-85 victory over Korea on 3 July, a game in which Korea's frenetic and disruptive perimeter play caused many a difficult moment for the Dominicans, I said to Calipari: "Nothing comes easy in international basketball."
 
He smiled and answered: "What am I doing here?"
 
Calipari was in Caracas to try and lead the Dominican Republic to London.
 
A loss on the last night to Nigeria, 88-73, put paid to the Dominican hopes.
 
Nigeria, instead, joined Russia and Lithuania at the London Games.
 
You had to be in the Poliedro Arena to believe what happened over several days of great tournament basketball.
 
It's fitting to have the Nigerians' dancing on the court as the enduring image of the OQT.
 
A local church with a Nigerian pastor brought his entire flock to the Poliedro for all of Nigeria's games, and they turned the place into a little Lagos with their drums, their dancing and their singing.
 
The Dominican fans also had cowbells and drums, while those familiar with the great national teams of Lithuania and Greece will also know that their travelling fans are devoted, loud and very committed to the banging of drums, too.
 
In Venezuela, there was a little bit of something to interest everyone.
 
There was a lot of salsa going on in the stands during their two games.
 
On the court, Venezuela's Greivis Vasquez was a one-man attraction.
 
While he takes a lot of shots and draws a lot of attention to himself, he is not a selfish player at all.
 
His play in Caracas begs the question, "Why, in the name of Elvis, did Memphis trade Greivis Vasquez to the New Orleans Hornets?"
 
Vasquez is trying to take Venezuelan basketball to the top in South America, and he's doing a good job.
 
The dynamic, flamboyant one, he who thrilled in the open floor and rained three-pointers on Nigeria and Lithuania, wasn't able to carry Venezuela into the Quarter-Finals, but as he aptly put it before the start of the OQT, Venezuelan basketball has grown more in the past year than it had in the previous 20.
 
Vasquez had a front seat for one of the most controversial decisions of the OQT.
 
Lithuania coach Kestutis Kemzura, with his team on top of Venezuela by 18 with just four seconds remaining, decided to call a timeout and draw up a play to get more points.
 
The intention was to improve the team's goal (or points) differential in case of a three-way tie, to make sure that Lithuania would advance to the Quarter-Finals.
 
Vasquez, Venezuela coach Eric Musselman and all of Venezuela felt Kemzura was trying to pile on the misery.
 
If Kemzura had any Venezuelan friends left after that victory, he sure didn't by the end of Lithuania's game the following night against Nigeria.
 
The Africans led Lithuania by six points and Kemzura, secure in the knowledge that Lithuania could see out the last 30 seconds and finish first in Group B with the 86-80 defeat, decided not to try and win the game and that sealed the fate of Venezuela.
 
With all three teams winning one of two games, Kemzura and Co came in first, Nigeria second and hosts Venezuela third.
 
Venezuela crashed out of the tournament.
 
Before their Quarter-Final clash two nights later against Puerto Rico, the Venezuelans booed Lithuania non-stop while the Baltic team's national anthem was played.
 
Kemzura and Lithuania understand the cold, hard truth about international basketball, that in group play, points differential is often called into play to snap three-way ties.
 
The Lithuanians made no apologies about the timeout.
 
For the neutral observer, though, Kemzura's timeout lacked decency and perhaps common sense.
 
The Venezuela fire was raging with their team on the end of a heavy defeat.
 
Calling timeout with four seconds to go was like pouring gasoline on the blaze.
 
Musselman was so incensed that he refused to hold a joint press conference with Kemzura.
 
The saddest event of all at the OQT came in the aftermath of the Greeks' 80-79 defeat to Nigeria in the Quarter-Finals.
 
Greece were stunned and disappointed.
 
Of course they were. Their bid to play at a third straight Olympics had disappeared.
 
Greece coach Elias Zouros could have taken the high road and congratulated the Africans.
 
He could have pointed out that Nigeria hit a series of clutch shots in the fourth quarter, or recognized that the national team had given an entire continent its greatest moment in international basketball history.
 
He could have mentioned the name Ade Dagunduro, the architect of his team's demise, and maybe wished Nigeria luck in its remaining games.
 
Instead, the coach who's heard nothing but praise for most of his career, a former Eurocup Coach of the Year, railed against the referees and said his players had been robbed.
 
It was uncomfortable listening to a man in his position be so ungracious in defeat.
 
Zouros wasn't the first coach to adopt a negative tone in a press conference, and he won't be the last.
 
My only advice to him is to spend some extra time in practice coaching the art of free-throw shooting because Greece's 17-of-28 showing at the line was horrendous and costly.
 
Maybe Zouros can volunteer and do a coaching clinic in Nigeria at some point in his career.
 
Maybe then he'd appreciate the challenges that that country faces to be successful in sports.
 
The other point worth raising is the sniping from those who say Nigeria's players are all Americans.
 
Nigeria have players of Nigerian extraction who grew up in the United States, just as Greece have Nick Calathes, Kostas Koufos, Michail Bramos, etc.
 
The best Nigerian of all, Hakeem Olajuwon, played for the United States.
 
You win some, you lose some.
 
Nigeria weren't good enough to beat Russia in the Semi-Finals, losing 85-77, but they did have enough in the tank to beat the Dominicans and that led to the players charging into the stands to hug and embrace and dance with the members of the congregation that they did not know, but grew to love.
 
The Nigerian coach, Ayo Bakare, went into the middle of the floor and danced like he'd won a gold medal after the win over the Dominican Republic.
 



Not many people gave Nigeria a chance of winning one of the three places to the London Games before the OQT, myself included.
 
Now that they've made it, who knows?
 
Russia and Lithuania, as expected, did make it to London, but so did the Nigerians.
 
Wow!
 
Jeff Taylor from FIBA Today



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BGA J.J. Diaz
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« Reply #30 on: Jul 16, 2012, 12:54:03 AM »

FIBA Basketball & Free Comments • Baloncesto FIBA & Comentarios Libres

FIBA to acquire .basketball domain for benefit of basketball community

Representatives of the global basketball community have come together in full support of the application by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to acquire the .BASKETBALL generic top level domain name.

The application reflects the desires expressed by FIBA’s global membership (213 FIBA Member Federations representing the interests of more than 450 million players worldwide), which has stated that its application for .BASKETBALL is in the best interest of the sport. As basketball's world governing body, FIBA is the sole valid contender for the .BASKETBALL domain name and does not support or authorise any other applicant as a valid steward of .BASKETBALL.

FIBA wants to ensure the .BASKETBALL is kept within the sport for the benefit of the global basketball community in order to uphold and promote the values and identity of the sport of basketball, and to protect the sport, its trademarks and the interests of its core stakeholders. FIBA is committed to ensuring .BASKETBALL is accountable to and used in the best interests of the game of basketball and the sports’ wider community.

FIBA Secretary General and IOC Member Patrick Baumann said: "In view of our values, mission and activities, FIBA is the only proper and rightful steward for the .BASKETBALL domain. It is not a question of ownership; rather we will ensure that everyone within the global basketball family can benefit. As the only applicant representing the entire basketball community, we will not support any other applicant. Instead we are working in close partnership with our national federations and the wider basketball community with the aim of making the .BASKETBALL accessible to the global basketball family at all levels.




This of course goes beyond FIBA and our National Federations to include professional and amateur players, event organisers and, of course, fans.”

FIBA



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ximenez
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« Reply #29 on: Jul 14, 2012, 10:45:52 PM »

FIBA Basketball & Free Comments • Baloncesto FIBA & Comentarios Libres

The Electric Company

The New Zealand Tall Blacks showed up at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) shorthanded and facing long odds to claim one of the three places for London.

The Kiwis fell in their opener to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 84-62, but rebounded to win their second game against Angola, 68-64.

They didn't advance to the Quarter-Finals, however, losing out on a goal differential tie-breaker.

What the Tall Blacks did do, however, was show that good times are on the way.

They also placed a player on the all-electric team.

On that team are high-voltage hoopsters, guards, forwards and centers that have lit up the Poliedro arena with one eye-opening play after another.

The Kiwi who made jaws drop goes by the name Tai Webster.

A 17-year-old who played on New Zealand's FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship-winning team and still a high school student, Webster dazzled in the victory over Angola, hitting shots from long range and scoring on breathtaking drives to the basket.

Webster didn't jump, but floated, including one occasion when he came in from the right wing, cupped the ball with his right hand and banked it in.

He’s very good, and confident, but not cocky.

“It’s definitely a big step up from what I’m used to,” Webster said.

“There are a lot better players out here, longer players, taller players, more athletic players, smarter – just better all-round players.

“We’re young at the moment so I guess we have a long way to go, but we’ll be there one day.”

Like Webster, fans at the Poliedro only saw Greivis Vasquez play two games.

But in a win over Nigeria and loss to Lithuania, Vasquez was all things playmaker, scorer and crowd pleaser.

He was on fire.

The New Orleans Hornets guard was the engine to Venezuela’s national team.

In the open floor, Vasquez was spectacular.

The 1.97m guard poured in 24 points in each game, drilling eight of 14 shots from long range.

He also finished with 10 assists and four steals.

For the home fans, Vasquez was the great entertainer because after a fabulous offensive move and score, he’d look at the crowd and do a little dance or wave his arms and increase the noise.

“It was a dream come true, playing in front of my home country,” Vasquez said after the triumph over Nigeria.

“This is my hood. This is my neighborhood, from like two blocks away.”

Vasquez made an early exit, but he did enough to earn a spot on the all-electric team.

“I’ve got to keep getting better,” he said.

Korea’s American-born Seung Jun Lee, aka Eric Sandrin, had an OQT he’ll never forget, going up against Andrey Kirilenko of Russia and Al Horford of the Dominican Republic.

“As an athlete, you always want to play against the best in the world,” he said.

He blocked shots and then hustled to the other end to catch alley-oop passes and dunk, and the 2.06m Lee also made three shots from the arc.

A true crowd-pleaser, Lee averaged 18 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Korea, big underdogs at the OQT, played as hard as any team in Caracas but lost both games.

“To go up against these guys, to gauge Korean basketball and see where we need to go, we can’t hang our heads,” Lee said.

“We can take a very positive experience away from this.”

The name Marty Pocius doesn’t always end up in the headlines of Lithuania’s wins, but it should.

‘Mr Consistency’ converts, especially when he catches the ball in the corner and behind the three-point line.

At the OQT, Pocius either drilled the long ball, something he did five times from 10 attempts, or put the ball on the floor, drove to the basket and dunked.

The 1.96m shooting guard made 11 of 13 shots inside the arc, most of them of the rim-rocking variety.

“I’m in ecstasy right now,” Pocius said after Lithuania’s 109-83 win over the Dominican Republic that punched the team’s ticket to the London Games, where he’ll make his first Olympic appearance.

Watch Nigeria play a basketball game and you will feel exhilarated.

There are the Aminu brothers, Al-Farouq and Alade, Ekene Ibekwe, Ade Dagunduro and Tony Skinn.

The Nigerians are all things power, speed, elevation, self-belief, exhilaration.

Rather than pick one player from this national squad for the all-electric team, we’ll have all of Nigeria slot in to that remaining spot.




If they win against the Dominicans on Sunday in the final qualifying round game, the Nigerians will be at the Olympics.

If they don’t, pray that the Nigerian Basketball Federation gives this national team a chance to stay together and play in the future because on the evidence of the OQT, they are the most exciting development in international basketball.

Jeff Taylor from FIBA Today



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willgam
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« Reply #28 on: Jul 11, 2012, 05:15:37 AM »

FIBA Basketball & Free Comments • Baloncesto FIBA & Comentarios Libres

Japanese brave hearts bow out with heads held high!

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

This profound statement by Baron Pierre de Coubertin has been, and will be, the most quoted words of the Father of Modern Olympics. But more often than not, these words have been tastelessly twisted and conveniently turned into an excuse for the also-rans to take shelter under.

But standing out as a shining beacon of a testimony for the French Baron’s sentiments even before the cauldron has been lit at the Olympic Stadium at London is a group of athletes who showed grit, gumption and glorious guts in fighting till the proverbial final minute in their attempt to make it to the fray for the women’s basketball competition for the 2012 London Olympics.

If there was any team that people loved to watch - or as the commentators on FIBA TV put it “everybody’s hearts bleed when this team loses” - at last week's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women (OQTW) in Ankara, Turkey, it was the Hayabusa – the Japanese Women’s National Team, that might just turn out to be the most gallant team not to play this year’s Olympics.

The story of the Japanese women’s performance in the Turkish capital is one of finding the right combination in line-up, choosing the appropriate approach in style of play and opting for the relevant tactic at the moment.

While Japan came out with flying colours in two of these three, they did falter in the last one – against the Czech Republic in the Quarter-Finals. Japan fouled too little in the dying moments thus allowing their rivals to use up time.

But against Canada, in the fight for the last available berth, Japan were undone by the ejection of their spearhead Yuka Mamiya for personal fouls, having brought the score-line to the closest deficit they had in the game with 3:30 left on the clock.

Considering that both these rivals were certainly more fancied – Czech Republic were after all runners-up at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women where Japan had finished 10th and Canada ranked four rungs above Japan in the FIBA Ranking for Women and were carrying a favourable head-to-head record in the last two decades – Japan’s showing on court, albeit with those lapses in the final moments should make the top mandarins of the JBA swell their chests with pride.

In between those defeats came Japan’s first win over FIBA Asia archrivals Korea in almost six years.

Yuko Oga, a member of the Japan team that last played in the Olympics – at Athens 2004 – put it succinctly.

“The manner in which we defeated Korea showed that, as a team, Japan’s women’s basketball team is improving. They (Korea) were stronger than when we met them last (in a Prelim Round Level I game at the 24th FIBA Asia Championship for Women at Omura last year, which Japan lost 66-59). The result here shows we have improved a lot in less than a year,” said Oga.

“We lost not for want of effort,” Japan coach Tomohide Utsumi heaped praise on his team.

“There was the kind of hunger to succeed that I have not seen in many teams that I have coached," added the 54-year-old, who made a comeback as coach after a four-year gap. His previous assignment had been the 2008 FIBA OQTW in Madrid, Spain.

“I think throughout the tournament, the team grew stronger with every game. And that showed in their performance. Just that with every game the opponents too were getting tougher. There was a lot of pride in these girls that they had to do the best for the team. I am sure things are a lot brighter for the future,” Utsumi explained.

The player with the brightest future, Mamiya, showed enough glimpses of her enormous potential to spearhead Japan in the future. She averaged 16.4 points per game and that spoke volumes about her.

“I think I was too tense and nervous when the clock started ticking,” Mamiya said recalling the fifth foul that led to her ejection with the game tantalisingly poised against Canada.

“It was one of those fouls that I’ll never forget in my life, but then it has also taught me a huge lesson for life,” the JX Sunflowers MVP of 2011-12 WJBL Finals said.




In those words of Mamiya probably lays the larger definition of Olympism itself.

After all, to quote Baron Coubertin again: “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort and the educational value of a good example.”

So long…

By S Mageshwaran from FIBA



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yirayira
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« Reply #27 on: Jun 21, 2012, 04:51:31 AM »

FIBA Basketball & Free Comments • Baloncesto FIBA & Comentarios Libres

Politically incorrect

If you look at the final rankings for men’s wheelchair basketball at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, only 11 countries are listed, one less than the 12 scheduled for the tournament.

That also happened in Atlanta a dozen years earlier but only because Iraq withdrew at the last moment claiming a lack of funding for their delegation to make the trip. At least that’s what they said.

This time in China it was different. On the morning that Quarter-Final play was to begin at the arena, there was a buzz around the basketball arena. It was first rumored and later confirmed that Iran were withdrawing from their match against the United States. As such, their results would not be counted.

Four years earlier in Athens, they won just one game in pool play, against Greece, and lost the other four by anywhere from 14 to 32 points. They left on an up note after beating Brazil by four in a placement game to finish 9th.

In Beijing, Iran were poised to improve on that, if only by one spot at the worst. Led by players such as Alireza Ahmadi and Morteza Garibloo, they were improving. They had gone 3-2 in pool play, beating Sweden, Japan, and South Africa, while losing to Canada and Germany. And that was good enough to make the Quarter-Finals for the first time.

Surely the team wanted to play. I spoke with several journalists from Iran’s state television network who said as much.
But somewhere a decision was made that would rob them of the chance.

Was it that their opponent was the USA? Possibly, but earlier in the Beijing games, Iran had also gone up against the USA in goalball, a 4-3 loss. That hadn’t mattered in 2004, when Behnam Rahbari, a Persian table tennis athlete played and lost to an American competitor, Tahl Leibovitz; or in 2000 at the Sydney Paralympics, when Iran’s powerhouse sitting volleyball team beat the USA, and everyone else, on their way to a gold medal.

More likely, it was the likely outcome that after a loss to a stronger USA team, Iran would play Israel who would’ve been hard pressed to beat Australia.

It was purely a political decision, perhaps coming all the way from Tehran. The journalists I spoke to couldn’t or wouldn’t say. They were disappointed as well. I’m both American and Jewish and we got along great. They were sufficiently impressed with my ability to order a beer in Farsi, something learned from playing soccer with many Persians over the years. We were all there, athletes and media alike, for the games.

The big Olympic boycotts in 1976, 1980 and 1984 achieved nothing more than cheating athletes on all sides of the chance to achieve.

Pulling the plug on a team already there and ready to perform is no less cowardly and ill-conceived. Two years after Beijing, Iran withdrew from a taekwondo final in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore where they were scheduled to compete against Israel.




Games are a chance for us to show that we can get along, that we have more in common than we have in difference. I’m hoping London will have ample opportunity to prove this once again.

Here’s my advice to the politicians: Let ‘em play.

By Steve Goldberg from FIBA



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