Archive for the ‘ International ’ Category

Here’s the Toronto Sun with an update on a talented young basketball player:

Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis is leaving Syracuse to enter the NBA draft.

“I’d like to thank Coach (Jim) Boeheim, the coaching staff, my teammates and the amazing fans of Syracuse for the opportunity to play at a great university like Syracuse,” said Ennis, a Brampton native, in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“I feel this experience has helped prepare me to fulfill my lifelong dream — to play in the NBA.”

Ennis, expected to be taken somewhere in the mid-late lottery, averaged 12.9 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his freshman season, which ended abruptly with a loss to Dayton early in the NCAA tournament in Buffalo.

Atlanta Hawks sign Mike Muscala

Atlanta Hawks sign Mike Muscala

The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward/center Mike Muscala to a contract, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry.

Prior to signing with the Hawks, Muscala had played the 2013-14 season with Blusens Monbus Obradoiro of the ACB League in Spain. The 6-foot-11, 230-pounder had averages of 14.6 points (seventh in the ACB) on .546 shooting, a league-leading 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 26.3 minutes per game through 20 games.  He shot .871 from the free throw line and ranked sixth in the league (17.0) in Performance Index Rating, a Euroleague basketball statistic similar to the NBA’s PER.

“We are really excited that Mike was available to join our team. We’ve closely monitored Mike and his progress throughout the ACB season.  Coach Fernandez and his Obradoiro CAB club did an excellent job with his continued development,” Ferry said. “Due to our current injuries, Mike’s representatives presented the concept of Mike joining us for the remainder of the season. With our roster situation and his strong play, we felt now was a good time to add Mike to our program,” Ferry said.

The Hawks acquired the draft rights to Muscala (44th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft) in a trade with Dallas on June 28, 2013. He will wear No. 31.

A four-year letterman at Bucknell (2009-2013), Muscala (muss-KAL-uh) finished his career first on the school’s all-time scoring list (2,036 points), and second in rebounds (1,093) and blocks (271).  He was named the Patriot League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, while also garnering First Team All-Patriot League and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America honors, after averaging 18.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.3 assists in 31.7 minutes in 34 games (.509 FG%, .453 3FG%, .789 FT%).  In 133 career games, the 6-11 forward/center tallied 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 in assists in 28.7 minutes (.501 FG%, .435 3FG%, .819 FT%). Muscala, 22, is a native of St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Lamar Odom set to play in Spain

Here’s the Los Angeles Times blog with another report on Lamar Odom, who recently agreed on an overseas basketball deal, in Spain:

Lamar Odom set to play in Spain

Former Lakers and Clippers forward Lamar Odom recently signed to play overseas for Spanish team Laboral Kutxa (also known as Saski Baskonia).

On Friday, the team held a news conference welcoming the two-time NBA champion.

“A new beginning,” said Odom of his motivation to joining the Spanish franchise. “A new environment was important for me.”

Odom averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebound and 3.7 assists through 14 NBA seasons (six with the Lakers). He played for the Clippers last season, the franchise that originally drafted him in 1999.

“I got to play in the incredible city of L.A. and win championships and play with players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, coached by Phil Jackson and Pat Riley [in Miami],” said Odom. “Then sometimes you get to a point in your life where less is more.”

Lamar Odom signs overseas, in Spain

Lamar Odom signs overseas, in Spain

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom has agreed a two-month deal with Spain’s Laboral Kutxa with an option to extend the contract to the end of the season in June, the Basque club said on Tuesday.

Odom, 34, won two NBA championships with the Lakers and also played for Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat. He represented the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the 2010 world championships in Istanbul.

– Reuters

Laboral Kutxa Vitoria reached an agreement with versatile forward Lamar Odom, who signed a two-month deal with an option to extend it for the remainder of the season, the club announced Tuesday. Odom (2.08 meters, 34 years old) had a long, successful NBA career and is set to make his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut.

– Euroleague.net

Here’s the Oklahoman with a report on guard Royal Ivey, whose time with the Thunder will reportedly be followed by basketball work in China:

Royal Ivey likely off to play basketball in China

Royal Ivey’s latest stint in the NBA came with an unblemished record. And it will end that way.

During his recent 10-day contract with the Thunder, which expired on Sunday, Ivey received an offer to play in China.

And because of that, the likable but sporadically used Thunder guard will hop overseas for the final month-and-a-half of the Chinese season, rather than signing another 10-day contract with the Thunder.

During Ivey’s 10 days in OKC, he only appeared in two games, playing five minutes and grabbing one rebound. But his arrival coincided with the team’s sudden turnaround. The Thunder went 7-0 with Ivey.

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on injured Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who despite still working to regain health already may have some firm summer plans:

Derrick Rose hopes to play for Team USA this summer

Derrick Rose issued a statement Thursday that he’d like to be ready to play for USA Basketball in this summer’s FIBA World Cup in Spain, and according to a source close to the situation, because Rose is ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery, he will.

‘‘No doubt he will [play],’’ the source said Friday.

Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22. The Bulls immediately ruled him out for the season.

He started shooting and taking part in two-a-day workouts during the last week, but his status in returning this NBA season hasn’t changed.

This summer will be a different story after he was one of 28 players named for the 2014-16 USA national team pool Thursday.

Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea

Here’s Reuters reporting on the latest Dennis Rodman trip to North Korea:

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Monday with a team of retired professional basketball players to mark the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

This marks Rodman’s fourth trip to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, where he and his team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars will hold basketball games on Kim’s birthday, which is believed to fall on Wednesday, although it has never been officially confirmed.

On previous visits, Rodman spent time dining as a guest of Kim, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship, though he did not meet Kim on his third trip.

Rodman, however, said he will not interfere in the country’s politics.

Here’s Reuters reporting on the overseas antics of your favorite former NBA rebounder, Dennis Rodman:

Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman will return to North Korea for a third time on Thursday, despite political tension surrounding the execution of leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, trip organizers said.

“It’s certainly safe, even when there is a bit of disruption like there is now — a bit of trouble or chaos — there’s even more need for cultural or sporting exchanges,” said Rory Scott, a spokesman for Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, which has arranged the trip.

Rodman has visited Pyongyang on two other occasions, during which he spent time dining as a guest of Kim Jong Un, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship.

In Washington, a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, sought to distance the U.S. government from Rodman’s visit.

The National Basketball Association game scheduled for tonight between the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves has been postponed due to a generator malfunction which produced smoke inside Mexico City Arena.

The date for the rescheduled game, which will be played at Target Center in Minneapolis, will be announced at a later time.

Here’s a video clip of the smoke problem that prevented the game from happening:

Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald reporting on Sam Young signing to play in Australia:

sam young

Former Indiana Pacers forward Sam Young could play for the Sydney Kings as early as their showdown with NBL frontrunners Perth Wildcats in Perth next Sunday – and, judging by high-level league discussions at head office, he could spark a flow of marquee-style imports to Australia from the NBA.

The signing of Young is a massive coup, but things didn’t go to plan on Thursday, with Young’s manager Joel Bell leaking news of the 198-centimetre 28-year-old’s signing with Sydney.

It placed Kings coach Shane Heal in the unenviable position of having to inform one of the Kings imports, point guard Jesse Sanders, that Friday night’s clash with Townsville Crocodiles at the Sydney Entertainment Centre would be his last.

Commissioner David Stern raised the possibility the league will adjust the time some games start in an attempt to appease fans outside North America who now must either stay up late or wake up early to watch games on television.

It’s unclear at this point whether the adjustment will be for regular-season games, preseason games or both.

Speaking before the Warriors beat the Lakers 100-95 before 17,114 at MasterCard Center in the first of two preseason meetings between the teams in China, Stern said former Rockets star Yao Ming brought the idea up in hopes of making future games more accessible to international audiences. Stern gave no indication a decision was near, but was also clear that the league will have to consider what could be a radical suggestion, depending on the new times, at some point.

“I think that the NBA is going to have to wrestle over the next decade as more and more of our viewing audiences are outside the United States is what’s the best time for games to be played so that those fans can enjoy them live as opposed to having to get up in China to watch an NBA game at 7 o’clock in the morning,” Stern said.

Reported by Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com

Sebastian Telfair signing deal in China

Sebastian Telfair signing deal in China

Free-agent point guard Sebastian Telfair has reached agreement on a one-year deal with Tianjin of the Chinese Basketball Association, his agent, Andy Miller, told Yahoo Sports.

Telfair, 28, has played for seven NBA teams since making the leap out of high school as the 13th pick in the 2004 NBA draft.

Telfair will have the chance to run Tianjin’s offense and position himself for a return to the NBA in late February once the Chinese basketball season ends.

Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

pau gasol

The Lakers went to the Great Wall on Sunday afternoon, a two-hour trek on a charter bus that started on the bustling streets of China’s capital, continued along a narrow two-way road near a quaint Chinese village with farmers pushing wheelbarrows, and ended at the Mutianyu portion of the Wall.

Two days before their exhibition game here, the Lakers didn’t go to the more popular Badaling or Juyongguan sections of the historic site, eschewing the crowds and amusement park-like environments for more solitude. Or so they thought.

Crowds immediately formed as they disembarked from their shuttle buses. Players were shepherded along by a dozen guards wearing black hats, white gloves and “RISK CONTROL” on their shirt sleeves.

Then the Lakers went up a thin pock-marked path that wound through a hundred kiosks and overzealous vendors. Scores of passers-by thrust out scraps of paper and begged players to take photos.

An elderly vendor yelled “Paulo, Paulo,” and proclaimed, “Big, big size” as he held out an extra-large T-shirt to Pau Gasol that said, “I climbed the Great Wall.”

Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

France wins 2013 EuroBasket championship

Tony Parker, France wins 2013 EuroBasket championship

France finally captured their elusive first continental crown by beating Lithuania 80-66 to win EuroBasket 2013 and will head to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup as European champions.

Nicolas Batum led the way for the French with 17 points, six rebounds and two steals while Boris Diaw added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists and Tony Parker finished with 12 points.

“It’s hard to describe how I feel. The journey was unbelievable. I wouldn’t change a thing,” Parker said afterward.

“I won the title. I’m a little tired. I felt it in the Quarters and Semis. And before the game coach (Vincent Collet) said ‘trust your teammates’. If you score 10 points we will win the Final. And he was right.”

Lithuania’s veteran big man Robertas Javtokas said his team let their opportunity slip.

“Today we had a chance to win but they were better than us,” he said…

Parker was named the tournament’s MVP and headlined the All-Tournament Team that also included Lithuania’s Kleiza, Slovenia guard Goran Dragic, Marc Gasol of Spain and Croatia’s Bojan Bogdanovic.

Reported by FIBA.com

France broke open a close game by finishing the third quarter with a 14-0 run that kept Lithuania scoreless for four minutes. The French lead grew to 22 points with three minutes remaining in the third and Lithuania never came close to a comeback.

Batum had 17 points and Diaw added 15, while Linas Kleiza led Lithuania with 20.

Parker finished with 12 points, after scoring just four through the first three quarters. But his scoring and leadership during the run to the final - including 32 points against defending champion Spain in the semifinals - earned him the tournament MVP award.

“We had a perfect plan, the coach said they would double-team me and that I had to trust my teammates and not to worry if I don’t score much,” Parker said.

After finally capturing that elusive gold - in France’s record 36th appearance in the tournament - Parker led the French team into the stands to celebrate with their fans after the final buzzer.

Reported by the Associated Press

Lithuania reached their first final since winning the 2003 edition after playmaker Mantas Kalnietis (18 points), shooting guard Jonas Maciulis (23) and forward Linas Kleiza (22 points and 11 rebounds) overran a Croatian team lacking the shooting accuracy of their rivals.

After a tight first half the Lithuanians engineered an 18-3 run early in the third quarter to take an unassailable 58-40 lead and set up their ninth win in 10 matches against the Croatians.

“We gave Kleiza and Maciulis too many open shots and we didn’t play defense with enough tenacity,” Croatia’s top-scorer Bojan Bogdanovic (15 points) told HRT television.

Coach Jasmin Repesa added: “We hoped to go all the way but looked very flat today and had no chance of winning with such poor perimeter shooting.”

Croatia nailed only three of 20 three-pointers.

Reported by Reuters

Lithuania are in the EuroBasket final for the fifth time - and first since the 2003 title - knocking off Croatia 77-62 to set up a date with either Spain or France to decide ultimate EuroBasket 2013 glory.

Croatia will fight for their third bronze medal after 1993 and 1995.

Linas Kleiza saved his best for the big time with 22 points, 11 rebounds and two assists to lead the Lithuanians while Jonas Maciulis nailed four three-pointers in scoring 23 points and Mantas Kalnietis added 18 points, three rebounds and four assists.

“It is important for us, for our generation, now that most of the older guys have left the team, our generation has proved that we can play basketball and represent Lithuania too,” said Maciulis, whose 23 points were a tournament-best for him.

“I think we have proved something now and we need to take one more step.”

Reported by EuroBasket2013.org

Tony Parker

France ended Spain’s reign as European basketball champion Friday with a 75-72 overtime victory behind 32 points from Tony Parker and set up a final against Lithuania.

Two-time defending champion Spain led by 14 points at halftime, but Parker led France’s comeback after the break. His 3-pointer with 2 minutes left gave France its first lead of the second half at 64-63.

“We wanted to be aggressive, but until halftime we weren’t really playing,” France coach Vincent Collet said. “We talked about it during the break and we came back very different. They couldn’t score for five minutes in the third and even when they started hitting shots again, our spirit stayed the same.”

Parker had a chance to put France ahead in regulation with the score tied at 65-65, but his drive to the basket was blocked by Rudy Fernandez with 11 seconds left. Jose Calderon then missed a 3-point attempt at the other end.

In overtime, Parker and Antoine Diot scored France’s last eight points from the free-throw line to keep France in front. Marc Gasol missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer after Rodriguez had missed a previous attempt to tie it.

Reported by Nesha Starcevic of the Associated Press

Spain looked home and dry at the interval. France had missed their first 10 attempts from three-point range while Parker scored 14 of his team’s 20 first-half points as his colleagues appeared overawed by the occasion.

The tide turned after the break as France hit nine of the next 10 shots from behind the arc with the unstoppable Parker producing blistering lay-ups, lethal perimeter shots and defense-splitting passing having also racked up six rebounds.

Reported by Reuters

See below for video highlights of today’s Lithuania vs Croatia game, in the semifinals of the 2013 EuroBasket tournament. Lithuania won, 77-72, and will face the winner of Spain vs. France in the championship game.

Mexico completed its unlikely run in the FIBA Americas tournament, beating Puerto Rico 91-89 in the title game on Wednesday. It was the first time Mexico has won the championship of North, Central and South America, which serves as a qualification stage for next summer’s World Cup of Basketball in Spain.

(The United States did not have to participate as champions of last year’s Olympics, earning an automatic birth to the World Cup. Mexico will participate for the first time since 1974.)

Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News Blog

Gustavo Ayón scored 20 points and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds to complete a magnificent individual tournament performance that crowned him MVP.

Ayón also made the all-tournament team, averaging 17.2 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Puerto Rico and Mexico exchanged leads throughout the fourth quarter, and the Puerto Ricans missed an open three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won it.

Reported by Jaryd Wilson of HawksBasketBlog

Dennis Rodman planning exhibition games with former NBA players in North Korea

Former Detroit Pistons Bad Boy Dennis Rodman is going back to North Korea and bringing a team of former NBA players with him.

Days after returning from his second trip to visit Kim Jong Un — in which he said he became the first foreigner to hold the leader’s newborn daughter — Rodman announced plans today to stage two exhibition games in North Korea in January.

The first will be Jan. 8 — Kim’s birthday — with another to follow two days later.

Rodman’s friendship with the autocratic leader has been criticized — and led to a couple of testy exchanges during his Manhattan news conference. But Rodman insists Kim is a good person, wants to have better relations with the United States and that he’s the one who can help make it happen with his plan for “basketball diplomacy.”

“Why North Korea? It’ll open doors,” Rodman said.

Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Jan Vesely playing great at EuroBasket

Jan Vesely playing great at EuroBasket

Don’t look now, but Jan Vesely may have found his confidence. So far in Eurobasket 2013, the [Washington] Wizards forward certainly has found his game.

Playing for the Czech Republic along with Washington’s 2012 second-round pick Tomas Satoransky, Vesely leads the entire tournament in rebounding (11.3) and is tied fourth in scoring (18.5). For some context regarding the talent on hand for the tournament in Slovenia, as a scorer Vesely is tied with is San Antonio Spurs star and French guard Tony Parker.

The Czech squad evened its record at 2-2 with a 95-79 over Georgia on Sunday behind 27 points and 10 rebounds from a fist-pumping Vesely. On the assumption that many of you didn’t seek out the game online, there is video of Vesely taking a lob from Satoransky and overall highlights with the 6-foot-11 forward making an aggressive dunking appearance. He finished 12 of 14 from the floor. The 27 points came in only 27 minutes.

Reported by Ben Standig of CSN Washington

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