Archive for the ‘ International ’ Category

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

Canada eliminated from FIBA Americas basketball tournament

Cory Joseph’s 19 points wasn’t enough to deliver Canada into the semifinals of the FIBA Americas tournament, from which it was eliminated on Sunday with a 73-67 loss to Argentina.

Canada finished with three straight losses, squandering a berth to next summer’s FIBA World Cup of Basketball that had seemed like a lock after it improved to 4-1 with a crushing victory over Mexico.

Canada was 4-1 at that point, but losses to Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and finally Argentina will force it to miss the world championship tournament for just the second time since 1967. The competition has been held every four years since 1950. Argentina qualified for the eighth straight time since 1986.

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

Canada bowed out at 3-4 and now faces a potential summer off next year.

On Sunday, Scola, the MVP of this qualifying tournament three times in a row, was masterful, turning in a performance for the ages as the last star standing from Argentina’s golden generation. Using a variety of fakes, feints, passing and outside shooting, the Indiana forward absolutely dominated.

Coming off of a tough 81-74 loss to the Dominican Republic a day earlier, Canada got off to a good start and stayed in front until Scola took over, scoring 13 straight points for Argentina at one point.

A three-pointer at the buzzer put Canada down five heading into the fourth and some dubious calls and veteran gamesmanship allowed Argentina to claim the win in the end.

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Jordan Farmar

In 2010, Farmar was frustrated over playing a secondary role in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, which didn’t suit the player’s game. His journey took him to New Jersey, where he averaged 9.6 and 10.4 points per game in two seasons, and during the lockout to Tel Aviv, where he reconnected with his Jewish heritage.

After he was traded to Atlanta and waived, he signed with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish League and lived in Istanbul, where he marveled at hearing the traditional Muslim call to prayer echo around the city five times a day.

“A lot of people can’t say they have that experience in the short lives we live,” said Farmar, who shared it with his wife, former UCLA and professional soccer player Jill Oakes, and their first child. The couple added a second daughter a month ago.

Seeing the world has helped Farmar see himself more clearly and recognize what’s important.

He followed the Lakers closely, staying up until the wee hours in Europe to watch them on TV. But not until Jackson retired and was replaced — by Mike Brown, who was replaced by Mike D’Antoni — was the situation right for Farmar to return to the Lakers, or for them to want him back. They paid his Turkish team $500,000 to buy out the rest of a contract potentially worth $10 million, and he took a one-year NBA deal for $1.1 million.

Reported by Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol remains an avid traveler and a highly-cultured person, ranging from reading historical novels, making trips to countries in need as a UNICEF ambassador and attending operas. But Gasol’s latest excursion serves a different person.

He landed Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he will represent Madrid’s 2020 Olympic bid committee in hopes that his native Spain can host those Summer Games.

Madrid will compete with Tokyo and Istanbul for the 2020 Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee will announce its decision Saturday in Argentina.

Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

EuroBasket: Goran Dragic ready to go in Slovenia

Goran Dragic has been preparing for this moment all summer and anticipating it even longer.

Today, with Slovenia across his chest, the Suns guard will lead his national team into a Celje Arena filled with 5,200 green-clad, raucous fans for a European Championship opener.

Slovenia is more than just the host country. It is a team striving to medal after reaching the quarterfinals in the past four European Championships, placing as high as fourth in 2009 without Dragic.

Dragic has evolved into the team’s star, the face of Slovenian basketball like his mentor, Beno Udrih, once was. He has led his Slovenian team to an 11-1 record in the summer’s exhibition games, including a game in which he made a game-winning shot and another that he got ejected for a retaliation shove into a Turkish player’s back.

Slovenia faces Czech Republic today at noon Arizona time to open pool play. Slovenia will also face defending champion Spain, former Suns assistant coach Igor Kokoskov’s Georgian team, Croatia and Suns teammate Marcin Gortat’s Polish team this week in pool action before the elimination tournament leads to the Sept. 22 championship.

Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (Blog)

Canada hasn’t been rolling like this since Steve Nash was a young pup.

The senior men’s hoops squad picked up its third win in four games at the FIBA Americas tournament Tuesday with a blowout 93-67 win over Uruguay.

Canada clinched second place in its pool at 3-1 (though one win will not be carried forward because it came against a team that has been eliminated) with its second convincing win in four contests and heads forward in great shape.

Four of the eight remaining teams will be knocked out, while the other four will advance both to the semi-finals and to next year’s FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Marc Gasol
Spain seeks third straight European basketball championship
Spain continues to be a basketball powerhouse

Led by Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio, Spain is favored to win a third straight European basketball championship despite losing plenty of talent.

Gone will be the size of Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka and the shooting of Juan Carlos Navarro when the 24-team tournament starts on Wednesday. Two years ago in Lithuania, the Gasol brothers were a huge presence under the basket, while Navarro added 27 points in the 98-85 victory over France in the final.

France is back with Tony Parker, but is missing some of its own big men, including Joakim Noah.

The tournament features 24 teams for the first time, split into four groups that will play in Ljubljana, Jesenice, Koper and Celje. The final two rounds are in the capital of Ljubljana.

Reported by the Associated Press

Pistons forwards Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome will play for their respective EuroBasket 2013 teams this week in Slovenia.

Datome and Italy open with Russia on Wednesday. Jerebko and Sweden play Greece the same day.

Pistons president Joe Dumars and assistant general manager George David were scheduled to leave for Slovenia on Monday to watch both in the tourney, according to pistons.com.

Reported by the Detroit Free Press staff

[Former] basketball star Dennis Rodman is heading to North Korea for the second time this year for what he says is a friendly visit to his friend, the communist nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

But he is playing down speculation his trip is aimed at freeing jailed American missionary Kenneth Bae — saying there’s been “nothing promised.” Rodman spoke briefly to reporters Tuesday while transiting at Beijing’s airport on his way to Pyongyang.

“I’m going to North Korea to meet my friend, Kim,” he said. “It’s a friendly gesture.”

Reported by the Associated Press

“I’m not going to North Korea to discuss freeing Kenneth Bae,” Rodman told Reuters in a telephone interview before he left Beijing for Pyongyang. “I’m just going there on another basketball diplomacy tour.”

Kim, the third of his line to rule North Korea, is a basketball fan and appeared to get on well with Rodman on the earlier visit, with the two of them pictured laughing, eating and drinking together and watching an all-star basketball match.

Rodman’s latest trip is being sponsored by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.

Wearing his trademark dark sunglasses, the 6-foot 7-inch (2.01 metre) Rodman pushed through a throng of journalists on Tuesday as he made his way to his plane at Beijing’s international airport, a common waystation for travellers to North Korea.

Reporters by Reuters

Cory Joseph shining for Canada at FIBA Americas

Another victory to close the opening round-robin portion of the FIBA Americas would ensure Canada enters the next phase 2-1 and would enhance the odds of advancing further. Victories against teams previously eliminated do not carry forward.

The squad has been able to come together and play well quicker than most anticipated.

That’s largely been because of how good Pickering’s Cory Joseph has been. While manning the point, Joseph has been treating opponents like his adversaries in the NBA Development League, where he was a standout months ago. He’s been stuffing the stat sheet, racking up points and assists, even leading Canada in rebounding against Brazil. Joseph looks like a veteran on the court. Reaching the NBA Final and being developed by the league’s best organization, San Antonio, has been huge for the former first-round pick. And he’s playing like a star. Practising every day against MVP candidate Tony Parker surely has something to do with that, as well.

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Ivan Johnson signs to play in China

Ivan Johnson signs to play in China

Ivan Johnson has agreed to a deal to play in China next season, according to his agent.

Johnson, who played the past two seasons with the Hawks, will play for Zhejiang China next season said agent Jeremiah Haylett. It is the same team Eddy Curry played for last season.

Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Blog)

Luke Babbitt agrees to play in Russia

Luke Babbitt agrees to play in Russia

Portland Trail Blazers free agent forward Luke Babbitt has agreed to a one-year deal with the Europe club BC Nizhny Novgorod of Russia, a league source informed CSNNW.com.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the fact that no announcement has been made, added that the deal does not contain an NBA-out clause.

Babbitt’s agent Bill Duffy confirmed the deal saying, “My take is Luke needs to play 30 minutes a game and play a more expanded role. We’ve had recent success with both Danny Green (of the San Antonio Spurs) and Patrick Beverley (of the Houston Rockets) getting an opportunity to develop their games in Europe and return to the NBA. The NBA is a league of opportunity. We feel strongly this is the best move for Luke at this time.”

Reported by Chris Haynes of CSNNW

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol will sit out of the FIBA EuroBasket Championships in September in hopes of fully rehabbing his knees, but the Lakers forward plans to help his native Spain in a different way.

Madrid’s 2020 Olympic bid committee has appointed Gasol as one of its spokesman and will address International Olympic Committee during Madrid’s final presentation in Buenos Aires next month. Gasol provided an impassioned statement and indirectly suggested how hosting the Summer Games would provide a significant financial boost to Spain, which has battled a recession for most of the past four years and has a 26.3 percent unemployment rate.

“The Olympic Games are more than sport – I know this personally as an Olympian. Spanish sport and the people of Madrid need the boost the Olympic Games would provide, and Madrid is ready to face this challenge,” Gasol said in a statement. “But Madrid will also give something back to the Olympic Movement – we are a city that is prepared with a responsible bid plan that will help develop sport far into the future.”

Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

Marquez Haynes, who was one of the few bright spots for the Wizards during Las Vegas summer league, has signed a two-year deal to play with Italian club Emporio Armani of Euroleague.

Haynes, a 6-3 combo guard from Texas-Arlington, showed an ability to score and create while playing with the Wizards when they went 2-3 in summer league play.

While he drew “significant interest” in Las Vegas, persons with knowledge of the situation told CSN Washington at the time, he took the sure thing in Italy rather than waiting for NBA training camps to start in late September.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Euroleague newcomer Budivelnik Kiev (in the Ukraine) signed combo guard Blake Ahearn, who has a shot to become the club’s go-to scorer. Ahearn (1.88 meters, 29 years old) is a well-traveled scorer, who has displayed his talents on three continents. He last played for Chinese club DongGuan New Century Leopards, for whom he averaged 23 points and 3.4 assists in 17 games last season. Ahearn has previously played in Europe for Estudiantes Madrid in Spain and Teramo Basket in Italy. The majority of his professional career has been in Ahearn’s native United States. He has played in the NBA for Miami, San Antonio and Utah and in the NBA D-League for Dakota, Austin, Bakersfield, Erie and Reno.

Reported by Euroleague.net

Video: Amazing pass from Jason Williams

Retired NBA point guard Jason Williams, known as White Chocolate, threw an amazing pass in an overseas game. You need to see the video clip:

That’s just an absolutely beautiful assist. J-Will’s creativity with the basketball is really something special.

When the Wizards locked up Eric Maynor at the start of free agency more than a month ago, it was a given that A.J. Price wouldn’t return.

Price, who had the best statistical season of his four-year career with 7.7 pints, 3.6 assists and 35% three-point shooting in Washington, surprisingly still is a free agent.

Reached this weekend by CSN Washington, Price concedes that he was prepared to linger on the market and said he wouldn’t rule out jumping abroad if the money is there. He made just less than $900,000 under the veteran minimum after spending his first three with the Indiana Pacers. He thinks his value should be greater.

“No, I’m not surprised,” he said of the Wizards not bringing him back after his only season here.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

James Ennis’ professional career will begin in Australia.

Scott Nichols, Ennis’ agent, Friday confirmed to the Sun Sentinel the agreement between Ennis and the Perth Wildcats of the National Basketball League in Australia, an arrangement that provides the 2013 second-round pick out of Long Beach State the option to return to the Miami Heat this season if summoned.

The Heat, who obtained Ennis from the Atlanta Hawks the night of the draft, will retain Ennis’ rights going forward, without having to utilize one of their roster spots for the coming season on the athletic swingman.

Ennis had an uneven summer-league run with the Heat, at times displaying the 3-point shooting and defensive disposition that will continue to have him in the team’s long-range plans.

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Gani Lawal signs in Latvia

Latvian champ VEF Riga made official on Friday the acquisition of big man Gani Lawal for the next season. Lawal (2.05 meters, 25 years old) arrives from Virtus Roma of Italy, where last season he averaged 13.7 points, led all players in rebounds with 8.4 and was second in blocks with 1.5 in 47 Italian League games. After that, he played two games in China with Guangzhou Liu Sui. Lawal played college ball at Georgia Tech from 2007 to 2010.

Reported by Euroleague.net

miami heat

Miami Heat 2013 second-round NBA Draft pick James Ennis likely will spend the coming season overseas, with the Heat maintaining his draft rights, agent Scott Nichols on Monday told the Sun Sentinel.

Nichols cited the Heat’s glut of veteran wings, the team’s position hard against the NBA luxury tax and the Heat’s number of expiring contracts after the coming season as reasons why a 2014-15 NBA debut with the team might make more sense for the swingman out of Long Beach State who was acquired in a draft-night trade with the Atlanta Hawks.

“It comes down to a numbers game and a tax game,” Nichols said, with a decision on his client’s 2013-14 playing status expected to be finalized later this week.

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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