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Thread: Some Random Thoughts On International Basketball

  1. #676
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    Angola did indeed have something to say about qualifying as Group E hosts to finish second in their group overcoming Cameroon in an intense match punctuated by a Carlos Morais three-pointer in the third fourth quarter with 46 seconds left that will forever live in Angolan basketball lore:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...n-filled-clash

    Actually Angola had to defeat China to qualify in going to China. That Will Voigt's forces did in thrashing fashion 90-50 to finish second behind Tunisia:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...for-china-2019

    Egypt did what the Pharoahs needed to do to stay alive in contention in winning all their games with Omar Oraby's double double engineering a stunning 73-64 North African derby OT win over a very strong Tunisia, who couldn't shoot effectively from behind the arc, in Luanda to halt the latter's unbeaten run and be a point ahead of Cameroon next for that do or die matchup to wrap things up...
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...up-hopes-alive
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...for-china-2019

    ...But Cameroon, as another of the top 5 African teams, stuns and eliminates the Egyptians from even third place African consideration. Cameroon captain Jeremy N’Zeulie scored a window-high of 30 points in the 80-60 win with his energy lit up Lazare Adingono’s side with Frank Yangue and Arnaud Adala Moto adding 12 and 10 points in that order. Cameroon was coming off back-to back losses before this. All Cameroon will do now in knowing their China fate is wait when the Central African Republic play against Nigeria, Mali and already eliminated Rwanda in the February window. Looks like they got a great shot. Was a great weekend in Cameroon sports with this down in Angola and the women's national soccer team winning third place in Africa to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France next June:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...up-hopes-alive

    Speaking of great national weekend in different sports, Tall Blacks, in living up to their name, used their size to clinch their own spot for China in joining the Boomers in beating hard-working but outclassed Syria and Tarek Al-Jabi 97-74 in Wellington's TSB Arena with a pro-Kiwi crowd behind them as the SWANZ/Football Ferns became the 24th and final team to qualify for the FIFA WWC in France. Started strong for NZ and stayed that way game-long. Qualified with two February games to spare towards their 5th consecutive WBC appearance:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...into-world-cup

    South Korea knocks off Jordan 88-67 to join Australia/Boomers and New Zealand/Tall Blacks for Asia/Pacific (and actually the first Asia proper team to do so) in Busan powered by a boisterous crowd. Jordan's Falcons were on the back of being just demoralized by NZ days ago in Christchurch:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...world-cup-2019

    Spain not unexpectedly goes to China in holding off the Ukraine 72-68 in San Cristobal De La Laguna:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-to-china-2019

    Turkey also qualified despite losing to Montenegro in Podgorica with tiebreakers favoring them against MNE, UKR, and LAT that allows to finish no worse than 3rd:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-to-montenegro

    Italy's Azzurri will have to wait until the final window in February to claim that WBC spot after falling to a desperate Poland 94-78 in Gdansk. Poor turnovers was one culprit:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...world-cup-spot
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  2. #677
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    Late November/early December FIBA qualification window ended yesterday. Some additional nation-teams are making plans for China with the Americas concluding things.

    Canada--Mission accomplished! For the first time since 2010 in Turkey, Canada is going to the FIBA World Basketball Championships in impressive routing style with its offensive firepower and depth at Sao Paulo's Ginásio Poliesportivo Wlamir Marquesusing 94-67 over Brazil. Canada used 35 players in its most talented pool ever --even brought many of them from Europe across the Atlantic with no NBA players or coaches like Jay Triano involved here--during the course of its campaign with two home games at St. John's, Newfoundland in February to spare. Kyle Wiltjer scores 25 points to lead everybody not just Canada. Joel Anthony was productive at 36:
    https://www.tsn.ca/wiltjer-has-25-po...ying-1.1220359
    https://www.cbc.ca/sports/basketball...azil-1.4931127
    http://www.basketball.ca/en/news-article/slug-2nsme0
    https://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/...berth-weekend/
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...aws-to-a-close
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...rld-cup-ticket

    Indeed, Canadian basketball has come a long way in over a decade when it still was capable of qualifying of both the Olympics and WBC. As stated before many times in these threads, basketball has truly grown and is booming as a culture up in Canada. Rowan Barrett, R.J.'s dad, heaps praise upon all the players who suited up for this successful campaign. Many of them know however their chances for being in China are slim. Competition for the 2019 roster spots will be fierce when Jay Triano re-takes the head coaching spot with that tremendous depth from various parts repping Canada. But it won't be all NBA players then:
    https://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/...owing-culture/

    You just know Team USA will qualify shortly after Argentina. Even if it was with G-League players and a well-respected head coach presently not in the NBA and doing analysis for ESPN/ABC against Uruguay in a close game at Montevideo's brand new Antel Arena on the site of the old El Cilindro Municipal:
    https://www.usab.com/news-events/new...uay-recap.aspx
    https://www.usab.com/news-events/new...ay-quotes.aspx
    https://www.usab.com/news-events/new...-dec-2018.aspx

    Venezuela tops their group and clinching to China edging a US Virgin Islands team with nothing else to play for 77-76 at St. Thomas, USVI to cap a fantastic weekend with an earlier win over Canada:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...cas-qualifiers

    Los Rioja's Superdomo was the site of Argentina's 9th consecutive clinching to the World Basketball Championship overcame last-place 3-7 Mexico to become the first Americas team in its Group E to qualify. Luis Scola leads the way once again. Mexico's major bright spot was Gabriel Giron as the only Mexican player in double figures at 20 points for a nation introducing a new president:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...d-cup-in-china

    Uruguay's Celeste may be down having fallen at home but really out of contention for a spot in China next year currently tied with Puerto Rico for third with games against the Puerto Ricans and already-eliminated Mexico:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-the-world-cup

    Japan's Atsuki Five is fast becoming those bullet trains the nation is known for with a giant 6-game winning streak starting in June. Definitely among the hottest national basketball teams in the world. They took another important step in reviving their chances to make it to China by stopping visiting Kazakhstan's Steppe Wolves 86-70 in Toyama, Japan. Naturalized player Nick Fazekas, who currently plays professionally in Japan after NBA/G-League stints following a Nevada-Reno career, was the star in that game. Final window in February will see the Japanese travel to West Asia to face Iran and Qatar with hopes of making it. Can this arduous task of stopping Japan happen in its tracks. Time will tell:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...cation-chances

    Serbia gets back into winning and hands the Greeks its first loss in the qualifying round:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...ece-first-loss

    This was the first FIBA qualifying window without beloved FIBA Secretary-General Patrick Baumann whose life was cut much too short at age 52 in Buenos Aires, Argentina to a heart attack. All FIBA international games during this past weekend worldwide paid tribute to the late Swiss basketball visionary with a minute's silence in his memory prior to tip-off:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...cup-qualifiers

    In related news, the Basketball Federation of Switzerland announced upon its 90th anniversary that the annual Swiss Basketball Cup will be renamed in Patrick Baumann's memory as the Patrick Baumann Cup with the help of time keeper Tissot and the city of Biel are proud to announce the 7000-seat Tissot Arena in Bienne as the venue for the finals of the Swiss Cup to be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 with many basketball events planned there like men's and women's 3x3 tournaments. The Patrick Baumann Swiss Basketball Cup brings together the teams of the first 3 national championships: SBL, NLB and NL1. This single elimination competition format thus gives the chance to the teams of the lower championships to face teams of the superior leagues like an Open club soccer tournament and organized among women and men:
    https://swiss.basketball/news/2018/1...bienne-en-2019
    http://www.fiba.basketball/news/on-o...atrick-baumann
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  3. #678
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    17 nations worldwide still vying for those remaining 14 spots left for that Chinese trip coming up in the next qualifying window in February. Take a look at where they presently stand. For some, depending on the region, finishing third or fourth with a win in the last two games is what's needed and in some cases need help to get in. Some of the third place teams can get in with a more favo(u)rable point differential--and I can think of a few who already have that seemingly insurmountable margin like Uruguay to get in no matter what the other teams can do.

    AFRICA (3 spots): Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic
    AMERICAS (4): Brazil, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic
    ASIA/PACIFIC (4): Lebanon, Jordan, Japan, Iran, Philippines, Kazakhstan
    EUROPE (7): Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Greece, Serbia, Georgia, Israel

    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...dow-to-qualify
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  4. #679
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    Puerto Rico may be enduring serious economic woes, but the island's residents turned up to pay now sold-out tickets within 24 hours for the big upcoming February 25 Puerto Rico-Uruguay clash at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-than-24-hours

    For Latvia and Serbia as Eurobasket Women 2019 co-hosts, they each picked a partner with the Latvians selecting Sweden and the Serbs going for hosting Slovenia in its group.

    GROUP A: Ukraine, Latvia, Great Britain, Spain
    GROUP B: Sweden, France, Czech Republic, Montenegro
    GROUP C: Italy, Hungary, Turkey, Slovenia
    GROUP D: Serbia, Russia, Belgium, Belarus

    http://www.fiba.basketball/womenseur...draw-completed
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  5. #680
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    BREAKING NEWS: India gets a taste of NBA action for the first time even with Sacramento Kings (owned by Vivek Ranadive) and the Indiana Pacers playing two preseason games in Mumbai (Bombay) on October 4-5 as the centerpiece of numerous NBA activities there. Plus the NBA has its Indian offices based in Mumbai:
    https://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/...es-first-time/
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  6. #681
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    Kai Sotto just had a very significant 2018 representing The Philippines at both the junior and now entering the senior levels, getting major attention at every corner of the global basketball community. Far and away more so than any of his fellow talented peers ala Yao Ming with Sotto's work ethic, high basketball IQ and innate talent. But still raw. Could he be a gamechanger not just for The Philippines but for all of Asia, like taking Gilas to the Summer Olympics, and ultimately to the NBA come 2021? That would be huge if he gets there. Maybe the EuroLeague through Real Madrid? A Spanish scout who once discovered Kriztaps Porzingis says Sotto's got the goods. Ater Majok warns though "the NBA's not a given"
    http://www.fiba.basketball/news/is-k...ian-basketball

    Indian basketball continues to make progress, albeit slowly. Bangalore native and NBA Academy India/Basketball Without Borders alum Sanjana Ramesh signs for a full scholarship with the Northern Arizona Lumberjills in the Big Sky Conference, becoming only the second Indian woman to play in NCAA D1 basketball after Kavita Akula. She couldn't fully participate at the William Jones Cup and later at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia this past summer from a knee ligament injury:
    http://www.newindianexpress.com/citi...s-1907488.html

    Oregon Ducks nab a well-regarded and highly skilled young British top guard in 5-11 Holly Winterburn from the WBBL's Leicester Riders who's strong and an aggressive and versatile scorer and leads Team GB at the U16 and U18 Europe levels. She dropped 25 points for Leicester that included 13 in the fourth quarter for thier first win this season. A solid rebounder, her game will be suited for Pac-12 ball. Winterburn joins top Australian guard Jaz Shelley in a pair of Oregon's international 2019 commits for 2019-20:
    https://herosports.com/womens-basket...interburn-ruru

    Despite the lack of government funding and ill-equipped in competing with soccer, rugby, hurling, and Gaelic football, Irish basketball is punching above its own weight towards a bright future with an improved quality of coaching, turning to the USA to better themselves skills-wise, and a well-spring of junior level players called the Green Shoots creating success with a handful of them having serious potential to give Pat Burke some Irish NBA company like Louisville's Aidan Harris "Irish Hulk" Igiehon, ex-Neptune forward Jordan Blount enjoying his best season in college yet with UIC, Dubliner John Carroll at Hartford, and Conor OÂ’Sullivan recently moved to the US and his brother Darragh along with Cian Heaphy:
    https://www.eveningecho.ie/corksport...ddda42f40de-ds

    August 9 was supposed to be the date for a Kosovo/Bosnia-Herzegovina FIBA European Championship U16 Division B game in Sarajevo. But it quickly turned into a political dispute as the Kosovo players couldn't get their visas promptly from the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nor was there any apparent agreement of the participation of Kosovo in the tournament since BiH doesn't recognize Kosovo as an sovereign nation. The again, BAFBiH could incur the wrath of FIBA because of government interference. Yet this notes Kosovo's volleyball team managed to enter BiH in Bijeljina for a tournament without any problems:
    https://www.balkaneu.com/bosnia-koso...ned-political/
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  7. #682
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    For all the tremendous progress British basketball made internationally since London was awarded the 2012 Summer Olympics, there does seem a lot more it needs to make before it rises out of the fifth space in the British team sports pecking order. The O2 Arena inside the Millenium Dome was the site of Olympic basketball along with Copper Box and annually gets the sellout NBA regular season game for 9 years now. London and the O2 Arena was also the site of the EuroLeague Final Four several years back but left some leaving it to be more desired. There are still no British EuroLeagues teams yet in. Team GB at the senior level still competes hard in Europe and the women are looking forward to playing in this year's Eurobasket. But both the men and women need more consistent top-level Euro comps forward. Yet the British basketball game still suffers from a lack of institutional structure in coaching and access to places to play such as indoor courts, poor government support and funding like National LotteryUK, and little to no national media exposure even on the pay-TV sports channels like Eurosport, SKY Sport, and BT Sport. Imagine British team handball feels now after London 2012 only worse there. There was even a demand for Team GB to medal in justifying continuous national funding and support and look good on the funders, which was unrealistic for British basketball since it lacks an abundant decades-long international pedigree. Right now, there is presently little British presence in the NBA save for OG Anudoby and Luol Deng. Less in the WNBA with Jo Leedham being cut from Connecticut in preseason. Young talent is emerging but the depth, BBL/WBBL league talent while decent, isn't solvent with no TV, little corporate sponsors and pay there with richer Euro leagues on the continental side. Not even London can help there. So they have to leave for better opportunities. Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse should know all these because he spent much time in Britain being involved with the basketball scene for many years; he's their shining light right now. London needs a basketball superstar to get many in that multicultural city engage into it and influence major British sports movers and shakers to improve its conditions, if not going to overtake soccer which is so deeply embedded all over the city. It will also take a generation or two before success comes. Then again, Australians did see basketball boom in the 1980 and 1990s. Among other things:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...=.31f5811a9ef1

    Going from one recent Olympic city to another, the first ever FIBA Intercontinental Cup will be held in Rio De Janeiro February 15-17 at the Carioca Arena 1, the site of the Rio 2016 Olympic basketball tournament, and will be made up of four teams of champs in the Americas. Sorry, no NBA champs Golden St. will be in it. Be too busy then. So it'll be G-League champs the Austin Spurs repping the NBA fam with Basketball Champions League champs AEK Athens from Greece, DIRECTV Liga de las Americas champions San Lorenzo de Almagro from Argentina, and tournament hosts Flamengo, the last Brazilian team to win the DIRECTV Liga de las Americas and FIBA Intercontinental Cup in the same year (in 2014) and are five-time champions of Novo Basquete Brazil (NBB). Played in a Final Four format, with two Semi-Finals on February 15, followed by a 3rd-Place Game and Final two days later. Your semis are...

    San Lorenzo de Almagro v AEK
    Flamengo v Austin Spurs
    http://www.fiba.basketball/en/interc...ontinental-cup
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  8. #683
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    A really significant development in the history of African basketball took place in Charlotte during NBA All Star Weekend with a mix of notable African-American and African NBA movers and shakers on hand for this announcement with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during Black History Month, appropriately and pertinently so. The NBA and FIBA will get together to create an Africa-wide professional basketball league called the Basketball Africa League with 12 teams to start with to play in January 2020. Contenders for this include African nations like "Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia, with no more than two teams from the same country able to qualify". The NBA also announced its plan to introduce a re-imagined direct-to-consumer offering of NBA games for fans in Africa by the start of the 2019-20 NBA season:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/news/nba-...ague-in-africa

    And we're only days away from the final qualifiers being named to round out the field of 32 nations for the upcoming FIBA World Basketball Championships this month in the February 21-25 window.
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  9. #684
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    Some surprises occurred at the final qualification window period. It's OFFICIAL! Doesn't appear that no nation will qualify for China today out of Europe. Or new qualifier anywhere. The big thing was the Estonia-Serbia 70-71 earthquake revervabrating from Tallinn shaking up all of Group L with Serbia's seat getting warmer getting dropped to 6-5 in what was all but assured coming in. Serbia endured bad shooting, bad boxing out, and couldn't defend well. Had a chance to make free throws and send into overtime. Its bigs like Raduljica got into foul trouble and was ineffective. Even hurried to make threes. Estonia, already eliminated and at the bottom of the group but filled with pride and passion, made some clutch shooting and defense plays at the Saku Suurhall going out in their final home game swinging for their fans with nothing to lose in Estonia's first win at this round with this stunner. Israel took advantage of this and managed a clutch win against already-qualified Germany and still within striking distance of Serbia to qualify in Group L at 5-6 before the last game of the Qualifiers. TJ Cline was Israel's man with his 14 points while Rafi Menco and Yiftah Ziv were the other double-digit scorers with 10 points apiece in Tel Aviv. Niels Giffey and Andreas Obst finished with 16 points each for Germany. Youngster Golan Gut stepped up for a team absent some of its top players. Still needs some help. Still like Serbia's chances with its pedigree though. Same lifeline from Estonia can't be said for Georgia. Greece eliminated Georgia from contention 81-69 in Heraklion despite the Georgians, who needed this game to win, being ahead (for now) of Israel, now eyeing Serbia. Yet Georgia could still act as spoiler against Israel in the race to tip the balance one way or another should this comes down to a three-way tie. A three-way tie scenario with Georgia would be beneficial for Serbia, who defeated the Georgians twice, and disfavors Israel, who suffered a pair of defeats at the Serbian's hands. Serbia will have to wait--and still would've advanced had both Georgia and Israel lost tonight!

    Plus, it will go down to the wire too in Group K. Like to see Finland get in, and the Susilegi made themselves ready for it playing aggressive in beating a more anonymous, less experienced and younger France 76-69 in the Espoo Metro Areena. Therefore, they stay one point behind of Russia for the third and final spot in the group. All will be revealed come Sunday in Perm, Russia's Universal Sports Palace Molot to decide who will advance to that China round with that do-or-die event. Finland needs to win by 3+ points there because of Russia's earlier 77-75 win to leapfrog over Russia. But I do expect Russia, ending things at home, to make reservations for China. Elsewhere, France and the Czech Republic will fight for top position in Group K in Pardubice. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic takes care of Bosnia-Herzegovina 69-64 with the Czech trio of Jaromir Bohacik, Vojtech Hruban and Pavel Pumprla collected 44 of the team's points, while Aleksandar Lazic top-scored for BiH with 16 points on a near-perfect 6-of-7 display from the field. France committed 21 turnovers in the game versus Finland after controlling the defense in the first half but still won the rebounding battle.

    All that's needed for Italy's Azzurri is just a win against Hungary, who at 5-5 clearly have no margin of error and must win their final games in this window against Italy and Poland, to book a flight bound for China in Varese and not head for . Could well be another barn burner like last time in Debrecen, Hungary


    Romain Sato, one of the best players coming from the Central African Republic, suits up for the Les Fauves (The Beasts) and determined to lead the nation to China with his experience. Central African Republic needs a total of 119-120 points with a ruthless Nigeria ahead of them to make in three games. A lofty goal for a player who last suited up for RCA a decade ago representing it at the 2009 African Basketball Championships in Libya and last played for Spain's Valencia after being a 2011 Italian league MVP and amassed additional silverware in Italy. Realizes it's his last shot for world championship glory--wasn't even born when the CAF last made it in 1974. Was embraced openly with his teammates. Warriors they are but placed themselves in an extremely tough spot to make history:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...c-to-world-cup
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...world-cup-spot
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...ld-cup-history

    Call it mission impossible. Hosts of the current African qualifiers, the Ivory Coast in Abidjan, CANNOT afford to lose to dominant, talented, and consistent Nigeria (used more than 30 players throughout the qualifiers)--not to mention Rwanda and Mali, neither can qualify at this point--if it wants to advance and qualify to China. Actually the Elephants have to defeat the Nigerians by a huge margin to keep those 2019 World Basketball Championships in China aspirations alive--and Senegal must lose all of their three. Better to perhaps achieve the African third place with a better point differential. Regardless, it'll be a dogfight. To that end, the Ivorians recruited some veteran assets--Guy Edi, Souleyman Diabate, Mohamed Kone and former Rutgers star Herve Lamizana have all featured for Cote d'Ivoire at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2010 in Turkey plus prime player Vafessa Fofana from France Pro B's Nantes:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...igeria-or-else
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...world-cup-2019
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...ivoires-fofana
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...r-final-window
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...cup-since-2010

    Cameroon certainly appears capable of qualifying to the biggest international basketball stage it ever had. Came close a few times in either the Olympics and the World Basketball Championship. Easily would have qualified by now with several comfortable chances but made too many disappointing mistakes over that course. Doesn't have the insurmountably tall order that the Ivory Coast and the Central African Republic both have unless they make some incredible performances. But fortunes aren't completely under the Indomitable Lions' control:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...cup-appearance

    Another African Lions team, Senegal, won't take any opponent for granted. Like Rwanda. Never mind they're already eliminated:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...against-rwanda
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  10. #685
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    Team Canada is playing in St. John's, Newfoundland at the Mile One Centre, the home of NBL Canada's St. John's Edge to finish up their qualifiers with two games. Tonight with Chile and Sunday with Venezuela in a battle for first place. Canada should dominate over the Chileans. Also down in St. John, USVI tonight, Brazil under head coach Aleksander Petrovic must and should win against the US Virgin Islands to get in ahead of the Dominican Republic. Venezuela is in the Dominican Republic, who urgently need a victory, at Santo Domingo for a match tonight there. Venezuela's David Cubillan, who averaged 5.6 points in Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, is expected to debut with the Vinotinto in this window. Friday night has that major match in sold-out San Juan's Roberto Clemente Coliseum between Puerto Rico and Argentina and later Uruguay that's a hot ticket and very likely determine who goes to China between the two with both razor-thin in point differential. Argentina doesn't really need this one. 3 spots are up for grabs in the Americas.

    Uruguay's last appearance in the major world basketball tournaments was back 33 years ago in 1986. Was considered one of the best out of South America with Brazil and sometimes Venezuela at the time when Argentina wasn't quite up to snuff until near the end of the 1980s and we all know how that turned out. But Argentina's rise wasn't overnight. Uruguay's got Reuben Magnano for guidance and experience but suffered two losses on the 16-man roster. Can they achieve that seemingly elusive dream against Mexico and Puerto Rico (or maybe with help of two defeats from DR)?
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...after-33-years
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...atch-in-mexico

    Lebanon's Cedars at 6-4 needs to win against New Zealand's Tall Blacks and later with South Korea in Beirut in front of 7000 screaming and passionate fans at the sold out Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Zouk Mikael with a defiant reception and atmosphere that will be rocking and loud to place further distance in front of Jordan. It's money time for Lebanon with fans pouring out their fan support:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...st-new-zealand
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-nouhad-nawfal
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-nouhad-nawfal

    Japan's Atsuki Five goes red hot and makes it 7 in a row while sweeping Iran in Tehran:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...ian-qualifiers

    UPDATE: Brazil just qualified after beating the US Virgin Islands tonight
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  11. #686
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    The World Basketball Championship nations entry list keep filling up. Senegal, Italy, and Poland join Brazil as the latest nations having all punched their tickets to China. Poland returns to this for the first time in 52 years. Senegal destroys Rwanda to get in 81-41:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...s-up-for-grabs

    It's last chance saloon for many nations still involved to get in with 10 open spot remaining. Doesn't get more exciting in the last window stage worldwide for this! Gets more complicated like with the NFL playoff chase when the Philippines are involved:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-the-world-cup

    Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast's Elephants somehow managed to upset all-powerful Nigeria's D'Tigers and stop their 9-game winning streak in a landmark night for advancing
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...orld-cup-hopes
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  12. #687
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    Behold! All of the nations that will participate and compete later this year (August 31-September 15) in the FIBA World Basketball Championships newly-expanded 32-team field in China after the just-completed final window in nearly a year and a half (15 months to be exact) of 6 window campaigns that kickstarted in Europe. Right down to the wire on the final day last night in the Americas, this FIFA World Cup-like qualification period from FIBA was quite exciting! Fans worldwide packed arenas and got to see their national basketball teams more frequently and in games that meant something than in the recent past.

    AFRICA (5): Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia
    AMERICAS (7): Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USA, Venezuela
    ASIA/PACIFIC-8 : Australia, China (hosts), Iran, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, New Zealand, Philippines
    EUROPE (12): Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey

    As with anything, we will have to acknowledge many of the nations that failed to qualify that I and they themselves would've liked to make it and could've done something. But didn't. Not to make up the numbers, regardless of talent level or international pedigree. Hopefully, a few of them will actually get to participate in the qualifications next time when The Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan all co-host and have more than the 149 national team that competed and get closer to 214. I call it the Wish They Were There segment. I wonder what it would be like if FIBA decided to follow FIFA's lead and expand it in the future to 48 teams for 2026 onward. Would allow and make easier for some nations to co-host more frequently like with who will host next time. All 4 regional confederations will get more with the expanded format of 16 more teams but some like Africa and the Americas will get major jumps. Europe will get 4.5 more spots under my expansion plan. Not sure if there would be wildcards with 2 reserved spots out of a "first four" format predating the tournament. But the allocation, in how I would do it if I was FIBA, would be similar to what FIFA would do to the regions. Host nation(s) will automatically qualify. Likely each will get 4 additional spots with host included. There are more than enough nations who are decent enough in the men's international game that are competitive against each other. More than actually qualified of course. Will ponder more on it soon

    Finland
    Lebanon
    Great Britain
    Sweden
    Uruguay
    Cameroon
    Mexico
    Kazakhstan
    South Africa*
    Egypt
    Mali
    Georgia
    Mozambique
    Slovenia
    Croatia
    Estonia
    Latvia
    Central African Republic
    The Netherlands
    Israel
    Jamaica*
    Hungary
    Switzerland*
    Austria
    Ukraine
    Algeria
    Taiwan
    Iceland
    Hong Kong
    Belgium
    Gabon
    Morocco
    Slovakia
    Macedonia
    Mongolia*
    Uzbekistan
    Ireland
    Democratic Republic of Congo
    Zimbabwe
    Indonesia
    India
    Chile
    Denmark
    Bulgaria
    Congo-Brazzaville
    Kenya
    Panama
    Uganda
    Bosnia-Herzegovina
    Colombia
    Rwanda
    Peru
    Thailand

    *did not actually participate

    Next step is discovering which nations will get drawn into the groups out of the final 32 in the ultimate battle to be crowned with the world title. Draw will commence as the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw, presented by Wanda, takes place in Shenzhen, China, one of the competition's eight host cities on Saturday, March 16. The star-studded event will be headlined by global sporting icon Kobe Bryant, American best-selling singer/songwriter Jason Derulo and World Cup ambassador and Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming. Tickets will be on sale very soon:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/en/basket...come-to-an-end
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

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    Some examples in how the global FIBA basketball community is celebrating International Women's Day 2019 through its mutual love of basketball with the hope of inspiring young female ballers to shattering more barriers!
    http://www.fiba.basketball/news/cele...omens-day-2019
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

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    This upcoming 2019 FIBA World Basketball Championship Draw in Shenzhen, China on Saturday at the 8000-seat Shenzhen Bay Arena will emulate all the star-studded spectacle and fanfare format we now expect from its FIFA counterpart with celebrities and entertainment all throughout. It's the centerpiece of 3 days of basketball celebrations there. And it's sold out. You would expect some Chinese stars to be involved in this but the likes of Jason Derulo, Stephon Marbury, Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, and Kobe Bryant are also present surely (and partly) for broader international appeal:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...and-basketball
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...aw-in-shenzhen
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  15. #690
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    The 2019 FIBA World Basketball Championship/Basketball World Cup draw for all the teams in the new 32-team format is all set from Shenzhen's Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre, the site of all the Group G games, on Saturday night! I would like to see this expanded towards like the planned 48 nations starting with the FIFA 2026 World Cup down the line. Sooner rather than later. Because there's a lot of nations, as I illustrated in the past couple of posts, who did not make it that are just of competitive as the talent level is getting better with each passing year. I'll get back to that soon. Having said that, I present to you the China group draw:

    GROUP A (BEIJING--Wukesong Sports Center/Cadillac Arena): China, Ivory Coast, Poland, Venezuela
    GROUP B (WUHAN--Wuhan Gymnasium): Argentina, Nigeria, Russia, South Korea
    GROUP C (GUANGZHOU-Guangzhou Gymnasium): Iran, Puerto Rico, Spain, Tunisia
    GROUP D (FOSHAN--Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center): Angola, Italy, Philippines, Serbia
    GROUP E (SHANGHAI--Shanghai Oriental Sports Center): Czech Republic, Japan, Turkey, USA
    GROUP F (NANJING--Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park Gymnasium): Brazil, Greece, Montenegro, New Zealand
    GROUP G (SHENZHEN--Shenzhen Bay Sports Center): Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Jordan
    GROUP H (DONGGUAN--Dongfeng Nissan Cultural and Sports Centre): Australia, Canada, Lithuania, Senegal

    August 31, 2019
    Ivory Coast vs. China
    Poland vs. Venezuela
    Argentina vs. South Korea
    Russia vs. Nigeria
    Iran vs. Puerto Rico
    Spain vs. Tunisia
    Philippines vs. Italy
    Angola vs. Serbia

    September 1, 2019
    Czech Republic vs. United States
    Turkey vs. Japan
    New Zealand vs. Brazil
    Greece vs. Montenegro
    France vs. Germany
    Dominican Republic vs. Jordan
    Senegal vs. Lithuania
    Canada vs. Australia

    September 2, 2019
    China vs. Poland
    Venezuela vs. Ivory Coast
    Nigeria vs. Argentina
    South Korea vs. Russia
    Tunisia vs. Iran
    Puerto Rico vs. Spain
    Serbia vs. Philippines
    Italy vs. Angola

    September 3, 2019
    Japan vs. Czech Republic
    United States vs. Turkey
    Montenegro vs. New Zealand
    Brazil vs. Greece
    Jordan vs. France
    Germany vs. Dominican Republic
    Lithuania vs. Canada
    Australia vs. Senegal

    September 4, 2019
    Ivory Coast vs. Poland
    Venezuela vs. China
    South Korea vs. Nigeria
    Russia vs. Argentina
    Puerto Rico vs. Tunisia
    Spain vs. Iran
    Italy vs. Serbia
    Angola vs. Philippines

    September 5, 2019
    United States vs. Japan
    Turkey vs. Czech Republic
    Brazil vs. Montenegro
    Greece vs. New Zealand
    Germany vs. Jordan
    Dominican Republic vs. France
    Canada vs. Senegal
    Lithuania vs. Australia

    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...dule-available

    And we got the Shenzhen draw ceremony with 8000 witnessing. Wonder why it hosted there. Something to do with the desire to avoid predictably hosting it in either in Beijing or Shanghai perhaps. And the fact reflecting much of the games are concentrated in the southern Chinese cluster of cities in the Guangdong province Thing is, disturbingly, there was so much cheering from the Chinese contingent over Kobe in whatever he did like with the drawing of nations than for fellow ambassador--and far better--Yao Ming. It begins with FIBA President Horacio Muratore addressing the crowd in Spanish about what's to come in a matter of moments and of the World Basketball Championship and then over in Chinese with local Shenzhen basketball youth dressed in black hoodies with each of the 32 nations' flags accompanied by Yi Jianlian with the one sporting the host China hoodie presenting a flower to Muratore. This was followed by the Son of Dreams mascot, Chinese girl group Rocket Girls 101 member Yang Chaoyue, and the two Chinese emcees. Things don't go international until the 14:18 mark (that is, using English) co-emceed by Allan Wu and Betty Zhou. Although we don't get to hear or see from new Secretary-General Andreas Zagklis, Stephon Marbury, or Rachel Demita:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbeMFW9rIA4

    There will also be a next generation range of basketballs set to debut in China better equipped for sweat/moisture and improved gripping,control, and texture from Molten in the BG5000:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...d-cup-in-china

    The FIBA women's international qualification game for both the World Championships and Olympics will undergo a similar structural system change like the men endured effective in November 2019 with continental cups serving as standalone events. Though I would very much like to see expansion of the World Championship and Eurobasket Women field up to at least 24 each in both as the women's international game talent level has improved too. Likely in or after 2021-22. But I would go for 32 in the former. Continental ones should be expanded too. Although host nation for Tokyo 2020, Japan would still have to go through each and every Olympic qualification rounds regardless of result:
    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/201..._137503316.htm
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

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    The Tokyo 2020 Olympic preliminary basketball format will now be 3 groups of 4 teams instead of the usual two groups of 6 teams in an attempt to make the group matches more exciting and cut down the number of games from 5 to 3--The top two teams in each group are joined in the quarterfinals by the two best third-place teams. QFs forward will still be intact. First time since Moscow 1980 we'll have 3 groups in Olympic basketball but it was never this competitive with talent. The 2 6-team groups was in effect from 1984-2016:
    https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/b...rmat-1.5100019

    Furthering talk of Tokyo 2020, hosts Japan will be guaranteed automatic placing in both men's and women's basketball. Actually, it's the men given this never mind the lackluster international performances since the defending Asian champs Japanese women already proved themselves in ultimate high-level international competition in both Asia, Olympics, and in the Worlds over the years. Will be the first for the Japanese men since Montreal 1976 just before the Chinese dominance coming out from the international isolation:
    https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190331_09/
    Last edited by Durbansandshark; 24-04-2019 at 10:30 AM.
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  17. #692
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    Should note the Olympic women's basketball field never went under a 3-group format until next year. When the Moscow 1980 Olympics had the men undergo the 3-group thing, the last time that happened in the Olympics until what's coming up next year (you know, when Australia was with Cuba, Italy, and Sweden in Group C and just missed advancing to the medal rounds thanks to a 9-point differential in the Boomers' disfavor), the women never endured this back in 1980. Women's Olympic basketball at the time was just 6 teams decided in a round robin format--Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Cuba, and Italy--with the top two finishers vying for the gold and the next two finishers aiming for bronze. In this case, the Soviet women played against (and won over) the Bulgarians for gold. Yugoslavia defeated Hungary for bronze. Both on July 30, 1980. Italy goes winless. The USA was the only nation originally slated for participation then that boycotted with the Hungarians replacing them. This format that started since women's basketball Olympic incorporation in 976 carried on until 30 years ago in Seoul with the expansion to 8 women's teams and with that the creation of 2 4-team preliminary round groups. Starting with Atlanta 1996, it became the 12-team field we know it today with every region represented including the African qualification champs (Zaire). But until 2016 for 20 years it was a two 6-team group format.

    30 years ago this month, something very important happened in 1989 that brought about very seismic and irreversible change in international basketball. No that wasn't Michael Jordan's oft-replayed last second buzzer beater over Craig Ehlo at Cleveland's Richfield Coliseum to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers that changed the destinies of both franchises. That came less than a month later. But a vote at a specially convened FIBA Congress meeting in Munich, West Germany that was a formal fait accompli preceded with much backdoor strong arming from FIBA President Boris Stankovic, who was getting very chummy with then-NBA commissoner David Stern. It was of course the voting resolution of allowing NBA players to participate in the Olympics and World Championships. By then, FIBA, previously fronted by unyielding amateur stallworths like R. William Jones, who not only detested professionalism like his contemporary IOC President Avery Brundage but also hated the American Olympic basketball dominance and influence, craved the NBA's sex appeal and tremendous substance the NBA players provided and was hemorrhaging money on the verge of bankruptcy. This vote went 56-13. Matter of fact, FIBA had some designs to allow NBA players in Olympic basketball even before the Seoul 1988 Olympics. But the previous FIBA Congress vote in Madrid in 1986 for open competition soundly failed on a 31-27 vote with "18-19 abstensions", which Stankovic was irritated over because those could've put them over. This time Stankovic got the needed amount of votes. Among the nations that voted against the move? The United States' ABAUSA, an organization that included several amateur organizations such as the AAU, high schools and junior colleges but run primarily by colleges, and the Soviet Union's Soviet Basketball Federation. It was Stankovic, the Serbian "Inspector of Meat" as author Jack McCallum would call him throughout his Dream Team book, long felt it was shocking NBA players couldn't take part because they were pros, seeing this as immoral and stupid. In other words, players like Detlef Schrempf from Germany can make $500,000 a year and a multimillionaire like Charles Barkley at the time couldn't play in international basketball's biggest stages but the likes of Brazil's Oscar Schmidt, drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 1984, and played pro basketball in Italy making $1 million annually, Greece's NJ-born Nick Galis, Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic (at Spain's Real Madrid at the time), Saurunas Marcilionis, Dino Radja, Alexander Volkov, Arvydas Sabonis, Juan Antonio San Epifiano, Theofanis Christodoulou, Panayiotis Giannakis, Dino Meneghin, Herve Dubisson, Richard Dacoury, Damian Keough, Ray Borner, Andrew Gaze, and Phil Smyth among others all were--and ALL were in pro leagues themselves but deemed as amateurs. And those who were plying their basketball trade outside the NBA like those countless Americans and some Canadians overseas were eligible as long as they weren't in the NBA. The Communist ones certainly especially made a mockery of amateurism in their special case since everything was government-owned but were paid by their clubs.

    News of this development received scant sports media attention in America partly because the NBA was unsure how to tackle this or preparing for that practically. Or enthusiastic. Had no particular designs of what exactly the NBA's participation then. Stern knew the vote would favor making NBA pros eligible. You know that club vs. country pull that we see these days sometimes for soccer? Well, there was some concern NBA team owners wouldn't allow their players participate. And how will it get attention inside the seemingly-crammed US sports calendar. After the 1989 NCAA Final Four in Seattle that incidentally involved Gaze at Seton Hall, a group of ABAUSA reps jetted to Munich led by the late Dave Gavitt, recently elected as its president, who officially placed the no vote in the resolution that all in that group saw as "pointless". But Gavitt saw that the times were a-changing and actually and really wanted to vote yes. Told Stern it was going to pass even with their no vote. Stern wanted the NBA to buy ABAUSA, which could be easy since it ran more under a shoestring budget with primary funding from the USOC and a mediocre $300,000 contract with Converse, but Gavitt told him it wasn't for sale. However, Gavitt saw the advantages the NBA would bring at the time like its incredible marketing muscle and business acumen through NBA Properties and being on a major upswing in terms of basketball's popularity not in the USA but globally would be worth it. The NBA, awash with major cash, legalities, and sophistication ABAUSA never held, would hold major representation and protection with a brand new committee and was added later in the fall. Several of the old ABAUSA guard, knowing exactly what kind of massive change a yes vote would bring to their pro-college stance, were afraid of the NBA's impending dominance, intrusion, and control, which was why they voted no because of the benefits they liked and being a amateur bastion. And were passionate about it. It was its leader Bill Wall who spoke passionately against the pro (NBA) admittance and still felt like that. In fact, it was created in the mid-1970s and ran by Bill Wall to supplant the AAU because the latter sports confederation was to quote McCallum, "stuffed shirts and clueless bureaucrats who, with an infuriating arbitrariness, had run amateur sports in the USA for decades". But that era where college guys had massive say was becoming more like the Ford Edsel with the writing on the wall. The NBA was making them angry but couldn't really respond in kind to the NBA and Stern like that with his power. Moreover, many Americans were increasingly seeing the use of sending college kids, juniors and seniors largely, against well-experienced older foreign players and teams was outmoded. There needed to be ways and negotiations to keep the pro and college factions at peace, which did ultimately happen.
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

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    ...Very soon, effective later on October 19, 1989 the organization name was changed to drop the Amateur part to become simply the more finesse USA Basketball with constitutional changes to better incorporate the NBA in membership and representation along with eventually better integration and synergy with colleges, high schools, and women's game. This was how Russ Granik, then the NBA's vice commissioner, became USA Basketball's VP, thus giving him to the old guard the invisible presence of David Stern despite his diplomatic and conciliator skills. Selecting coaches was a major matter because it's all been notable and accomplished college coaches like Hank Iba, Dean Smith, the late Dave Gavitt himself for the boycotted 1980 Olympics, Bobby Knight, and John Thompson (a subject I'll touch on very soon) for international tournaments. A monarchial progression was thought to continue in all likelihood for successful coaches. Many thought Duke's Mike Krzyzewski would be up for 1992 selection. He was there in Barcelona...but as an assistant under Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly. Of course Coach K did eventually get to coach pros in the Olympics and World Championships years later. Plus, college coaches aren't better than their NBA counterparts because the NBA ones have more to do at their level with a longer schedule. What about NBA players at the time? Would they be top-flight stars? Perhaps six would don the USA jerseys with the rest coming from colleges. Wall and McGrath figured that elite NBA would never sacrifice playing time for seeking gold. By then, the NBA and FIBA were building bridges as one of the first steps was that joint project the McDonald's Open to get the NBA and FIBA national and club teams together in simpatico under Stern and Stankovic through their planning and negotiation with their own people, which angered ABAUSA brass who felt THAT should be theirs too!

    Now back to the present. You know all about the upcoming and exciting Team USA pre-WC match with the Boomers in Melbourne's Marvel Stadium August 22 and 24 with aims for an Australian basketball attendance record for 100,000. It was just announced there will be some near all-Commonwealth basketball action in a series of prep games also down under with Canada, the Boomers, the USA, and NZ's Tall Blacks in an international series, each with the final 12-man roster. All in Sydney. USA vs. Canada will face each other at the Qudos Bank Arena right after the Marvel Stadium one on Monday August 26 (7.30pm AEST as both games here are), while the New Zealand takes on Canada at the Quaycentre/State Sports Centre on Tuesday August 20 and Wednesday August 21. Australia and Canada will also tackle each other in Perth's RAC Arena August 16-17 before all head off upwards to China:
    http://www.basketball.ca/en/news-art...sketball-serie
    http://www.basketball.ca/en/news-art...gust-16-and-17

    Winnipeg hardly hosts significant basketball these days. Not even pro teams, although CEBL basketball likely would come to the city next year. Before heading off to the other side of the Pacific, Team Canada will play in Winnipeg's Bell MTS Place with Nigeria, one of Africa's World Basketball Championship qualifiers and likely will sport a mostly Nigerian-American roster. It will Canada's first basketball excursion to Winnipeg since the 1999 Pan American Games where it finished 5th:
    http://www.basketball.ca/en/news-art...geria-winnipeg
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

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    I'd be remissed if I didn't mention about the continent-wide club basketball championship season. The FIBA Champions League already is complete from last week at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp, Belgium. Fuller details of this and other ones like the rival EuroLeague this season will come later. In the FIBA Champions League, teams that advance into the postseason out of their groups play the Round of 16 and quarterfinals each in two games in a home and away format with the best point aggregregate advancing over two games with the group leader and runnerup playing the second leg of the quarterfinals at home. The seeded teams are drawn against the unseeded teams, with the seeded teams hosting the second leg. Teams from the same group cannot be drawn against each other.

    The Basketball Champions League Final Four in Antwerp were Belgian hosts Telenet Giants Antwerp (second place in its top national league the Pro Basketball League, winners of its first bpost Belgian Basketball Cup), Germany's Brose Bamberg (first BCL after years being in the EuroLeague competitions), Italy's Segafredo Virtus Bologna (qualified as the ninth best team in the Italian Lega Basket Serie A), and 2017 Final Four winners Iberostar Tenerife.

    Last Friday night saw at the Sportpaleis, one of the largest arenas in all of Europe, Segafredo Virtus Bologna defeat Brose Bamberg 67-50
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbIgn1FkOrI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxdaEGZR-9g (contains more postgame footage starting at 1:55:11 to end than in the first one like locker room and next game's pregame shootarounds, this lacks the intro in the first)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-UHof4TN7Y (postgame press conference)

    Iberostar Tenerife end the Telenet Giants Antwerp's FIBA Basketball Champions League dream and those for its fans comfortably defeating them 70-54 in the second leg of the semifinals:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJyGnAo5gss
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkkEA9Xojig (postgame press conference)

    For the third place match, Antwerp got something to cheer about in clinching that over EuroLeague vets Brose Bamberg 72-58 that started the Sunday evening doubleheader:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDIjkHvFfNM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKo21IkQvuc (postgame press conference)

    And Aleksandar Djordjevic's Virtus Bologna squad win the Basketball Champions League 73-61 over Iberostar Tenerife in a battle of two clubs from two of the strongest European basketball leagues. Bologna's Kevin Punter was awarded the FIBA Basketball Champions League Tournament MVP. Plus it's another sign that Italian basketball is re-emerging across Europe. Antwerp (as a city), take a bow in your hosting! Your local basketball culture shone through. No doubt this will help impact Belgian basketball in the long run:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU9Ps8v17pQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB80u5cwKuA (postgame press conference)

    Next weekend in northern Spain near France at the heart of Spain's Basque Country at the Fernando Buesas Arena, Saski Baskonia's home, in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain will see the 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four. General public tickets there are now sold out. We got two Turkish teams in facing each other in one semifinal--Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahce Beko. Perennial participants Real Madrid will defend the title after finishing the regular season in the third position, with a 22–8 record, and being the first qualified team by beating Panathinaikos OPAP 3–0 in the playoffs. This will be their seventh Final Four in the last nine editions and the third consecutive. Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso will try to win his third title in his sixth Final Four appearance. But they're gonna do it this time without the teenage Slovenian sensation and last season's MVP (both regular season and Final Four) Luka Doncic, now causing the same waves in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks with a likely Rookie of the Year Award awaiting for him there. He'll be there cheering them on though. Real Madrid faces Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow in the other semifinal. CSKA is lookig for its next title after 2016. We are assured with the first semi that a Turkish club will be in the Final and third place game. Question becomes whether Real Madrid or CSKA Moscow will get placed afterwards.

    In Sopron, Hungary, what will be best remembered at the all-Russian EuroLeague Women's Championship game will not only be dominant UMMC Ekaterinburg successfully nabbing another consecutive title, its 5th overall, 91-67, there but also Dynamo Kursk's Breanna Stewart, in her Russia pro debut, tearing her achilles moments before halftime, making her unable to play in the upcoming WNBA season with the Seattle Storm as the reigning MVP and extinguishing all hope Kursk had. Although Dynamo Kursk was down by 16 points at the time, the players and their coaches still felt they were still in the game until that happened; most of their eggs were in Stewie's basket that made it hard for coach Lucas Mondelo and the rest of his players like Sonja Petrovic:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/euroleagu...g-aside-rivals
    http://www.fiba.basketball/euroleagu...men-2019-final

    A report on the semifinals in Sopron that also involved host club and debutant Sopron Basket, starring Swedish star Amanda Zahui Bozoukou, and USK Praha experiencing and learning about the major gap between them and the two elite Russian superclubs in everything like talent, offense, and defense despite coming a long way in such a short amount of time. Sopron fielded crowds during the EuroLeague Women Final Four. Killing the fairytale upsets:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/euroleagu...-at-final-four

    African women's basketball qualifiers for the upcoming African Women's Basketball Championship started last week on May 3 with Cameroon's Lionesses overpowering the Democratic Republic of Congo to actually qualify for the 13th time and joins Mali (semifinalist), Nigeria (defending champs), Senegal (runnersup), and Mozambique (semifinalist) starting the 20 African nations vying for a place. Cameroon won the first game 91-46 against DRC before a 70-66 win with the Congolese upset over losing a 22-point margin in the second game's third quarter. Next week we'll see Cape Verde, Guinea, and possibly Gabon fighting for a spot:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/womensafr...frobasket-2019

    Two Asian guard greats Japan's Asami Yoshida and the Philippines Jimmy Alapage will be special guests in assisting with the first time Asian Cup 2021 qualifiers in the grouping process. 24 qualified teams will be separated into 6 groups of 4 team each, playing towards the FIBA Asia Cup in 2021 at the Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru in Bengaluru, India on Saturday June 8:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/asiacup/2...021-qualifiers

    Zone 5 will see more experienced Uganda's Gazelles with 14-year vet captain Flavia Oketcho and Finland-based Kouvottaret's All-Finnish First Team's Claire Lamunu, and Lamunu's 3x3 Uganda International teammates Jamila Nansikombi aka Zama, Ritah Imanishimwe and Sarah Ageno facing tough competition with talented zone winners Egypt (which Uganda upset not long ago), stubborn neighbo(u)rs Kenya, and a youthful Rwanda upon hosting in Kampala:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/womensafr...019-qualifiers
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

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    Being a recently retired pro basketball player and legend obviously means you get some plumb opportunities and perks from having a special place in fans' hearts. Such is the case with Yao, Kobe, and now add Germany's Dirk Nowitzki to this for the 2019 FIBA World Basketball Championship in China as a global ambassador:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...g-yao-and-kobe

    Didn't get into the EuroLeague and FIBA Basketball Champions League as much as I would like. Did touch into the FIBA Basketball Champions League. Now this weekend it's the EuroLeague's turn. There will be more forthcoming after the season ends with this Final Four in Vitoria-Gastez, Spain in the heart of Basque country later next week. We had our semifinals Friday. But before that we'll put out what the fellow EuroLeague coaches who faced these Final Four teams predicted which club would win and the MVP, and why. From Rimas Kurtinaitis (Khimki), Simone Pianigiani (Milan), Velimir Perasovic (Baskonia), Jasmin Repesa (Buducnost), Ioannis Sfairopoulos (Maccabi Tel Aviv), and Rick Pitino (Panathinaikos):
    https://www.euroleague.net/final-fou...e-head-coaches

    Last night, Anadolu Efes defeats the more experienced (in EuroLeague, that is) Fenerbahce in the first and all-Turkish semifinal 93-72 in a historic win. CSKA Moscow later knocks off defending champions Real Madrid in the second semifinal 95-90 in using a "strong dose" that famous "Baskonia character" residents in that Spanish region would feel proud over. So this means we will see CSKA Moscow taking on Anadolu Efes for a potential 8th EuroLeague title in that EuroLeague glory Sunday night whereas Efes aim to complete a dream season in its first ever championship game. Before that, Fenerbahce faces Real Madrid for third. Just think: Anadolu Efes was 7-23 and ranked 16th last season and now an opportunity to win it all:
    https://www.euroleague.net/news/i/9o...-of-experience
    https://www.euroleague.net/final-fou...r-comeback-win

    Some EuroLeague Championship Game previews to read over for Sunday night
    https://www.euroleague.net/main/resu...asoncode=E2018
    https://www.euroleague.net/news/podc...p-game-edition
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  21. #696
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    First off, the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four logo unveiled February 20 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AssW5aoP9CA

    Gasteiz Hoy's Ander Mateos covers the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four at the Fan Zone, clinics, meeting fans, dance practices, and being in the arena:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7nZjVOSosw

    1-minute promo for the Eurobasket Final Four meant to present those Game of Thrones-like themes for the final battle after overcoming a season's worth of adversities and fighting. Had its top stars shirtless with its coaches like medieval/Viking-like warlords:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmjzIHapH_o

    CSKA Moscow's profile on the star-studded team coming back to its 16th EuroLeague Final Four in the past 17 years with its eyes focusing on getting back to reclaiming its crown in 3 years having its first ever American captain in Carl Hines. Real Madrid once stood in the way in the semifinals:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awdmEc8LEZ4

    Profile on Anadolu Efes Istanbul, coming into that with its best European season ever laying an uptempo style, with Istanbul native Ergin Ataman as head coach and star Shane Larkin, vet Bryan Dunston:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbTR-buLBEI

    10x EuroLeague Real Madrid's profile when it was aiming for the first continental repeat in decades in their home nation after knocking off Panathinaikos in Athens' OAKA Arena. Campazzo leads:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRyfDUmtqVA

    Sebian basketball legend Zeljko Obradovic leads defensive-minded Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to the Final Four culminating with a first all-Turkish semifinal with Anadolu Efes Istanbul, hoping it'll reach one level better than last year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if6sIJ6aGos

    The 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four opening press conference that officially kicked off the Baskonian EuroLeague festivities
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBbYUyDoAdY

    EuroLeague Final Four 2019 opening ceremony pre-game show inside Vitoria-Gasteiz's Fernando Buesa Arena:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRrWQaeUc2M

    Start times for all 92 FIBA 2019 Basketball World Championships in China are all set starting with the first game in Foshan with Angola vs. Serbia at 3:30pm local time. Second round games times are TBA. I am sure the USA group games at least were adjusted to accomodate US television (Thinking ESPN and NBA TV has the American broadcast rights) so viewers can watch it and likely the gold medal game:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-now-available

    Sunday night in Luanda, Angola will see the crowning of the FIBA Africa Basketball League champion with Morocco's Association Sportive de Salé seeing to repeat as champions versus hometown faves and dominant African champions from Angola Primeiro D'Agosto, the only club that managed to repeat being multiple African continental basketball champions the past two decades. Won 8x in this span that included a 4-peat from 2007-2010. Lots of similarities between these two teams like their respective records and coaches who have tremendous experience coaching in Africa with four recent ABL MVPs. At the Luanda Multisports Pavilion. Elite 8 comes tomorrow:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/africalea...sto-or-as-sale

    Cape Verde and Guinea were the next two African women's basketball teams tussling for that Zone 2 qualifying spot with fans of both nations turning up in considerable numbers at the Vava Duarte Gymnasium in Praia, Cape Verde. New-look Guinea narrowly escaped 50-48 in the first game. That meant the Cape Verde hosts needed to win the second game. Islanders were shaky initially with their consecutive free throw shooting then, but their fortunes changed for the better in tacking game control following Guinea's Batouly Camara taking a third foul 5 minutes in the first half. Cape Verde lead as many as 19 points afterwards. CV Islanders owns this 60-48 with a 108-98 scoring aggregate to qualify as the local fans mobbed their heroes with Guinea missing this for the first time since 2013:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/womensafr...frobasket-2019

    Apparently Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe will participate with the Southern Africa Zone 6 getting into it on June 2 just days away for the African Women's Basketball Championships. No South Africa?!
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  22. #697
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    Dakar, Senegal's new arena that ground was broken shortly after Senegal's Lionesses won the 2015 African women's title is already open. And the 15,000-seater already is one of the best in all of the African continent with help and resources from Turkey. Opened in August 2018 with seats colored from the Senegalese flag of green, white, and red, and part of the deal was the opening event be a basketball between Senegal's and Turkey's U18 teams. One thing I noticed is how the the spectators are distant from the court than what you usually see in North American, European, Australian/Kiwi, and Asian basketball arenas. Even African ones aren't like this such as the ones in Angola and Ivory Coast. Even with this, I strongly suspect we'll see this arena will get use for the NBA's new Basketball Africa League. Senegal's President Macky Fall took part in the inauguration of the Dakar Arena like in a ribbon-cutting ceremony

    Aerial view of Dakar Arena:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0EjW_G7fY0

    Dakar Arena interior view:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGf7p3MVLos

    Highlights from the Senegal-Turkey U18 game:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNAK5djtYm4

    Macky Sall's live inauguration and opening of the Dakar Arena with some of the basketball game from RTS1:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZNn43D4Bqs

    Dakar Arena thread with lots of photos and reports:
    https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1928472

    Senegal native Amadou Gallo Fall, a graduate from the University of the District of Columbia as a HBCU, was named as the first Basketball Africa League president 12 teams will each other visiting each other at least once under a 40-game schedule from a March-May 2020 schedule with a champions crowned in May. Champions from six national leagues will make up half the teams while the other six teams will be chosen through qualifying tournaments hosted by FIBA. Fall is well-versed in African basketball without a doubt. Anibal Manave from Angola has been tabbed as the inaugural president of the board for the new league:
    https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/...-africa-league
    https://www.phillytrib.com/sports/ba...6bb80db1c.html

    There's another state-of-the-art arena for basketball, volleyball, handball being built and closer to completion elsewhere in Africa in the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda that will seat 10,000+. It too has Turkish investment involved as the 2500-seat Amahoro Indoor Stadium is a severe limitation in many ways with the sports growing in popularity as arena standards become higher:
    https://www.newtimes.co.rw/sports/st...ars-completion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n6K00caHQc
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  23. #698
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    Eurobasket Women 2019 starts today in Latvia and Serbia. We'll check it out with the new field at a very crowded international sports scene worldwide.

    Costa Rica's FECOBA conjures up a national strategic development and strengthening plan for Costa Rican basketball with talent ready for export to various leagues like to the USA and Canada also in educational and social fields:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/news/cost...-of-basketball
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  24. #699
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    Normally I would've conducted my previews and rosters for the Eurobasket Women already. But there's a lot going on right now with me, but I will get into this rather late this weekend. So check back at my Post #698 here by then--may even add more subsequently.

    Yesterday's first group game winners are Sweden defeating Montenegro, powerful and talented France over the Czech Republic, Hungary edging Slovenia, Great Britain stunning co-hosts Latvia in Riga; in a milder surprise, Belgium's Belgian Cats stop Russia; Italy's Azzurri wins a close one on Turkey; defending Eurobasket Women champions Spain controls the Ukraine; and fellow co-hosts Serbia narrow escapes Belarus.

    All of today's second groups games are nearly complete. Records are more like even in plenty of teams as a few will go 2-0 and 0-2. Czech Republic gets into the win column beating Sweden. Slovenia gets its first win in the tournament upsetting Turkey. Latvia rebounds from its shock loss yesterday to the British with a win on the Ukraine and its star Alina Iagupova. France's Les Bleues were just too much for relative minnows Montenegro. Hungary earns a win over their Italian counterparts. Belgium falls to Belarus. Spain takes care of Great Britain.

    Malaysia no doubt will have more than their hands full against far more elite and experienced East Asian powerhouse sides in their FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers Group B with China, Taiwan, and Japan, all three in the Asian top 10 in rankings and possessing physical advantages over Malaysia, in there with the Malaysians. Under no illusions over this with this way for decades. Pretty much a "group of death". Good news will be this is going to be valuable learning experience for its young players being the future to raise its standards and level under Aussie coach Brian Lester. So what do the Malaysians have to offset the gap in their favo(u)r? Speed:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/asiacup/2...cup-qualifiers

    Guam aims to break further into the ranks of the top Asian teams coming out of first the South Pacific Games and then winning Division B Asia and contend. Absolutely can't picture them to shock the Antipodeans--the Boomers and Tall Blacks--in Group C. But they maaaaaayyyyyyyyybeeee have a chance on Hong Kong, a team they haven't played since 2013, but even HKG has plenty of Asian basketball international team experience than Guam with 27 Asian Championship appearance and hope at least for. Likely undersized and hope to finish third to go into a separate qualification tournament to fill out the field. Just don't tell Earvin Jose all this for Team Guam will take all of them seriously and may have a chance:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/asiacup/2...out-and-get-it

    Another Asian team that aims for longterm success is Indonesia when making their way coming back since 2011. Further along in contention than Guam. And they got South Korea and Southeast Asian rivals The Philippines and Thailand to deal with in their group:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/asiacup/2...alifiers-group

    Time to turn to the youth revolution over in Taiwanese basketball as the most successful generation of players that brought its highest moments over the past decade are aging out. Transitional time can get messy and bumpy right now but there's hope for a bright future. Like Hu Long-Mao, who hones his pro game with the Chinese Basketball Association's Fujian Sturgeons and the Guangzhou Long Lions, and Chou Yi-Hsiang, Chen Ying-Chun, and Liu Cheng. Hu is looking forward to play against China in Group B:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/asiacup/2...chinese-taipei

    UPDATE: former Eurobasket Women champs Serbia just keep Russia from the win column
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

  25. #700
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    Eurobasket Women 2019's group play permutations in what would happen before the top three teams in each group advance towards the quarterfinals and quarterfinal qualifications. France, Spain, Sweden, Serbia, and Belgium all cannot fall below third place on their groups. Biggest disappointment no doubt is Turkey, who is already eliminated:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/womenseur...-is-going-home

    New NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo declares he'll play for Greece in China under coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos, although his playing position remains to be seen being in a group that includes Brazil, New Zealand, and Montenegro with hopes of reaching higher heights. The Greek Freak last donned the Greek blue in 2015-16 with the 2015 FIBA Eurobasket and the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualification Tournament:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/basketbal...-the-world-cup
    https://www.eurohoops.net/en/fibawc/...source=Twitter

    What's Boris Diaw been doing since retiring from playing? Becoming Deputy GM for the French National Team since October after 12 years being captain:
    https://www.eurohoops.net/en/nationa...neral-manager/

    Some European national team basketball coaching news. Veljko Mrsic assigned as Croatia's new head coach, succeeding Drazen Anzulovic, with preparations for the 2021 Eurobasket after failing to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Basketball Championship. Romeo "Meo" Sacchetti earns a 2-year extension coaching Italy's Azzurri all the way to the 2021 Eurobasket. Well-experienced Latvian coach Ainars Bagatskis was in talks with an offer to lead the Ukrainians in mind with the basketball officials looking at hims as a top priority pick:
    https://www.eurohoops.net/en/nationa...as-head-coach/
    https://www.eurohoops.net/en/nationa...wo-more-years/
    https://www.eurohoops.net/en/nationa...e-ukranian-nt/

    One thing that has happened that I only discovered just now is that last year, 2018, is the first time in 51 years there were no major FIBA-sanctioned international basketball tournaments scheduled at the senior level. Due to the rescheduling of the World Basketball Championship from an even-numbered year partly to avoid losing global attention from the FIFA World Cup in the same sports year. An era of in total 13 Olympic Games, 13 World Cups, 26 EuroBaskets, 26 Asia Cups, 26 AfroBaskets:
    https://www.eurohoops.net/en/nationa...fter-51-years/

    Tahiti's men are a team on a mission seeking another place at the 2019 Pacific Games podium after completing short work on its Polynesian Cup opponents, preferably gold and a ticket to the FIBA Asian Championship Pre-Qualifers. Guam, PNG, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Western Samoa, and New Caledonia all stand in the way in the Apia Pacific Games right around the corner. Also there's a photo of Tahiti playing against American Samoa from the Poly Cup with the American Samoans wearing royal blue T-shirts instead of jerseys (singlets) in competition:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/pacificga...mes-tahiti-men

    Papua New Guinea went 4-0 in their highly successful Melanesian Cup campaign sweeping all their teams with little work and averaging 26 margin of points--manhandled Solomon Islands (79-37), New Caledonia (87-80) and Fiji (83-49) before edging out New Caledonia anew in the Melanesia Cup final--with aims to redeem itself from hosting 2015 Pacific Games at 4th and finish higher in the top two coming at the next one next week in Apia, Western Samoa. PNG is led by Matineng-Lakah Leahy, Apia Muri, Liam Wright:
    http://www.fiba.basketball/pacificga...new-guinea-men
    Jusqui'ici tout va bien...

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