The all star break is upon us and the normal expected run of the mill, skills competition, slam dunk contest and the rookie/sophomore challenge will draw loads of fans into the arena and glue them to their television sets. The biggest thing missing is that NO ONE IS DISCUSSING the AGREED UPON LEAGUE WIDE ROSTER REDUCTION! Yes, the NBA received agreement on Friday of a league wide reduction of roster spots for each team. The owners have agreed to 13 roster spots for players on each team, subject to approval from the NBAPA, we will see a little bit of a shakeup; as we are already experiencing a shortened season, due to the player lockout which spanned from June to December of 2011. After sitting through months of debating, false media spin and tell tales across the globe, players testing the international waters (some to be released and others to be locked into contracts with no way out), and then treated to a Christmas Extravaganza which was pretty much beyond belief as clubs, after a mere two week training camp, played a type of basketball similar to watching men just off of work playing at the local health club. The most amazing thing in all of that was that the gen pop, there is that correctional facility talk again, were so very happy and eager to have the NBA back; like the long-lost lover gone astray but returning home. The public accepted THE LEAGUE back with warm,inviting arms. Never questioning the product that they were then presented with, ALL ATTENTION turning to how many points Lebron or Kobe scored, or if D Rose was ready to assume his title as THE NEXT KING OF THE HILL in the NBA. It seemed as if everyone turned a deaf ear or a blind eye to the Breakup of Kobe Bryant and his wife, with their children left as the collateral damage in the wake of things, or the awful loss of a career by the two players who signed meaningful, substantial contracts,only to find out that they suffered from life-threatening illnesses, which subsequently voided the contracts. Often tine, once a lover returns, we tend to look beyond the reasons for the separation, and in our joy for a return to the normal way of life; we also tend to not see things for what they are. The NBA, after its rushed training camps and in the midst of a season of games with long road trips sandwiched into a season if we can honestly call this a basketball season. What I have seen, been interviewed about and have been writing about weekly to you, is not what I dreamed of most of my young life. The games that would not ever reach 100 points, the defensive struggles where both teams would only score 80 points apiece, the BAD BOYS of the late '80's winning back to back NBA Titles solely on defensive intensity and a will to win. What we have been presented with is, a very large group of overpaid, athletes who have taken it upon themselves to demand to be traded to what they believe are better markets; where they can promote their brand. Where the athletes appears to be in control of everything, leaving behind damaged families in their wake, fatherless children often times and entire cities devoid of their local hero, due to him feeling under-appreciated and desiring to play in front of star studded audiences....TOTALLY UNTOLERABLY UNFAIR. Unfair in that the basketball purists are left watching something that has been thrown together and not given proper time to become truly indicative of the GREATEST GAME ON EARTH. What we have, as I talked about in previous thoughts from the sideline is A PLAYER'S LEAGUE, in which the players call the shots, periodically have coaches fired and routinely do not follow instructions in the end of close games. The fan's always so trusting and loving care not for the unemployed coaches who only wanted to instill some order amongst the chaotic situation that they saw on the horizon, or the loyal fans who feel betrayed for loving to their fullest, a player or players who have shunned the love, affection and devotion. Gone are the days where a player would play out his career in one city, his name becoming synonymous with the team. Reggie Miller- Indiana Pacers, Isaiah Thomas-Detroit Pistons, Larry Bird-Boston Celtics, or Magic Johnson-LA Lakers as examples. Players chasing the bright lights of the big cities and the flash of the cameras have left us with a shell of what once was a thing of beauty. I do feel that the game is evolving, as evidenced by the bright spots on the radar the Jeremy Lin, Rodney Monroe, Isaiah Thomas, Blake Griffin or even Rickey Rubio. The game can and will return to what we once saw, admired and fell in love with. Speaking of which, the Kings have unearthed a point guard. Second round steal Isaiah Thomas started the last four games and averaged 19 points, six assists and 51% mostly from point blank range because no one seems to be able to stay in front of him. I would like to wish each and every one of you a happy and eventful ALL STAR WEEKEND, and hope that you enjoy the show, the dunks, the long range bombs and the star studded halftime events. Please in the midst of all of the hoopla, recall in your mind, the beauty of the game and the simplicity of it when it is played the right way, both on and off of the court.
Tallinna Ulikool/Kalev (Alexela KML) inked 28-year old Montenegrin center Stefan Knezevic (204-89). He started the season at Jedinstvo in Montenegrin Erste Liga. Knezevic has played there for the last three years. In 14 Erste Liga games he recorded 12.6ppg and 7.2rpg this season. The last season he played also at Jedinstvo (also in Erste Liga) where in 22 games he averaged 3.9ppg and 3.2rpg. Knezevic has played previously professionally also in Bosnia (Leotar) and Montenegro (KK ABS Primo... [read more]
Tallinna Ulikool/Kalev (Alexela KML) inked 28-year old Montenegrin center Stefan Knezevic (204-89). He started the season at Jedinstvo in Montenegrin Erste Liga. Knezevic has played there for the last three years. In 14 Erste Liga games he recorded 12.6ppg and 7.2rpg this season. The last season he played also at Jedinstvo (also in Erste Liga) where in 22 games he averaged 3.9ppg and 3.2rpg. Knezevic has played previously professionally also in Bosnia (Leotar) and Montenegro (KK ABS Primorje 1945 Herceg Novi and KK Centar Bijelo Polje).
TLU/Kalev is currently on 6th position in Estonian KML but the recent form of the team is promising and the team will definitely keep fighting for medals.
Results and Stats from Round 1 of 1/8 Finals - 10 days ago
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TTU - Kalev/Cramo 63-101 Kalev/Cramo fired past TTU in the eighth-finals opener. The game without a history. Kalev/Cramo led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. Kalev/Cramo outrebounded TTU 42-28 including a 34-15 advantage in defensive rebounds. They looked well-organized offensively handing out 22 assists comparing to just 9 passes made by TTU's players. Guard Rain Veideman (192-91) stepped up and scored 21 points and 4 assists for t... [read more]
Kalev/Cramo fired past TTU in the eighth-finals opener. The game without a history. Kalev/Cramo led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. Kalev/Cramo outrebounded TTU 42-28 including a 34-15 advantage in defensive rebounds. They looked well-organized offensively handing out 22 assists comparing to just 9 passes made by TTU's players. Guard Rain Veideman (192-91) stepped up and scored 21 points and 4 assists for the winners and forward Erik Keedus (198-90) chipped in 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Four Kalev/Cramo players scored in double figures. At the losing side Serbian center Nikola Vujovic (210-93, college: Georgian Court) responded with a double-double by scoring 16 points and 13 rebounds and forward Joonas Jarvelainen (202-90, agency: Octagon Europe) scored 7 points and 6 rebounds. The winner was already known earlier in the game, so both coaches allowed to play the bench players saving starting five for next games. Top scorers: Kalev/Cramo: R.Veideman 21+2reb+4ast, S.Sokk 15+1reb+5ast, E.Keedus 13+8reb+4ast, M.Gladness 12+8reb, D.Harper 9+2reb+4ast, M.Dorbek 8+5reb+1ast TTU: N.Vujovic 16+13reb+2ast, S.Olmre 10+1reb+1ast, R.Koort 10+2reb, J.Jarvelainen 7+6reb+2ast, S.Viilup 6, R.Kuimet 5+1reb+3ast
BK Ogre overcame Pieno Zvaigzdes in the opener. The hosts trailed by 4 points at the halftime before their 46-34 charge in the second half, which allowed them to win the game. BK Ogre looked well-organized offensively handing out 21 assists. 24 personal fouls committed by P.Zvaigzdes helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. Italian-Latvian forward Gints Antrops (201-82, agency: Interperformances) stepped up and scored 15 points and 7 rebounds for the winners and point guard Marcis Vitols (183-92) chipped in 16 points. BK Ogre's coach used a ten-player rotation which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. At the losing side swingman Steponas Babrauskas (197-84) responded with a double-double by scoring 16 points and 10 rebounds and American point guard Derrick Low (191-86, college: Washington St., agency: Octagon Europe) produced a double-double by scoring 10 points and 10 assists. Four BK Ogre and five P.Zvaigzdes players scored in double figures. Top scorers: BK Ogre: R.Zebergs 17+3reb, M.Vitols 16+3reb+3ast, G.Antrops 15+7reb+2ast, G.Sipolins 12+2reb+1ast, K.Apsitis 11+5reb+2ast, L.Mizis 7+4reb+2ast P.Zvaigzdes: S.Babrauskas 16+10reb, A.Agafonov 11+9reb+3ast, E.Dimsa 11+6reb+1ast, E.Zabas 10+4reb+4ast, D.Low 10+3reb+10ast, I.Fiodorovas 8+2reb+1ast
Nevezis upset Jekabpils in Latvia to move closer to the quarterfinal stage. Jekabpils trailed by 13 points after 3 quarters before a 28-19 run in the last quarter cut the deficit to 74-78 at the end of the game. Nevezis dominated down low during the game scoring 38 of its points in the paint compared to Jekabpils' 18 and made 22-of-29 free shots (75.9 percent) during the game. They outrebounded Jekabpils 36-22 including 25 on the defensive glass. Jekabpils were plagued by 24 personal fouls down the stretch. American guard Jermaine Love-Roberts (188-89, college: Ill.-Springfield) stepped up and scored 17 points and 5 rebounds for the winners and forward Vaidotas Volkus (203-85, college: Redlands CC) chipped in 16 points and 7 rebounds. At the losing side center Jurijs Aleksejevs (202-85) responded with 20 points and 6 rebounds and point guard Rinalds Sirsnins (186-85) scored 20 points and 4 assists. Jekabpils' coach tried various players' combinations and tested in total eleven players in this game, but that didn't help. Top scorers: Nevezis: J.Love-Roberts 17+5reb+1ast, V.Volkus 16+7reb, I.Smiljanic 11+2reb, I.Vaitkus 9+6reb+2ast, K.Petrukonis 8+7reb+1ast, P.Petrilevicius 7+3reb+2ast Jekabpils: R.Sirsnins 20+1reb+4ast, J.Aleksejevs 20+6reb+1ast, R.Stumbris 17+2reb, J.Antrops 9+3reb+4ast, A.Selakovs 4+5reb, E.Stelmahers 3+1reb+2ast
Barons Riga left no chance for Jurmala in the playoffs opener. The game without a history. Barons Riga led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. They made 17-of-18 charity shots (94.4 percent) during the game. Barons Riga had a 31-19 advantage in offensive rebounds. It was a great shooting night for Barons Riga especially from behind the arc, where they had solid 53.3 percentage. They brought some defensive toughness making 7 blocks. Worth to mention a great performance of center Davis Rozitis (215-90, college: Hawaii) who helped to win the game recording a double-double by scoring 13 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks. American guard Tyler Larson (190-91, college: S.Dakota) contributed with 18 points and 7 rebounds (made all of his eight free throws) for the winners. Rozitis is a former Eurobasket Summer League player, which is considered top international summer league in the market. Five Barons Riga players scored in double figures. Latvian center Jekabs Rozitis (205-86) answered with 9 points and 8 rebounds and center Viktors Iljins (212-91) added 8 points and 8 rebounds in the effort for Jurmala. Jurmala's coach gave up on the game allowing to play eleven players seeing no chance for a win. Top scorers: Barons Riga: T.Larson 18+7reb+3ast, D.Rozitis 13+11reb+4ast, D.Geks 13+4reb+2ast, R.Freimanis 13+4reb+3ast, K.Mediss 12+1reb+1ast, D.Krestinin 7+4reb+3ast Jurmala: J.Rozitis 9+8reb, A.Duselis 9+5reb, V.Iljins 8+8reb, D.Gutmanis 8+2reb+2ast, U.Feldmanis 5+1reb+1ast, U.Pinete 5+2reb+1ast
Valmiera upset Rapla to grab the lead in the series. The game was mostly controlled by Valmiera. Rapla was better in second period 19-18. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. They dominated down low during the game scoring 58 of its points in the paint compared to Rapla's 34. American point guard Damier Pitts (177-89, college: Marshall) nailed 21 points, 5 assists and 4 steals for the winning side and his fellow American import guard Ashton Mitchell (183-88, college: Sam Houston St., agency: Mansfield and Associates) accounted for 17 points. Pitts is a former Eurobasket Summer League player, which is considered top international summer league in the market. Four Valmiera players scored in double figures. Martin Paasoja (191-93) came up with 22 points and 6 rebounds and Slovenian point guard Domen Bratoz (189-93) added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists respectively for Rapla in the defeat. Top scorers: Valmiera: D.Pitts 21+3reb+5ast, A.Mitchell 17+4reb+1ast, A.Berzins 14+6reb+1ast, L.Blaus 10+4reb, M.Laksa 7+4reb+1ast, J.Kaufmanis 7+3reb+1ast Rapla: M.Paasoja 22+6reb+1ast, T.van der Mars 10+5reb, D.Bratoz 9+6reb+4ast, I.Kajupank 8+3reb+5ast, R.Suarez 7+4reb, K.Voolaid 4+3reb
Vytautas stormed past Parnu in the opening leg of eighth-final series. The game without a history. Vytautas led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. They dominated down low during the game scoring 52 of its points in the paint compared to Parnu's 32. Vytautas forced 23 Parnu turnovers and outrebounded them 37-26 including 27 on the defensive glass. They looked well-organized offensively handing out 31 assists comparing to just 12 passes made by Parnu's players. Point guard Domantas Seskus (180-92) stepped up and scored 22 points and 4 assists for the winners and forward Vytenis Lipkevicius (196-89) chipped in 13 points, 6 assists and 5 steals. Four Vytautas players scored in double figures. At the losing side Lithuanian swingman Edvinas Seskus (196-95, agency: Players Group) responded with 17 points and 5 rebounds and swingman Saimon Sutt (200-95) scored 14 points and 6 rebounds. Top scorers: Vytautas: D.Seskus 22+1reb+4ast, S.Kulvietis 18+3reb+1ast, V.Lipkevicius 13+4reb+6ast, T.Klimavicius 11+7reb+1ast, T.Delininkaitis 11+4reb+8ast, A.Valeika 10+2reb+4ast Parnu: E.Seskus 17+5reb+3ast, S.Sutt 14+6reb+1ast, M.Kirves 11+6reb+1ast, D.Bubalo 7+5reb+3ast, R.Hallik 3+1reb+2ast, N.Kabin 2+1reb+1ast
Liepaja/Triobet rolled past TLU/Kalev in Game 1. The guests trailed by 2 points after first quarter, but they stormed back to get the 3-point lead at the halftime and eventually won the game 92-75. Liepaja/Triobet looked well-organized offensively handing out 23 assists. Guard Roberts Krastins (195-94) fired 24 points and 6 rebounds for the winners. Guard Arturs Ausejs (192-90) chipped in 20 points and 6 assists. Point guard Kristo Saage (186-85) produced 23 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals and Serbian center Djordje Dzeletovic (205-93, agency: AproK Sports Group) added 17 points and 11 rebounds respectively for lost side. Top scorers: Liepaja/Triobet: R.Krastins 24+6reb+1ast, A.Ausejs 20+4reb+6ast, R.Berzins 17+1reb+1ast, I.Aizpurs 10+1reb, C.Montgomery 6+5reb+5ast, K.Pauls Lasmanis 6+12reb+3ast TLU/Kalev: K.Saage 23+8reb+9ast, D.Dzeletovic 17+11reb+2ast, R.Tamm 11+3reb+3ast, K.Saks 8+3reb, M.Jurtom 6+2reb+1ast, I.Stankevits 4+5reb
TU/Rock dropped Barsy Atyrau for the opening win in the series. TU/Rock led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. They dominated down low during the game scoring 42 of its points in the paint compared to Barsy Atyrau's 18 and made 17-of-22 free shots (77.3 percent) during the game. They outrebounded Barsy Atyrau 43-25 including 16 on the offensive glass. Janari Joesaar (198-93, college: UTRGV, agency: Three Eye Sports) stepped up with a double-double by scoring 19 points and 10 rebounds for the winners and Lithuanian center Dominykas Milka (203-92, college: St.Rose, NY) chipped in 16 points and 7 rebounds. At the losing side American point guard Trevin Parks (180-91, college: Johnson C. Smith) responded with 17 points and the other American import guard Ryan Cook (191-90, college: UMBC, agency: HMS) scored 11 points. The winner was already known earlier in the game, so both coaches allowed to play the bench players saving starting five for next games. Top scorers: TU/Rock: J.Joesaar 19+10reb+1ast, D.Milka 16+7reb+1ast, M.Thomas 16+1reb+3ast, V.Jois 8+9reb, T.Sokk 7+2reb+4ast, J.Talts 7+5reb+5ast Barsy Atyrau: T.Parks 17+1reb+1ast, R.Cook 11+4reb+2ast, P.Ilin 4+3reb+1ast, M.Yevstigneyev 4+2reb+2ast, N.Bazhkin 4+2reb+1ast, I.Zhunussov 3+1reb
Avis Rapla has added another Dutch center to its roster. Jito Kok(206-C-94, college: San Diego, agency: Court Side) started the season in Greece and played 13 games for Lavrio, averaging 3.9 ppg, 3.8 rpb and 1.5 bpg. Rapla has struggled lately with PF Indrek Kajupank injured, losing 4 games in a row in Estonian and Baltic league. Jito Kok has represented the Netherlands in five (!) European Youth Championships. He averaged 5.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 2.1 bpg in 4 season at the NCAA, playing for... [read more]
Avis Rapla has added another Dutch center to its roster. Jito Kok (206-C-94, college: San Diego, agency: Court Side) started the season in Greece and played 13 games for Lavrio, averaging 3.9 ppg, 3.8 rpb and 1.5 bpg. Rapla has struggled lately with PF Indrek Kajupank injured, losing 4 games in a row in Estonian and Baltic league. Jito Kok has represented the Netherlands in five (!) European Youth Championships. He averaged 5.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 2.1 bpg in 4 season at the NCAA, playing for San Diego Toreros. in 2015, he blocked 9 shots in one game, setting San Diego's single-game record. As a matter of fact, the NCAA all-time single game record (16 blocks) holder, Mickell Gladness, also plays in Estonia this season.
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