#1. This week's number one is former international guard Earl Rowland (188-83, college: St.Mary's, CA, currently plays in Eurocup), who plays in Latvia. Rowland could not help VEF Riga (3-3) in their last game on Tuesday. Despite his good performance the third-placed VEF Riga was defeated 76-65 on the road by the leading Gescrap BB in the group J of Eurocup.
Rowland scored 10 points and added 5 passes.
The Top 16 already ended in the Eurocup.
It's Rowland's first season with the team.
Rowland is ranked seventh on the list of the best passers in the league.
He has individually a very good season with high stats. Rowland averages: 15.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.8apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 53.2%, 3FGP: 40.4% and FT: 73.0%.
He is a naturalized American.
Rowland played for the Bulgarian senior national team two years ago.
Strangely he has never played in Bulgaria.
#2. Second place goes to an international power forward Hristo Nikolov (200-85, currently plays in Romania). He led U-Mobitelco to a victory over the 12th-ranked Giurgiu (8-15) 88-69 in the Romanian Liga Nationala last Friday.
Nikolov was MVP of the game. He scored 22 points, grabbed 5 boards, passed 4 assists and added 5 steals in 31 minutes.
CS U-Mobitelco Cluj Napoca (16-7) is placed fourth in the Liga Nationala.
Nikolov has relatively good stats this year: 14.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 61.1%(88-144), 3FGP: 36.9% and FT: 70.6% in the 22 games he played so far.
He is in the roster of the Bulgarian senior national team.
#3. The Bulgarian player who performed third best last week abroad was an international power forward Cedric Simmons (206-86, college: N.Carolina St., currently plays in Italy). Simmons was not able to help Enel Brindisi (10-10) in their game against Umana Venezia (11-9) in the Italian SerieA. Despite his very good performance on Sunday night He was the second best scorer with 13 points. Simmons also added 9 rebounds.
Simmons' overall stats this season are: 8.4ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 59.0%(69-117) and FT: 72.5%.
He is a naturalized American.
Simmons is also a member of the Bulgarian senior national team. Apparently he has never played in Bulgaria.
#4. Guard Earl Calloway (191-83, college: Indiana, currently plays in Euroleague) managed to help Unicaja Malaga in a 3-point victoryagainst the eighth-ranked Brose Baskets Bamberg (0-8) 68-65 in the Euroleague in Thursday night's game.
Calloway scored 5 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished 3 assists in 30 minutes.
Unicaja Malaga (4-4) is placed fifth in group E.
This year Calloway's overall stats are: 10.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg and 1.1spg in the 18 games.
He is a naturalized American.
Calloway used to play for the Bulgarian national team
back in 2010. Interesting that he has never played in Bulgaria.
#5. International shooting guard Ivan Lilov (196-88, currently plays in EuroChallenge) was not able to secure a victory for Gaz Metan (2-3) in their game against Joensuun Kataja (2-3) in the EuroChallenge. Despite his very good performance last Tuesday Lilov was the top scorer with 18 points.
His team will play only one more game in the EuroChallenge Top 16. And that game will be critical.
This season Lilov has relatively solid stats: 13.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.6apg and 1.4spg.
He plays currently for the Bulgarian national team.
#6. An experienced guard Roderick Blakney (184-76, college: S.Carolina St., currently plays in Spain) contributed to Cajasol's surprising victory against the eighth-ranked Asefa Estudiantes (12-10) 86-78 in the Spanish ACB on Sunday night.
Blakney recorded 12 points and added 6 passes in a mere 19 minutes.
Cajasol Banca Civica Sevilla (8-14) is placed 14th in the ACB.
They ended the series of three consecutive loses.
This year Blakney's total stats are: 6.6ppg and 2.6apg in the 11 games.
He is a naturalized American.
Blakney is a former international player as he played for the Bulgarian senior team six years ago.
However he has never played in Bulgaria.
#7. Former international center Jared Homan (206-83, college: Iowa St., currently plays in Germany) couldn't help Bayern Muenchen (16-8) in their game against Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (0-0) in the German BBL. Despite his good performance in Saturday night's game Homan recorded a double-double by scoring 10 points and getting the same number of rebounds. He also added 2 blocks.
Homan is currently fifth on the league's list of best blockers.
He has very reliable stats this season: 10.3ppg, 6.0rpg and 1.1bpg.
Homan is a naturalized American.
He used to play for the Bulgarian national team
three years ago.
#8. Guard Aleksandar Gruev (187-83, agency: Global Sports Plaza, currently plays in Romania) was the major contributor in a CSU Sibiu's victory against the closely-ranked Timisoara (11-10) 82-76 in the Romanian Liga Nationala on Saturday night.
Gruev scored 17 points and added 8 assists.
CSU Atlassib Sibiu (12-11) is placed ninth in the Liga Nationala.
Gruev belongs to league's best passers and is ranked #7.
This season he has very good stats: 13.4ppg, 2.5rpg and 4.8apg.
Gruev used to play for the Bulgarian national team
back in 2011.
#9. International small forward Filip Videnov (196-80, agency: Alti Sport, college: W.Kentucky, currently plays in Turkey) couldn't help Olin Edirne (4-15) in their game against Galatasaray (16-3) in the Turkish TBL. Despite his good performance last Saturday Videnov recorded 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Videnov has reliable stats this season: 15.0ppg, 4.0rpg and 3.0apg.
He is also in the roster of the Bulgarian national team.
#10. Forward Aleksandar Georgiev (203-90, currently plays in Spain) couldn't help Assignia Manresa (4-18) in their game against FIATC Joventut (11-11) in the Spanish ACB, despite his good performance on Sunday night.
Georgiev recorded 11 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in a mere 19 minutes.
But Assignia Manresa lost 88-92 in Badalona to the much higher-ranked (#9) FIATC Joventut.
It was Assignia Manresa's third consecutive loss in a row.
Georgiev has averaged so far 5.2ppg and 2.2rpg in the 22 games.
He is an international player who is currently on the senior Bulgarian National Team roster.
#11. Former international center Krum Doychinov (206-86, agency: Interperformances, currently plays in Greece) couldn't help OFI in their game against Aiolos Trikallon in the Greek A2 (second division).
Doychinov scored 6 points in 18 minutes.
His team lost 68-83.
Doychinov is ranked second on the list of the best blockers in the league with 1.1bpg.
He also averaged so far 9.1ppg, 6.4rpg and 1.3apg in the 16 games.
Doychinov used to play for the Bulgarian national team
three years ago.
#12. Former U20 international guard Georgi Sirakov (186-92, also represented by Interperformances, currently plays in Italy) couldn't help Mazzeo San Severo in their game against Omegna in the Italian Nazionale A (third division). He cannot count Saturday's game as one of the best ones.
Sirakov scored only 3 points.
His team was crushed by 27 points 84-57.
This season he averages just 7.6ppg.
Sirakov used to play for the Bulgarian U20 national team
back in 2011.
The list of other players, who all have Bulgarian passport but never been selected to any of Bulgarian national teams:
#1.Pero Antic (210-F-82, agency: Beo Basket, currently plays in Greece) contributed to Olympiacos' victory against one of league's weakest teams KAOD (5-13) 91-81 in the Greek A1 in Monday night's game.
He scored 10 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 21 minutes.
Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (17-1) is placed first in the A1.
It was his team's fourth consecutive victory in a row.
This year Antic averages: 5.8ppg and 2.8rpg in the 15 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: FYR Macedonian and Bulgarian.
#2.Kee Kee Clark (180-PG-84, college: St.Peter's, currently plays in Italy) was the major contributor in an Umana Venezia's victory against the closely-ranked Enel Brindisi (10-10) 76-68 in the Italian SerieA on Sunday night.
Clark scored 15 points and added 5 passes in 28 minutes.
Umana Reyer Venezia (11-9) is placed seventh in the SerieA.
Clark has relatively good stats this year: 13.4ppg, 2.3rpg and 2.3apg in the 16 games.
He is a naturalized American.
Apparently Clark has never played in Bulgaria.
#3. Experienced Willie Deane (188-PG-80, agency: Higher Vision Sports, college: Purdue, currently plays in Ukraine), who plays in the Ukrainian Superleague could not help Khimik (17-13) in their last game on Saturday. Despite his good performance Khimik was defeated 82-68 on the road by the higher-ranked Mykolaiv (#3).
Deane was the top scorer with 14 points. He also added 6 assists.
Deane has relatively good stats this season: 11.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.1apg and 1.1spg.
He is a naturalized American.
Deane used to play for PBC Lukoil Akademik Sophia in Bulgarian league.
#4.Ilian Evtimov (201-F-83, agency: Interperformances, college: N.Carolina St., currently plays in France) was not able to help one of league's weakest teams Chalon/Saor (12-7) in their game against Strasbourg IG (15-5) in the French ProA.
He scored 7 points in 21 minutes.
Chalon/Saor lost 65-80 in Strasbourg to the second-ranked Strasbourg IG.
It was Chalon/Saor's first loss after three consecutive victories.
Evtimov has reliable stats this year: 11.7ppg, 3.6rpg and 1.8apg in the 14 games.
He is another player who holds two passports: Bulgarian and French.
#5.Dimitar Karadzovski (190-G-84, agency: Global Sports Plaza, currently plays in Balkan League) led his FYR Macedonian team Kozuv to an easy victory against the closely-ranked Djuro Djakovic (3-1) 89-72 in the Balkan League in Wednesday night's game.
He scored 13 points and added 4 passes in 22 minutes.
It was the game of the round between two top 2 ranked teams in group D. Kozuv Gevgelija (4-0) is placed first.
So far his team won all four games in the Second Stage.
There are only two games left until the end of the Balkan League Second Stage. So now every game will be critical.
Karadzovski has averaged so far 9.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.6apg and 1.2spg in the 10 games.
He has both Bulgarian and FYR Macedonian nationalities.
#6.Galin Mihaylov (189-G-80, currently plays in Norway) led Tromso to an easy victory against the closely-ranked Froya Basket 97-82 in the Norwegian BLNO in Sunday night's game.
Mihaylov recorded 14 points and added 4 assists.
Mihaylov has averaged so far 10.0ppg, 1.7rpg and 3.0apg.
#7.Kristoffer Gafor (194-G-92, currently plays in Sweden) led Malbas to a victory against the sixth-ranked Haga Haninge 76-62 in the Swedish Basketettan (second division) last Sunday.
He recorded 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in 39 minutes.
Gafor has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 18.4ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.4apg and 1.9spg in the 18 games.
Gafor also holds two passports: Swedish and Bulgarian.
#8.Viktor Vladov (202-F-91, currently plays in Germany) was not able to secure a victory for Leitershofen in their game against TV 1862 Langen in the German ProB (third division). He cannot count Saturday's game as one of the best ones.
Vladov scored only 2 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
His team was defeated 84-80.
Vladov has averaged so far 3.0ppg and 3.2rpg.
He has Bulgarian and German nationalities.
Pini Gershon: In the business sector Nikola Vujcic would have been fired long ago - 2 days ago
Pini Gershon is former head coach of Bulgarian National team and current professional manager of Israeli Basketball Association. Three times European champion with Maccabi Tel Aviv, eight times Israeli champion, eight times Israeli Cup winner. Gershon was interviewed by Israeli sports program on 102FM and provided quite a few gems. The veteran coach mark the one primarily responsible for the failure of the Maccabi Tel Aviv, addressed the drug test of Sony Weems and Hapoel Jerusalem was a... [read more]
Pini Gershon is former head coach of Bulgarian National team and current professional manager of Israeli Basketball Association. Three times European champion with Maccabi Tel Aviv, eight times Israeli champion, eight times Israeli Cup winner.
Gershon was interviewed by Israeli sports program on 102FM and provided quite a few gems. The veteran coach mark the one primarily responsible for the failure of the Maccabi Tel Aviv, addressed the drug test of Sony Weems and Hapoel Jerusalem was also on his target.
- How would you describe the season of Maccabi and the scandals in the club? - If you're talking about drug tests, and if I know correctly, they were not the most accurate in the world. As far as I know and understand. WADA makes tests for illegal drugs in sport. WADA is not focused on marijuana, cannabis and joints. I do not know if this was the correct test (the test of Sonny Weems), but it was used so the club could get rid of him.
- Has Maccabi initiated these kind of tests during your time on the team? - I do not remember such kind of case, because it wasn't necessary. I suppose, if they did, then the information was announced officially.
- How would you describe this year? - The largest investment was made so Maccabi could not only be successful in the Israeli league, but mostly to be successful in the Euroleague. And in the Euroleague Maccabi is simply miserable. They invested almost $30 millions and will maybe bring another player. Maccabi didn't record any big victory this season in Europe, except the one against Olympiakos. The season in Europe is a failure. A big failure. And they know it. - Is Nikola Vujcic part of the Maccabi's failure? - Obviously. Everybody sees it, except Malala who put their money on the team. Nicola is protected by someone else and is the one, who is responsible for everything. You cannot change the owner, but you can change the manager. Maccabi is a business project. If the business project is unsuccessful, you have to pay. If this was a different kind of business, not basketball, for this kind of failure and economic losses, he would have been gone a long time ago.
- Who is responsible for the great failure? Nikola Vujcic is not capable to understand that Maccabi Tel Aviv live on its nuclear program. You can add three players every year, but you cannot afford any revolutions. The last two seasons costed Maccabi 65 million dollars. And we are not talking about a million, we are talking about 65 million dollars. Let me ask you something: If you are an owner and your business was forced by your CEO to the bottom? And what if your business crashes like this? Of course, that would mean that the manager should be fired and sent home a long time ago.
- Do you want to come back to Maccabi? - No.
- Did they offer you to come back? - No. They don't like me and they don't want me.
- Are you happy seeing Maccabi in such a rough time? - No. I'm a professional. I'm a broadcaster. I say what I see. I would never gloat.
- Who's a bigger loser? Maccabi, or Hapoel Jerusalem? - Jerusalem are lucky that all the media are focused on Maccabi's disappointing season. In the Eurocup Jerusalem lost to worse teams, than Maccabi did in the Euroleague. - But why is Maccabi so easily defeated this season in the Euroleague? American players, who are paid towards the Euroleague standarts, play different when they face CSKA Moscow and when they face Hapoel Holon. They think that everything will go so easy in the right places. But you have to understand that once you start losing by 20 points, it's not always possible to come back. You can not do both vehicles.
Akademic Bultex 99 Plovdiv (NBL) inked 23-year old American big man Shaheed Davis (206-95kg-94, college: Cent.Florida). He had signed to play at Al Nift in the Iraqi Superleague, but is now moving to Bulgaria. Davis also started the season at DBL Sharks Sheffield in the British BBL earlier that year, where in 4 games he recorded very impressive stats: 16.0ppg, 7.0rpg and 1.5bpg. In Plovdiv he was brought in to replace Dimitar Dimitrov, who left the team to join Lukoil Academic two days ag... [read more]
Akademic Bultex 99 Plovdiv (NBL) inked 23-year old American big man Shaheed Davis (206-95kg-94, college: Cent.Florida). He had signed to play at Al Nift in the Iraqi Superleague, but is now moving to Bulgaria. Davis also started the season at DBL Sharks Sheffield in the British BBL earlier that year, where in 4 games he recorded very impressive stats: 16.0ppg, 7.0rpg and 1.5bpg. In Plovdiv he was brought in to replace Dimitar Dimitrov, who left the team to join Lukoil Academic two days ago.
In his college career, he won the Southern Conference of NJCAA Region 8, when he was playing for Eastern Florida State College in 2014. Davis graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2016 and this is his first season in pro basketball.
Dimitrov is back at Lukoil Academic Sofia - 4 days ago
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Defending champion Lukoil Academic Sofia (NBL) agreed terms with 24-year old international power forward Dimitar Dimitrov (203-93, agency: Interperformances). It is actually his comeback to Sofia as he has played here before. Dimitrov just played at Akademik Bulteks 99 Plovdiv in Bulgarian NBL league. In 6 games he had very impressive stats: 16.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg this season. Dimitrov also played earlier that season for Arkadia Lions in Austrian A Bundesliga where in three NB... [read more]
Defending champion Lukoil Academic Sofia (NBL) agreed terms with 24-year old international power forward Dimitar Dimitrov (203-93, agency: Interperformances). It is actually his comeback to Sofia as he has played here before. Dimitrov just played at Akademik Bulteks 99 Plovdiv in Bulgarian NBL league. In 6 games he had very impressive stats: 16.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg this season. Dimitrov also played earlier that season for Arkadia Lions in Austrian A Bundesliga where in three NBL games he recorded 7.7ppg and 5.0rpg. Dimitrov also spent pre-season at Lukoil Academic Sofia earlier that year. He helped them to make it to the Bulgarian Cup Semifinals. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Dimitrov won Bulgarian League championship title for two years in a row (2015 and 2016). He was selected to Bulgarian League All-Star Game in 2016. Dimitrov has been also a member of Bulgarian international program for some years. He has regularly played for Bulgarian senior team since 2012 and previously for U16 National Team between 2008 and 2009. Dimitrov also represented Bulgaria at the European Championships U20 in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) two years ago. His stats at that event were 7 games: 1.1ppg. Dimitrov has played previously professionally also in Italy (Rimini). On Dimitrov:
A very promising forward, who reads yet the game situations very well and has good scoring and passing skills. Immense upside fo the SF position, but if he grews up more he can become a very good PF.
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