From Baltic Tiger to Memphis Grizzly - Sep 25, 2012
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This is a coming of age story of a Tiger that became a Bear.
23 year old Michael Dunigan is one of the newest members of the Memphis Grizzlies and his trail to the NBA is truly a tall tale.
His professional career started in Jerusalem where management saw an investment opportunity; they would train him in the pre-season and then loan him to teams where he could develop his craft in game situations.
His first stop was the tiny Baltic country, Estonia, which culminated in a league championship. Skipping the parade, Dunigan jetted back to Chicago to partake in the NBA pre draft combine, where he surprised scouts with his length and improved body.
Despite rising in the mock drafts, Dunigan was not selected in the 2011 draft. The next day, the Grizzlies brought Dunigan to Memphis, giving him the VIP treatment. Just a few days later, the NBA locked out players, leaving Dunigan without a summer league to further showcase his improvement.
So, Dunigan hired the NBA's most famous trainer, Tim Grover. After the summer, Dunigan signed to play in Italy, where his coach had the reputation of being fantastic with young players. In Europe, a young roster equates to young prospects and very few wins. Within a month, Dunigan lost playing time to an Italian veteran.
In an effort to find needed playing time, Dunigan accepted a job in the Ukraine. That winter, more than 100 people died from cold weather. But Dunigan braved the conditions, consistently scoring and rebounding all season. As the NBA regular season was near an end, both the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies were on the cusp of offering Dunigan, only to learn that Dunigan had sustained an injury that would keep him out for two weeks. Jerusalem then backed out of their relationship, thinking their opportunity to collect a buyout has been exhausted.
So, Dunigan returned to Chicago and immediately began training. Soon he learned that the Grizzlies had invited him to NBA summer League. Only one day before his scheduled departure, he sustained an ankle injury that knocked him out of Summer League. Back to training and ankle rehab with Physical Therapist, Dave Reavy, known for working medical miracles for Dwyane Wade, Tracy McGrady, and Gilbert Arenas.
The Grizzlies kept a watchful eye on Dunigan throughout the summer and eventually invited him to training camp.
With only two true centers, and the backup still recovering from hand surgery, the Grizzlies may look to Dunigan for needed depth.
What began as the history of a hard luck hooper has become the feel-good fairy tale of a man who became a Grizzly Bear.
Tokyo Cinq Reves sign Josiah Heath, ex TLU/Kalev - 12 hours ago
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Tokyo Cinq Reves (B League D3) signed 24-year old American power forward Josiah Heath (205-104kg-93, college: Canisius, agency: Inception Sports). He started the season at TLU/Kalev in Estonian Alexela KML. In four games he had 8.8ppg and 6.3rpg this season. Heath also played 1 game in FIBA Europe Cup where he recorded 4 points, 12 rebounds and 1 block. The last season he played at Aris Leeuwarden in Dutch Eredivisie. In 27 games he averaged 13.9ppg, 8.3rpg (#5 in the league) and 1.3spg.... [read more]
Tokyo Cinq Reves (B League D3) signed 24-year old American power forward Josiah Heath (205-104kg-93, college: Canisius, agency: Inception Sports). He started the season at TLU/Kalev in Estonian Alexela KML. In four games he had 8.8ppg and 6.3rpg this season. Heath also played 1 game in FIBA Europe Cup where he recorded 4 points, 12 rebounds and 1 block. The last season he played at Aris Leeuwarden in Dutch Eredivisie. In 27 games he averaged 13.9ppg, 8.3rpg (#5 in the league) and 1.3spg. A very impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Dutch Eredivisie 2nd Team. Heath's team made it to the MAAC Tournament Semifinals in 2014. He graduated from Canisius College in 2015 and it is his second season as a professional player.
Siim-Sander Vene selected the top Estonian playing abroad in last week's games - 6 days ago
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Here is the weekly review of the top performing Estonian players, who play currently abroad. This week's number one is former international small forward Siim-Sander Vene (201-90). He could not help BC Nizhny Novgorod (1-2) in their last game. Despite Vene's very good performance BC Nizhny Novgorod was crushed 98-76 on the road by the higher-ranked (#9) Hapoel Jerusalem.
Here is the weekly review of the top performing Estonian players, who play currently abroad.
#1. This week's number one is former international small forward Siim-Sander Vene (201-90, currently plays in EuroCup). He could not help BC Nizhny Novgorod (1-2) in their last game. Despite Vene's very good performance BC Nizhny Novgorod was crushed 98-76 on the road by the higher-ranked (#9) Hapoel Jerusalem.
He was the second best scorer with 18 points. Vene also added 4 rebounds and dished 3 assists (was perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line) in 24 minutes on the court.
There are only three games left until the end of the Eurocup Second Stage. So now every game will be critical.
It's Vene's first season with the team.
He has relatively good stats this year: 10.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.0apg, 2FGP: 53.5%, 3FGP: 33.3% and FT: 75.0% in 11 games he played so far.
Vene played for the Estonian senior national team two years ago.
#2. Second place goes to an international forward Kristjan Kitsing (205-90, agency: Octagon Europe, currently plays in Denmark). He led Bakken to a victory over the closely-ranked Horsholm (8-8) 90-71 in the Danish Ligaen last Saturday.
Kitsing was MVP of the game. He recorded 19 points and added 3 assists.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. Bakken Bears (12-2) is placed second in the Ligaen.
This season Kitsing has relatively solid stats: 11.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 2FGP: 64.9%(24-37), 3FGP: 39.5%.
He is in the roster of the Estonian senior national team.
#3. The Estonian player who performed third best last week abroad was an experienced former international small forward Kristjan Kangur (201-82, currently plays in Basketball Champions League). Kangur contributed to an Openjobmetis VA's victory against the closely-ranked Rosa (3-10) 74-61 in the Basketball Champions League on Tuesday night.
He scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Openjobmetis Varese (3-9) is placed seventh in group C.
They ended the series of four consecutive loses.
There are only two games left until the end of the Basketball Champions League Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
This year Kangur averages: 4.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 41.9%, 3FGP: 22.2% and FT: 73.9% in 13 games.
He played for the Estonian national team two years ago.
#4. Swingman Jaan Puidet (191-92, currently plays in Sweden) contributed to a KFUM Jamtland's victory against the closely-ranked Uppsala Basket (9-8) 98-88 in the Swedish Basketligan in Thursday night's game.
Puidet scored 13 points, had 8 rebounds and dished 4 assists.
KFUM Jamtland Basket (8-10) is placed seventh in the Basketligan.
It was his team's first victory after four consecutive loses.
Puidet's overall stats this season are: 7.9ppg, 5.1rpg and 1.3apg.
He is also Estonian national team player.
#5. International guard Tanel Kurbas (197-88, currently plays in Sweden) helped Sodertalje Kings win their game against the closely-ranked Boras Basket (11-8) 86-80 in the Swedish Basketligan last Saturday.
Kurbas scored 15 points and added 4 assists (went 6 for 6 at the free throw line) in 30 minutes.
Sodertalje Kings (9-5) is placed fifth in the Basketligan.
This year Kurbas' overall stats are: 10.0ppg, 2.5rpg and 1.3apg in 13 games.
He plays currently for the Estonian national team.
#6. Center Rauno Nurger (208-93, currently plays college basketball in the States) helped Wichita St. win their game against the University of Evansville (2-0) 82-65 in the NCAA on Tuesday night.
Nurger scored 12 points.
The Wichita State University has quite an impressive 5-1 conference record this season.
It was Wichita St.'s third consecutive victory in a row.
Nurger's total stats this season are: 5.6ppg and 3.1rpg.
He is a former international player as he played for the Estonian senior team two years ago.
#7. Former University international forward Maik-Kalev Kotsar (208-96, currently studies in the States) helped S.Carolina win their game against the The University of Mississippi (1-0) 67-56 in the NCAA in Saturday night's game.
Kotsar scored 6 points, had 6 rebounds and made 2 blocks in 16 minutes.
The University of South Carolina has 4-0 conference record this season.
So far his team won all four games in the conference.
This year Kotsar's total stats are: 7.2ppg and 5.5rpg in 18 games.
He used to play for the Estonian university national team
two years ago.
#8. Point guard Rait-Riivo Laane (179-93, currently plays in Greece) was the major contributor in Ethnikos' victory against the 13th-ranked Arkadikos (4-9) 96-94 in the Greek A2 (second division) last Saturday.
Laane scored 15 points and added 3 passes (was perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line).
Ethnikos Piraeus (8-5) is placed fifth in the A2.
Laane has averaged so far 9.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.0apg and 1.1spg.
He plays currently for the Estonian national team.
Estonian Alexela KML round 13 best performance: Dominykas Milka - 8 days ago
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Lithuanian Center Dominykas Milka (203-C-92) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for second-ranked TU/Rock, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 13. The 24-year old player had a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds, while his team outclassed Tarvas (#7, 3-9) with 46-point margin 110-64. TU/Rock maintains the 2nd position in Estonian Alexela KML. They are still close to the very top. TU/Rock would have been even better if they kept winning t... [read more]
Lithuanian Center Dominykas Milka (203-C-92) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for second-ranked TU/Rock, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 13. The 24-year old player had a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds, while his team outclassed Tarvas (#7, 3-9) with 46-point margin 110-64. TU/Rock maintains the 2nd position in Estonian Alexela KML. They are still close to the very top. TU/Rock would have been even better if they kept winning the games like in the last round. They have a solid 10-2 record. Milka turned to be TU/Rock's top player in his first season with the team. Former College of Saint Rose star has very solid stats this year. Milka is in league's top in rebounds (5th best: 8.3rpg) and averages impressive 55.6% FGP.
The second best player in last round's games was 23-year old Serbian Djordje Dzeletovic (205-C-93, agency: AproK Sports Group) of TLU/Kalev. Dzeletovic had a very good evening with 36 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. Of course he led TLU/Kalev to another comfortable win outscoring slightly higher-ranked Valga (#6, 5-10) 99-78. TLU/Kalev's 8th position in the standings has not changed. 10 lost games are too many comparing to just three victories TLU/Kalev managed to get this year. Dzeletovic is one of the most experienced players at TLU/Kalev and has a reputation of one of team's most reliable players. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 25.5ppg (#1). He also registered 6.5 boards per game.
Third on the list of top players last round was Latvian Ivars Rihards Zvigurs (198-SF-95) of Valga (#6). Zvigurs showcased his all-around game by recording 20 points, twelve rebounds (!!!) and six assists in the last round. Despite Zvigurs' great performance Valga lost 78-99 to slightly lower-ranked TLU/Kalev (#8, 3-10). But his team cannot count on just a single player as he also needs help of the other teammates. The chances of Valga not to end season at such low position in the league, however are less than slim as they have already lost 10 games, recording just five victories. With bigger assistance of his teammates, Zvigurs could try to bring Valga's a little bit higher in the standings. Zvigurs has a very solid season. In 15 games in Estonia he scored 13.1ppg. He also has 6.1rpg and FGP: 55.4%.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Joonas Jarvelainen (202-F/C-90) of TTU - 24 points and 11 rebounds 5. Mart Rosenthal (194-G-99) of TU/Rock - 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists 6. Saimon Sutt (200-F/G-95) of Parnu - 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists 7. Domagoj Bubalo (212-C-91) of Parnu - 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists 8. Martin Dorbek (194-G-91) of Kalev/Cramo - 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists 9. Janar Talts (206-PF-83) of TU/Rock - 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists 10. Renato Lindments (202-F-84) of Valga - 19 points and 5 rebounds
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
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