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.
Betoonimeister celebrate Saku I Liiga title - 3 days ago
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Betoonimeister celebrate Saku I liiga title in Estonia. In the Final game they overcame Tartu Kalev/Estiko 77-74 in overtime. In a thrilling game where both teams deserved the title of the League, Betoonimeister needed a final 9-6 push to seal the victory. Martin Rausberg (195-F-88) top-scored for the winners with 23 points and Heigo Erm (196-F-80) added 13. Andres Zoober (189-G-84) ended up with 12, whilst Mirko Laanisto (199-SF-96) had 10. Artur Liiv (200-C/F-89) finished the game with... [read more]
Betoonimeister celebrate Saku I liiga title in Estonia. In the Final game they overcame Tartu Kalev/Estiko 77-74 in overtime. In a thrilling game where both teams deserved the title of the League, Betoonimeister needed a final 9-6 push to seal the victory. Martin Rausberg (195-F-88) top-scored for the winners with 23 points and Heigo Erm (196-F-80) added 13. Andres Zoober (189-G-84) ended up with 12, whilst Mirko Laanisto (199-SF-96) had 10. Artur Liiv (200-C/F-89) finished the game with 19 points and 11 boards, while Timo Oja (186-SG-87) brought 14.
Recap of Alexela KML Round 3 of Quarter-Finals - 5 days ago
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Tartu Ulikool - TLU/Kalev 74-56 Tartu Ulikool outgunned TLU/Kalev to sweep the quarterfinal series. Tartu Ulikool dominated on the defensive end, holding TLU/Kalev to just 7 points in second quarter. They dominated down low during the game scoring 50 of its points in the paint compared to TLU/Kalev's 28. Tartu Ulikool looked well-organized offensively handing out 21 assists. It was a great evening for Ukrainian Maks-Adam Konate (202-91, agency: Alti Sport) who led his team to a victory s... [read more]
Tartu Ulikool outgunned TLU/Kalev to sweep the quarterfinal series. Tartu Ulikool dominated on the defensive end, holding TLU/Kalev to just 7 points in second quarter. They dominated down low during the game scoring 50 of its points in the paint compared to TLU/Kalev's 28. Tartu Ulikool looked well-organized offensively handing out 21 assists. It was a great evening for Ukrainian Maks-Adam Konate (202-91, agency: Alti Sport) who led his team to a victory scoring 20 points and 9 rebounds. American guard Mandell Thomas (188-93, college: Fordham) helped adding 18 points and 6 rebounds. The best for the losing side was the former international point guard Reimo Tamm (188-84) with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and the former international forward Kaido Saks (207-86, agency: Blacktop Management) scored 8 points and 5 rebounds. TLU/Kalev's coach Kalle Klandorf rotated twelve players seeing no chance for a win. Top scorers: Tartu Ulikool: M.Adam Konate 20+9reb+1ast, M.Thomas 18+6reb+2ast, V.Jois 10+8reb+1ast, G.Dorbek 8+2reb+1ast, D.Milka 7+2reb, T.Sokk 5+4reb+13ast TLU/Kalev: R.Tamm 10+5reb+5ast, K.Saks 8+5reb+1ast, M.Jurtom 8+6reb, D.Dzeletovic 8+2reb, S.Laur 7+2reb+1ast, S.Knezevic 6+1reb
Kalev/Cramo advanced into the semifinal stage following a comfortable home win over Tarvas. The game was mostly controlled by Kalev/Cramo. BC Rakvere was better in fourth quarter 12-10. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. Kalev/Cramo dominated down low during the game scoring 58 of its points in the paint compared to BC Rakvere's 38 and made 16-of-20 charity shots (80.0 percent) during the game. They outrebounded BC Rakvere 51-27 including a 35-18 advantage in defensive rebounds. Kalev/Cramo players were unselfish on offense dishing 21 assists. It was a quality performance for American Mark Tollefsen (206-92, college: Arizona) who led the winners and scored 13 points and 6 assists. American-Bulgarian power forward Cedric Simmons (206-86, college: N.Carolina St.) accounted for 15 points and 6 rebounds for the winning side. Five Kalev/Cramo players scored in double figures. Forward Karl-Johan Lips (198-96) came up with 18 points and 9 rebounds and forward Tonis Peil (196-93) added 10 points and 5 rebounds respectively for BC Rakvere in the defeat. 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: C.Simmons 15+6reb+1ast, V.Liutych 15+5reb+1ast, B.Mirkovic 14+4reb+3ast, M.Tollefsen 13+4reb+6ast, T.Eichfuss 11+5reb+1ast, M.Tass 10+6reb Tarvas: K.Lips 18+9reb+1ast, S.Post 11+4ast, T.Peil 10+5reb+2ast, M.Paiste 9+4reb+3ast, A.Talu 6+3reb, A.Ehte 3+1reb+1ast
Parnu outgunned TTU to reach the next round of playoffs. The game was mostly controlled by Parnu. TTU was better in fourth quarter 22-19. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. They outrebounded TTU 41-26 including 29 on the defensive glass. Parnu players were unselfish on offense dishing 23 assists. It was an exceptional evening for swingman Saimon Sutt (200-95) who led the winners and scored 21 points and 5 assists. Croatian center Domagoj Bubalo (212-91, agency: 011 Sports) accounted for 14 points and 10 rebounds for the winning side. Four Parnu players scored in double figures. Sten Olmre (192-95) came up with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and the former international forward Joonas Jarvelainen (202-90, agency: Octagon Europe) added 11 points and 6 rebounds respectively for TTU in the defeat. TTU's coach Rait Kabin gave up on the game allowing to play twelve players seeing no chance for a win. Top scorers: Parnu: S.Sutt 21+4reb+5ast, R.Hallik 15+7reb+4ast, D.Bubalo 14+10reb+3ast, E.Seskus 10+3reb+2ast, M.Kirves 9+6reb+4ast, K.Kask 6+3reb TTU: T.Raadik 12+3reb+1ast, J.Jarvelainen 11+6reb, S.Viilup 8+1reb+1ast, S.Olmre 8+5reb+4ast, N.Vujovic 6+1reb+1ast, I.Pajumets 6+3reb
Rapla prevailed against visiting Valga to complete the sweep of the series. Valga was ahead by 5 points at the halftime before a 50-36 second half run of Rapla. Valga was plagued by 30 personal fouls down the stretch. It was an exceptional evening for Puerto Rican guard Rasham Suarez (190-92, college: S.Mississippi) who led the winners and scored 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. International Martin Paasoja (191-93) accounted for 21 points and 5 rebounds for the winning side. Latvian Ivars-Rihards Zvigurs (198-95) came up with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists and naturalized American forward Renato Lindments (202-84, college: Westfield St.) added 15 points and 10 rebounds respectively for Valga in the defeat. Five Rapla and four Valga players scored in double figures. Top scorers: Rapla: R.Suarez 23+8reb+6ast, M.Paasoja 21+5reb+3ast, S.Kaldre 13+4reb+3ast, O.Metsalu 13+6reb+1ast, T.van der Mars 12+12reb+1ast, I.Kajupank 12+4reb+1ast Valga: I.Rihards Zvigurs 26+8reb+4ast, R.Lindments 15+10reb+2ast, D.Mathieu 10+7reb+2ast, S.Silavs 10+2reb, V.Kriisa 8+1reb+3ast, R.Strupovics 7+3ast
Siim-Sander Vene selected the top Estonian playing abroad in last week's games - 6 days ago
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Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Estonians who are currently playing abroad. This week's number one is former international small forward Siim-Sander Vene (201-90). He could not help BC Nizhny Novgorod (8-16) to beat Tsmoki-Minsk (5-18).
Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Estonians who are currently playing abroad.
#1. This week's number one is former international small forward Siim-Sander Vene (201-90, currently plays in VTB United League). He could not help BC Nizhny Novgorod (8-16) to beat Tsmoki-Minsk (5-18).
Vene scored 6 points in 23 minutes on the court.
The ninth-placed BC Nizhny Novgorod (8-16) was crushed 77-52 on the road by the lower-ranked (#12) Tsmoki-Minsk in the group A of VTB United League.
The Regular Season already ended in the VTB United League.
Vene has relatively good stats this year: 10.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.0apg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3FGP: 33.7% and FT: 75.6% in 24 games he played so far.
He played for the Estonian senior national team two years ago.
#2. Second place goes to an international swingman Jaan Puidet (191-92, currently plays in Sweden). Puidet was not able to help KFUM Jamtland in their game against Sodertalje Kings (23-9) in the Swedish Basketligan.
He scored 9 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished 3 assists.
But KFUM Jamtland was defeated 83-74 in Sodertalje by the higher-ranked Kings (#3).
It was KFUM Jamtland's third consecutive loss in a row.
This season Puidet averages: 7.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 50.3%, 3FGP: 32.9% and FT: 84.9%.
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 Italy). Kangur managed to help Openjobmetis Varese in a victory against the sixth-ranked Dolomiti En. TR (15-12) 83-80 in the Italian Serie A on Saturday night.
He scored only 3 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 15 minutes.
Openjobmetis Varese (12-15) is placed 12th in the Serie A.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This year Kangur's overall stats are: 5.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 2FGP: 46.9%, 3FGP: 26.0% and FT: 85.2% in 27 games.
He played for the Estonian national team two years ago.
#4. Guard Tanel Kurbas (197-88, currently plays in Sweden) faced previously mentioned Jaan Puidet in the Swedish Basketligan last game.
Kurbas contributed to a Sodertalje Kings' victory against the closely-ranked KFUM Jamtland (16-16) 83-74.
He scored 8 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished 3 assists.
Kurbas' total stats this season are: 9.2ppg, 3.0rpg and 1.4apg.
He is also Estonian national team player.
#5. International guard Rain Veideman (192-91, currently plays in Italy) was the major contributor in a Udine APU's surprising victory against the second-ranked Treviso Basket (20-9) 65-62 in the Italian Serie A2 (second division) last Saturday.
Veideman scored 19 points and added 3 assists (was perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line) in 31 minutes.
GSA Amici Pallacanestro Udine (15-14) is placed ninth in East group.
It was his team's fifth consecutive victory in a row.
They will play only one more game in the Regular Season. And now that game is very crucial.
Veideman has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 17.3ppg, 4.5rpg and 3.3apg in six games.
Veideman plays currently for the Estonian national team.
#6. Forward Kristjan Kitsing (205-90, agency: Octagon Europe, currently plays in Denmark) helped Bakken win their game against the fifth-ranked Svendborg (13-15) 93-85 in the Danish Ligaen on Thursday night.
He scored only 2 points.
Bakken Bears (24-4) is placed first in the Ligaen.
It was his team's sixth consecutive victory in a row.
Kitsing's total stats this season are: 9.9ppg and 3.7rpg.
He is an international player who is currently on the senior Estonian National Team roster.
#7. International point guard Rait-Riivo Laane (179-93, currently plays in Greece) led Ethnikos to a victory over the closely-ranked Holargos (13-13) 66-62 in the Greek A2 (second division) in Wednesday night's game.
Laane was MVP of the game. He scored 14 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished 5 assists in 35 minutes.
Ethnikos Piraeus (14-12) is placed sixth in the A2.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be important.
It's Laane's first season with the team.
This year Laane's total stats are: 10.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.1apg and 1.5spg in 25 games.
He is also Estonian national team player.
#8. Guard Kristian Kullamae (190-99, currently plays in Germany) was not able to secure a victory for Oettinger Rockets Gotha (16-14) in their game against Crailsheim Merlins (25-5) in the German ProA (second division). Kullamae cannot count Wednesday's game as one of the best ones.
He scored only 3 points.
Oettinger Rockets Gotha was defeated 100-89 in Crailsheim by the second-ranked Merlins.
It was Oettinger Rockets Gotha's third consecutive loss in a row.
This season Kullamae averages just 3.3ppg.
He plays currently for the Estonian U18 national team.
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