Cleveland's Omri Casspi is an Israeli pioneer as the first basketball player from his country to become a first-round pick and play in the NBA. Now, Casspi has begun to recruit a few fellow Israelis to join him.
Ex-Wichita State playmaker Gal Mekelentertained several high-level European offers from Israel and Spain before holding a summit with the Cavs' Casspi, his national-team teammate and close friend, before one of Israel's games in Eurobasket qualifying.
Casspi told Mekel that he needed to go to Florida after the Eurobasket campaign to train at the Pro Training Center near Tampa, just as Casspi himself had done early in his pro career.
"Omri called David Thorpe, whom he said was the best coach he had ever trained with, and asked if (Thorpe) would spend two weeks with me", Mekel exclusively told Eurobasket from Tampa, where he is completing his training stint. "Coach Thorpe requested to speak to me first before committing to me, and once we talked I knew it was going to be a great learning experience."
But neither Thorpe, nor Mekel, expected such fast results. Last week, Mekel did so well in an open-gym audition with the Utah Jazz that he was invited to Utahs training camp.
"He's really like a scientist with how he teaches, everything is simple but specific, and I quickly saw results with my game, shooting, dribbling, athleticism, etc.," Mekel said. "When Thorpe told me he thought I was a serious NBA prospect, I was moved and surprised to hear such comments from someone who sees the game like he does," Mekel added.
According to Mekel, Thorpe had begun to speak with a few teams about the 6-foot-4 guard for next season when the Jazz called to invite Mekel in for a look.
That workout turned out to be just the chance Mekel needed to show that his pick-and-roll prowess would adapt well to the NBA. After looking good on a court that also featured the likes of Utah veteranDerrick Favorsand NBA veteran point guard Chris Quinn (Agency: Priority Sports), Mekel quickly won over some Jazz officials, including former sharpshooting guard Jeff Hornacek.
But not long after the high of being invited to Jazz camp, which officially began Tuesday, Mekel quickly learned that he would have to turn down the opportunity because he would not be able to secure the required working visa for several days, likely forcing him to miss at least a week of practices.
"Although the lack of an American work permit ruled me out for Utah's training camp, I feel good about my future," Mekel told Eurobasket. "It's very likely I'll play in Europe this year. Armed with all this new knowledge about how I can better my game, my goals are to keep improving my game, help my new team win and be prepared for possibly coming back to the United States next summer for either the NBA summer league or training camp in October."
Openjobmetis Varese (Serie A) signed 29-year old American shooting guard Dominique Johnson (192-88kg-87, college: Azusa Pacific, agency: Higher Vision Sports). He already started the season at ALBA Berlin in German BBL league. In 11 games he had 8.6ppg, 2.8rpg and 1 [read more]
Openjobmetis Varese (Serie A) signed 29-year old American shooting guard Dominique Johnson (192-88kg-87, college: Azusa Pacific, agency: Higher Vision Sports). He already started the season at ALBA Berlin in German BBL league. In 11 games he had 8.6ppg, 2.8rpg and 1.9apg this season. Johnson also played 6 games in Eurocup where he recorded very impressive stats: 15.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg and 1.7spg. The last season he played at Banvit in Turkish BSL. In 32 games he averaged 13.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg. Johnson helped them to make it to the Turkish Cup Semifinals. He also played 18 games in Eurocup where he got 14.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.0apg and 1.2spg. In 2010 Johnson was drafted by Idaho Stampede (D-League) in third round (16th overall). The former Azusa Pacific University (NCAA Div.II) standout is in his seventh season in pro basketball. Johnson has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2012. He was voted All-NAIA D1 1st Team back in 2010 at his college time. Johnson is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in Israel (Maccabi Rishon), Poland (Slask and Stabill), D-League (Sioux Falls Skyforce, Salt Lake City Stars, Texas Legends and Canton Charge) and NBA (Minnesota Timberwolves). Johnson could be described:
Dominique is an athletic 6'5" combo guard with a strong body and great ability to score and defend. He is an outstanding teammate and personality, a smart player who is better suited in Europe as a scorer and a top defender. Dominique could easily become one of the top players in Europe even at the Euroleague level.
Ramenghi's double-double lands him Serie B Player of the Week award - 1 day ago
follow us on
24-year old power forward Francesco Ramenghi (209-F/C-92) had a great game in the last round for second-ranked Roma Luiss and receives a Eurobasket.com Serie B Player of the Week award for round 9.
He had a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds, while his team edged out Cassino (#5, 6-3) 87-83. Roma Luiss is placed at 2nd position in their group in Italian Serie B. They would have been even better if they did not have these two lost games earlier in Regular Season. Roma Luiss will n... [read more]
24-year old power forward Francesco Ramenghi (209-F/C-92) had a great game in the last round for second-ranked Roma Luiss and receives a Eurobasket.com Serie B Player of the Week award for round 9. He had a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds, while his team edged out Cassino (#5, 6-3) 87-83. Roma Luiss is placed at 2nd position in their group in Italian Serie B. They would have been even better if they did not have these two lost games earlier in Regular Season. Roma Luiss will need more victories to improve their 7-2 record. In the team's last game Ramenghi had a remarkable 60.0% from 2-point range. He has many years of experience at Roma Luiss, through which he has constantly improved. Francesco Ramenghi averages this season 14.2ppg and 8.3rpg.
Second best performed player last round was Olivier Giacomelli (198-SF-95, agency: Players Group) of San Miniato. He is naturalized Swiss in his first season at San Miniato. In the last game Giacomelli recorded impressive 25 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Of course he led San Miniato to another comfortable win outscoring the higher-ranked Cecina (#1, 6-2) 86-61. It was definitely game of the week between two contenders to the top position in Group A. San Miniato consolidated its place in top 4 of the standings. His team's 6-3 record is not bad at all. Giacomelli is a newcomer at San Miniato and quickly became one of team's most reliable players.
Third place about best performers goes to forward Riccardo Pederzini (198-F-89) of Palestrina (#6). Pederzini scored 27 points. He was a key player of Palestrina, leading his team to a 94-88 win against the lower-ranked Catanzaro (#9, 4-4). Palestrina needs these victories very badly if they think about getting closer to top teams in Group C. Their record at this point is 6 victories and 3 lost games. Pederzini has a very solid season. In 8 games in Italy he scored 17.5ppg.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Luca Ianes (203-F/C-80) of Vicenza - 16 points, 18 rebounds and 3 assists 5. Jacopo Balanzoni (203-C/F-93) of Lecco - 23 points and 5 rebounds 6. Simone Bonfiglio (181-PG-88) of Piombino - 32 points and 3 rebounds 7. Simone Gatti (202-F-82) of Campli - 26 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists 8. Giovanni Gasparin (187-G-91) of Omegna - 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists 9. Simone Centanni (185-PG-91) of Volpino AltoSeb. - 19 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists 10. Luca Bedetti (193-G/F-89) of Cento - 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists
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)
After "only" 6 months from the "fact", James Nunnally (201-F-90, college: UCSB) was suspended for one game in the italian Serie A. The suspension came from this official statement by the FIP (Italian Basketball Federation). The fact in question is a tweet written by Nunnally after game 2 of the last Serie A season playoffs between Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia and Scandone Avellino, in wich the ex Avellino player complained about the referees: "Five versus Eight". Nunnally is actually playi... [read more]
After "only" 6 months from the "fact", James Nunnally (201-F-90, college: UCSB) was suspended for one game in the italian Serie A. The suspension came from this official statement by the FIP (Italian Basketball Federation).
Copyright (c) 1998-2016 Eurobasket Inc. Disclaimer
Do not copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit information that you download from the site !
Do not encumber, license, modify, publish, sell, transfer or transmit, or in any way exploit, any of the
content of the site, nor will you attempt to do so.