EUROBASKET NEWS REPORT - 12/27/2008

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Men News

*****************************************************
  ABA   


Coach Lofton left out of the process - by Eurobasket News
Lewis Lofton feels he deserved a little better treatment.

Lofton, the former Centralia High School and Weber State standout basketball player, has been the player/coach of the Washington Raptors this season in the American Basketball Association.

Last year, the Raptors were known as the Lewis County Raptors and struggled through a losing season, on and off the court.

Owners Tim and Regina Joseph then tried their hand in the ABA and enlisted the aid of Lofton as their player/coach, which was an excellent public relations move.

However, the ABA was fraught with problems right away.

Opening Day is usually special in any league, and the Raptors were to open at home with the San Francisco Rumble on Dec. 5.

But for whatever reason, the Rumble didnt show and forfeited the opener, which was to be played at Rochester High School, since the Raptors dont, as yet, have a home court.

On Dec. 15-16, the Raptors were supposed to go to Alaska for a two-game set, but it didnt come about because of a mixup in travel arrangements.

One source said it was the Alaska Dreams fault, and Lofton said it was the Josephs.

When games against the Sacramento Heatwave didnt materialize Dec. 19-20, the Raptors tried to get the Fresno Rebels to play. Fresno came up here but the series was postponed due to weather.

As stated in the related story, over that weekend, the Raptors and Rebels decided to merge and they announced a new head coach.

Lofton, contacted by telephone at his home in Ogden, Utah, Tuesday said he learned of the coaching change in a newspaper brief.

I saw in the paper that they got a new coach, Lofton said. Thats the kind of communication the Josephs have -- none.

Lofton said whatever happens next, the only thing he knows is hes done with the Raptors.

I feel totally embarrassed for that organization, he said. Theyve got some real issues. They told me they had a whole bunch of sponsors and money, and all of a sudden, they said they had no money and no one got paid, not me or any other players.

The whole organization is just very shady and thats not what I want to be associated with. Im a professional and all I ask is to work with professionals who talk to you and keep their word. These people (Josephs) lie right and left. I thought I had a commitment and they bailed out.

Lofton coached one game with the Raptors. Hes also upset that he lured some good players here under the pretense the Josephs would keep their word and run a first-class organization.

After the mixup with the Alaska travel situation, Lofton said the Josephs are lying about it being Alaskas fault.

Thats a professional group up there, he said. They flew in four teams for a Shootout up there with no problems. When the Raptors couldnt make it up there, they tried blaming them when it was the Josephs fault.

A telephone call to Tim Joseph wasnt returned Tuesday.

Courtesy of http://www.chronline.com


*****************************************************
  ADRIATIC LEAGUE   


Crvena Zvezda splits with Stevan Milosevic - by Dragan Jankovski
Stevan Milosevic (211-C-85, agency: Interperformances) is no longer a member of Crvena Zvezda. 23-year old player, who arrived to Belgrade this summer, had contract until December 25, but the Red-and-whites didn't want to extend it. Milosevic played 8 games for Zvezda in Adriatic league averaging 1.5 ppg and 1.4 rpg. He also appeared in one EuroCup game scoring 4 points. Management of Crvena Zvezda stated that Milosevic showed good attitude and hard work during these few months. However, there was no enough space for him to play and the best solution for both sides is that he try to find some other team where he'll get a bigger chance.

Stevan Milosevic announced that he leaves Crvena Zvezda staying in good relationship with the club.

'I worked as hardest as I can, but I didn't succeed to get more playing time. I feel sorry about that, but I have to move on', said Milosevic.

Before Crvena Zvezda, Milosevic used to play in Austrian Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions and Buducnost Podgorica. In Austrian A Bundesleague he had 10.6 ppg and 6.3 rpg in 21 games. In Buducnost, where he grew up as a player, Milosevic also struggled to get more playing time.

Crvena Zvezda ended this year on nice second place in Adriatic league. The Red-end-whites are the only team who succeeded to beat Partizan Igokea in the regional championship. In EuroCup, Zvezda already booked a spot for the next stage.


*****************************************************
  AUSTRALIA   


South Dragons celebrate in Round 15 opener - by Eurobasket News
The South Dragons have extended their lead at the top of the NBL ladder with a comprehensive 117-87 victory over the Gold Coast Blaze at Hisense Arena on Friday night.

It was a 38-23 opening quarter that set-up the victory for the home side as the Blaze struggled to come to terms with the Dragons persistent defence and numerous scoring options.

All 12 Dragons players managed to get on the scoresheet, with five scoring in double figures and consistent point-guard Adam Gibson (188-G-86) the best with 18.

Joe Ingles (17), Nick Horvath (16), Tremmell Darden (13) and Mark Worthington (12) were the other major contributors, while new import Donta Smith (nine points, three rebounds, five assists) looked polished throughout in his 16 minutes of court time.

In-form guard James Harvey (25 points) played a lone hand for the Blaze, with American forward Luke Whitehead (19) the only other Gold Coast player to score more than 12.

Star import Justin Bowen (five points) couldn't fire a shot from the field (0-of-10), while former Dragons player-coach Shane Heal could only contribute 10, and eight of those came in the final term.

It didn't take long for the Dragons to assert their dominance as both Ingles and Gibson connected from beyond the arc, while Smith came off the bench to hit his first two shots in impressive fashion.

Leading by 15 (38-23) at quarter-time, the Dragons increased their advantage to 21 when Ingles threw down a thunderous dunk on the fast-break midway through the second and it only got worse for the Blaze.

Harvey connected from outside in an attempt to keep his side in the match, but the Dragons took a 29-point (68-39) buffer into half-time and were cruising.

Whitehead and Bowen were working hard inside the key, but the Dragons' defence was relentless as the home side took an unassailable 38-point (95-57) lead at the final break.

Bowen found Whitehead with a nice alley-oop pass early in the final term, but that was as good as it got for the Blaze as the Dragons registered their 10th home victory of the season.

The Dragons (17-4) have a date against the Crocs in Townsville on New Years Eve, while the Blaze (4-17) host the 36ers on the same evening.

South Dragons 117 (Gibson 18, Ingles 17, Horvath 16)
Gold Coast Blaze 87 (Harvey 25, Whitehead 19, Cameron 12)

Courtesy of http://www.gaze.com.au


Tony Ronaldson is 'Player of the Week' for Round 14 - by Eurobasket News
NBL veteran Tony Ronaldson (203-F/C-72) has taken out the Player of the Week Award for Round 14 after his two solid performances helped the New Zealand Breakers get back to their winning ways.

The 621-game stalwart averaged 24.5 points, 5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in victories over Sydney at home and Perth away that will be vital to the Breakers title aspirations.

Ronaldson registered 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 25 minutes on court in the Breakers 114-70 rout of the Sydney Spirit on Thursday and followed it up with 31 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 31 minutes against the Perth Wildcats on Saturday.

Over two games he compiled statistics of 17-32 field goal shooting (53 per cent), 6-11 three-point shooting (55 per cent) and 9-12 free throw shooting (75 per cent).

Ronaldsons effort was particularly notable considering the travel delays that saw the Breakers luggage arriving in Perth just 90 minutes before departure for the venue.

The two victories in Round 14 for New Zealand (15-4) have kept them comfortably in second spot on the NBL ladder behind South Dragons (16-4) and ahead of Melbourne Tigers (11-7) and Perth Wildcats (10-10). Townsville and Adelaide round out the Top 6.

Ronaldson narrowly edged out star Adelaide mid-season acquisition Julius Hodge and the Gold Coasts James Harvey for Player of the Week honours.

Hodge compiled 31 points, 10 assists and 3 rebounds in the 36ers home victory over cellar dwellers Gold Coast on Saturday shooting 12-23 (52 per cent) from the field, 1-3 (33 per cent) from long range and 6-12 (50 per cent) from the free throw line.

Harvey heated up for 37 points and 5 rebounds in the Blazes victory over the Hawks on Wednesday and followed it up with 23 points and 2 rebounds in a loss to Adelaide on Saturday.

Courtesy of the NBL
www.nbl.com.au


*****************************************************
  BULGARIA   


Balkan ends 2008 unbeaten in Division A - by Eurobasket News
Balkan is totally unstoppable in Bulgarian Division A this season. The team from Botevrad registered 9 wins keeping the top since the beginning of the season. In the last Round Balkan devastated NSA with huge 119-47. It was maybe the easiest game for Balkan so far as NSA is not in such brilliant shape this season. Each player of the starting five in Balkan scored more than 13 points. The leading one was Martin Horozov (200-F/C-86) with 27 pts, including 6 rebs. Kiril Raykov (192-F-87) had 25 points and 9 boards, while Atanas Radev (200-F-81) collected 22 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Ivan Petkov (180-G) contributed with 13 points in defeat. Galimir Tomov (194-F-88) had 2 less than him.
In the other games of Round 9, Dunav trashed Sportist 103-74 for 3-6. Visitors remain the only winless team in the league after 9 games. Dinav 2007 outplayed Vida Basket 87-69. Both teams have 5-4 now. Slavia crushed Chernomorets 73-66. Slavia 5-4, Chernomorets 7-2. The last game of Round 9 between Overgas and Beroe SZ is scheduled for January 25.


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  CHINA   


CBA Round: 18 (Regular Season) - by Eurobasket News
Shanghai - DongGuan 93-109
Dongguan had a 108:93 over Shanghai as Michael Harris shined with 30 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 blocks. DaJuan Tate collected 30 points and 12 rebounds for Shanghai.

Yunnan - Liaoning 92-101
Liaoning stun Yunnan 101:92 to take 9-9 record. Zhang Qingpeng collected 26 points and 6 assists, whilst Li Xiaoxu had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Zhao Anan scored 29 points to lead Yunnan.

Bayi - Fujian 77-88
Fujian overcame Bayi in Regular Season Round 18 88:77 as Gong Songlin had 37 points and 8 rebounds. Li Ke led Bayi with 18 points and 8 rebounds.

Jiangsu - Guandong 121-90
The game between Guangdong and Jiangsu became the key one of the round. The latter had 121:90 as Harvey Donnell had 36 points, 20 rebounds and 4 assists for Jiangsu. Du Feng led Guangdong with 17 points and Wang Shipeng scored 16.

Beijing - Shaanxi 98-109
Dontae Jones led Beijing with 50 points, 20 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocks but it was not enough against Shaanxi. Lee Benson had 33 points and 21 rebounds as Shaanxi defeated Beijing 109:98.

TianJin R. - Xinjiang 74-100
Xinjiang improved to 16-2 after 100:74 win over Tianjin. Juan Mendez top-scored for the winners with 32 points and 18 rebounds while Myron Allen had 31 points and 12 rebounds. Theron Smith had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Tianjin.

Jilin - Shanxi Zh. 111-104
Jilin overcame Shanxi Zhongyu 111:104 behind 40 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists from Leon Rogers. Bonzi Wells had 46 points and 12 rebounds for Zhongyu.

Qingdao DS - Shandong 94-89
Qingdao stun Shandong 94:89 as Chris Williams had 29 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. New import Garnett Thompson led Shandong with 34 points and 23 rebounds.

Zhejiang C. - Zhejiang G. 108-93
Samuel Hoskin posted 29 points and grabbed 8 rebounds whilst Kirk Snyder had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists as Zhejiang rolled over Zhejiang Guangsha 108:93. Rodney White led Guangsha with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.



Xinjiang Extends Lead With Blowout of Tianjin - by Arthur Volbert
Xinjiang ran its record to 16-2 and increased its league lead to two games with a 100-74 thrashing of Tianjin. Juan Mendez had 32 points and 18 rebounds while Myron Allen had 31 points and 12 rebounds. Mengke Bateer added 20 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Theron Smith had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Tianjin. Liu Hao added 20 points. Darryl Watkins only had 8 points and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Guangdong was blown out by Jiangsu 121-90 and its record dropped to 14-4. Harvey Donnell (203-C-80, agency: Octagon, college: Florida) had 36 points, 20 rebounds and 4 assists for Jiangsu. Jameel Watkins had 24 points and 15 rebounds. Hu Xuefeng had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists and 8 steals. Yi Li also scored 21. Du Feng led Guangdong with 17 points and Wang Shipeng scored 16. Zhu Fangyu had 15 points and Tyler Amaya scored 14. Guangdong was outrebounded 46-34. Jiangsu led 40-19 at home after the first quarter.

Jilin defeated Shanxi Zhongyu 111-104 as Leon Rogers had 40 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Soumaila Samake did not play. Wang Bo had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Former high school star big man Zhong Cheng had 14 points and 8 rebounds. Point guard Xing Lu had 13 points and 3 assists in 18 minutes. Bonzi Wells had 46 points and 12 rebounds for Zhongyu. Bonzi has been putting up big numbers since replacing Donta Smith but this does not appear to be leading to extra victories. Zhongyu has a 9-9 record. Olumide Oyedeji pulled down and had 6 assists and 4 blocks but only scored 4 points and missed all 4 shots he took. Duan Jiangpeng scored 20 points. Leng Dong scored 12 points and Yu Tao scored 11.

Chris Williams had 29 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals as Qingdao defeated Shandong 94-89. Frans Steyn had 16 points and 7 rebounds. Li Guang and Lu Keming, Qingdao's two highly-promising youngsters, each scored 15. New import Garnett Thompson led Shandong with 34 points and 23 rebounds. Thompson replaced Priest Lauderdale. Mack Tuck did not play. Li Jingyu had 15 points and 4 rebounds. Wang Gang had 15 points and 5 assists. Cao Zhenhua added 10 points.

Gong Songlin had 37 points and 8 rebounds as Fujian upset Bayi 88-77. Chris Porter had 22 points and 13 rebounds. Yang Chao added 16 points and 4 rebounds while Lu Xiaoming had 9 assists and 4 steals to go along with 4 points. Li Ke led Bayi with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Mo Ke had 14 points and 8 rebounds while Chen Ke also scored 14. Li Nan had 10 points and 4 rebounds. Wang Zhizhi did not play.

Samuel Hoskin had 29 points and 8 rebounds and Kirk Snyder had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists as Zhejiang pasted Zhejiang Guangsha 108-93. Ding Jinhui added 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Luo Zhi had 16 points and 4 rebounds. Zhang Dayu, a very promising 7-footer born in 1991, had 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks. All five starters played over 40 minutes. Rodney White led Guangsha with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Nigel Dixon had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jin Lipeng scored 19 and Zhang Nan had 16.

Michael Harris had 30 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 blocks to lead Dongguan to a 109-93 rampage over hapless Shanghai. Zhang Kai had 30 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists. Qiu Biao added 26 points and 5 rebounds. Wang Jing had 15 points and 5 assists. DaJuan Tate had 30 points and 12 rebounds for Shanghai. Wang Yong had 22 points and 7 rebounds. Luo Xudong had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Liaoning defeated Yunnan 101-92 as Zhang Qingpeng had 26 points and 6 assists. Li Xiaoxu had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Lu Wei had 18 points and 5 steals. Gu Liye had 12 points and 7 rebounds. Liu Xiangtao scored 11. Zhao Anan scored 29 points to lead Yunnan. Li Tao had 22 points and 7 rebounds. Keith Closs had 16 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. Li Lin had 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.

Lee Benson had 33 points and 21 rebounds as Shaanxi defeated Beijing 109-98. Brandon Robinson had 32 points and 12 rebounds. Zhang Wei scored 20 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Chen Zhaosheng had 17 points and 7 rebounds. Point guard Dai Yong had 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. All five starters played over 40 minutes, with both imports playing all 48. Dontae Jones led Beijing with 50 points, 20 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocks. David Harrison scored 17 points, but the 7-footer only grabbed 3 rebounds. Chen Lei had 8 points and 8 rebounds, but no other Beijing player had more than 6 points or 3 rebounds.


*****************************************************
  COLOMBIA   


Hardy Asprilla retires as Basketball Player - by Victor Garcia
Colombian forward Hardy Asprilla retires as Basketball player, Hardy officially anounced in a conversation with latinbasket.com.
Hardy Asprilla is now taking a new role as Assitant Coach at the Citrus College in Glendora California, Asprilla enters the coaching staff as Assitant coach, scout, post players development and defesnive coordinator, as head coach Hardy will give to the owls his great basketball understanding and his work ethic.
Hardys player career bagan early in Colombia and he was member of several young and senior National teams, Hardy was recruited to go the College of the sequoias top play in the JUCO tournament and then moved to Cal State at Fullerton to play two great seasons with Titans, as profesional Hardy played in Bucaros de Bucaramanga in wish he was the key factor for the 2007 tittle in Colombia and in Marinos de Oriente in Venezuela becoming one of his most important players, before a knee injury ended his season.
Latinbasket.com wish a succesful coaching career to Hardy Asprilla.
Hardy Asprilla (196-F/G-82, college: Cal.St. Fullerton)


*****************************************************
  D-LEAGUE   


Vipers' Strickland standing out during start of season - by Eurobasket News
During last year's NBA Showcase in Idaho, Clay Moser was doing some scouting work for the Phoenix Suns and couldn't help but notice the play of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers forward Trent Strickland (6'5''-G-84, college: Wake Forest).

The 6-foot-5, 196-pound Strickland was forced to battle power forward and didn't give an inch even though he was often battling players three, four or five inches taller and up to 35 pounds heavier. Despite being battered and bruised, Strickland held his ground and earned Moser's respect.

As fate would have it, Moser was named the Vipers' coach in July. Moser remembered Strickland's play from last season and the Showcase in particular. Provided the Wake Forest product would be willing to return to RGV from his team in Lebanon where he toiled in the summer, Strickland had a starting spot at his natural small forward position waiting for him with the Vipers.

Strickland did come back, and he's meeting Moser's expectations as the Vipers prepare to play host to the Los Angeles D-Fenders at 7 p.m. today at Dodge Arena.

'He was a guy I targeted all summer long,' Moser said. 'He actually did go to Lebanon then came back. There's no doubt in my mind he's not only a starter in this league, but he's all-star caliber in this league.'

Strickland, 24, is making his case as one of the league's finest. He arguably outplayed Boston Celtics second-round pick Bill Walker during a game last month and has been the Vipers' most consistent player.

One season after averaging 12.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, Strickland has upped his numbers to 19.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg and is shooting 48.4 percent from the field during 34.6 minutes per game.

Strickland started hot, opening the season by scoring 24 and 26 points in wins over Tulsa and Utah, respectively. He's proven that teams will have to respect his jumper (39.4 percent on 3-pointers) as well as his ability to score in the paint against bigger players, something he got used to doing last season.

But for Strickland, the bottom line is the scoreboard, not the stat sheet. With the Vipers off to a 5-7 start, he doesn't take much solace in his individual success.

'I think I've been playing pretty well, but obviously not well enough because we haven't been winning,' he said. 'I'm trying to give the effort and do what we need to do to get the job done, whatever it is from passing, to defending to rebounding. Whatever it may be. Overall I think, I'm doing a little well but maybe I could do a little more.'

IN THE BONUS: Los Angeles, which is owned by the NBA's L.A. Lakers, is 3-7 but coming off an impressive 100-96 victory at Dakota on Monday. Guard Joe Crawford, the Lakers' second-round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, is fourth in the D-League at 21.9 points per game. ... Vipers power forward Kendall Dartez (13.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) injured his ankle during practice this week and is doubtful for tonight's game. Stanley Asumnu is expected to start for Dartez at power forward.

Courtesy of http://www.themonitor.com


Last D-League Transactions - by Surujh Roopnarine

NBA Player Assignments

Memphis Grizzlies: Re-called rookie center Hamed Haddadi (7'2''-C-85) from the Dakota Wizards. Hamed Haddadi averaged 6.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.55 blocks in 17.7 minutes in 11 games (seven starts) with the Wizards. The Ahvaz, Iran native was assigned to the Wizards on Nov. 24th. Signed as a free agent by Memphis on Aug. 28th, the 72, 280 pound center has yet to make his NBA debut.

Player Movement


Dakota Wizards: Re-acquired guard Blake Ahearn (6'2''-G-84, agency: SportsTalent, college: Missouri St.) after he was released by the San Antonio Spurs. Ahearn played in three games as a member of the silver and black and averaged 2.7 points in 6.3 minutes. Ahearn was also the first player in D-League history to be called up to an NBA team and Assigned to their D-League affiliate in the same year. While with the Spurs affiliate the Austin Toros Ahearn averaged nearly 19 points and over 6 assists in six games.
Dakjota also announced that they have released former Canadian National Team member Denham Brown (6'6''-F-83, college: Connecticut) due to injury and announced that veteran big man Brad Stricker (6'11''-C/F-77, college: Georgia St.) has left the team due to personal reasons.

Utah Flash: Waived rookie swingman John Barber (6'6''-F-85, agency: Interperformances, college: Youngstown St.) who appeared sparingly in five games this season.

Iowa Energy: Waived rookie Marcel Jones (6'8''-F-85, college: Oregon St.). Jones appeared in only two games for the Energy after being drafted 50th overall (4th round) in the 2008 D-League Draft.

Colorado 14ers: Waived Damien Lolar (6'4''-G/F-84, college: W.Texas A&M). The 64 guard out of W.Texas A&M appeared in seven games this season, averaging 4.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11.1 minutes.

Ft. Wayne Mad Ants: Acquired veteran guard David Bailey (5'8''-G-81, agency: Priority Sports, college: Loyola, IL) and waived former Clemson Tigers guard Vernon Hamilton (6'0''-G-84, college: Clemson). Bailey, a member of the Sioux Falls Skyforce last season, began the year with PBG Basket Poznan in Poland where played four games before leaving at the end of December. Hamilton who was acquired earlier this month, only managed to average 2.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in four games with Iowa.



D-League Round: 25 (Regular Season) - by Eurobasket News
Dakota - Sioux Falls 105-103
Dakota Wizards celebrated on Christmas day thanks to Blake Ahearn and his game-winning basket with 3.9 seconds remaining in the game. Ahearn poured in 29 points in total and dished out 8 assists. Quemont Greer also shined collecting 29 points and 12 boards, while Will Frisby helped adding 22 pts and also 12 rebs. The hosts got 19 points from Glen McGowan. Wizards 6-6, Skyforce 9-3.

Reno - Iowa 102-108
Iowa Energy made it at home against the Bighorns thanks to Cartier Martin, who nailed 30 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Larry Ayuso had 19, while Curtis Stinson delivered one point less. Stinson also had 7 rebounds and 10 assists beside that. As usual, Anotnio Meeking led the scorers in Reno Bighorns with 24 points (7 rebs). Energy 6-1, Bighorns 1-10.



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  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC   


San Francisco Regional League - by Kerwin Abreu
S.F.M: San Francisco Regional league was announced to begin in mid january. This league is formed by 5 teams wich are Santa Ana, Duarte, San Martin, San Vicente and The Champions Maximo Gomez. For this season a Dominicanyork player will be allowed for each team. It means that the league level will increase.

Junior Matrille will be in charge of the public relationships. This coming tournament will be very exciting due to the support it will count on since now until it ends.

Something different in this coming tournament will be the posibility of some players changing jerseys like David Diaz case, now he is free agent and could play with any team he desires. Huascar Paredes won't be couching Duarte's Team.

Moves and transactions will be known lately.


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  FINLAND   


KORISLIIGA: More transfer news - by Rauno Hurmalainen
Korisliiga/Top League Christmas break is over. The regular season goes on. It's time for the 18th round. A few more transfer news has taken place.
FoKoPo (Forssa) will replace Vincent Hunter and Charles Thomas by Ronald Yates (201-F-83, college: St.Peter's) and Uka Agbai (203-F-81, college: Boston Coll.). Both players have been in Finland before. Yates even twice 2005-06 on ToPo (Helsinki) roster (14,0 ppg - 6,6 rpg) and 2006-07 on Korihait (Uusikaupunki) roster (15,6 ppg - 8,1 rpg). Later Yates has played in Puerto Rico and in France. Agbai visited in Finland 2005-06 on Pyrinto (Tampere) roster (16,9 ppg - 6,8 rpg). Later Agbai has played professionally in Puerto Rico and in Japan.
Tarmo (Porvoo) will have three American players on the roster on Sunday, when the season goes on in Porvoo. DeWayne Richardson (202-F-77, college: Fairmont St.) will continue as a Center, Forward Magen McNeil (198-F-83, college: Arcadia) will play his first game in Porvoo and American PG Victor Morris (185-G-85, college: Cleveland St.) is ready for a try out after playing 1,5 seasons in Germany.


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  GERMANY   


Player spotlight: Jontee Willhite - by Moritz Korff
Two of his teammates from the 2007-08 EIU senior-class - Julio Anthony (193-G-86, college: E.Illinois) in Switzerland at STV Luzern and Robert Catchings (198-G/F-85, college: E.Illinois) at Leyma Basquet Coruna in Spain - are already headed abroad, now Jontee Willhite (186-G-86, college: E.Illinois) is ready to go as well. The Kalamazoo, MI native is a guard fast as lightning who can drive to the hoop and finish or pass the ball out to a teammate. His quick feet as well as his dedication and aggressiveness make him an outstanding defender on the other end of the floor.
Before signing with the Eastern Illinois University (NCAA1) in 2006, he spent two seasons at Triton Community College, that was ranked 8th nationally in the NJCAA D2 during 2005-06. Willhite led Triton in points (16.8ppg in 30 games), assists (4.4apg) and steals per contest (2.3spg) and was the second best rebounder on the team (6.2rpg). His great performances as a sophomore at Triton made him the N4C Player of the Year and a First Team All-N4C-member. In 2006 he transferred to Eastern Illinois and became the Panthers sixth man in 2006-07, serving as one of the top defending guards. As a senior (2007-08) Willhite, who goes by the nickname 'Bam', averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists through 29 games for the Panthers, including an individual season-high 19 points/9 rebounds-performance at Tennessee Tech. During the summer he attended the Eurobasket Summer League in Chicago. Willhite has just finished his last classes at EIU and will now pursue a career overseas. Coaches who are interested can contact him at jdwillhite@eiu.edu


Stumpf new coach in Jena - by Moritz Korff
Science City Jena have named Tino Stumpf the new head coach of their team in the 2. Bundesliga Pro A. The 33-year-old will be the successor to Sean McCaw who left his position shortly before Christmas by mutual consent. Stumpf is the former head coach of Jena's youth-program and besides his new job will keep coaching the club's NBBL-squad until the end of this current season. His debut in Pro A-basketball is scheduled for January 3, when Jena take on FC Schalke 04.

Nigel Moore parts with BG Karlsruhe - by Moritz Korff

BG Karlsruhe (2. Bundesliga Pro A) and Nigel Moore (195-F/G-81, college: Alabama A&M) have split ways. The 27-year-old decided to return to the USA to await the birth of his son in January. After that he plans to proceed to look for a new team. In his last game for Karlsruhe, a 92:72-win against his former club Lich on December 7, Moore hit 4 out of 6 shots from beyond the arc to finish the contest with 18 points, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 rebound.



Jenkins remains in Frankfurt till 2010 - by Manuel Schust
After extending the deals with Adam Emmenecker (185-G-85, college: Drake) (for the rest of the season), Titus Ivory (193-G-79, college: Penn St.) and Anthony King (206-F/C, agency: Interperformances, college: Miami, FL) (both signed new 2 month contracts) the Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt re-signed american center Greg Jenkins (206-F/C-82, college: Iona). The 26-year old big man and Frankfurt's management agreed to a new contract that is valid until 2010.
Jenkins, who spent his college days with Iona, started his professional career with Iraklis Thessaloniki in 2005. After one season in CBA with Pittsburgh Xplosion he joined the german league and averaged 10.9 points and 6.5 rebounds with Paderborn Baskets. A severe knee injury forced Jenkins to sit out for the whole summer and a possible deal with Chorale de Roanne Basket had to be cancelled. In October 2008 he signed a try-out contract with Frankfurt and averaged impressive 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in just 8.8 minutes per game.


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  HUNGARY   


Univer signed Jason Williams - by Tamas Deri
The management of Univer KSE just published that american forward, Jason Williams (197-F-79, college: Radford) signed for 6 weeks with the club. As we published earlier, Mike Dale had a knee injury and will be out for 6 more weeks, so the team decided to get a replacement player as there will be very important games for them in January. Williams is well known by the other foreigner of the team, Gordon Klaiber as they played in the same team - Albany Patrons - in the CBA last season.

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  ITALY   


Standings - SerieA
SerieA Standings
 1. Montepaschi 11-0 
 2. La Fortezza 8-4 
 3. Premiata 7-4 
 4. Banca Tercas 7-4 
 5. Armani MI 6-5 
 6. Lottomatica 6-5 
 7. Benetton 6-5 
 8. Scavolini 5-6 
 9. Eldo Caserta 5-6 
 10. Fortitudo 5-6 
 11. NGC Cantu 5-6 
 12. Air AV 5-6 
 13. Angelico BI 4-7 
 14. Snaidero 3-8 
 15. Solsonica 3-8 
 16. Carife FE 3-9 


Virtus Bologna wins on Christmas Day - by Gianni Pascucci
Virtus La Fortezza Bologna clearly defeated Carife Ferrara 78-63 in the anticipated game of Serie A Round 12, played yesterday afternoon in Futurshow Station Arena. The game was telecasted live on Sky TV, and was the occasion to show some good Italian basketball on Christmas Day. Willing to redeem from the last falls, Virtus Bologna started strong, but wasn' t able to control the comeback of Ferrara, and the 1st quarter ended 18-18. Just when everyone was hoping in a close game, the home team started to dominate inside, enlarging its advantage minute after minute. The first half ended 41-35, the 3rd Quarter 62-49, and at that point the game was yet in the hands of La Fortezza players. Sharrod Ford (206-F-82, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Clemson) was the game MVP, performing for 15 pts, 11 rebs and 3 steals. Roberto Chiacig (210-C-74) added 14 pts and 10 rebs, Keith Langford (193-G/F-83, college: Kansas) was the third ace with 14 pts, 5 rebs and 2 steals. Ferrara had the usual good game from Andre Collins (183-G-82, college: Loyola, MD), who ended the game at 15 pts, Harold Jamison (204-C-76, agency: Strategic Sports, college: Clemson) was only so-so at 7 pts and 3 rebs, and Rick Apodaca (192-G-80, agency: Paris Global Sports, college: Hofstra) and Ndudi Ebi (206-F-84, agency: Arik Krayn Services, college: Arizona) (8 and 11 points, respectively) disappointed a little.

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  JORDAN   


Zain wins Group B - by Eurobasket News
Zain from Jordan won Group B of 20th Dubai International Tournament. At first Zain beat UAE National Team 87:62 as Mike Christensen (203-G/F-85, agency: Pro Management Agency, college: New Hampshire) top-scored for the winners with 19 points. Sam Daghlas had 16 and Ontario Lett (198-F-79, agency: BrezoPro, college: Pittsburgh) added 14.
In the second game Zain overcame Al Jeish Army Damascus from Syria 89:61. The favorites started with 19-13 in the first period and led to 41:24 at the halftime. The game was even done in the third frame when Zain had 71:44 after 30 minutes of the matchup. Moussa Al Awadi led the winners with 16 points to their second straight win. Ontario Lett and Mike Christensen followed him with 15 points each. Justin Murray had 20 points for Al Jeish Army Damascus and Muhia Kasaballi (210-C-84) nailed 19.
Zain edged Mahram 78:61 to improve to 3-0 record. Zeid Abbas (203-F-83) top-scored for the winners with 17 points and Mike Christensen had 16.
Al Moutahed Tripoli finished on the second spot. In the last game the team from Lebanon upset the favorite of the group Zain and handed them the first 67:55 loss. Al Moutahed Tripoli opened the game with 25-8 in the opening quarter and had 37:21 at the halftime. Zain woke up in the third period and reduced to 48:40 after three quarters played. Al Moutahed Tripoli could hold the winning outcome and won the game. Darren Kelly (190-G-78, college: Texas) paced all the winners with 26 points, while Tony Williams netted 11. Mike Christensen brought Zain 14 points and Moussa Al Awadi had 11.
In the Quarter-Finals Zain will face Ittihad.


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  LATVIA   


LBAL Standings
LBAL Standings
Austrumi
 1. Salacgriva 12-1 
 2. Lielvarde 11-1 
 3. Pargauja 9-3 
 4. Jekabpils 5-7 
 5. Madona 5-7 
 6. DU/Swedbank 4-9 
 7. Sigulda 2-9 
 8. Gulbene 0-11 
Centrs A
 1. Livu akvaparks 10-1 
 2. LU 7-3 
 3. Ogre/Sonora 7-3 
 4. Saulkrasti 7-4 
 5. VIA Riga 3-7 
 6. Ridzene M. 2-8 
 7. Ridzene 90 0-10 
Centrs B
 1. Turiba 11-2 
 2. Kursa/MRU 10-3 
 3. BJSS Keizar. 9-3 
 4. VEF Riga 8-5 
 5. Juramalas SS 7-6 
 6. Ogre/LDz 6-6 
 7. Ridzene 91 3-8 
 8. 3.BJSS 1-11 
 9. DSN 1-12 
Rietumi
 1. Perkons 11-1 
 2. Variants 10-1 
 3. Dartija 8-4 
 4. Bauska 8-5 
 5. Olaine 5-7 
 6. Talsi 5-7 
 7. Saldus-2 3-8 
 8. Kuldiga 3-9 
 9. Tukums 1-12 


LBL standings
LBL Standings
1. Barons/LMT 6-2
2. Ventspils 6-2
3. Liepaja 9-4
4. ASK Riga 4-2
5. Valmiera 8-5
6. Zemgale 6-6
7. VEF Riga 5-8
8. ASK/Buki 4-8
9. Keizarmezs 1-12


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  LEBANON   


Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut wins Group A in 20th Dubai International Tournament - by Eurobasket News
Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut wins Group A in 20th Dubai International Tournament. In the last game of the Group stage the team from Lebanon overcame An Nasr (UAE) 75:71. Knight Johnson (199-F-77, college: Louisville) led the winners with 17 points, while Hussein Tawbe (198-F-82) added 15. Saleh Sultan top-scored in the game with 22 points for An Nasr and Trello Galloway (201-G/F-79, college: Georgia St.) had 21. Another team from Lebanon in Group A Champville finished on the bottom of the group and even withdraw from the game against Al Ittihad Alexandria.
In Group B Al Moutahed Tripoli finished on the second spot. In the last game the team from Lebanon upset the favorite of the group Zain and handed them the first 67:55 loss. Al Moutahed Tripoli opened the game with 25-8 in the opening quarter and had 37:21 at the halftime. Zain woke up in the third period and reduced to 48:40 after three quarters played. Al Moutahed Tripoli could hold the winning outcome and won the game. Darren Kelly (190-G-78, college: Texas) paced all the winners with 26 points, while Tony Williams (202-F-78, agency: ACMT, college: Louisville) netted 11. Mike Christensen (203-G/F-85, agency: Pro Management Agency, college: New Hampshire) brought Zain 14 points and Moussa Al Awadi (190-G/F-85) had 11.
In the Quarter-Finals Al Moutahed Tripoli will face An Nasr, while Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut against Army.


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  LUXEMBOURG   


Amicale humiliates Black Star 81-41! - by Alex Meyers
Saturday, December 13, 2008

Amicale 81 - Black Star 41

Steinsel, Luxembourg
Black Star had problems to score in the 2nd and 3rd quarters last Saturday night in Steinsel playing their worst basketball of the season. Only Billy McDaniel (201-F/C-84, agency: 540 Sports, college: Ark.-Monticello) managed to reach double figures in in scoring with only 16 points. Patrick Arbaut was held to only 3 points playing only 21 Amicale was unstoppable with 5 players reaching double figures. Travis DePree (201-F/C, college: Albion) scored 13 followed by Tom Rausch and Chris Scholtes with 12 each. Christopher Jones and Christian Schartz each scored 11. Amicale faces Etzella on the road next and Black Star will be in big trouble as they must host Jan Enjebo, Martin Rajniak, Tim Whitworth and Co. T71 has been fine tuning and want to go into the Christmas break in a good direction for making the top 6.

Amicale: 32 field goals, 9 three pointers, 8 for 15 free throws, 30 rebounds, 8 fouls and 12 turnovers
Schartz 11, DePree 13, Scholtes 12, Haan 3, Ney 6, also Rausch 12, Kartheiser 7, Gillardin, Cortese 2 and Birenbaum 4
Black Star: 18 field goals, 0 three pointers, 5 for 8 free throws, 29 rebounds, 14 fouls amd 17 turnovers
Becker 2, Tuffel 7, McDaniel 16, Hoffmann, Pat.Arbaut 3, also Weckering 4, Schroeder, Muepu, Di Bartholomeo, Yan.Arbaut 8 and Phi.Arbaut 1

Score by Quarters: 1st Q 20-15, Halftime 48-24, 3rd Q 65-29, Final 81-41
358 Spectators


Contern annihilates Sparta! ! Yves Braun hits 5 of 5 from 3 point range!!! - by Alex Meyers
December 20, 2008

Contern 86 - Sparta 61

Contern, Luxembourg
Contern was on fire from deep hitting nearly 60%(14 for 24) from beyond the three point arc, where veteran Yves Braun went 5 for 5, scoring 17 points to help his team to the big win going into Christmas break with a nice message for all the teams in the DBBL! Contern can be a team to reckon with! Winning 6 of their last 7 matches, Contern gained important momentum and confidence to keep their winning ways alive for a good 2009, in hopes of a berth in the top 6 playoff group! Balanced scoring, team defense and a strong 2nd quarter led to the 25 point home victory. Brandon Gary(12 rebounds) had 18, Yve Braun 17, Eric Jeitz 15 and two players: Ken Diederich & Gilles Becker had 14 each. LArrie Smith was held to a season low 15 points as Julien Hublart led Sparta in scoring with 17. Fabio Palumbo score 10 for Sparta who has lost now two in a row going into the holiday pause, dropping to 8-4 which is good enough for 2nd palce in the DBBL. Sparta must face Etzella next on Thursday, January 8th in Ettelbruck in the Luxembourg Cup 1/4 Finals. Contern will play also in the Cup of Luxembourg on the same evening in Walferdange against Residence.

Contern: 32 field goals, 14 three pointers, 8 for 13 free throws, 37 rebounds, 18 fouls and 18 turnovers
Becker 14, Diederich 14, Jeitz 15, Fasbender 3, Gary 18, also Braun 17, Bissener 2, Gindt 3 and Torres
Sparta: 24 field goals, 4 three pointers, 9 for 18 free throws, 33 rebounds, 14 fouls and 13 turnovers; Bench Technical foul 38'
Smith 15, Hublart 17, Wulff 4, Palumbo 10, Hoffmann 2, Engel 8, Klein 2, Nittler 3 and Tripodo

Score by quarters: 1st Q 14-13, Halftime 38-25, 3rd Q 67-50, Final 86-61
250 Spectators


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  MEXICO   


CIBACOPA to hold OWNERS MEETING - by Alejandro Martinez
Cibacopa has scheduled the owners meeting for Janyuary 17th 2009 at Ciudad Obregon. Although the have already confirmed 10 teams for the upcoming 2009 season: Nogales, Cananea, Hermosillo Guaymas and Obregon in the North; Los Mochis, Guasave, Culiacan, Mazatlan (08 Champ) and Tepic in the South. Owners are expected to make important roster rules decisions in that meeting. Season is scheduled to start February 27th and it is expected that news will start to arise once the new year arrives.

*****************************************************
  NAIA   


Florida Memorial Lions Defeat St. Thomas in Crucial Conference Contest - by Stephan Ditgens
Florida Memorial University used a full court pressure defense to force 22 St. Thomas turnovers and defeat the Bobcats 74-66 at Pace High School gymnasium.

The Lions led by as much as 16 in the second half, but St. Thomas refused to go away, making several key baskets to stay within striking distance. The Lions had chances to blow the game open, but poor foul shooting (45% for the game) plagued them throughout.

Florida Memorial University was paced by Senior Tremaine Stevens with 31 points, with 21 of them coming after intermission. Most of them shut down rallies the Bobcats were able to put together. Junior Andre Thomas chipped in 12 points and 4 blocked shots for the Lions (10-9 overall and 3-4 in the conference) . St Thomas was led by Alex Dimiron and Tracy Razz with 16 apiece.

Florida Memorial University will next face Warner Southern College, Saturday February 2nd in the Lions Den.


www.fmuniv.edu


*****************************************************
  NBA   


Howard will try to defend dunk crown - by Eurobasket News
NEW YORK - Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (6'10''-F-85) will try to defend his Slam Dunk championship at the NBA All-Star weekend in Phoenix in February.

In New Orleans last season, Howard edged defending champion Gerald Green for the title in one of the most creative competitions in recent history. Howard scored perfect 50s on both of his first-round dunks one of which included his donning a cape for a 'Superman' dunk.

Howard will face off against Memphis' Rudy Gay and 2006 winner Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks. A fan vote will pick the fourth competitor between Milwaukee's Joe Alexander, Portland's Rudy Fernandez, and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.

Courtesy of http://www.yahoo.com


Lakers' Jordan Farmar undergoes knee surgery - by Eurobasket News
Jordan Farmar (6'2''-G-86, college: UCLA) underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, and the Los Angeles Lakers backup point guard is expected to be out approximately eight weeks.

The surgery took a half-hour and was performed by Dr. Clarence Shields of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Group.

Farmar, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound third-year pro who attended UCLA, was injured during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 89-87 loss at Miami on Friday night. He is averaging 7.9 points, 2.4 assists and 19.6 minutes per game.

The Lakers made the 22-year-old Farmar the 26th overall pick in the 2006 draft. He averaged 4.4 points in 72 games as a rookie and 9.1 points in 82 games last season.

Courtesy of the Fox Sports
http://www.foxsports.com


NBA Round: 58 (Regular Season) - by Eurobasket News
Hornets - Magic 68-88
Beautiful day for Orlando at the Amway Arena and 23rd victory in 29 games. Turkish superstar top-scored for the winners with 20 points. He also grabbed 6 more rebounds and handed out 5 assists. Rashard Lewis netted 18, while Jameer Nelson stopped on 14 points. Dwight Howard registered double-double, 12 points and 15 boards. David West collected 13 points and 7 rebounds in defeat. Hornets 16-9.

Spurs - Suns 91-90
San Antonio Spurs celebrated in Phoenix thanks to Roger Mason's 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer for the final 91-90. Mason had 7 points in this game. Tony Parker led the scorers with 27, while Tim Duncan shined with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Amare Stoudemire answered in loss with 25 pts and 13 boards. Spurs 19-10, Suns 16-12.

Celtics - Lakers 83-92
Kobe Bryant and his teammates managed to crush the reigning champion stopping their 19-game winning record. Bryant was a key player for the hosts delivering 27 points and also collecting 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Paun Gasol followed with 20 pts and 5 as. Kevin Garnet replied with 22 points and 9 boars for the Celtics, while Paul Pierce had 20 pts and 10 rebs. Lakers 24-5, Celtics 27-3.

Wizards - Cavaliers 89-93
Impressive 25-4 record for the Cavs and poor 4-23 for the Wizards after this game. Maurice Williams stepped up for the hosts with 24 points and 6 assists. LeBron James and Delonte West added 18 pts apiece. Washington got 28 pts and 6 boards from Antawn Jamison, and 26 pts from Michael James.

Mavericks - Trail Blazers 102-94
Dirk Nowitzki paced Dallas Mavericks to 17th victory of the season delivering 30 points and grabbing 5 rebounds for 34 minutes. Jason Terry helped with 19 pts. Brandon Roy nailed 2 pts and pulled down 5 rebounds for the hosts. Trail Blazers 18-12.



*****************************************************
  NCAA1   


Blazers lose 3 to academic woes - by Kevin Cochran
UAB's attempt to make Conference USA a two-bid league is about to take a hit because Jeremy Mayfield (6'10''-F), Terrence Roderick (6'6''-G-88) and Ed Berrios (5'11''-G) will be ineligible for the second semester. A source says all three are academic casualties.

Roderick (21.8 minutes per game) and Berrios (12.5 minutes per game) were key reserves, and Mayfield was supposed to join the team this month.

In another development, FoxSports.com is reporting that Armon Bassett (6'1''-G-86) -- a former Indiana player who enrolled at UAB and was supposed to join the Blazers for the 2009-10 season -- is leaving school, meaning Mike Davis won't have the talented and troubled guard next season, as originally planned.

Courtesy: fannation.com


Wolfpack lose shooting guard - by Kevin Cochran

N.Carolina St. guard Trevor Ferguson (6'5''-G-86) will miss at least three weeks after breaking a finger on his non-shooting hand.

Team officials said Tuesday the redshirt junior could be out up to six weeks. He broke the ring finger on his left hand during the Wolfpack's 68-65 loss to Marquette on Monday night.

Ferguson made four straight starts at shooting guard after coming off the bench during the opening five games. He averages nearly eight points and is shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range.

Courtesy: Foxsports.com



Attorney asking for Kennedy lawsuit to be dismissed - by Kevin Cochran

The lawyer for a witness in the misdemeanor assault case against Mississippi men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy wants a judge to dismiss Kennedy's defamation suit against his client.


Attorney Philip Taliaferro filed a response to Kennedy's suit Tuesday in the Hamilton County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Michael Strother, a valet who told police he saw an incident involving Kennedy and a cab driver in downtown Cincinnati last Thursday. Kennedy has pleaded not guilty on simple assault charges.

The cab driver, Mohamed Moctar Ould Jiddou, also is named in the defamation suit. Kennedy is seeking a judgment in excess of $25,000 from Jiddou and Strother.

Taliaferro said he also sent Kennedy's lawyer a letter asking him to drop the civil suit. If not, he wants to depose Kennedy within 30 days in Cincinnati, according to a copy of the letter obtained by USA TODAY.

These are the latest developments in a bizarre series of events stemming from the incident. Kennedy was charged with assault for hitting Jiddou. It is also alleged that the coach hurled racial slurs at the cabdriver.

The team's coordinator of basketball operations, Bill Armstrong , was charged with disorderly conduct.

Kennedy, interim coach at Cincinnati from 2005 to 2006, was out with assistants when the incident occurred in the early morning Thursday, several hours before Ole Miss lost to Louisville in Cincinnati.

Kennedy has continued coaching, getting a vote of confidence from athletics director Pete Boone.

The coach has said he filed the civil suit against Jiddou and Strother to keep his credibility from being ruined. In the defamation suit, Kennedy alleges he and some assistant coaches heard a racial slur about African Americans in a conversation Jiddou was having with another cabdriver and only a verbal exchange between the parties ensued.

Reached Tuesday evening, Kennedy's lawyer, Richard Katz, said he had not seen Taliaferro's response but has no intention of dropping the case. 'We haven't changed our position on anything,' Katz said.

Strother's lawyer said his client will not be deterred from testifying against Kennedy. 'Some witnesses might be so afraid that they would back down,' Taliaferro said. 'He will be like the old baseball umpire who calls them as he sees them.'

Strother appeared with Taliaferro outside the courthouse Tuesday. 'I was just trying to step forward and do the right thing, and it's all blown up in my face,' said Strother, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Courtesy: USAToday.com



Foreign legion changing face of U.S. hoops - by Eurobasket News
RIGA, Latvia In Germany, its schneller. In Latvia its davaij and in Sebia the word is brze. The French say plus rapide, while the Czechs say rychlej. In the U.S., its simply this: faster. The word sounds different throughout the world, but as several Washington State players know first hand, it speaks in tongues when it comes to international basketball.

Americans know it as a plea to quicken the pace. But on the international stage it means so much more.

It is an unspoken oath each player takes before putting on a uniform overseas: You will play fast from start to finish. Even in youth leagues, where Ive had the opportunity to play the last two seasons in Latvia, speed is the word. Run-and-gun is the first immage that comes to mind, but it more aptly describes a tireless movement up, down and across the court.

Coach Kristops, my coach, constantly hollers Davaji!!! Faster!!! as we pound back and forth. Every time it seems the game has slowed enough to take a second to rest, you are sprinting up or down the floor again. Its a frenzied cycle.

Asked about the differences between international basketball and U.S. college basketball, German-born and raised WSU center/forward Fabian Boeke told it like it is: there is a difference in the speed of the game, in the way that youre not going up and down the court so fast

The pace of the game isnt the only difference between international and American basketball. In my experiences with European fans, everywhere from Spain to Lithuania and countries in between, they remind me of the crazed English soccer fans from the movie Green Street Hooligans. In games I have attended, fans have lit off flares (during the game, inside the arena), threatened to fight players, and pounded on large drums from start to finish.

WSU guard Nikola Koprivica (6'6''-G-88), the captain of his native Serbias U-20 team this past summer, says European fans are more intense, but there are more fans generally and more of what he would call crazy fans perhaps one notch below intense in the U.S.

Koprivica and Boeke each talked about how appreciative they are of the red-garbed WSU students who comprise the boisterous ZZU CRU at Friel Court. We have the ZZU CRU and they always dress up, paint their bodies, and scream really loud.

I like it (the games) more here because we get a packed gym with like 12,000 people, and back home in Europe there are not as many people at the games, said Koprivica.

As for the game on the court itself, speed is one thing. But overall athleticism is quite another, say Koprivica and Boeke.

I think the game is way more athletic over here, thats for sure, said Boeke. For me its a big challenge in practice to play against guys who are a lot stronger than me, but in Germany you definitely face some better shooting, I would say.

His comments are echoed by Koprivica: There are more physical players over here (in the States), they are stronger and better athletes.

In the Latvian league I play in, its evident that finesse rules. Most guys tend to shy away from contact. As such, you see more sloppy basketball turnovers as guards will throw the ball all over the court so they dont have to get into the paint and face contact.

Johnson, the Cougar assistant coach who played three years of pro ball in Australia, offers a different view -- at least as it relates to international post players. His experiences, as a player and as a college recruiter, are that the international big men dont shy away from banging around. He said Cougar senior center Aron Baynes of Australia was probably a little surprised when he first arrived in the Pac-10 that the post play wasnt as physical as it was Down Under.

As for defense, its probably a little unfair to ask a Bennett-coached player to compare American and international approaches. I think everything depends from coach to coach. Like if I want to compare Coach Bennett to my national team coach back home ... back in Europe we were really a good, talented team so we were trying to really outscore teams and we werent really focused on defense that much. Yes we did play defense, but not as much and we were more focused on offense.

In the experiences on my Latvian club team I can attest that we havent done more than five defensive drills over the last three months. This lack of defensive focus -- coupled with the demand to always move faster -- tends to promote a rat-ball style.

While its hard to place such a stereotype on the rest of the world, those impressions were reinforced for me last summer when I attended the European U-20 championships here in Latvia. Koprivicas Serbian team, which won the gold medal, had just one player who was clearly more focused and determined defensively than any other player in the competition. The players name?

Nikola Koprivica.

Defense aside, the fact is that international basketball is thriving and the number of players coming to the U.S. to play college and pro ball continues to grow.

I think that coaches are starting to travel a lot around the world, especially our coaches (at WSU), I know that, said Koprivica. You know, they are looking at international players because they see that international players can really help their programs.

Indeed, in the recruiting classes unveiled last month, both June Daugherty and Tony Bennett secured commitments from foreigners. Daugherty landed 6-4 forward Razz Muir of Australia and 5-10 wing Ireti Amojo of Germany, while Bennett -- who played and coached professionally in New Zealand following his NBA days -- nabbed 6-9 forward Brock Motum of Australia.

As the world gets smaller and smaller via the Web and affordable air transportation, and as the Baynes and Koprivicas of the world continue to find success in the U.S., it stands to reason that more and more college coaches will allocate serious recruiting time overseas.

For the basketball factories like UCLA and North Carolina, the ease of luring homegrown talent blunts the siren call of Europe, Australia and Africa. For the WSUs of the world, however, where working harder and doing things differently is part of the culture, the foreign courts offer a pool of potential talent that can help level the proverbial field.

Schneller. Davaij. Brze. Plus rapide. Rychlej. No matter.

Courtesy of www.cougfan.com
By Hayden Eller


Texas earns tough road win at Wisconsin - by Eurobasket News
Gary Johnson (6'6''-F-88) banked in a jump shot with 23.5 seconds left to help No. 9 Texas to a 74-69 victory over Wisconsin on Tuesday night.

A.J. Abrams scored 21 points to lead the Longhorns (10-2), who rebounded from Saturday's loss to another traditional Big Ten power, Michigan State, and won their first true road game of the season after an early schedule that included five neutral-site games.

Damion James added 18 points and 15 rebounds for Texas.

It was a rare loss at the Kohl Center for the Badgers (9-3), who are 113-8 at home in seven-plus seasons under coach Bo Ryan--including 58-5 in nonconference games.

Trevon Hughes had 18 points to lead Wisconsin.

With Wisconsin trailing 66-64, Jason Bohannon drained a deep 3-pointer to give the Badgers a one-point lead with 3:06 remaining. Abrams missed a 3-point attempt and James stepped on the baseline after grabbing the rebound to give the ball back to the Badgers.

But Texas' Dogus Balbay came up with a steal at halfcourt and drove for a layup, giving the lead back to the Longhorns. After Wisconsin's Marcus Landry missed on the other end, James hit a jumper in the lane to put Texas up 70-67.

Landry came back to score inside to narrow Texas' lead to one with 1:23 left, and Abrams missed a jumper. But James grabbed the rebound and the Longhorns ran the game clock down before Johnson banked in the midrange jumper to extend the lead to 72-69.

With Wisconsin needing a 3-pointer to tie, James blocked Hughes' shot in the lane. Abrams then made two free throws.

Texas outrebounded Wisconsin 40-25, and the Badgers had an uncharacteristically bad night shooting 67 percent from the free throw line. But the Badgers kept pace with a more athletic Texas team with hot 3-point shooting. Wisconsin shot 47 percent from beyond the arc, while Texas struggled at 19 percent.

James leaped to tip in a long 3-point attempt by Varez Ward at the halftime buzzer to give Texas a 39-37 lead.

Wisconsin stuck close until the end, but was unable to duplicate last season's thrilling victory in Austin.

The Badgers upset the Longhorns 67-66 after Michael Flowers hit a 3-pointer to take the lead with 2.7 seconds left, then stole the inbounds pass to seal the victory.

Flowers, a senior last season, returned to attend Tuesday's game.

Texas lost 67-63 to Michigan State of the Big Ten in Houston on Saturday.

Courtesy of www.ncaa.com


Portland State shocks Gonzaga - by Eurobasket News
Portland State had not beaten a Top 25 team since reinstating its basketball program in 1996-97, and there weren't many signs the Vikings figured to do it against No. 7 Gonzaga on Tuesday night.

They barely made it to the game because of winter weather. They had lost 10 straight to the Zags and two of their past three overall.

But Jeremiah Dominguez (5'6''-G-85, college: Portland) scored 25 points and the Vikings made 12 3-pointers to beat the Zags 77-70.

'This is a big statement for us,' said Dominguez, a 5-foot-6 senior. 'This program is building.'

Dominguez was 7-of-10 on 3-pointers, and the Vikings made 12-of-31 as a team. Phil Nelson and Dominic Waters added 16 points for Portland State (9-3), which is 1-11 against nationally ranked opponents.

The Vikings, the defending Big Sky Conference champions, outrebounded the taller Zags 39-30, held them to 42 percent shooting and forced them into 11 turnovers.

Gonzaga (8-3) was coming off an 88-83 overtime loss to No. 2 Connecticut in Seattle on Saturday.

'We got what we deserve,' coach Mark Few said. 'They outhustled us, outrebounded us and outplayed us.'

Few sensed trouble when the game was first scheduled so soon after the nationally televised matchup with Connecticut.

'The guys didn't take it seriously enough,' Few said. 'And our confidence got knocked back a bit after the UConn game.'

He praised Portland State for smart and tough play.

'We got manhandled by guys smaller than us,' Few said.

Matt Bouldin had 18 points and Josh Heytvelt added 13 for the Zags, who have lost three of four.

This game was almost called off because an epic snowstorm has snarled travel throughout the Northwest. With flight cancellations and highway closures, Portland State took a roundabout route to Spokane. They bused to Seattle, overnighting in the suburbs. Then they bused across the state and arrived in Spokane about 3 1/2 hours before game time. They did not have time for a practice shootaround, but still ended up shooting 45.9 percent.

'Maybe that's the way to do it,' Portland State coach Ken Bone joked. 'This game was very close to not being played.'

Portland State lost by one point to Washington last week, and played UCLA and Kansas last season.

'We were not in awe of Gonzaga,' Bone said.

It was the Zags' third home loss in 58 games since the McCarthey Athletic Center opened in 2004. They lost to Santa Clara in 2007 and Washington State last year and had won 10 straight since.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Waters and Dominguez gave Portland State a 65-61 lead with 4:06 left. Julius Thomas' basket made it 67-62 in favor of the Vikings.

Heytvelt hit a short jumper, and Austin Daye's steal led to Jeremy Pargo being fouled on the break. He made both free throws to cut Portland State's lead to 67-66 with 2:40 left.

Portland State again threw the ball away and Pargo grabbed the inbounds pass, slammed it home and was fouled. His three-point play gave Gonzaga a 68-67 lead with 2:16 to go.

Waters' runner tied the score at 69 with 1:45 left.

Gonzaga turned the ball over on a possession arrow after Heytvelt's shot stuck against the rim.

Nelson's 3-pointer gave Portland State a 72-69 lead with 44 seconds left. Pargo missed on the other end, and Portland State rebounded and Waters was fouled with 30 seconds left, making both for a 74-69 lead.

Courtesy of the Fox Sports
http://www.foxsports.com


*****************************************************
  NCAA2   


Ex-Post star Christy enjoying run with Trotters - by Eurobasket News
STRATFORD, Conn.-Prior to each Harlem Globetrotters basketball game, select players display their rhythm, ballhandling and passing skills within the team's trademark magic circle.

The circle is the talent showcase that sets the tone for the entertainment to come and introduces eager fans to some of the greatest showmen in basketball history.

In the past, the magic circle showcased such players as Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, Reece Tatum, Marques Haynes and Wilt Chamberlain. This season, it will feature Post's former two-time All-American and Stratford native Ron Christy (6'0''-G-82, college: Post).

Christy, 26, who earned a spot on the Globetrotters' roster in September, recently returned from his first mini-tour with the team after playing 22 games in Mexico.

'It was the most unbelievable thing I ever experienced in my life,' Christy said. 'To me, this is the big show. This is what I have been waiting for my whole life. The NBA is great, but I am very happy where I am. I believe this is on an equal level as I would be if I went to the NBA.'

Christy, who was second in the NCAA in scoring (27.1 ppg) and set the Post career points record (2,473), graduated in 2004 thinking he would get a shot at an NBA free-agent camp. When that opportunity never materialized, he played overseas.

Stints in Sweden, Hungary, Spain and Saudi Arabia proved unfulfilling, but he still wasn't ready to end his career. So while working as a plumber and for the town of Stratford to support his family, he kept his basketball dream alive by playing in the Springfield Pro-Am League.

It was there that he was introduced to entertainment basketball.

'I actually kind of got lucky with it,' Christy said. 'The owner of the Court Jesters just happened to be in the stands. And when I am playing basketball, I am always smiling and laughing the whole time. He thought my personality fit really well into entertainment basketball.'

Christy admits that as someone who has been serious about basketball from the time he started playing with a crate for a hoop as a young kid, he wasn't sold on the concept of playing basketball for a laugh at first. He went from playing with the Court Jesters to playing with the New York-based Rockets, feeling his way along.

While he loved watching the Globetrotters as a kid and has brought his own three children to see games at Bridgeport's Harbor Yard Arena, he wasn't sure he wanted to mix skits, tricks and off-court shenanigans with basketball himself.

'But after I did it a while, I loved it,' Christy said. 'The kids and making people happy through basketball, it's a really good thing.'

He really became serious about comedy basketball when he met Kenny 'The Blender' Rodrigues in Springfield.

Rodrigues earned himself a tryout with the Globetrotters and made the team. Once Christy had a couple of seasons of entertainment basketball experience, Rodrigues encouraged him to fly to Houston and try out for the Globetrotters two years ago.

The tryout went well and the Globetrotters were interested, but they didn't have room for him. As a 5-foot-11 guard in a big man's game, Christy has always approached the game with the attitude that he was going to have to outwork others to get what he wanted. He applied that same approach to his newfound desire to play for the Globetrotters.

He worked harder on ballhandling, trick shots and the staple that had carried him as far as he had gotten in basketball - his shooting. Then he went back to Houston to try out again this June.

'The Globetrotters, to me, they became the big show,' Christy said. 'So I kind of redirected my goals. To me, it is no different than making it to the NBA. It is one of the biggest accomplishments a basketball player can achieve because they have been around 83 years and have a great tradition and history.'

It wasn't until September that the Globetrotters found room for him on their roster, but now he feels like he is part of a family.

'Since coming onto the Globetrotters, I never felt more comfortable,' Christy said. 'I feel right at home, like I have been here my whole life.'

Christy said practice isn't much different from any other professional basketball practice. While the team hasn't lost to its traditional opponent, the Washington Generals, in more than two decades, the Globetrotters take their basketball seriously.

But in addition to their competitive approach to the game, the players all bring skills and hone them with entertainment in mind. Christy said he has a few trick shots he is perfecting, but presently he is primarily a dunker and scorer.

He is part of one comedy skit in which he comes out of the stands, but he said he can't give away the details. What he can say is that he feels like he could be a Globetrotter for life.

'It's such a great organization that when you are done playing, you can stay with them, whether it is coaching or being an ambassador speaking with people and promoting games,' Christy said. 'Once you are in, you are pretty much family. I am definitely having fun, and this is going to be my home for a long time.'

Courtesy of http://d2basketball.com


*****************************************************
  NEW ZEALAND   


Tony Ronaldson is 'Player of the Week' for Round 14 - by Eurobasket News
NBL veteran Tony Ronaldson (203-F/C-72) has taken out the Player of the Week Award for Round 14 after his two solid performances helped the New Zealand Breakers get back to their winning ways.

The 621-game stalwart averaged 24.5 points, 5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in victories over Sydney at home and Perth away that will be vital to the Breakers title aspirations.

Ronaldson registered 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 25 minutes on court in the Breakers 114-70 rout of the Sydney Spirit on Thursday and followed it up with 31 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 31 minutes against the Perth Wildcats on Saturday.

Over two games he compiled statistics of 17-32 field goal shooting (53 per cent), 6-11 three-point shooting (55 per cent) and 9-12 free throw shooting (75 per cent).

Ronaldsons effort was particularly notable considering the travel delays that saw the Breakers luggage arriving in Perth just 90 minutes before departure for the venue.

The two victories in Round 14 for New Zealand (15-4) have kept them comfortably in second spot on the NBL ladder behind South Dragons (16-4) and ahead of Melbourne Tigers (11-7) and Perth Wildcats (10-10). Townsville and Adelaide round out the Top 6.

Ronaldson narrowly edged out star Adelaide mid-season acquisition Julius Hodge and the Gold Coasts James Harvey for Player of the Week honours.

Hodge compiled 31 points, 10 assists and 3 rebounds in the 36ers home victory over cellar dwellers Gold Coast on Saturday shooting 12-23 (52 per cent) from the field, 1-3 (33 per cent) from long range and 6-12 (50 per cent) from the free throw line.

Harvey heated up for 37 points and 5 rebounds in the Blazes victory over the Hawks on Wednesday and followed it up with 23 points and 2 rebounds in a loss to Adelaide on Saturday.

Courtesy of the NBL
www.nbl.com.au


*****************************************************
  PHILIPPINES   


Talk 'N Text beats Air21 in thriller 109-108 - by Eurobasket News
Ranidel de Ocampo (195-F-81) buried a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer as he helped Talk 'N Text beat his former team Air21, 109-108, to earn at least a playoff for the second outright semifinal seat in the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup Thursday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Coming off a timeout and with 2.1 ticks remaining on the clock, the 6-foot-6 de Ocampo got the inbound pass from rookie Jason Castro, took one dribble going to his left to get away from JR Quinahans defense, before unlashing his shot which found nothing but net over the outstretched arms of Nino Canaleta.

The Tropang Texters, who have not advanced past the wildcard phase in the two conferences last season, finished their elimination campaign with an 11-7 record, which earned them at least a playoff for the second outright semifinal seat.

However, if Fiesta Conference champion Barangay Ginebra (9-8) beats Rain or Shine (10-7), which was still being played, TNT will automatically advance to the Final Four outright, joining top seed Alaska (12-6).

Talk N Text head coach Chot Reyes expressed satisfaction with his teams effort, particularly de Ocampo, who the Tropang Texters got via a trade with Air21 for veteran big man Don Allado and a first round pick in the 2012 PBA Rookie Draft.

By some sheer twist of providence, we ran that same play for Ranidel during practice (last Wednesday) with two seconds left, Reyes said. Little did we know that well find ourselves with the same situation.

We ran decoys for Mac-Mac (Cardona), Renren (Ritualo) and Jimmy (Alapag), but Ranidel was our first option, he added.

De Ocampo finished with a double-double of 18 points and a career high-tying 16 rebounds with two assists while Alapag led the team in scoring with 23 points which came with three rebounds and two assists.

The Express, relegated into the knockout wildcard playoffs opposite the Purefoods Giants, finished the eliminations with an 8-10 record.

Gary David gave his team a one-point lead, 108-107, with his split free throws when Castro fouled him while attempting a jumpshot with 2.1 seconds. He was a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line before missing his first foul shot.

The Tropang Texters were actually down by 15 points, 75-90, late in the third frame but veteran forward Harvey Carey led a comeback by scoring 11 of his 17 points in the pivotal final fame.

Talk N Text, which played sans rookie forward Jared Dillinger (suspected slipped disc), also got solid numbers from Cardona (16 points), Yancy de Ocampo (14 points and nine boards) and Castro (12 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three shot blocks).

David led the Express with 23 points, while Allado had a personal conference-high of 18 markers in only his second game with his new team. Arboleda and Egay Billones added 14 and 12 respectively.


The scores:

Talk N' Text 109 - Alapag 23, R. De Ocampo 18, Carey 17, Cardona 16, Y. De Ocampo 14, Castro 12, Aljamal 4, Ritualo 3, Peek 2, Escobal 0, Lao 0.
Air21 108 - David 23, Allado 18, Arboleda 14, Billones 12, Kramer 9, Santos 9, Canaleta 8, Quinahan 7, Intal 4, Cruz 2, Sta. Maria 2.

Quarterscores: 31-33, 60-57, 77-90, 109-108.

Courtesy of www.pba.ph


*****************************************************
  PORTUGAL   


Basketball returns this weekend - by Portugal Eurobasket
After Christmas break LPB returns with another crossed round against Proliga teams, eight games as Benfica-Maia BC will only be played on February 1st and Ovarense-Esgueira on the 30th of December. With LPB teams as hosts, FC Porto will try to break a three-game defeat against Atletico, while CAB Madeira may join Benfica in the lead if they win against Seixal. Joao Freitas team is having a terrific season with the 2nd place and only 2 defeats so far. Barreirense hosts Barcelos while Vitoria plays home to Queluz, Ginasio faces Illiabum and Academica plays against Electrico. Sunday two more games to watch: Fisica against Galitos and Vagos hosting Sangalhos. This will be the last round of 2008 an year that changed basketball in Portugal with the end of professional league and with the formation of LPB. Although it started with 12 clubes, Lusitania wasn't accepted in the beggining and Belenenses closed doors after the first rounds.

*****************************************************
  SERBIA   


Radnicki Invest Inzenjering celebrates in Round 15 opener - by Dragan Jankovski
Radnicki Invest Inzenjering registered the second consecutive win in Serbian A league. In the last round the team from Novi Sad was better than Borac, while yesterday Radnicki 034 Group faced with a road loss 76-73. It is important to mention that Radnicki 034 waived Zoran Cvetanovic few days ago promoting its PG Radovan Pesic (186-G-72, agency: Beo Basket) as a new HC. With this win Radnicki Invest Inzenjering improved on 6-9 and for sure avoided the last two places before the break. Radnicki 034 Group fell on 7 wins and 8 defeats staying on the middle of the standings. Veteran Zlatko Bolic (195-G-74, agency: Beo Basket) was the leading player in Radnicki as he collected 24 points and 7 rebounds. Darko Vujacic (201-G-79) followed him with 16, while Stefan Fekete (188-G-86, agency: Beo Basket) had 14 points and 8 rebounds. Rajko Kljajevic (204-F-85, agency: Interperformances) and Danilo Draskovic (207-C-86) netted 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds each for the visitors. Draskovic had 7 more assists.
The hosts had nice second quarter finishing it 19-9. It was 36-26 at the half time. However, visitors didn't want to give up and they managed to tie the score on 66-66 with 4 minutes remaining in the game. In free throw finish Radnicki Invest Inzenjering was better. The crucial moment was maybe the personal foul by Ivan Milosevic (192-G-78), despite Darko Vujacic already committed a turnover.


Radnicki Invest Inzenjering - Radnicki 034 Group 76-73
(17:17, 19:9, 20:24, 20:23)

Radnicki Invest Inzenjering:
Bolic 24 (7 rebounds), Vujacic 16, Fekete 14
Radnicki 034 Group: Draskovic 16 (7 rebs, 7 as), Kljajevic 16, Milosevic 10, Vucicevic 10


Aleksandar Djuric returns to Ukraine - by Dragan Jankovski
Power forward / center Aleksandar Djuric (210-F/C-82) returns to Ukraine for at least until the end of the current season. After year and a half with Khimik Yuzny, Djuric agreed terms with Politekhnika Lvov. For 18 games in Ukrainian Superleague in 07/08 Djuric averaged 11 ppg and 4.7 rpg. He also played 9 FIBA EuroCup games registering 8.3 ppg and 3.2 rpg. In his first season with Khimik, Djuric had very similar digits.
Aleksandar Djuric started basketball career in Austrian ACP Feldkirch. Later he spent five years with Montan Bears Kapfenberg. During the summer 2003 he signed 3-year deal with Crvena Zvezda, but he spent just the first one in Belgrade. His next one-season destination was German Telekom Basket Bonn. Duric started 05/06 season in Apollon Patras and in January moved to Khimik.

His new team Politekhnika Lvov competes in Ukrainian UBL. It is the second domestic division, below the Superleague. Politekhnika will try to reach the top spot after not so brilliant 14-8 so far. The top ranked team in UBL is Kryvbasbasket-Lux Kryvyi Rih (15-6) of Serbian head coach Zvezdan Mitrovic and a player Milos Pavlovic (210-F-84).


Crvena Zvezda splits with Stevan Milosevic - by Dragan Jankovski
Stevan Milosevic (211-C-85, agency: Interperformances) is no longer a member of Crvena Zvezda. 23-year old player, who arrived to Belgrade this summer, had contract until December 25, but the Red-and-whites didn't want to extend it. Milosevic played 8 games for Zvezda in Adriatic league averaging 1.5 ppg and 1.4 rpg. He also appeared in one EuroCup game scoring 4 points. Management of Crvena Zvezda stated that Milosevic showed good attitude and hard work during these few months. However, there was no enough space for him to play and the best solution for both sides is that he try to find some other team where he'll get a bigger chance.

Stevan Milosevic announced that he leaves Crvena Zvezda staying in good relationship with the club.

'I worked as hardest as I can, but I didn't succeed to get more playing time. I feel sorry about that, but I have to move on', said Milosevic.

Before Crvena Zvezda, Milosevic used to play in Austrian Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions and Buducnost Podgorica. In Austrian A Bundesleague he had 10.6 ppg and 6.3 rpg in 21 games. In Buducnost, where he grew up as a player, Milosevic also struggled to get more playing time.

Crvena Zvezda ended this year on nice second place in Adriatic league. The Red-end-whites are the only team who succeeded to beat Partizan Igokea in the regional championship. In EuroCup, Zvezda already booked a spot for the next stage.


Serbian B league, round 13: Mladost won against FMP II, Proleter Naftagas to strong for Beovuk 72 - by Zoran Popovic

Mladost Cacak-FMP II Beograd 81-74 (17-10, 26-21, 17-24, 21-19)

Very intresting match was played in Cacak between Mladost Cacak and FMP II Beograd During the most of the match Mladost Cacak was better rival, except the third quarter, when the guests from Belgrade tried to made break. Led by Tresac who scored 28 points and Dukanac who add 21, Mladost Cacak was routinely saved advantage from first and second quarter. The most efficient playe in young FMP team was Subotic with 18 points and Djokic with 17 points.

Mladost Cacak: Papic 12, Terzic 1, Azanjac 6, Vojinovic 2, Tresac 28, Marinkovic 2, Dukanac 21, Jakovljevic 9, Rakovic, Todorovic, Avramovic, Smolovic.
FMP II Beograd: Dimic 8, Djokic 17, Milutinovic 8, Subotic 18, Markovic 2, Miljanic 14, Stojadinovic 6, Djekic 1, Lukovic, Zaric, Stamenkovic, Vukasovic.


KK Beovuk 72 Beograd-Proleter Naftagas Zrenjanin 75-95 (23-31, 21-25, 11-24, 20-15)

Proleter Naftagas Zrenjanin continued with good games in this season and they are still leaders of Serbian B league. This time Proleter won as a guest against KK Beovuk 72 Beograd. From the begining of the match Proleter played strong and aggressive. After the first half Proleter had advantage of +12 and in the third quarter Proleter definitly made break (+25) and won the match. In the last quarter Beovuk little bit decrease huge advantage of Proleter and finished match with score 75-95 for the guests from Zrenjanin. For Proleter Naftagas Zrenjanin Becin scored 20 points and Stanojevic 14 points. The most efficiet for Beovuk was Stankovic with 17 points and Jovanovic with 13 points.

KK Beovuk 72 Beograd: Dragojevic 10, Pantelic 3, Socanac 3, Aleksic, Jovanovic 13, Dzakovic 5, Torlak 4, Apic 11, Bogdanovic 2, Matic, Stankovic 17, Bulatovic 7.
Proleter Naftagas Zrenjanin: Djordjevic 9, Vulin 11, Kravic 12, Milicevic, Becin 20, Stanojevic 14, Rajkovic 7, Bozovic, Zarkovic 8, Barac 4, Vukosavljevic 8, Krstic 2.



*****************************************************
  SLOVENIA   


Shawn King wins All-Star Game MVP Award - by Zeljko Zule
American center Shawn King (208-C, college: ORU) of Hopsi fired off 33points and grabbed 13 rebounds and earned MVP honors of the 2008 All-Stars Game. His teammate Terrence Hundley (191-G-85, agency: 540 Sports, college: W.Georgia) won slam dunk contest, Nicholas Jacobson (194-G-80, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Utah) of Helios won the 3-point shootout and West defeated East 115-102.
Saso Ozbolt scored 28 points on shooting 12-of-15 and handed out 5 assists, Vlado Ilievski had 23 points and 8 assists, Mirza Becig collected 17 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks and Bojan Jovanovic added 12 points.
Shawn King shot 14-of-18 in leading the East with 33 points and 13 rebounds, Nejc Strnad posted 13 points and Uros Lucic scored 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
WEST 115: *Vlado Ilievski 23, *Saso Ozbolt 28, *Simon Finzgar 2, *Dejan Cigoja 4,*Mirza Begic17 starters; Marko Marcetic 4, Ales Kunc 9, Primoz Skok 7, Bojan Jovanovic 12, Mensud Julevic 4, Dejan Mlakar, Vlado Pasalic 5. Coach: Jurij Zdovc.
EAST 102: *Simon Petrov 3, *Nejc Strnad 13, *Davor Marcelic 7, *Jure Balazic 4, *Shawn King 33 starters; Uros Lucic 12, Vjeko Petrovic 8, Matej Krusic 4, Nikola Ivanovic, Luka Lapornik 9, Gilbert Goodrich 5, Nicholas Jacobson 4. Coach: Ivan Sunara.


Smodis named player of the year - by Zeljko Zule
CSKA Moscow captain Matjaz Smodis (205-F-79) has been named as the Slovenian player of the Year. The 29-year old power forward wins the award for the second successive season after antoher outstanding campaign as he won his third Euroleague title.
Slovenian Player of the Year: Matjaz Smodis of CSKA Moscow.
Player of the Year in UPC League: Goran Dragic (194-G-86, agency: Interperformances) of Phoenix Suns/Union Olimpija.
Young Player of the Year: Mirza Sarajlija (185-G-91) of Union Olimpija.
Coach of the Year: Mehmet Becirovic .


*****************************************************
  SYRIA   


Army & Al Jalaa advance to the Quarter-Finals - by Eurobasket News
Army & Al Jalaa advance to the Quarter-Finals of 20th Dubai International Tournament.
Al Jalaa Aleppo finished second in Group A. At first the team lost to Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut 72:75. Ahmad Ismail (201-F-76) led the winners with 23 points, while
Michel Maadanli (196-G-81, agency: Huss Sport Agency) scored 19 for Al Jalaa Aleppo.
In the second game Al Jalaa Aleppo overcame Al Ittihad Alexandria 89:71. John Thomas top-scored for Al Jalaa Aleppo with 22 points and Michel Maadanli added 12.
Al Jalaa Aleppo improved to 2-1 after the win over Champville 73:68. Damond Williams (197-F-80, agency: HM Sports Agency, college: Mc Neese St.) paced all the winners with 25 points. In the last game of the group Al Jalaa Aleppo stun An Nasr 84:75 as Damond Williams brought his team 22 points.
Al Jeish Army Damascus finished 4th in Group B. Al Moutahed Tripoli overcame Al Jeish Army Damascus 80:68 in Game 1. In the second game Zain stun Al Jeish Army Damascus from Syria 89:61. The favorites started with 19-13 in the first period and led to 41:24 at the halftime. The game was even done in the third frame when Zain had 71:44 after 30 minutes of the matchup. Moussa Al Awadi led the winners with 16 points to their second straight win. Ontario Lett and Mike Christensen followed him with 15 points each. Justin Murray (198-F/G-80, college: Washington St.) had 20 points for Al Jeish Army Damascus and Muhia Kasaballi nailed 19.
Mahram was stronger than Al Jeish Army Damascus 80:72 as Oscar Yebra had 26 points for Mahram. Al Jeish Army Damascus beat UAE National Team 99:83 to advance to the Quarter-Finals of 20th Dubai International Tournament.


*****************************************************
  TANZANIA   


Thabeet not for national team - by Carlos Pereira
By Majuto Omary

American based Tanzanian basketball player Hasheem Thabeet is unlikely to join the national team following a busy schedule.
One of the major reasons for Thabeet's unavailability is a possible loss of opportunity for career development plans to qualify for the NBA league in United States. Thabeet who features for the University of Connecticut is one of five players who stand a chance of joining NBA's top flight sides.
Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) secretary general Lawrence Cheyo said the player, selected among 20-man Tanzania squad, would be replaced. The squad is readying for the Africa zone five championship slated for Kigali in February next year.
US reports said that Thabeet is in top form and any interruption at this time may disturb the prodigy's fast growing career. 'While we are sorry to miss the player, it is also a blessing in disguise as we are proud of his success in developinh his career,' said Cheyo. The national team is expected to start training for the zonal championship next month, while TBF is yet to secure an adequate sponsorship.

Tanzania Mainland will join nine other countries in the tourney, namely Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Zanzibar.
Cheyo says men and women teams would compete in the tourney. Selected players for the Tanzania teams are: Men team: Frank Kusiga, Ashraph Harun, Edward Robert, Paschal Nsana, Abdallah 'Dulla' Ramadhan, Francis Mlelwa, Frank Agustino, Sudi A|bdallah Razak, Mohamed Ally Dibo, Oswald Maboko and Amon Semberya.
Others are Kafashe Abdallah, Tarimo George, Juma Kissoky, Mgindi Mkumbo, Amiri Muhidini, Batungi Gilbert, Alphonse Kusekwa, Jije Makani and Alex George.

Women team are: Annosiata Anthony, Agnes Simkonda, Jabu Shabani, Grace Peter, Fraja Malaki Evodia Kazinja, Elizabeth Masenyi, Naima Boli and Mary Meshack. Also in the list are; Nipaeli Kessy, Amina Ahmed, Neema Emanuel, Monica Aloyce Zakia Kondo, Dajda Ahmed, Dolita Mbunda, Hadija Kalambo, Lucy Sangu and Lucy Agustino.


*****************************************************
  TPBL   


HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE TPBL - by Chris Cardenas

Happy Holidays to all the coaches, players and fans of the TPBL. We wish all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Dont forget to catch some games this year. For more info on games near you call: 325-763-6630.
also any new players wanting to join a team or business owners wanting to sponsor please give us a call and support your Texas Professional Basketball League!
opening night Jan. 9, 2009 !!


*****************************************************
  TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO   


Raptors surprise Defense Force! - by Albert-Lee Young
Marabella Raptors won their second consecutive game (2-2) in the Stag Super 10 Basketball League when they surprised national club champions Defence Force (1-2) with an 80-79 win at the Jean Pierre Complex. In a closely contested final period, the army team missed their go-to-player Steven Lighter Lewis due ankle injury, and Raptors top scorer (28pts) forward Ako Pascal stole the spotlight with 18.2 seconds left as he drove to the basket to score the winning lay-up shot.

Raptors still smarting from their trouncing of Clippers the previous night finished the first half 41-36 ahead and maintained the advantage going into the final quarter with a 60-52 lead. In the fourth quarter Defense Force reduced the deficit with an 8-2 run and took a 64-62 lead on consecutive baskets from center Wilt Vincent and point-guard Gerard Toney.

The score was again leveled at 74-74 and the teams traded baskets until the 18 seconds mark when Raptors took the lead 80-79 with Pascal's lay-up. With 15 seconds remaining Defense Force guard Toney turned the ball over and Raptors in bounded the ball to maintain possession for a hard earned victory.

In the other game, National Flour Mills (1-3) trounced Valencia Heat 96-53. Having loss their previous two games, NFM rebounded by applying a full-court pressure defense which created a lot of problems for the Heats offense. They led 46-25 at the half and maintained the advantage for their first win. For NFM Andy Best top scored with 25pts and Jason Delise 16pts. Heat with a 1-3 record was led by Kenrick Bernard with 16pts.


*****************************************************
  TURKEY   


Standings - TB2L
TB2L Standings
Group A
 1. Trabzonspor 8-2 
 2. Bornova 8-2 
 3. Genc Telekom 8-3 
 4. Edirne Genclik 8-3 
 5. Pamukkale 6-4 
 6. Vestel 6-4 
 7. Akcakoca P. 4-6 
 8. FMV Isik 4-7 
 9. Orman 3-7 
 10. Eyup 3-8 
 11. Bursa B-bol 2-8 
 12. TED Istanbul 2-8 
Group B
 1. Tofas 11-0 
 2. ITU 8-2 
 3. Gelisim 7-3 
 4. Beykoz 7-4 
 5. Genc Banvit. 6-4 
 6. Duzce Genclik 6-5 
 7. Canakkale 5-5 
 8. Pertevniyal 4-6 
 9. Yesilyurt 3-7 
 10. Usak 3-7 
 11. Ankara Basket 2-9 
 12. Mulkiye 0-10 


*****************************************************
  UNITED ARAB EMIRATES   


Quarter Finals - 20th Dubai Int'l Tournament - by Mohammed Malas
* Friday 26/12:

An Nasr (UAE) 66 - Al Moutahed Tripoli (LEB) 64 (Qs: 16-23, 32-33, 50-46 & 66-64)
- Best scorers:
Saleh Sultan (178-G-89) '22 pts' from An Nasr
Darren Kelly (190-G-78, college: Texas) '16 pts' from Al Moutahed Tripoli
Trello Galloway (201-G/F-79, college: Georgia St.) '16 pts' from An Nasr
Mohammad Fahes (195-F-82) '16 pts' from Al Moutahed Tripoli

Zain (JOR) 81 - Al Ittihad Alexandria (EGY) 58 (Qs: 24-18, 39-29, 61-41 & 81-58)
- Best scorers:
Derrick Franklin (208-C-81, college: Columbus St.) '17 pts' from Al Ittihad Alexandria
Ontario Lett (198-F-79, agency: BrezoPro, college: Pittsburgh) '13 pts' from Zain
Zeid Abbas (203-F-83) '13 pts' from Zain

Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut (LEB) 85 - Al Jeish Army Damascus (SYR) 77 (Qs: 30-20, 45-38, 60-51 & 85-77)
- Best scorers:
Ahmad Ismail (201-F-76) '31 pts' from Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut
Fadi El Khatib (197-F-79, agency: Pro Management Agency) '27 pts' from Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut
Chad Hendrick (197-G/F-79, college: Houston) '23 pts' from Al Jeish Army Damascus

Al Jalaa Aleppo (SYR) 80 - Mahram (IRI) 79 (Qs: 24-19, 40-34, 59-58 & 80-79)
- Best scorers:
Oscar Yebra (200-F-74, agency: Court Side) '27 pts' from Mahram
Michel Maadanli (196-G-81, agency: Huss Sport Agency) '21 pts' from Al Jalaa Aleppo
Marcelo Correa (208-C-77, college: San Diego St.) '18 pts' from Al Jalaa Aleppo
Hamed Sohrabnejad (205-C/F-83) '16 pts' from Mahram
Damond Williams (197-F-80, agency: HM Sports Agency, college: Mc Neese St.) '16 pts' from Al Jalaa Aleppo

# 5th to 8th places games schedule (GMT):
- Saturday 27/12:
10:45 Moutahed X Jeish
12:45 Mahram X Ittihad

# Semi-Finals games schedule (GMT):
- Saturday 27/12:
15:00 Riyadi X An Nasr
17:00 Zain X Jalaa




*****************************************************

Women News

*****************************************************
  AUSTRALIA - Women  


Eleanor Haring out for the rest of the season - by Eurobasket News
Bengido Bank Spirit star Eleanor Haring (185-F-84, agency: LBM Management, college: Oregon) will miss the remainder of the WNBL season after suffering a serious knee injury on Saturday night.

Haring dislocated her left knee and ruptured her patella tendon when she fell awkwardly early in the first quarter of the Spirits crucial 85-67 win against the Logan Thunder in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Haring, 24, couldn't return to Bendigo with the team yesterday and is expected to be operated on in Brisbane today.

'It's a big blow for us', Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said yesterday.

'Eleanor was having a career best season and shed shown she is a quality player in this league'.

'We're under-sized when she is playing, let alone when we dont have her, so its going to make life tough'.

Harings misfortune continues the Spirits horror run of injuries this season.

Key recruit Hanna Zavecz has struggled all season with a back injury and Louise McLeans season is also in doubt because of a shoulder injury.

Harings injury made Saturday nights win over Logan even more credible.

The Thunder were coming off an upset win over Adelaide and have been hard to beat on their home court all season.

It was a very important win, Harrower said.

After losing to Townsville on Friday night, we couldnt afford to lose Leg 1 again, and the girls responded really well.

We were sluggish early on, but we changed up our defence in the second quarter and it made a big difference.

The Spirit trailed by three points at quarter-time, but a 25-11 second term set up the victory.

Kristi Harrower overcame a slow start to score a game-high 23 points, while Lauren King stood up in Harings absence to score 20 points and grab 11 rebounds.

Kelly Wilson had her most effective offensive game of the season with 16 points and Gabe Richards added 10 points.

The most pleasing thing was that everyone chipped in and did their bit, Bernie Harrower said.

It was a tough game. Logan was a completely different side to the one we beat two weeks earlier.

The final margin probably didnt show how close the game was.

I thought it was one of our better wins of the season.

With Sydney and Dandenong losing games at the weekend were still only one game out of the five.

Its not going to be easy (to make the play-offs), but were in with a chance.

The Spirit will enjoy a two-week break over Christmas, with their next game against the AIS in Canberra on January 10.

Courtesy of The Bendigo Advertiser


Carrie Graf named as new Opals coach - by Eurobasket News
Basketball Australia is proud to announce that Carrie Graf has been appointed Head Coach of the World Champion Australian women's basketball team.

Graf will lead the Opals through the 2010 FIBA World Championship for women, to be held in the Czech Republic, and the 2012 Olympic Games in London as part of her four year appointment.

Currently Head Coach of the ladder-leading Canberra Capitals in the ADF Women's National Basketball League (WNBL), Graf was named WNBL Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008. She has won five WNBL Championships as Head Coach and 5 as a player.

'It's no secret that Carrie has wanted the Opals head coaching job for some time and it gives us great pleasure to announce that her time has come,' said Basketball Australia Chief Executive Scott Derwin.

'The Opals have achieved great success over the past decade and we expect that tradition to continue under Carrie's leadership.'

Graf takes over from Jan Stirling AM, who stepped down from the Opals Head Coach position after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where Australia won a Silver Medal.

The Opals won Gold Medals at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and 2006 Commonwealth Games and achieved two Olympic Silver Medals under Stirling's leadership, but the United States continues be the Opals' nemesis.

'Overcoming the might of the USA at World Championship and Olympic competition will be our main challenge,' Graf said.

'However, with strong leadership focused on building team unity in an effort to overcome a more talented opponent at the critical time, it is do-able.

'We must and will find ways to win.'


Further information:

Graf led the Australian Universities women's basketball team as Head Coach to a Gold Medal at the World Uni Games in Bangkok in 2007.

Graf began her ADF WNBL coaching career with a championship victory in her first season with the Sydney Flames in 1993. She coached the Flames for 4 seasons, until February 1997.

Graf surpassed Tom Maher's coaching mark for total wins when Canberra won their opening game of the 2008/09 ADF WNBL season in October; her WNBL career coaching record now standing at 193 wins and 63 losses from 256 games, ahead of Maher's 182 wins and 55 losses.
Graf was the Opals Assistant Coach at the 1996 Olympic Games (Atlanta; Bronze), 1998 FIBA World Championship (Germany; Bronze) and 2000 Olympic Games (Sydney; Silver).

After victory with Sydney in 1993, Graf moved to the Capitals in 1999 and led them to four championships in the 1999/00, 2001/02, 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons.

In 2003 and 2004 Graf was Head Coach of the New Zealand women's basketball team, the Tall Ferns, before becoming Head Coach of WNBA team Phoenix Mercury for two seasons until 2005.

Graf was awarded life membership of the ADF WNBL in 2006 for her outstanding contribution to basketball as both a player and coach.

Graf played 104 WNBL games for Nunawading (VIC) and Melbourne between 1983 and 1992, winning Championships in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988.

Courtesy of the Basketball Australia


*****************************************************
  CROATIA - Women  


News from the Croatian National Team - by Eurobasket News
On December 27th the Croatian National Team will start preparations for the Additional Qualifying Round, where it will try to book a spot for the European Championship 2009. It will be an extremely difficult job as only the best team from Group B will make it. As a reminder, European Championship 2009 will be played in Latvia. Nine participants of the EC are already known. Turkey, Poland, France, Slovakia and Greece booked a spot for it even before the last group games of the Qualifying Round, which were played on September 13. Hungary, Israel, Lithuania and Serbia added their names soon after that.

In Group B of the Additional Qualifying Round Croatia will meet Belgium and Italy. The first rival will be the Belgium and the game is scheduled for January 4th. Croatia will be the host in this game (city of Sibenik).

Head coach of the Croatian National Team Stipe Bralic stated that he doesn't know yet which players will accept his call to show up on December 27th.

'I called 15 players to join the National Team on this very difficult task, but I am not sure 100% who will accept it and who won't. There is few players from the Spanish league, where they don't have a break. We will for sure have the players from Croatian teams. Anda Jelavic (175-G-80) and Ana Lelas (183-G/F-83) are coming to Sibenik, said Bralic.

In the other Group of the Additional Qualifying Round are placed Bulgaria, Ukraine and Germany. The same as in Group B, only one team will make a trip to Latvia.


Latvian NT player Anda Eibele leaves Gospic CO - by Eurobasket News
Latvian player Anda Eibele (170-G-84) and Croatian team Gospic CO parted ways. As soon as the last game in 2008 ended, the one in Adriatic league against Jolly JBS, Gospic and Eibele terminated the contract and the player already returned to Latvia. Both sides agreed about the contract termination. Eibele arrived to Gospic and supposed to be one of the leading players, but according to Croatian media she didn't meet the expectations. Namely, Eibele started the season in style, but after that her performances became weaker. It is already announced that Gospic CO will hire other point guard to replace Eibele. Most probably the team will agree terms with one more player. It is also almost sure that the possible reinforcement will be outside of Croatia.
Anda Eibele joined Gospic CO during the summer. She played 8 games in EuroCup averaging 5.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 1.5 apg. Her highlight happened in the first game against the Spanish Gran Canaria. Eibele spent 25 minutes on the floor in that game adding 17 points and 4 rebounds. Before Gospic, Eibele was a member of Avantis/Turiba Riga, Powerbasket Wels and Spartak Moscow. She played for the Team Latvia on the Olympic Games in Beijing.


*****************************************************
  GERMANY - Women  


Recap of DBBL Round 14 - by Moritz Korff
TSV 1880 Wasserburg - WWK Donau-Ries 81:67
Even without coach Hans Brei who was hit by influenza and had to stay in bed the German champ was able to get away with a win in the last game of the year. Coach Assistant Wanda Guyton led the league leader to success against Donau-Ries and saw Carlene Hightower (180-F-86, college: La Salle) play a great game: She scored 26 points (including 3/3 from beyond the arc) and pulled down 8 rebounds. Yolanda Paige (168-G-83, college: W.Virginia) followed with 16 points, Jasmina Ilic (185-G/F-85, college: Colorado) and Rebecca Thoresen (178-F-78) each had 14 points. The visitors got 26 points and 10 boards from Megan Vogel (180-G/F-85, college: S.Dakota St.), former Wasserburg guard Alexandra Mueller (176-G-83) netted 15 points in defeat, Tanya Broering (177-G-84, agency: LBM Management) added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

TV Saarlouis Royals - ChemCats Chemnitz 68:56
The Royals climbed to the second place in the DBBL-ladder by overcoming Chemnitz at home. Celeste Trahan (184-C-85, agency: LBM Management, college: Elizabeth City) dropped 14 points in the win, Fantasia Goodwin (179-G/F-85, agency: LBM Management) had 12. The ChemCats were paced by Corrie Fertitta (185-F-86, college: Radford) who earned 18 points and 9 rebounds, Martina Bozikov (188-F-84) finished the contest ith 13 points.

SV Halle Lions - BC Pharmaserv Marburg 52:55
The Lions dropped to a 10-4 record after falling short to Marburg in the last encounter prior to the christmas break. Halle-coach Peter Kortmann did not spend the game on the bench as he had been ruled out for one game because of 'unsportsmanlike behavior'. His troops struggled to make their shots, but also the Blue Dolphins only hit 33% from the floor as well. Tamara Tatham (185-F-85, college: Massachusetts) produced 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Lions in the loss, Marburg was led by Margret Skuballa (186-F-87) who netted 13 points.

Eisvoegel USC Freiburg - Trinos Goettingen 72:80
Freiburg will finish the year on a relegation-spot as the Kingfishers suffered defeat on their homefloor against the Violets from Goettingen on match day 14. Michaela Abelova (185-G-85) who put in 16 points was one of five Goettingen athlets who finished the game in double-figure scoring. Jaysie Chambers (188-F, college: Ill.-Chicago) had 14, Jennifer Kerns (172-G-76, agency: Rasmussen Services, college: Washington St.) and Anna Sykorova (190-C-85) added 13 apiece and Suska Berger (187-F-85) earned 12 points. Freiburg's Sarah Hayes (173-G-84, agency: Regeneracom Sports, college: Brown) replied with 22 points/8 boards/6 steals, Mirna Paunovic (185-F/C-76) had 21 points and Charmaine Callahan (183-F/C-83) scored 16.

BC Wolfenbuettel Wildcats - Herner TC 75:79
Herne overcame Wolfenbuettel on the road and handed the Wildcats their 11th loss of this current season. The HTC-players hit 14 of 21 shots from behind the three-point line: Nadzeya Drozd (168-G-83, agency: LBM Management) put in 28 points, Katsiaryna Zberch (188-C-78, agency: LBM Management) netted 17 points. For Wolfenbuettel Jezabel Ohanian (170-F-77) scored 23 points, Shaina Zaidi (173-G-85, college: UCLA) had 17.

evo New Basket Oberhausen - BBV Leipzig Eagles 67:75
An away win at Oberhausen helped the Leipzig Eagles to improve to an 8th place in the DBBL-standings. Annika Danckert (182-F-81) led the point-production for Leipzig and scored 23, followed by Caroline Sterner (175-G/F-83) with 16. Kyle DeHaven (175-G-84, college: Delaware) came close to a triple-double as she produced 10 points, 9 boards and 7 steals (plus 5 assists). On the other end Birte Thimm (180-F-87) put in 14 points in the loss, Sarah Austmann (179-G/F-85) closed the contest with 13.


*****************************************************
  ITALY - Women  


Italy NT for the Eurobasket Additional Round - by Carlo Grilli
Coach Giampiero Ticchi selected the following 16 athletes for the Additional Round towards Eurobasket 2009:

1. Marte Alexander (196-C-76, college: Arizona) (Club Atletico Faenza)
2. Simona Ballardini (183-F-81) (Reyer Venezia Mestre)
3. Benedetta Bagnara (178-G-87, agency: LBM Management) (Women Basket Livorno)
4. Maria Chiara Franchini (182-G-79) (Women Basket Livorno)
5. Angela Gianolla (171-G-80) (Trogylos Basket Priolo)
6. Eva Giauro (204-C-86) (Reyer Venezia Mestre)
7. Sara Giauro (190-C-79) (Napoli Basket Vomero)
8. Laura Macchi (187-F-79) (Pall. Femm. Schio)
9. Raffaella Masciadri (185-F-80) (Pall. Femm. Schio)
10. Francesca Modica (175-G-81) (Club Atletico Faenza)
11. Jenifer Nadalin (187-F/C-83, agency: LBM Management, college: Furman) (Reyer Venezia Mestre)
12. Chiara Pastore (172-G-86) (Women Basket Livorno)
13. Emanuela Ramon (187-F-82) (Club Atletico Faenza)
14. Kathrin Ress (193-F-85, college: Boston Coll.) (Pall. Femm. Schio)
15. Giorgia Sottana (177-G-88) (Reyer Venezia Mestre)
16. Manuela Zanon (185-F-80) (Geas S.S.Giovanni)

Italy will play against Belgium a Croatia in two legs, in January 2009. The NT winner of Additional Round will join the Eurobasket Group D in Latvia 2009 (Belarus, France ad Israel).


*****************************************************
  LATVIA - Women  


Latvian NT player Anda Eibele leaves Gospic CO - by Eurobasket News
Latvian player Anda Eibele (170-G-84) and Croatian team Gospic CO parted ways. As soon as the last game in 2008 ended, the one in Adriatic league against Jolly JBS, Gospic and Eibele terminated the contract and the player already returned to Latvia. Both sides agreed about the contract termination. Eibele arrived to Gospic and supposed to be one of the leading players, but according to Croatian media she didn't meet the expectations. Namely, Eibele started the season in style, but after that her performances became weaker. It is already announced that Gospic CO will hire other point guard to replace Eibele. Most probably the team will agree terms with one more player. It is also almost sure that the possible reinforcement will be outside of Croatia.
Anda Eibele joined Gospic CO during the summer. She played 8 games in EuroCup averaging 5.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 1.5 apg. Her highlight happened in the first game against the Spanish Gran Canaria. Eibele spent 25 minutes on the floor in that game adding 17 points and 4 rebounds. Before Gospic, Eibele was a member of Avantis/Turiba Riga, Powerbasket Wels and Spartak Moscow. She played for the Team Latvia on the Olympic Games in Beijing.


*****************************************************
  MOZAMBIQUE - Women  


Mozambiques basketball champs to represent Africa in world club tourney - by Carlos Pereira
Mozambiques and Africas reining female basketball championships, Desportivo de Maputo will represent the continent during the world club champions in Japan next year after winning the prestigious continental trophy in Nairobi last month.
The clubs chairman, Miguel Grispos told reporters in Maputo Friday that the two-time African champions will carry Africas hopes during the world club tournament.
'We will be the only representatives of Africa, we know that it will be difficult but we will play on equal footing against other clubs from different continents. It will be a unique experience and we will give it our best shot to dignify Mozambique and the African continent', he said.
Desportivo retained the continental title after beating arch-rivals, Agosto of Angola in the final before dispatching Nigerias feared First National Bank and the star-studded ABC of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya Ports Authority on its road to reclaim the trophy for the second consecutive time.
Mozambiques Desportivo Club has a number of foreign players in the form of Anicka Sy from Senegal and Yolanda Jones from the United States and plans to recruit more foreign legends ahead of its mission to Japan.


*****************************************************
  NCAA1 - Women  


No. 1 Northern Kentucky grabs the 14th straight win - by Eurobasket News
Brandi Rayburn (6'0''-F) scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Northern Kentucky to a 58-37 victory at West Virginia Wesleyan Monday, December 22.

Jessie Slack (5'10''-G-86) and Cassie Brannen (6'1''-C/F-86) each scored 10 points for NKU, which improved to 8-0. Brannen also blocked four shots for the Norse, who are the defending NCAA, Division II national champions.

Rayburn, a junior forward, was 5-for-10 from the field and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. NKU held West Virginia Wesleyan (5-4) to 26.8 percent from the field and outscored the Bobcats 39-23 in the second half to break open a close game.

Karen Brackman added eight points, six rebounds and four assists for NKU, while teammate Rachel Lantry scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds. The Norse shot 40 percent from the field and overcame 20 turnovers to win the non-conference game.

NKU has now won 14 consecutive games dating back to last seasons national championship run.

Courtesy of the Northern Kentucky


South Dakota State ranked for first time - by Eurobasket News
South Dakota State is ready to step into the national spotlight.

The Jackrabbits earned the first ranking in school history when they came into The Associated Press poll at No. 25 on Monday.

UConn was No. 1 for the 113th time in school history, matching Tennessee as the all-time leader of appearances atop the poll.

South Dakota State (12-1) became the first school from the Summit League (formerly the Mid-Continent Conference) to be ranked since Northern Illinois was 25th in the final poll in 1993.

'It's wonderful for the university to go from a regional institution to a national one,' coach Aaron Johnston said. 'It's a great opportunity and will open up some doors and other scheduling opportunities.'

UConn remained a unanimous No. 1 for the fourth straight week.

'Whenever I'm reminded of things like that, and it's likely a character flaw of mine, is that I always think, along with what is, about what could have been,' Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said of the record after winning the Caribbean Classic on Sunday. 'All I can think about is all those times we were No. 1 in the polls and had the best team in the country and didn't come away with the national championship.'

North Carolina stayed at No. 2. Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma each moved up a spot after then-No. 3 Stanford lost at Duke and Tennessee.

The Blue Devils rose to sixth and Baylor remained in seventh, giving the Big 12 four of the top seven teams.

The Bears were supposed to play No. 13 California on Monday night, but Baylor was stranded in Portland after beating Oregon on Saturday night. The game most likely won't be able to be rescheduled with both teams starting conference play soon.

'I hate that we can't play them as you always want to play good teams,' Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. 'Go on the road and see how good you are. We can't get to their area to play. What's most important is the safety of our basketball team.'

A week after seeing its streak of 211 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 end, Tennessee climbed back to No. 8.

Auburn and Louisville flipped places to round out the first 10.

Stanford fell all the way to No. 11 after losing at Duke and in overtime to Tennessee. Notre Dame and California switched places and Maryland and Rutgers swapped as well.

Virginia, Ohio State, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt were the next five. Florida beat Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Arizona State, and South Dakota State rounded out the poll.

After a very successful stint in Division II, the Jackrabbits made the move to Division I. This is the first season that South Dakota State will be eligible for the NCAA tournament. The Jackrabbits' lone loss this season came against then-No. 10 Maryland in the Cancun Caribbean Challenge.

TCU was the lone team to fall out. The Horned Frogs lost their only game this week to then-No. 4 Texas A&M.

Couresy of www.ncaa.com


*****************************************************
  SERBIA - Women  


Standings - Women
A League Standings
 1. Hemofarm 10-1 
 2. Vojvodina 10-1 
 3. Crvena Zv. 8-3 
 4. Partizan 8-3 
 5. Spartak 7-4 
 6. Proleter 5-6 
 7. Radivoj Korac 5-6 
 8. Kovin 5-6 
 9. Kraljevo 3-8 
 10. Celarevo 3-8 
 11. Loznica 2-9 
 12. Usce 0-11 


Stats Leaders - 1A women
1A Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
1 VIdovic Rada 20.8
2.Vidacic Jela 20.1
3.Todorovic Biljana 18.9
4.Moraca Marina 17.8
5.Scekic Maja 17.8
Rebounds Per Game
1.Moraca Marina 10.5
2.Jovanovic Tina 9.8
3.Stjepanovic Biljana 9.3
4.Vidacic Jela 9.0
5.Vukovic Dragana 8.6
Assists Per Game
1.Krnjetin Natasa 7.0
2.Ristic Marina 6.3
3.Stankovic Biljana 5.4
4.Scekic Maja 4.7
5.Mihailovic Ivana 4.2
Steals Per Game
1.Krnjetin Natasa 6.0
2.Ristic Marina 4.1
3.Damjanovic Jelena 4.0
4.Tsikhamuirava H. 3.6
5.Butulija Dajana 3.4
Blocks Per Game
1.Jovanovic Tina 1.5
2.Stjepanovic Biljana 1.5
3.Dzuver Vesna 1.0
4.Kovacevic Dara1.0
5.Cvetanovic Milica 1.0
Ranking
1.Vidacic Jela 25.9
2.Krnjetin Natasa 22.0
3.Moraca Marina 21.9
4.Roglic Iva 20.3
5.Todorovic Biljana 19.9


*****************************************************
  SWITZERLAND - Women  


Sdent Sierre Basket ends 2008 on top of LNA - by Eurobasket News
Sdent Sierre Basket is the top ranked team in LNA after 12 rounds. In the last one Maria Villarroel (174-G/F-78, college: Oklahoma) and her teammates outplayed Fribourg on the road 82-67. It means that Sdent Sierre Basket jumped on almost perfect 11-1 record while the hosts dropped on 4-6 (sixth place). Villarroel was totally the best player in this game draining 32 points. At the same time she also had 5 assists and 3 rebounds making 11 of 12 attempts for FG2. Lenka Zimova (198-C-83, college: Texas A&M) and Rhona McKenzie (183-F-76, agency: LBM Management) followed her with 16 points apiece. On the other side, Fribourg got 18 points and 9 boards from Maud Leres (180-C-81). Tereza Brantlova (172-G-82) also was on decent level collecting 15 points and 4 assists, while Rachel Maenpaa (185-C-84, college: Indiana St.) contributed with 13 pts.
In the other games of Round 12 BBC outsmarted Nyon 60-59. It was very important game for both teams as they entered into it with the same 6-5 record. Riva Basket didn't have to work very hard in order to beat Helios on the road 83-57. Riva is the fourth ranked team now with 6-5, while Helios is on the bottom with 1-11. The game between Pully and Neuchatel is postponed.

The first game of Round 13 is scheduled for January 8, between Fribourg and Helios.


*****************************************************
  U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS - Women  


Sunsational Hoops Classic is almost here. - by David Edole

Some of the premier programs in women's college basketball will be traveling to Virgin Islands to compete in the Annual Sunsational Hoops Classic December 29-31, 2008. The annual competition features teams from all over the nation that presently play in NCAA Division III level and will be held at Charlotte Amalie High School. 14th ranked Mary Washington headlines the group along with Randolph-Macon College, Cabrini College, Montclair State University and Elizabethtown College . Kean University won the 2007 edition of the tourney. Admission $3.00 for students and children and $5.00 for adults.

Sunsational Hoops Classic Schedule

Monday December 29, 2008
6:00 pm Montclair State vs. Elizabethtown
8:00 pm Mary Washington vs. Randolph Macon College

Tuesday December 30, 2008
6:00 PM Cabrini College vs. Randolph Macon College
8:00 pm Montclair State vs. Mary Washington

Wednesday December 31, 2008
6:00 pm Elizabethtown vs. Cabrini College



*****************************************************
  WNBA - Women  


Parker adds AP award to Olympic gold, NCAA crown, WNBA MVP - by Eurobasket News
It's been a whirlwind year for Candace Parker (6'4''-F/C-86, college: Tennessee).

She led Tennessee to a second straight national championship in women's basketball, was the first pick in the WNBA draft, took the league's MVP and rookie of the year awards, and helped the U.S. win a fourth-straight Olympic gold medal.

Now Parker, 22, has been selected female athlete of the year by members of The Associated Press.

'Wow, that's amazing,' Parker said. 'It's been a great year from so many standpoints. I haven't really had a chance to sit back and let it all sink in.'

Her selection Tuesday ended a five-year run in which a golfer (Annika Sorenstam, then Lorena Ochoa) won the award -- the longest streak of any sport.

Parker's accomplishments weren't lost on Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.

'Talk about hitting all the high points of one's life. She enjoyed an incredible run of back-to-back national championships, Olympic gold and all of her individual accolades,' the Hall of Famer said. 'It was an exceptional year for an exceptional athlete and person.'

Parker received 36 votes from members of The Associated Press, barely edging Ochoa, who had won the previous two years. Ochoa won seven times on the LPGA Tour, including her second major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and led the money list for the third consecutive season.

Ochoa finished one vote shy of becoming only the fourth three-time winner of the award. Rounding out the top five were gymnast Nastia Liukin, swimmer Dara Torres, and gymnast Shawn Johnson.

Liukin took home the biggest prize in her ongoing rivalry with Johnson, edging her teammate and Olympic village roommate for the all-around title in Beijing.

The gold medal had extra meaning for Liukin, coming 20 years after her father and coach, Valeri, finished a close second to his teammate at the Seoul Games. Liukin finished with five medals, one more than her father won in 1988.

The 41-year-old Torres won three silver medals at the Olympics. Johnson won four medals, saving the best for last. After getting silvers in the team competition, all-around and floor exercise, she finally won gold on balance beam, the last event.

Michael Phelps was a runaway selection for the AP's top male athlete, announced Monday. Besides Phelps, only Olympic sprinting sensation Usain Bolt and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning got more than a single vote. Phelps was named on 172 ballots, becoming just the third swimmer to claim the award.

Parker is only the third basketball player to win the women's award, joining Sheryl Swoopes in 1993 and Rebecca Lobo in 1995. Parker averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in leading Los Angeles to the Western Conference semifinals before the Sparks lost in three games to the San Antonio Silver Stars.

'Losing has made me hungry to get better for next year,' Parker said. 'It's been on my mind since we lost to San Antonio.'

She had a high of 40 points and grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 17 games. She led the league in double-doubles with 17, led the league in rebounding and led rookies in scoring, blocks (2.3) and minutes (33.6).

Losing is one thing that Parker didn't do often at Tennessee. Playing with a bruised and braced shoulder, she helped the Lady Vols win its second consecutive championship.

She became the fourth player to win back-to-back Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four honors and left Tennessee with a year left of eligibility. She was clearly ready for the next level.

'Candace has invested so much time in her game and her skills. That's been the difference. Candace has separated herself by her competitive drive and her hard work,' Summitt said. 'She spends countless hours in the gym on her own. She knows her roles being the go-to player and a great teammate. How much more can one person accomplish in a year?'

Parker joined the short list of rookies to win the MVP in their first year in the major sports. Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld did it in the NBA; Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki in major league baseball; and Jim Brown in the NFL.

'I had no idea coming into the season that I would have the chance to be an MVP,' said Parker, who became only the second player ever to dunk in the WNBA. 'There are so many talented players in that league that I idolized growing up.'

More than just a star on the court, Parker has become the face of the league. Her jersey was the WNBA's top seller and being a role model to so many young fans is important to the young star.

'It means a lot to me and is a huge responsibility,' Parker said. 'You want to continue to carry yourself in a positive way. I was lucky to have Pat Summitt as a coach and she taught us how to be role models.'

Parker's already had a busy offseason, getting married to Sacramento Kings forward Shelden Williams. She also plans to head to Russia next month to play overseas.

Courtesy of The Associated Press
Taken from
http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/news/story?id=3791948