EUROBASKET NEWS REPORT - 9/12/2008

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Men News

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  ABA   


Knoxville inks two players - by Gianni Pascucci
The Knoxville, Tennessee based ABA professional team, the Knoxville Thunderbolts, is announcing the signing of players Damon Johnson (6'5''-F-74, college: Tennessee) and Jordan Howell (6'3''-G-84) to the team roster of their 2008-09 inaugural season.

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  ARGENTINA   


Standings - Liga B
Liga Standings
Zona 1 Noroeste
 1. Banda Norte 8-2 
 2. Barrio Parque 7-2 
 3. Sportivo 9 J. 6-3 
 4. Juvenil Estud. 5-4 
 5. Alberdi 4-6 
 6. Independ.S. 2-7 
 7. Anzorena 1-9 
Zona 2 Noroeste
 1. Estudian.C. 7-4 
 2. Obera TC 6-5 
 3. Rocamora 6-5 
 4. Colon SF 6-5 
 5. Almagro 6-5 
 6. Brown SV 5-6 
 7. Union Fuerza 5-6 
 8. Union SF 3-8 
Zona 3 Centro Sur
 1. Firmat SF 10-1 
 2. San Martin J. 7-4 
 3. Banco Nacion 6-5 
 4. Sportivo Rojas 5-6 
 5. Rosario Cent. 5-6 
 6. Racing G. 5-6 
 7. San Andres 4-7 
 8. Sportivo E. 2-9 
Zona 4 Sur
 1. Velez Sarsfield 9-2 
 2. Gimnasia VP 7-4 
 3. El Sureno 7-4 
 4. Gimnasia BR 7-4 
 5. Ciud.Bragado 6-5 
 6. Atletico Regina 4-7 
 7. Estudian.SR 3-8 
 8. Independ.T. 1-10 


Argentinian U15 NT 2008 - by Facundo Iatzky

Point guards:
Joaquin Tuero of Argentino Bahia Blanca
Juan Manuel Rossi of Independiente La Paz

Shooting guards:

Luciano Massarelli of Villa Mitre
Tomas Zanzottera of Sport Pergamino
Alejo Schestakovv of Boca Juniors

Small Forwards:

Valentin Marchisio of Sionista Parana
Patricio Garino of Union Mar del Plata

Power forwards:

Mariano Sole of Boca Juniors
Carlos Benitez of Boca Juniors

Centers:

Matias Bortolin of Atenas Cordoba
Pablo Alderete of Einstein Mar del plata
Federico Herrera of Social Las Brenas

Head Coach: Marcelo Germanetto


This group will be playing the southamerican championship in Guanare, Venezuela since September 17.



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  AUSTRALIA   


Sydney Spirit 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
SYDNEY SPIRIT SEASON PREVIEW

Last season (as West Sydney Razorbacks): 10-20, tenth in regular season, missed playoffs
Points For: 103ppg, fourth
Points Against: 108ppg, thirteenth
Field Goal Percentage: 44%, thirteenth
Rebounds: 47rpg, seventh
Assists: 18apg, tenth
Blocked Shots: 4bpg, fifth
NBL Titles: None
NBL Playoff Appearances: 3 (last time 2003/04)
Homecourt: Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, capacity 4500
Head Coach: Rob Beveridge (2nd season with West Sydney, career record 10-20)
Projected Starters: Damian Martin, Derrick Low, Liam Rush, David Gruber, Julian Khazzouh
Bench: Matthew Knight, Jason Smith, Tony Rampton, Clint Reed, Drew Williamson, Graeme Dann


The demise of the Sydney Kings, for 20 years the pre-eminent force in Sydney basketball, has opened the door for the West Sydney Razorbacks to capture the hearts and minds of the local public. For the first time in a decade there is only one team in Sydney and a distinct opportunity for this franchise to sound the rallying cry to those thousands of Kings fans left in the wilderness.

Removing the West from their name and changing their team name and colours, the new Sydney Spirit hopes to make an impact in their first year of operation albeit the majority of this team remains from the group that went 10-20 and finished short of a playoff berth last season.

Head coach Rob Beveridge , one of the hardest working and most respected guys in the game, did a fine job last season with a team very few gave any chance to succeed, and looking at this roster the same will likely be the case once again. If nothing else, he got his group nowhere near as talented as most other clubs in the L to play hard every night, and he could at least hang his hat on the fact they did surprise a couple of teams along the way and probably won more games than they expected to.

There wasnt much turnover in the offseason as the club dealt with limited resources in the face of bigger clubs, although theyve replaced both imports, bringing in guard Derrick Low from Washington State and forward David Gruber, who has been tearing it up at SEABL level. The Spirit would be hoping Gruber is at least a reasonable facsimile of one Shawn Redhage who in recent years is arguably the most successful graduate of Australian basketballs second-tier competition.

One bonus is that Sydney will get back defensive dynamo Damian Martin, who suffered a terrible knee injury less than a third into last season and was lost for the year. When he went down, this team did not fare well at all and his maniacal on-ball pressure will be a welcome addition to a ballclub that gave up a whopping 108ppg in 2007/08.

Former Kings captain Jason Smith has also been signed, but has a shoulder injury that will take some time to heal and he may not be back until midway through the season. When healthy hes a tremendous leader and just his presence in the locker room alone should be enough to inspire the younger members of this still very callow roster.

In a league where so many teams have improved exponentially, the Spirit will be well and truly up against it in season 2008/2009. But so long as they fight hard every night and give it their all, thats all anyone can really ask.


CENTRE

Hes long been touted as one of the most promising big men in the country Brian Goorjian even went out of his way to praise him after one memorable Kings-Razorbacks game but the time is now for 611 Julian Khazzouh (11.1ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.3bpg) to show that he is worthy of such high acclaim. Theres no question he has all the tools hes got a great soft touch from the outside, has good footwork, a variety of low post moves, can run the floor pretty well and will block some shots for you. But the issue with him has always been how much he truly wants it. On occasion it has appeared that he isnt as passionate about the game as youd otherwise like to see, and hopefully he realises he has a great opportunity to leave a mark on the game Beveridge will give him every chance to show he is worthy of more minutes in this lineup.


FORWARDS

Liam Rush (13.4ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.7apg, 1.4spg) showed that his Most Improved Award from 2006/07 was no fluke as he maintained some solid form throughout last season. Hes a superb athlete and extremely strong, is solid in transition and can hit the triple, although his percentage from long-range were down appreciably. Defensively he loves to gamble in the passing lanes, pick off the ball and take it in for an easy score which is fine when it works, but it can lead to his getting burnt in the halfcourt. He needs to improve his free throw shooting, which dropped to just 52% last season, and has to play with more smarts. Right now, he is sitting just below the level of the really good three men in this league, but has the ability to raise his game a notch.

The Spirit will likely go with Dave Gruber at the four spot. The 67 former SEABL standout played in the middle with the Frankston Blues and generated some enormous scoring and rebounding numbers, but he played at the power spot with his college team Northern Iowa so shouldnt have too many problems adjusting to his new role. By all accounts his work ethic has been impressive in pre-season games, and while you certainly wouldnt expect him to be a star at this level, Sydney will be be happy if he rebounds, hustles, plays solid D and produces a few points here and there.


GUARDS

In many ways its an all-new starting backcourt for the Spirit, given that Damian Martin played just 10 games last season before getting hurt, and it could change further once Jason Smith returns from his shoulder problem.

Martin (6.4ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.7spg) was very impressive before breaking down. Right off the bat he was one of the best defenders in the league and for his size is an exceptional rebounder. His defence in particular caused nightmares for opposing teams, such was his ability to disrupt enemy offences, and hes one of these guys whose stats will never reflect his true worth to his team. Expect big things from him this season if his knee has haled properly.

Derrick Low was a guy the Spirit were very familiar with after facing him in a preseason game last season when he wa a member of the touring Washington State team. in one game on that tour he went for 35 and showed he could really knock shots down from the outside. His college stats werent eye-popping although that had more to do with the system he played in, and the most impressive thing about him was his tenacity and heart. Hes an undersized shooting guard at barely 62 and that could be a problem at times, but Beveridge is very high on him and believes hell be a quality import.


BENCH

Youd expect bulldozer forward Matthew Knight to possibly start at some stage this season. The 68 bruiser is a physical specimen who can overwhelm opponents with sheer power, and can also face up and hit the eighteen footer. Drew Williamson comes home after showing flashes of his talent last season in Townsville. Jason Smith will likely come off the bench when healthy, Tony Rampton can give you some minutes as a backup big once he returns from injury, Clint Reed can produce some numbers at times and the Spirit is still waiting on Graeme Dann to come on strong and show he truly belongs in this league. Sydney have also managed to get local product and two-time championship winner Luke Martin on to the roster whilst Smith and Tony Rampton are on injury waivers, which provides them with some excellent depth in the backcourt.


BURNING QUESTION?

Will they win more than 10 games this season? When you analyse other teams rosters and compare them to the Spirit, you have to make an honest appraisal that man-forman this squad is not close to most, if not all the other teams in the league. They will have their work cut out for them on the road and other teams wont have any fear of coming into the old PigPen. But if Bevo can get this team playing with fierce abandon and relentless intensity, if he can turn them into a defensive force, he might get them to shock a few teams. They might win ugly, but who cares so long as they get the W.


PROGNOSIS

Someone has to win the wooden spoon this season, and in a league that is tougher than ever with so many teams bolstering their on court talent, you have to admit the Spirit arent likely to make the playoffs this season and will probaby finish at the back of the pack. Their goals for the season should be simple. Play hard, play together, and let the chips fall where they may. They might not have the talent or resources of other franchises, but if they show they are prepared to fight and scrap for everything and not give in no matter the odds, they might just win over a few of those disenfranchised Sydney Kings fans.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


Townsville Crocodiles 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 17-13, fifth in regular season, 1-1 in playoffs, lost to Perth NBL quarter-finals
Points For: 99ppg, seventh
Points Against: 97ppg, sixth
Field Goal Percentage: 45%, ninth
Rebounds: 47rpg, sixth
Assists: 16apg, twelfth
Blocked Shots: 3bpg, eleventh
NBL Titles: None
NBL Playoff Appearances: 5 (last time 2008)
Homecourt: Townsville Entertainment Centre, capacity 5257
Head Coach: Trevor Gleeson (3rd season with Townsville, career record 38-29)
Projected Starters: Corey Williams, John Rillie, Brad Sheridan (196-F/G-80), Rosell Ellis, Russell Hinder
Bench: Daniel Egan, Cameron Tovey, Kelvin Robertson, Michael Cedar, Brad Williamson, Steven Broom


Ever since Head Coach Trevor Gleeson came to town, its been interesting to see how the Townsville Crocodiles have been remade in the post-Ian Stacker era.

Where the former Crocs mentor was always known for his ability to build an offensive juggernaut forget defence, Townsville was all about blowing teams out of the gym Gleesons focus, not surprisingly as a man very close to Brian Goorjian, has been on improving this club at the defensive end of the floor.

And last season, that approach started to bear fruit. The Crocodiles gave up just 97 points per game in 2007/08, a staggering improvement of nine points per on the season before. Once again, Gleeson took them to the playoffs, proving that the Townsville hierarchy made the right choice when tabbing him to lead the way.

The one thing the Crocs didnt do too much of last year was score, despite playing in the best shooting gym in the country. They struggled due to injury early, with Rosell Ellis ripping his pectoral muscle in a training mishap, and although Corey Williams was a smash-hit on debut, they never quite got in sync offensively all season.

Williams comes back to ignite the offence, and Ellis returns to do the dirty work inside. Ben Pepper is gone, replaced by ex-Sydney King forward/centre Russell Hinder, and athletic swingman Cameron Tovey joins his old teammate in the purple and gold after nearly deciding to pack it all in for a law career.

Overall, the Crocs have gone for the stable approach rather than any massive changes other clubs have decided to make, and it could prove to be the right way to go. While youd like to see a bit more depth on the bench, and they lack size across the board, its still a team that could surprise other more talented line-ups, especially if Williams and John Rillie make like one of the best backcourt duos in the competition.

Getting to the playoffs this time will be tougher for Trevor Gleeson, no question, but hes a quality coach and has his team primed to make a move up the standings. Dont sleep on the Crocodiles.


CENTRE
.
Ben Peppers departure and the Sydney Kings demise was a particular bit of serendipity for Russell Hinder (8.1ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2bpg), who was ready to head to the US with his American-born wife Jen before getting the call from Coach Gleeson. Its an opportunity the 29 year old gratefully accepted, and while no-one would call him an upgrade on Pepper, hes potentially a better fit for this team given his athleticism, ability to run the floor and exceptional help D. He is the consummate provocateur and delights in infuriating the opposition, and more often than not hell just get in peoples heads and force them into mistakes. Hes been to two Grand Finals and has played for Australia, and the sum total of that experience should be invaluable to the Crocs.


FORWARDS

Its great to see 64 workhorse Rosell Ellis back playing after suffering that devastating injury early last season. As undersized as he is at the four spot he was actually even playing the five when a member of the South Dragons he is as tough a matchup as any forward in the league. Thats thanks to his intensity, his drive, and his ability to dominate the glass against much bigger opposition. Offensively you understand hes not going to hurt you outside the paint, but he still finds ways to get there with a spin move or two to the rack. All Townsville really needs is for Ellis to be a presence inside to open things up for the shooters, and they know they can count on him giving a maximum effort every minute hes on the floor.

The small forward position is in a bit of flux for the Crocs, and they could go a number of ways with their starting three man. Lets say for now that despite his injury, veteran swingman Brad Sheridan will be eventually plugged in at that spot. Rowdy (5.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 81% FT) is never going to be an offensive force, but thats not what you expect from him. What you expect is the defence, the long arms, the super experience, and the occasional trey from the corner. Hes one of only two men to win three consecutive titles in what has been a great career, and although people might have expected more from him over the years the truth is hes just been an incredibly valuable role player everywhere hes gone.


GUARDS

Theres no doubt Townsvilles strength resides in a starting backcourt that ranks as one of the very best in the National Basketball League.

New York City streetball legend Corey Homicide Williams (21.6ppg, 4.7apg, 4.8rpg, 1.7spg, 50% FG) was a tremendous asset for the Crocs from the moment he stepped off the plane and provided the kind of entertainment this league has seen from showmen of the past like a Cal Bruton or a Dwayne McClain. Hes an entertainer in every way from the funky haircut to the fresh kicks to ballhandling skills that appeared otherworldly at times. Hes got a tremendous attitude, was a great presence in that locker room, and despite his undoubted individual skills showed he was all about the team and all about winning. So what if he cant shoot from the outside no matter what anyone tried, no one could ever stop him attacking the rack. The scary thing is he figures to be even better this season, and hes one of the very few people in this league for whom you would pay money to just see him do his thing.

Williams was a terrific foil for the great John Rillie (15.6ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.3apg, 40% 3PT FG, 91% FT) whose offensive numbers dropped a little from his stellar 2006/07 campaign but is still one of the most dangerous ballplayers in this league. He is an out and out gym rat, a guy who just loves the game with a fierce passion and is always trying to get better, no matter his age, no matter the fact he already got a ring. Youd probably say hes been Australias answer to Reggie Miller (albeit hed probably like to be thought of as the skinny white boy version of Moses Malone) because of that deadly shooting from ridiculous range, the clutch baskets hes made over the years. Hes always been an incredible rebounder for his size and is a better passer than people have ever given him credit for. I always expect a lot from JR and I think hell deliver in spades this season but please Johnny, no more Mohawks, okay?


BENCH

Townsvilles size deficiency is most noticeable on the bench, where only veteran combo forward Daniel Egan and young Stephen Broom, a recruit from Brisbane who has seen very little time in the past, are the primary frontline backups. Brad Williamson comes across from Brisbane to provide some outside shooting, Cameron Tovey has the talent to become a starter in this league at some point, Kelvin Robertson is a feisty competitor and Michael Cedar has improved every year hes been in the league and had some big nights last season.


BURNING QUESTION

Can they overcome their lack of size? With the departures of Pepper and Greg Vanderjagt, the Crocs are the smallest team in the league by far. Theyve decided to get quicker and more athletic and should play more up-tempo this season, but when opposing teams control the boards and the tempo and turn games into halfcourt slugfests, Townsville might struggle.


PROGNOSIS

Gleeson has established himself as clearly one of the best coaches in the league with a pair of postseason appearances already under his belt. The Swamp is still one of the most intimidating venues in the L, particularly when they can fill the place and get that crowd involved. And the Williams-Rillie starting backcourt combo is absolutely deadly. That all said, you cant place the Crocs in that elite level of teams this season. They will make life difficult for everyone, of that there is no doubt, but when it comes right down to it they will find themselves in a dogfight for the last couple of playoff appearances. A road win here or there might prove the difference between reaching the postseason or going home early.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


South Dragons 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
SOUTH DRAGONS SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 5-25, thirteenth, missed playoffs
Points For: 97ppg, tenth
Points Against: 106ppg, twelfth
Field Goal Percentage: 44%, tenth
Rebounds: 45rpg, ninth
Assists: 19apg, eighth
Blocked Shots: 3bpg, ninth
NBL Titles: None
NBL Playoff Appearances: 1 (last time 2007)
Homecourt: Hisense Arena, capacity 10000
Head Coach: Brian Goorjian (1st season with South, career record 487-210)
Projected Starters: Cortez Groves, Joe Ingles, Tremmell Darden, Mark Worthington, Nick Horvath
Bench: Matthew Burston, Adam Gibson, Mika Vukona, Nathan Herbert, Rhys Carter


For a team which has marketed and promoted itself extremely well since arriving on the scene in a blaze of glory the on-court fireworks, the season launch at one of Melbournes well-known historic mansions the South Dragons sure dont have much to show for their couple of years in the league.

A first-up playoff appearance was promising, granted, but in 2007/08 they suffered through a train wreck of a season, stumbling from one disaster to another and winding up with the unwanted wooden spoon.

Its a season they just want to quickly forget about, and they wasted no time in ensuring this was a brand new start for them heck, its almost as though the previous two seasons didnt even count, such are the radical changes made to this organisation.

Start with the obvious the return of Brian Goorjian to Victoria. He left the now defunct Sydney Kings after taking that franchise to three championships, five minor premierships and five Grand Finals in six glorious seasons. Oh and by the way, all he did in 2007/08 was go 27-3 in the regular season and take his club to the fifth game of the championship series before they were martyred by the Tigers.

No one has won more games than this guy, and no one will ever come close to his record of reaching at least the Semi-Finals for an almost unfathomable 19 straight seasons. He makes this team an instant title contender; such is his presence and coaching ability.

Of course, you can be the greatest coach who ever lived but it dont mean squat if you havent got the cattle. And the Dragons have recruited well enough to ensure that, at the very least, the Melbourne derby will be absolutely legit this season.

The prize was All-NBL First Teamer and 2008/09 MVP candidate Mark Worthington, who had a brilliant final season with the Kings and is going to be a huge key in determining how far this team goes in this campaign.

He was to be joined by the explosive Ebi Ere, who after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing eventually signed with Melbourne that whole episode already has Dragon and Tiger fans at each others throats. Instead, the Dragons signed Tremmell Darden, who played with the University of Niagara and has bounced around in Europe for a few years.

Mika Vukona comes across from the New Zealand Breakers to add athleticism and aggression to the front line, Adam Gibson was a quality pickup from the old Brisbane Bullets and Rhys Carter should provide good depth in the backcourt.

This is a fairly young ballclub, but the talent is certainly there. And you can bet no one will make the mistake again of underestimating a Goorjian-coached team in the NBL as so many did last season. Remember, that team wasnt expected to do anything and all they did was produce one of the greatest regular seasons there ever was.

Call it the Goorj Factor. His teams win bottom line. This is going to be a fun season for Dragon fans.


CENTRE

Nick Horvath (12.8ppg, 6.0rpg, 54% FG) played just six games as an import last season before being placed on injury waivers, and the former Duke Blue Devil enters this season with a large point to prove. There were those that felt the 610 big man, who now plays as a local after achieving New Zealand citizenship, was unfairly maligned and that under Brian Goorjian s tutelage Horvath will thrive. Hes an excellent scorer who can face up and hit the eighteen footer; has good footwork down low and will get on the glass at both ends. Of course, hes never been known as a great defender but hes got one hell of a teacher in that area on his side. Look for a breakout year from Mr. Horvath in 2008/2009.


FORWARDS

Worthington (17.3ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, 40% 3PT FG) won the Rookie of the Year in 2006 and in just three seasons has emerged as one of the elite players in this league. Hes improved in every single offensive category in each of his three years and is set to go to another level this season. Ostensibly hell play the four spot in this lineup and do plenty of heavy rebounding duty but the truth is he really doesnt have a true forward spot he can play either with aplomb. As strong as he is in the post, he presents even more problems now with his ability to go outside and stick the long-range bomb, and has the quickness to blow by most defenders. Hes a hard-ass on the floor as well, a solid defender, and will be a team leader right from the get-go.

Goorjian has never had an issue bringing imports off the bench he did it with both Americans last season in Sydney but for now lets say Darden will be a starter next to Worthington. The 65 swingman showed enough in his two week trial with the Dragons that they feel comfortable enough going with him in 2008/09. He was First Team All-Conference at Niagara in his senior year and has put up some decent numbers in Europe. He looks to be more of a solid all-around ballplayer than an explosive weapon like Ere would have been, and that suits Goorjian just fine with the talent the Dragons have accumulated, a guy like this could be a better fit at the end of the day.


GUARDS

Goorjian has a number of options in the backcourt. He could go with an Adam Gibson-Cortez Groves combo, or continue Joe Ingles education as a 68 guard and team him with the explosive Groves in what would be a real thunder and lightning duo.

Lets say for now he pursues the second option, which means Groves (18.3ppg, 3.7apg, 2.4rpg, 1.2spg) will be the lead guard and playmaker for this unit. Groves has had his playmaking skills questioned by some so it may be a bit of a risk to put the ball in his hands and expect him to run the offence. However, theres no questioning the mans talent. He is a threat to go for 30 every night; he can jump out of the gym, explode to the rack and pull up on a dime and knock down the outside J. Hes one of the best open court players in the country and a guy youd pay money to see. Goorjian figures to let the reins loose on him and get him to drive the Dragons into transition more often than not and thats a style at which he excels.

Ingles (15.4ppg, 6.3rpg, 4.9apg, 1.2spg) had a terrific season for an otherwise underachieving club. Hell use this season to improve his skills and get bigger and stronger so he can have a real crack at the NBA or Europe next year, and thats great news for the Dragons and this league on the whole. Ingles is a fabulous talent a long, very athletic swingman who can hit the three, run the floor like the wind and plays excellent D. His experience with the Boomers in Beijing was invaluable and he could potentially be looking at an All-Star season.


BENCH

Some very astute recruiting has given Goorjian the ability to go at least nine, maybe even ten deep something he loves to do. Matt Burston has had his injury problems over the years but when healthy is a solid low post option. Mika Vukona is a monster on the boards and has a non-stop motor. Adam Gibson could possibly start but hes a terrific option in reserve. Nathan Herbert impressed the Dragon hierarchy with his hustle and character and Rhys Carter improves the depth even more at the point.


BURNING QUESTION

Can Goorjian hit for 20 in a row? I mean, he cant keep this up forever, can he? Last season many judges had the Kings finishing outside the Top Four and we all know what happened there. But again, this is a brand new group with five new players, and it can sometimes take the chemistry time to develop. It may well be that we dont start seeing what this group is capable of until the middle of the season. Still, if anyone can do it, its Brian Goorjian .


PROGNOSIS

Brian Goorjian and Lindsay Gaze are in many ways the Godfathers of Victorian basketball, so it is great to see Goorjian back in what many people consider his home state. Theres a real sense of anticipation with this team this season and what they may achieve, and the thought of sold-out Dragons-Tigers local derbies alone has to gladden the hearts of the league hierarchy. We know this above all else about the Dragons they will play defence. Thats a given. Forget about them giving up 106ppg again. On paper, they have enough scoring to do some serious damage as well and you gotta believe Goorj is going to open the throttle offensively and get this team out and running. In the end, the Dragons have championship aspirations this season and while they arent the favourites, theyll give this thing a real shake.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


New Zealand Breakers 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 16-14, seventh in regular season, 0-1 in playoffs, lost to Cairns NBL playoffs first round
Points For: 101ppg, sixth
Points Against: 101ppg, seventh
Field Goal Percentage: 47%, second
Rebounds: 45rpg, eighth
Assists: 20apg, fourth
Blocked Shots: 3bpg, eighth
NBL Titles: None
NBL Playoff Appearances: 1 (last time 2008)
Homecourt: North Shore Events Centre, Auckland, capacity 4500
Head Coach: Andrej Lemanis (4th season with New Zealand, career record 36-60)
Projected Starters: CJ Bruton (188-G-75, college: Indian Hills CC), Kirk Penney, Oscar Forman, Tony Ronaldson, Rick Rickert
Bench: Phill Jones, Paul Henare, Tim Behrendorff, Dillon Boucher, Adam Tanner


It took five long seasons, but the New Zealand Breakers finally managed to fulfil some of their promise by going over the .500 mark in the 2007/08 regular season for the first time in franchise history. Their 16-14 record was good enough for seventh and an inaugural playoff berth.

That they failed to progress to the Semis was disappointing, but for an organisation that has struggled to make its mark since joining the National Basketball League just getting to the postseason was a big step in the right direction.

They played exceptionally well at home, going 11-4 there, and although a 5-10 road record was nothing to write home about, at least its better than anything theyve done previously, including a dismal 2-15 mark in their 2006/07 campaign.

It showed a franchise that was at last beginning to understand what it takes to win at this level a team that was definitely on the rise.

Getting Kirk Penney prior to last season was a massive coup, and the man who is arguably the best Kiwi player in history repaid the organisations faith in him with a stellar campaign and was named to the All-NBL First Team.

The Breakers havent stopped with the big signings either, grabbing ex-Bullet and Boomer starter CJ Bruton to form a genuine superstar trans-Tasman backcourt with sharpshooter Penney.

Right now, this is the best backcourt in the league and, with big man import Rick Rickert who was impressive last season before getting hurt now back in a Breaker jersey, this team has to be looked at as a team that potentially could make some noise.

They have only signed one import thanks to the points cap, but the talent is there regardless and they now have added more championship experience in Bruton. This is going to be a fun team to watch this season, and if they can take the next step and go .500 or better on the road while continuing to be a dominant force at home, theyll find themselves with a home playoff game for the first time ever.

And wont that be quite the party across the ditch if it ever comes to fruition?


CENTRE

The 611 Rickert (17.8ppg, 10.7rpg, 54% FG) played just 13 games last season but in that time showed enough to suggest he could become a top shelf player in this league. Hes athletic, aggressive, scores well around the basket, crashes the boards with abandon and gets up and down the floor very well. He gives opposition teams a very tough cover down low and the Breakers need him to stay healthy for the entire season if they are to stay competitive with the behemoths of this competition.


FORWARDS

Sunset may be fast approaching for The Bear, Tony Ronaldson (11.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.8apg), but the 36-year old maintained his remarkable streak in 2007/08 he has averaged double-figures in points for 17 consecutive seasons. Whilst his points per average was his lowest since 1991, you have to admire a guy who has been ground-bound throughout his career still finding a way to get it done in what is a very athletic league. He wont be anything other than the fifth option offensively in this squad, but hell contribute in other ways hes still an excellent interior defender and he plays with great nous and intelligence.

Oscar Forman (9.2ppg, 4.8rpg) had his lowest points per game average since 2004/05 last season and still hasnt progressed the way youd like to see. It may just be that hell wind up at this level as a solid role player but nothing more. He shot the ball terribly from range going just 34% behind the three point line and hes gotta improve upon that this season because thats what he has hung his hat on at this level. When you compare him to someone of a similar age and style David Barlow as a notable example you see how far Forman appears to have fallen behind the pack. He still has the talent to do well and be productive for the Breakers, but he needs to be more efficient and more assertive this season.


GUARDS

There have been some great backcourts in the history of the National Basketball League Andrew Gaze and Lanard Copeland are the guys who typically first come to mind. And for the real old-timers like me there was that marvellous Cannon backcourt of Phil Smyth and Herb McEachin. Thats just a couple of notable legends. And now the Breakers might add another great combo to the list with Bruton and Penney a Dream Team backcourt if there ever was one.

Bruton (19.1ppg, 4.7apg, 3.2rpg, 1.1spg, 46% 3PT FG, 81% FT) had a fine NBL season and a solid Olympic campaign with the Boomers. He replaces the departed Orien Greene as the floor leader for the Breakers and, although he isnt the defender Greene was, hes become reasonably proficient in that area albeit hell never be thought of as a stopper. No, CJs forte is offence hes an upgrade in every way on that side of the ball. Hes got the killer crossover, the extreme range, and that quicker-than-you-think first step that enables him to penetrate at will. Adding him means you get a guy with three rings who has been a winner in the latter stages of his career and makes this backcourt a nightmare to defend.

The 65 Penney (24.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.6apg, 1.3spg, 43% 3PT FG) is one of these guys who just accumulates points with seemingly ridiculous ease. Just when you think youve got him shut down hell explode with eight or ten straight points, finish with 30 or more and leave you wondering what the hell just happened. Like another super-scorer of the past, Mr Gaze, he moves exceptionally well without the ball and always seems to be in the right place to put the ball in the hole. As with Bruton, it seems like he has unlimited range, which makes him a threat anywhere on the court. He plays with great intelligence and has an innate understanding of the game. He should be even more effective with a weapon like Bruton alongside him and thats a very scary thought for the rest of the league.


BENCH

Phill Jones was right in calculations for Sixth Man of the Year after an excellent season in 2007/08 and the deadly perimeter gunner should figure prominently again in 2008/09. Dillon Boucher returns home after stops in Brisbane and Perth and immediately improves New Zealand defensively. Paul Henare is the ideal backup at point, Tim Behrendorff provides good size off the pine and Adam Tanner is a 69 Australian forward who should get some minutes in frontline relief.


BURNING QUESTION

Can they win enough games on the road? This league will be tougher than ever this season and road victories figure to be at a premium. If the Breakers expect to make the top six, this season they must win more than just five games away from the friendly confines of the North Shore Events Centre something theyve yet to accomplish in five seasons. This year would be a good time to set a new record.


PROGNOSIS

Bruton and Penney are an awesome backcourt. Rickert provides the muscle and Ronaldson the smarts and experience up front. Jones is a great weapon off the bench. In the end, its not a squad you can yet say matches up well with the upper echelon of teams in the NBL, but they are getting there. CJ makes them tougher to defend, but will they improve enough defensively? Time will tell, but you would expect this team to be at the very least in the hunt for a playoff spot come February.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


Olympian Mills gets back to grind - by Eurobasket News
Save for a few days of facial hair growth, Patrick Mills (178-G-88) on Wednesday looked and sounded like the same mild-mannered guy who made an immediate impact for the St. Mary's College men's basketball team last season.

But Gaels coach Randy Bennett knows better.

'He already had (confidence and high self-esteem), but I think it'll go to another level,' Bennett said as he sat beside his star point guard at a small news conference. 'His understanding of leadership will go to another level. ... That's what we'll gain out of this. I don't (his improvement) will come in a statistical category. I think It'll come in leadership.'

Less than three weeks after his eye-opening performance for Australia's national team at the Beijing Olympics, Mills was back on the serene St. Mary's campus Wednesday morning as he began his readjustment to college life as a sophomore.

Mills, though, said he's not quite the player or person he was before the start of the Olympics, where he came off the bench to average a team-high 14.2 points per game in helping the Boomers advance to the quarterfinal round against Team USA.

Against a star-studded American roster, Mills had 20 points, three steals and two assists during Australia's 116-85 loss. After the quarterfinal game, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said he was glad his Duke team didn't play St. Mary's this season and believed Mills was a future NBA player.

Paul also were complimentary during the postgame news conference, but Mills said he was only given a certain amount of respect on the court.

'Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade ... I had no idea what they were like,' Mills said. 'They had some pretty nasty words and comments for me during the game. I didn't back down, but I was like, 'That's Chris Paul talking to me.' '

Mills' performance in Beijing has led some to believe that this could be St. Mary's best team in the 101-year history of the program. The Gaels lost only two significant players from last season's team guards Todd Golden and Tron Smith that had a record-tying 25 wins and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Besides Mills, St. Mary's returns its entire starting frontcourt in Diamon Simpson, Omar Samhan and Ian O'Leary. Wayne Hunter and Indiana transfer Ben Allen figure to play prominent roles after redshirting last season, and freshmen Collin Chiverton and Tim Williams could bolster an already strong supporting cast.

Mills' play at the Olympics also has led to speculation that this season will be his last with St. Mary's, as some online 2009 NBA mock drafts list him as a first-round pick.

Mills, however, said his sole focus these days is helping the Gaels win the West Coast Conference and get back to the NCAA Tournament.

'It was definitely a massive challenge that I faced and one that I learned a lot from,' Mills said of the Olympics. 'That's where I come in and try to pass what I've learned onto the boys here.'

Courtesy of http://www.insidebayarea.com/


Gold Coast Blaze 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
GOLD COAST BLAZE SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 15-15, eighth in regular season, 0-1 in playoffs, lost to Townsville playoffs first round
Points For: 96ppg, twelfth
Points Against: 96ppg, fifth
Field Goal Percentage: 46%, fourth
Rebounds: 44rpg, twelfth
Assists: 20apg, fifth
Blocked Shots: 2bpg, thirteenth
NBL Titles: None
NBL Playoff Appearances: 1 (last time 2008)
Homecourt: Gold Coast Convention Centre, capacity 5000
Head Coach: Brendan Joyce (career record 209-194)
Projected Starters: Shane Heal, James Harvey, Juaquin Hawkins, Luke Whitehead, Ben Melmeth
Bench: Pero Cameron, Casey Frank, Scott McGregor, Daniel Joyce, Tyson Demos


Gordon Greaves Its always tough for a new franchise to make some waves on debut, but the Blaze did a fine job in their opening campaign, reaching the postseason where so many other first-year franchises have failed miserably.

Gold Coast plays in a glittering venue with some excellent community support and with the demise of the Brisbane Bullets are now the banner team in south east Queensland. There is a palpable sense of excitement around this franchise and thats a tribute to their off court management team.

Brendan Joyce shook off the disappointment of his final campaign in charge of the Wollongong Hawks to lead this team well from the bench (although its still weird to see Choco in a suit). Not surprisingly he got the group to play defence immediately and that made them competitive right off the bat.

What he couldnt do however is get this team to score consistently they ranked second last in the league in points scored last season- and thats something theyll need to improve upon in 2008/09.

Getting former Houston Rocket Juaquin Hawkins back from his illness will help there, as of course will the addition of Shane Heal, who left the South Dragons after struggling as a player-coach. Despite all his achievements, Hammer will probably feel like he has a point to prove and whenever he has that attitude, he becomes very dangerous.

This team has excellent size and strength up front. James Harvey is a legitimate star at two guard and forms what is, on paper, a deadly backcourt combo with Heal. In the offseason they were fairly stable with few changes and that should see the chemistry improve even further this season.

Its an exciting time to be a Blaze fan while they arent quite yet at the level of a Melbourne, they are certainly headed in the right direction, and although theres no question garnering a playoff spot in the revamped format this season is going to be a tough ask, they will be right up there in crunch time.


CENTRE

Ben Melmeth (8.6ppg, 5.3rpg) averaged the lowest points per game of his 13-year career in the National Basketball League. He averaged just 17 minutes per contest and made just 23 appearances as he struggled with injury and consistency. The 611 big man can still give you some quality minutes and its hard not to like his face-up game and ability to put the ball on the floor, but he is clearly slowing down and when you look at the Blazes frontline depth you wouldnt expect his minutes to improve this season. In point of fact it would not be a surprise to see him moved to the bench to become a valuable reserve.


FORWARDS

The Blaze will go with two imports at the forward positions this season, returning both Juaquin Hawkins and Luke Whitehead in lieu of bringing back guard Jason Crowe for another go-around.

Hawkins (13.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.4apg, 1.8spg, 52% FG) played just 19 games last season before he was cut down by, of all things, a minor stroke. But in his 19 appearances he displayed the kind of productivity his coach expected after chasing him for several years, and he proved he was a more than capable three man in this league. Now fully recovered, expect The Hawk to make his mark this season.

The 67 Whitehead (13.6ppg, 9.rpg), whose fall when playing for the University of Louisville ranks as one of the scarier You Tube sporting moments, came in late to replace Hawkins and was an aggressive rebounder with some ability to score around the basket. Hes a good combo forward wholl spend most of his time at the four spot, and although undersized you have to like the way he gets after it.


GUARDS

Shane Heal (15.8ppg, 3.9apg, 41% 3PT FG, 86% FT) suffered through a disastrous final season at the Dragons as a player-coach, but is now determined to put that experience behind him and is set for a potential banner year. There are always people ready to criticise the combative guard and he thrives on that whenever he feels a perceived slight he makes it his business to prove people wrong. Anyone doubting his ability, despite his age, despite the fact hes played hurt for a couple of years, is in for a shock. With a coach he respects in charge, and an excellent partner in the backcourt, look for Heal to put up some serious numbers.

All-NBL Second Teamer James Harvey (21.4ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.2apg, 50% FG, 45% 3PT FG, 81% FT) had arguably his best season as a pro in 2007/08. He was every bit the franchise player as advertised a tremendous scorer who is brilliant at creating off the dribble, is much improved from the perimeter and an excellent finisher. With Heal alongside him this time he should get more than his fair share of opportunities to excel, and youd expect him to rank among the league leaders in scoring once again.


BENCH

Once Coach Joyce figured out how to use him, Pero Cameron seemed to get better the longer the season went on. Hes a big-time talent in a big-time body. Casey Frank is an aggressive, athletic big man who is at his best in transition. Scott McGregor is an ideal backup forward, Tyson Demos showed some flashes last year and Daniel Joyce should be improved under Heals tutelage. The Blaze have also signed Greg Vanderjagt as insurance should one of their bigs go down.


BURNING QUESTION

At age 37, can Shane Heal still bring it every night? His numbers dropped away last season, but was that age catching up or the pressures of the combined player-coach role taking their toll? The Blaze will be hoping Heal is smarting from all the negativity he endured last season and is itching to make amends because, when Heal is well motivated, he becomes a guy thats difficult to stop at the best of times.


PROGNOSIS

They may not be in that upper echelon of NBL clubs just yet, but the Blaze are progressing nicely. With the playoff format rejigged to include just six teams its going to be a lot tougher to reach the postseason, but I see them in a group of about five teams going for the bottom two playoff slots. They are capable of getting there, especially if Heal turns back the clock, Harvey has another banner year and the two imports give them decent production every night.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


Melbourne Tigers 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
MELBOURNE TIGERS SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 22-8, second in regular season, 5-2 in playoffs, NBL Champions
Points For: 103ppg, third
Points Against: 96ppg, fourth
Field Goal Percentage: 48%, first
Rebounds: 48rpg, third
Assists: 22apg, first
Blocked Shots: 4bpg, third
NBL Titles: Four (1993, 1997, 2006, 2008)
NBL Playoff Appearances: 19 (last time 2008)
Homecourt: State Netball & Hockey Centre, capacity 3500
Head Coach: Alan Westover (4th season with Melbourne, career record 85-28)
Projected Starters: David Barlow, Ebi Ere (195-G/F-81, college: Oklahoma), Rod Grizzard, Sam Mackinnon, Chris Anstey
Bench: Stephen Hoare, Nathan Crosswell, Daryl Corletto, Tommy Greer, Daniel Johnson


The most dominant team in the National Basketball League over the past three seasons got their second championship in the Al Westover era in 2007/08 after one of the greatest playoff series in NBL history with the Sydney Kings.

In five pulsating games, the Tigers finally overcame a tenacious Kings outfit, again winning a title on the floor of the Sydney Entertainment Centre. It was even more meritorious when you consider they had to recover from the shock of losing a Game Four at home they had all but sewn up at the end of the third quarter, before the Kings launched their near-mythical comeback to tie up the series at 2-2.

Melbourne prevailed in a tough decider in front of a sellout crowd, thanks to their size, their ability to hit the key shots and ultimately their championship experience.

And even though theyve lost some key contributors to that title run, especially Dave Thomas and the great Darryl McDonald, theyll still enter the 2008/09 campaign as a standout favourite to repeat.

The reason? Well for starters, theyve recruited exceptionally well once again, getting Sam Mackinnon from the defunct Brisbane Bullets to replace David Stiff, athletic scorer Rod Grizzard to replace Thomas, and most shockingly, uber-scorer Ebi Ere, who signed in somewhat controversial circumstances recently.

Ere was expected to sign with the Dragons, who reportedly allowed him to pursue an NBA opportunity before going with another import. When Eres NBA aspirations werent fulfilled, the Tigers swooped, adding the former Oklahoma Sooner and Brisbane Bullet to an already loaded roster.

If nothing else, the Ere episode will just ramp up the rivalry between the Tigers and the Dragons who doesnt believe that first game at Hisense (formerly Vodafone) Arena between these two wont attract a sellout crowd?

The interesting thing about the Tigers is that while they have an undeniably talented roster, people shouldnt be too quick to anoint them as some unstoppable super team, because they do have some giant question marks.

Losing D-Mac is going to hurt them enormously, and they havent addressed their glaringly obvious need for a legitimate PG on the roster, instead taking a chance on David Barlow, whose ballhandling under pressure was exposed at the Olympics.

Mackinnon has been hurt the past year or so and is always going to be a risk with that knee. As great as the former League MVP has been, hes going to be expected to shoulder a large load at the four spot and one wonders how much tread is left on those tires.

The bench, which really didnt do that much in the Grand Final series against the Kings, is pretty much a case of as you were, albeit Stephen Hoare is still a great sixth man, Tommy Greer could be set for a breakout season and there are those that believe the Tigers got a steal with the recruitment of big man Daniel Johnson from Pepperdine University.

Theres no doubt that, based on the on-paper talent they have assembled, the Melbourne Tigers should repeat. They have size across the board, incredible talent, and a winning culture that Westover has fostered brilliantly. However, one suspects they wont have it quite their own way in 2008/09 there are at least two ballclubs out there who could knock them off their throne.


CENTRE

The reigning Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year, Chris Anstey (21.8ppg, 11.6rpg, 2.5apg, 2.0bpg, 1.5spg) has been the ace in the hole for Coach Westover these past three seasons. Hes the one guy in the league no one can match up with effectively and realistically theres no way Melbourne wins those two rings without him. Say what you want about his seeming lack of desire to go down into the low post for any appreciable length of time which drives some Tiger fans batty the guy just gets it done week in, week out. When youve got that incredible length, when you can pick and pop with the best of em, knock down the trey and run the floor as well as he does, youve got weapons that no one can defend at this level. Then add in the fact that defensively hes a disruptive influence to say the least not only will he throw stuff out consistently but hes a menace in the passing lanes with those long arms. As Anstey goes, so go the Tigers, and if he produces another MVP-calibre season theres no question this team will be enormously difficult to stop.


FORWARDS

Getting another former league MVP in Sam Mackinnon (14.0ppg, 7.5rpg, 4.1apg, 51% FG) is on the surface a tremendous coup for Melbourne. He was awesome for Brisbane in their title run a couple of seasons back and hell end his career as one of the best players this country has ever produced. But he only appeared in 15 games for the Bullets last season and has suffered through some injuries of late, so the question will be will he stay healthy for an entire season? When he is in form, there are few better hes dynamic in transition, an excellent passer, a superior defender, and his perimeter game has improved in his later years. If the Tigers get that old Sammy Mac in 2008/09 look out NBL.

Grizzard (19.4ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg) was an intriguing off-season pickup for the Tigers given their more pressing needs at the point and the fact they already had a surplus of small forward types. More slasher than shooter, the former Alabama standout had a fine season for the Singapore Slingers and is devastating in transition, which obviously endeared him to the Tiger hierarchy. Hell be expected to score freely and get on the boards, but hes not the defender DT was and its questionable that hes an upgrade at the three spot.


GUARDS

When he was a member of the Sydney Kings, Brian Goorjian groomed David Barlow (16.6ppg, 4.9rpg) to become a guard one day. And why not at 69 he showed that he could handle the rock, penetrate and get to the rack, and knock down the outside shot. Now he gets a chance to show he can get it done in the backcourt for real as Westover hands him the reins in what is a calculated risk. As outstanding as Barlow was last season remember that unbelievable 14-for-14 shooting performance youre now asking a guy who averaged ONE assist per game last season, a guy whos always looked more comfortable getting the ball on the wing and making decisions there, to suddenly become your primary ballhandler and setup man. That will be one of the really interesting stories in this NBL season seeing how Barlow adjusts to his new role.

Ebi Ere (26.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.1apg, 1.7spg, 41% 3PT FG) sure likes his jewellery he already has two rings from three NBL seasons. The 65 swingman (boy, the Tigers sure have cornered the market on athletic swingmen) had an exceptional season for the Bullets in 2007/08, shouldering a lot of the offensive burden with Mackinnon ailing and winding up garnering All-NBL First Team honours. He is an explosive offensive force who has the ability to blast opposing teams right out of the gym on his own; hes devastating in transition and can pull up on a dime and knock down the outside J. Now that he doesnt have CJ Bruton passing him the ball it will be interesting to see how effective hell be, because hes always been a guy that needs the ball in his hands but, if the Tigers get him the rock, hell generate some big numbers.


BENCH

Stephen Hoare was finally usurped as Best Sixth Man in the league by the Kings Dontaye Draper last season, but now that the little dynamo is plying his trade in Italy, look for Sneaky to make another run at it in 2008/09. Tommy Greer is an athletic three guy they need to find some more minutes. Daryl Corletto is one of the better standstill jump shooters in the league, Nate Crosswell will take his slashing, hard-driving game to the pine and Daniel Johnson is going to be a good one in a couple of years.

BURNING QUESTION
Can David Barlow play the point? You gotta expect a lot of teams to pressure the Tigers up and down the floor if they see Barlow bringing the ball up. Neither Ere or Grizzard has great handles so the pressure will be squarely on the 69 swingman, who has never before had this type of responsibility. Not that he cant handle it hes ridiculously talented after all but it is one of the biggest issues this otherwise stacked Tiger outfit will face this season.


PROGNOSIS

Youd have to be incredibly brave to predict anything less than a top two finish for Melbourne. They just have way too much size, talent and firepower to expect anything less. But with all that great talent, I still think they dont look as balanced as they could have been with a genuine point guard and lets face it, neither Crosswell nor Corletto qualifies on that front. As intimidating as they look on paper, we could see this group give up a lot of turnovers that and losing two great defenders in DT and D-Mac is something they are going to have to adjust to. Definite championship favourites without question but I dont see them as the unstoppable juggernaut some people are making them out to be.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


Wollongong Hawks 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
WOLLONGONG HAWKS SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 9-21, eleventh in regular season, missed playoffs
Points For: 98ppg, eighth
Points Against: 104ppg, ninth
Field Goal Percentage: 45%, eighth
Rebounds: 44rpg, eleventh
Assists: 18apg, ninth
Blocked Shots: 3bpg, twelfth
NBL Titles: One (2001)
NBL Playoff Appearances: 15 (last time 2006)
Homecourt: WIN Entertainment Centre, capacity 5800
Head Coach: Eric Cooks (2nd season with Wollongong, career record 12-33)
Projected Starters: Kavossy Franklin (188-G-75, college: Augusta St.), Mathew Campbell, Glen Saville, Dusty Rychart, Cameron Tragardh
Bench: Anthony Petrie, Lindsay Tait, Larry Davidson, Rhys Martin, Daniel Jackson


For a team that has been a regional powerhouse for a number of years its been a lean couple of seasons for the Wollongong Hawks, who havent made the playoffs since the departure of coach Brendan Joyce.

There was even the distinct possibility in the offseason that the team would fold, which would have been a tragedy given they enter this year as the only original NBL franchise left standing. Thanks to some great community support genuine people power they have however managed to survive and thrive.

Last season an underpowered lineup failed to make much impression on the league. They uncharacteristically struggled at the defensive end of the floor, had well-publicised import issues with both James Peters and Angelo Reyes not living up to expectations and could never get a genuine run going all year.

But this is a team eyeing off a postseason berth in 2008/09, despite the fact most judges believe theyll be on the outside looking in when all is said and done. Theyve picked up a known quantity at the power forward spot in Dusty Rychart and most importantly welcome back a favourite son, Glen Saville, into the fold back where he belongs.

Its hard to underestimate the importance of Savilles coming back to Wollongong. It was always a strange experience to see him in a Sydney Kings uniform after all those years of outstanding service with the Hawks, and hes a huge upgrade at the three spot for them, despite looking out of sorts at times last season with Sydney.

Anthony Petrie arrives to give the team some more depth up front hes going to make someones All-Underrated list this season and Lindsay Tait, who played brilliantly at times last season before getting hurt, is back to provide an excellent backup at both guard spots.

Its hard to argue that the Hawks wont have a tough time making some noise this season. There are, after all, plenty of other ballclubs with stronger, more talented line-ups. Although Eric Cooks still has a lot to prove as a head coach at this level, I wouldnt be surprised if Wollongong makes a gritty drive towards the playoffs. The chemistry should be really good; theyll play hard every night and should get some decent support at home now the community has invested in their future.

If you had to make a dark horse pick this is the team.


CENTRE

The leagues Most Improved Player, Cameron Tragardh (17.5ppg, 7.8rpg, 54% FG) came into the season in the best shape of his career I pointed out at one stage he looked like a before and after Jenny Craig commercial but no one could have foreseen how effective he was going to be. Hes always had the offensive ability at the second level, routinely racking up 40 points a game in the QABL, but it never before translated to NBL play. However, he exploded in 2007/08, more than doubling his scoring average and tripling his rebounding numbers from the previous season. He was active, determined, ran the floor well and showed a quality face-up game. He wasnt afraid to mix it up inside and delighted in taking down more highly-rated opponents. The Hawks are hoping for more of the same.


FORWARDS

As far as Wollongong fans are concerned, all is right with the world now that Glen Saville (10.6ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.2apg) is back wearing the red, white and black. One of the greatest players in franchise history, his move to the Kings in 2007/08 was a source of angst among the Hawk faithful, but you better believe they will welcome him back with open arms. The interesting thing about Sav is that some people will look at his numbers last season in Sydney and think he is on the decline, but that doesnt take into account the fact he was in a spread-the-wealth offence in a ten-deep squad that naturally limited his opportunities. He never seemed to truly understand what his role was albeit he was still the great defender and finisher in transition that he has always been. Hes excited about donning the uniform again and youd expect him to undergo a renaissance in the Gong.

Dusty Rychart (16.2ppg, 9.3rpg, 54% FG) has been called many things throughout his NBL career The Garbage Man and Mr Efficiency are a couple of notable monikers, and both are apt. You always find him around the basket cleaning up other peoples mess and hes an efficient scorer in the halfcourt. Hes just so damn reliable despite not looking like hes going to be competitive against bigger, stronger and faster guys he always finds a way to get the job done. His work on the boards at both ends continues to amaze. Hes one of the smartest players in the game and has the great work ethic. This was a very safe, very smart pick-up by the Hawks and his combination with Sav is going to be a good one.


GUARDS

Kavossy Franklin (21.7ppg, 4.9apg, 5.3rpg, 1.2spg) had a superb campaign in 2007/08 and was named to the All-NBL Third Team. I questioned his credentials as a playmaker in my preview of that season, and boy, did he ever make me eat my words, coming up with a career-high in assists and establishing himself as one of the elite point guards in this league. The man is just a hell of a ballplayer hes strong with the rock, can post up anyone, can hit the three and midrange J, finds the open man, and rebounds like a demon. He loves the game, is ultra-competitive, and his enthusiasm rubs off on everyone else on that roster. Hell be even more excited now that the Hawks have upgraded their talent level and will be hooking up with Saville on the fast break more often than not.

Mat Campbell (14.2ppg, 2.8rpg, 42% 3PT FG) had some injury problems last season, but when healthy still showed he has a lot to offer, and has to be excited now that his old partner in crime Saville is back in town. Campbell is a fine perimeter shooter who is at his best pulling up in transition and knocking down the triple, although he has never been averse to going hard to the hole and drawing fouls. He should be re-energised this season provided he is over his various ailments, and he will lead this team well as always.


BENCH

Anthony Petrie did an excellent job for West Sydney last season and improves the frontcourt depth considerably. Larry Davidson may look like a 611 homeless guy but he can play this game and when sufficiently motivated can be very productive. Lindsay Tait is a hard-driving, hard-charging guard who is a killer in transition, while Rhys Martin comes across from Brisbane and Dan Jackson shows promise as a quality swingman.


BURNING QUESTION

Is Eric Cooks the man to lead this club from the bench? A 12-33 career mark isnt exactly inspiring, but it some cases its what youve been given to work with that dictates your performance in the coaching hot-seat. This season should give us a better handle on whether Cookie is the real deal hell be leading a team with more talent and overall experience than hes had before so there should be no excuses this time.


PROGNOSIS

Okay, so Wollongong isnt at the level of a Melbourne, or a Perth, or a South Dragons. Thats pretty obvious. But for those automatically writing them off this season and there are a few out there you need to carefully evaluate this team and dont make the mistake of not expecting them to mount a serious challenge. They will likely fly under the radar most of the season as other teams get more ink and hype, but dont be surprised if they wind up in the playoffs. Others have better credentials, but given all thats happened to this franchise over the past year, I just have a gut feeling that the Hawks are going to do something special in 2008/09.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


Perth Wildcats 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
PERTH WILDCATS SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 18-12, fourth in regular season, 2-2 in playoffs, lost to Sydney Kings NBL semi-finals
Points For: 97ppg, eleventh
Points Against: 91ppg, second
Field Goal Percentage: 46%, fifth
Rebounds: 47rpg, fourth
Assists: 20apg, sixth
Blocked Shots: 4bpg, fourth
NBL Titles: Four (1990, 1991, 1995, 2000)
NBL Playoff Appearances: 22 (last time 2008)
Homecourt: Challenge Stadium, capacity 4500
Head Coach: Conner Henry (1st season with Perth)
Projected Starters: Darnell Hinson (186-G-80, college: Northeastern St.), Peter Crawford, Shawn Redhage, Alex Loughton, Paul Rogers
Bench: Isiah Victor, Ben Knight, Stephen Weigh, Brad Robbins, Adam Caporn, Jeff Dowdell


For years, Wildcat supporters have dined out on certain prognosticators claiming their team was too old, too slow, too this, too that and that they werent a realistic title contender despite boasting the incredible record of never missing the playoffs since, wait for it, 1986.

Heck, one well known commentator in the internet realm even said the Wildcats wouldnt even make the playoffs last season. Oops.

Perth fans, who have been the best in the country for a while now check out the atmosphere at a sold out game at The Jungle if you dont believe me absolutely dine out on any negativity thrown at their beloved Cats. Its like they wear it as a badge of honour.

Well, I dont know how theyll cope this season, because I dont know anyone (besides Sam Mackinnon maybe) who looks at the roster Nick Marvin as good a CEO as youll find, by the way and Andrew Vlahov have built and doesnt believe these guys are a massive threat to win the whole damn thing.

Example - the Perth Wall was great last season but is going to another level in 2008/09. Not only have they managed to retain their key members from last season, theyve also managed to add underrated import Isiah Victor and workhorse forward Ben Knight to the group. Im calling it right now, and its not like its a shocker or anything this is the best frontline in the league.

And after years of fruitless searching for that point guard to lead them to the promised land, they may have finally got their man in ex-West Sydney import Darnell Hinson, who played exceptionally well for the Razorbacks last season and is going to thrive playing in a team with so much talent.

The Wildcats had another winning season in 2007/08 and took the Sydney Kings to three games in the Semis, albeit they ended their campaign with a nasty taste in the mouth after being obliterated by the Kings in the series decider.

If nothing else, for the guys on the floor that night who return this season, that should be even more motivation to really do something special in 2008/09. Like they needed another reason.

New coach Conner Henry has inherited a team that is going to have big expectations placed upon it, and rightly so. Okay, so Paul Rogers health is a bit of a concern, Ill give you that. But its been years maybe never since this ballclub has featured this kind of depth. And thats even without discussing another recruit, young Stephen Weigh, who a number of good judges believe is going to be a heck of a player some day.

Sorry Perth fans, but if you expect people to underestimate your team this season, no sale. The only surprise for anyone will be if they fail to make at least a top four spot in the regular season and frankly, based on this lineup, Im not so sure that anything less than top two would be a disappointment.

Bottom line this team is loaded and ready to go.


CENTRE

Paul Rogers (12.2ppg, 9.2rpg, 2.7apg, 1.2bpg, 54% FG) saw his stats decline a little from his excellent 2006/07 campaign but some of that could be attributed to a variety of niggling injuries he struggled with most of the season. Hes still one of the better five men in the league and is a tremendous leader of this ballclub, rebounds well and is an excellent passer out of the high post. You love the way he runs the pick and roll and the fact hes always been a guy who hustles and puts his body on the line every night. He is questionable for the start of the season but when he becomes available he is the man who anchors that awesome Perth frontline.


FORWARDS

Its very much a case of as you were for the starting forwards in this lineup as both Shawn Redhage and Alex Loughton return to pound on enemy defences.

Second year power forward Loughton (14.4ppg, 7.0rpg, 44% 3PT FG) had a solid debut season in the National Basketball League. Hes a versatile guy in that hell bang on the inside and also take people out to the perimeter with that outside game he possesses in point of fact he was one of Perths more reliable three-ball shooters in a team that otherwise struggled to knock it down from long distance. He can play the five spot when required, he can get up and down the floor well and he figures to improve his overall production in 2008/09.

The rise and rise of Shawn Redhage (22.8ppg, 8.0rpg, 3.3apg, 53% FG, 80% FT) continues. Not only did the former Arizona State Academic All-American be named to the All-NBL First Team but he also made the Australian Olympic team as a naturalised player. Not bad for a guy who started off in SEABL and was dumped by New Zealand. Hes one of the smartest, most efficient players in the league, a better athlete than sometimes given credit for, an excellent passer and someone who never tries to overplay his hand and do too much. Hes such a difficult matchup at this level because hes too big for most threes and too quick for most fours, and hes one of the most reliable scorers in this league. So long as he is around, you always have to give the Cats a better than even chance to succeed.


GUARDS

Peter Crawford (14.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.6apg, 1.7spg, 83% FT) has always been criticised for his lack of ball security, but last season he made a genuine effort to stay more in control and in the process cut down on his turnovers 2.5tpg representing his lowest error rate since 2004. Hes an atypical two guard in some respects, given he isnt quite the consistent perimeter shooter youd like to see but its hard not to be impressed by how hard he always plays and his commitment at the defensive end of the floor. Offensively hes a slasher, a finisher, and devastating in transition.

He may not be your regular one guard, but the Cats believe ex-West Sydney import Darnell Hinson (20.5ppg, 4.3apg, 2.8rpg, 2.0spg) is the right man to lead them this season. The Mike Tyson lookalike was essentially given a licence to shoot by the Pigs but will be expected to be more of a playmaker in a lineup that is a quantum leap over the talent he played with last season. Hes got a great first step and hes phenomenally strong, but the key is going to be whether he can hit the outside shot - 35% from long distance is not going to be good enough this season. Unless he can prove that he can stick it from distance opposing teams are just going to sit in a pack-it-in zone and dare him to beat them that in turn will make life difficult for Perths big people.


BENCH

Man, this is one stacked bench. Ben Knight is on his 3,000th NBL club (just kidding BK you know we love ya) and looks to be a perfect fit as that hard-working, lunch-pail type who just goes in and does the dirty work every night. Isiah Victor showed flashes of his exceptional talent in limited minutes with Sydney. Brad Robbins is the perfect backup at point, Adam Caporn still has a lot to offer and young Stephen Weigh, who left the Utah Utes early to start his pro career, has the luxury of being able to learn from some great experienced ballplayers and will be brought along slowly but make no mistake, hes a talent.


BURNING QUESTION

Can they hit from the perimeter consistently? The Cats finished in the bottom third of NBL teams in three-point shooting last season, and with a roster geared toward interior play its vital they can knock shots down to get teams to spread the floor and allow their bigs space to operate. The one issue they do have is that they dont really have anyone in the backcourt known for lighting it up from the outside regularly, and that could hurt them in the end.


PROGNOSIS

Maybe its because Perth is on the other side of the country that people keep underestimating them. Out of sight, out of mind? I dunno. But you wont count me as one of those. I think the Wildcats have done an outstanding job with their squad this season. I know Henry is a rookie coach, and some might say the roster is too top heavy. But the chemistry should be excellent, they are going to overwhelm some teams with their inside power. So long as they maintain their typical defensive mindset, getting a win against this team, especially at The Jungle, is going to be a very tough ask. I think nothing less than a championship should satisfy Wildcat fans this season.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


Cairns Taipans 2008/09 season preview - by Eurobasket News
CAIRNS TAIPANS SEASON PREVIEW

Last season: 16-14, sixth in regular season, 1-1 in playoffs, lost to Brisbane NBL Quarter-Finals
Points For: 98ppg, ninth
Points Against: 94ppg, third
Field Goal Percentage: 47%, third
Rebounds: 44rpg, thirteenth
Assists: 17apg, eleventh
Blocked Shots: 4bpg, sixth
NBL Titles: None
NBL Playoff Appearances: 4 (last time 2008)
Homecourt: Cairns Convention Centre, capacity 5300
Head Coach: Alan Black (4th season with Cairns, career record 273-206)
Projected Starters: Darnell Mee, Stephen Black, Dave Thomas, Martin Cattalini, Larry Abney
Bench: Ian Crosswhite, Aaron Grabau, Gary Boodnikoff, Matt Smith, Scott Cook


Alan Black has taken this franchise to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as Head Coach, but the Taipans are yet to make an appearance in the NBL Grand Final series and there is a feeling they underachieved last season despite boasting one of the most powerful line-ups in the competition.

Nathan Jawai was a runaway Rookie of the Year winner, the team was impressive defensively most of the year and they continued to receive awesome support from the local community. Given a level of expectation that they were going to be a legitimate title contender however there was a palpable sense of disappointment once the New Zealand Breakers dumped them unceremoniously from the post-season.

And now with Jawai plying his trade in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, there is a touch of uncertainty about this squad, especially once you factor in Darnell Mees age and health concerns, Stephen Blacks ongoing back problems and Martin Cattalini not being truly healthy for a couple of seasons now (he missed 15 games as it was in 2007/08).

They havent done too much to shore up their existing roster, albeit Dave Thomas was an astute pickup and Ian Crosswhite emerged from the wreckage of the Kings to give the Snakes a big body to replace Jawai. DT in particular is a guy who can play multiple positions and allow coach Black to go big or small as circumstances dictate.

Its difficult to proclaim this group as a legit contender. Theyve yet to prove they can be and although youd still expect them to mount a decent playoff challenge, its hard to see them being able to compete with the likes of Melbourne or Perth when it comes right down to it.

Its an aging, injury-plagued group that needs to find more scoring from somewhere and must have a lot of things go their way if they are to shock a lot of people and really put the heat on the best this league has to offer.


CENTRE

Larry The Birdman Abney (16.3ppg, 8.8rpg, 1.0spg, 49% FG) didnt have quite the impact as a high-profile signee from intra-state rival Townsville that the Taipan hierarchy would have hoped for in 2007/08. His scoring dropped nearly five points per and he wasnt the dominant rebounder of seasons past although some of that could admittedly be attributed to the presence of one Nathan Jawai. Still, he remains a fierce competitor, and a guy who you can always count on to put on his hard hat and go to work every night. Youd like to see him play more at the four spot his natural position - because he does get beaten up by the bigger pivots in this league, but on the other hand his quickness and athleticism is something he can take advantage of against the stronger fives out there.


FORWARDS

It was a tough year for Martin Cattalini (13.6ppg, 4.5rpg) as injuries continued to haunt him. He played only 15 games, his points per average was his lowest since 1997 and he was a shadow of the guy who terrorised the competition in the previous season. This is his fourteenth campaign in the National Basketball League hard to believe hes been around that long and one wonders how much tread is left on those tires, considering hes only ever known one way to play all out, all of the time. If he can stay clear of the injury bug Cairns will receive an enormous boost, but given his recent history, thats a big if.

No question the Taipans had their issues with the second import last season, so the signing of solid citizen Dave Thomas (11.0ppg, 5.8rpg) was extremely important for this organisation. The former Tiger won another championship in 2007/08 and has been a flat-out winner his entire career. His numbers dipped last season with a stacked Melbourne squad, and he is not someone that can deliver you 20 points a game consistently, but he remains a superior defender, an excellent rebounder, and a guy who can guard multiple positions on the floor and is extremely versatile.


GUARDS

Stephen Black (17.4ppg, 5.6apg, 91% FT) is never spoken of as a tough guy, but you have to pay tribute to his courage and grit considering the back injury hes had to fight through for the past few years. He was hurt last season yet still managed to appear in 31 games, and provided the usual hustle and tenacity weve come to expect from him. Hes a terrific outside shooter, he can still turn the corner on you, and hes always been underrated as a distributor of the rock. Cairns will sweat on his fitness every night and if he can somehow remain healthy that will be a giant fillip to this teams chances.

Hes been one of the greatest American-born players ever to ply his trade in the NBL, but theres no question Darnell Mee (8.7ppg, 3.8apg, 4.3rpg) is on the tail-end of his career. Injuries limited him to just nine appearances last season and you gotta believe that spectre will continue to worry him. When healthy there are none better at poke-checking the basketball from an unsuspecting ballcarrier, and he knows how to run a team efficiently.


BENCH

Jawais departure necessitated the search for another big man, and when the Sydney Kings went under, the team gratefully snapped up enigmatic 611 centre Ian Crosswhite, who is talented but yet to reach his undoubted potential. Stalwart Aaron Grabau returns for his tenth season and is a superior defender and Gary Boodnikoff is a perimeter weapon off the pine. Matt Smith surprised on occasion in 2007/08 with some productive minutes in spot relief and Scott Cook is a nice end-of-the-bench option at guard.


BURNING QUESTION

Can they avoid the injury bug for most of the season? Despite reaching the Semis in two of the past three seasons, the Taipans have had more of their fair share of trouble with injuries and probably deserve a break in 2008/09. If they can stay relatively healthy that will go a long way to getting this team back where they feel like they belong as a Top Four team in the competition.


PROGNOSIS

Dave Thomas was an excellent recruit, but you just feel the Taipans havent done enough to improve their roster and are relying on too many guys with injury concerns to play through a tough, grinding season. On paper, the starting five is outstanding and they have some good size coming off the bench, but all it will take is another long-term injury to the likes of Cattalini or Black to scuttle their chances in 2008/09.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of the National Basketball League.

Courtesy of NBL (by Matt McQuade)


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  BELGIUM   


Div 2 News - by Peter Buyse

Div 2 team Bree has announced the addition of 2 more players to its roster.
Ed Norvell (188-G-76, college: Kent St.) and Michael Meeks (207-C/F-72, college: Canisius) who had been practising with the team and played in several pre-season games have signed their contracts this week.
It is not sure if Norvel will be eligible for the first game of the D2 season this coming weekend.

In other news from D2 and in fact most other division, they are now allowed to have an unlimited number of foreign players on their roster.
As long of course as they labout laws and regulations apply to those players.


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  BULGARIA   


Rilski sportist plays three friendlies in Turkey - by Eurobasket News
Rilski sportist registered two victories and one defeat on international tournament in Turkey. With new head coach Aleksandar Todorov on the bench Rilski beat Olin Edirne 79-75. Bulgarian team had wonderful start netting 30 points in the first frame, 30-20. The hosts improved its game in the second frame closing the gap to 6 points at the half time. Third period was the crucial one as Rilski once again extended lead to ten points, what was enough for the victory at the end. New player Dragoslav Papic (205-C/F-87, agency: Global Sports Plaza) paced Rilski to victory draining 27 points. Branko Mirkovic (185-G-82, agency: Global Sports Plaza) followed him nailing 19.
In the second game Rilski suffered defeat against Usakspor 77-83. Aleksandar Gruev (187-G-83) was the best in Rilski adding 16 points. Travis Peterson (208-C-85, agency: Edge Sports, college: Samford) had 14 while Bogdan Boev (196-G-82) stopped on 10 points.
In third game Rilski met ITU, which had important role in Turkish D1 over the past few years. However, the team competes now in D2. Thanks to wonderfull performance by Travis Peterson, Rilski succeeded to take this one 86-81. After 14 points in the second game, this time Peterson poured in 25. Aleksandar Gruev had 13 while Bogdan Boev finished the game with 9 points.

At the middle of September Riski sportist will be the host of strong tournament where except of Rilski, Spartak Pleven and Cherno more, Macedonian champion Feni Industri will also take a place.


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  CHINA   


Jin JIn Hui is on the way to game - by Robert Wang
Ding Jin Hui from Zhe jiang Wan Ma team got injury on his knew and bothered his training in national team recently. He was sent back to his own - Wan Ma team. In the Straits tournament in Zhe Jiang province, he led his team beat all other 3 teams, Zhe Jiang guang sha, Tai Wan Da Xin and Tai Wan Yu Long. He is now on the way back well to his game. Ding led his team beat Zhe Jiang guang sha at 77:61. The next game, Wan Ma beat Tai Wan Yu Long over 30 points. They will play ther last game in Tia Zhou and Fing said he would take the Champion back to his team in the final game. Ding is on the way well and this would much help his team to prepare his team to go to the new season.

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  CROATIA   


Zadar cruises past Ural Great in a friendly, Planinic debuts in CSKA - by Eurobasket News
Croatian teams continued with beating Ural Great Perm in a friendly games this month. After Split, which celebrated once, Ural suffered second defeat against Zadar. The game was played in new Zadar's gym where reining Croatian champion was better 92-81. New face in Zadar Romel Beck (203-G/F-82, agency: Interperformances, college: UNLV) demonstrated fantastic performance draining 28 points. It seems that Zadar picked the right players this summer as Hrvoje Peric (203-F-85) and Tomislav Ruzic (208-F/C-79) also shined. Peric netted 19 points while Ruzic scored three points less. Point guard Rok Stipcevic (189-G-86) followed them with 13 points. Hero from the first game against Ural Jere Macura (204-F/C-80, college: Notre Dame) this time stopped on 9 points. As a reminder, he nailed 23 points in the first one. Deyan Ivanov, Malik Dixon and Todor Gecevski once again wasn't able to help their teammates. Head coach of Zadar Aco Petrovic also announced that he won't count on young Pavle Marcinkovic for the upcoming season.

In the meantime Zoran Planinic (198-G-82) made his debut in jersey of current Euroleague champion CSKA Moscow. His team met Olimpia Milano in a friendly game celebrating without any difficulties 81-63. Zoran Planinic helped CSKA in this game with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assists. He arrived to Russian powerhouse this summer and he supposes to be a replacement for Theodoros Papaloukas (200-G-77, agency: Interperformances), who returned to Greece.


Kvarner Novi Resort inks four new players - by Eurobasket News
A1 team Kvarner Novi Resort got four acquisitions during the past 10 days.

Davor Velcic (204-F-80) is coming from A2 team Crkvenica meaning that after two years he will return to his native Rijeka. On season 06/07 Velcic played for Slovakian team Dolny Kubin finishing Extraliga as a fourth best scorer with 19 ppg. At the same time he had 5.7 rpg, 2.9 apg and 2.8 spg for 20 games. Before Kubin, he spent more than 7 seasons in Rijeka playing for Kantrida, Sava (Triglav) Osiguranje. In 2001 and 2002 his team Sava Osiguranje succeeded to reach play-off semifinals.

Marin Modic (-85) also returned home. He played 07/08 in Spanish team Cimaga Torrelodones.

Third new face in Kvarner is David Grbesic (194-G-79), who signed 2-year deal. He had 31 appearances with Svjetlost Slavonski Brod last season averaging 12.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.4 apg and 1.1 spg. He got an invitation play on Croatian A1 league All-Star game. He already played for Kvarner on season 06/07, when the team competed in A2. For 30 games Grbesic had 13.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 2.2 apg. Except of these two teams, Grbesic also was a member of Kantrida, Geoplin Slovan, Focus Varazdin, Sibenik, Dona Dubrava and Cibona.

The team from Rijeka made a decision about the big guy. Namely, David Ugrekhelidze (207-C-83, agency: Regeneracom Sports) i Murus Andelija (208-C/F-81) spent few days on tryout with Kvarner, which decided to keep Andelija. Bosnian center played last season in USK Praha and also has experience from Greece and Slovenia.

In the meantime Kvarner lost in a friendly game against Luka Koper on the road 71-83. Kvarner used this game to test Alen Blesic (-89) and Nikola Vladovic (214-F/C-87).


Luka Koper - Kvarner Novi Resort 83:71
(10:20, 31:16, 19:14, 23:21)

Luka Koper:
Toroman 21, Richter 14, Mihalic 13, Cmer 10, Kunc 9, Simunic 7, Bubnic 6, Drzic 3, Nachbar
Kvarner Novi Resort: Mance 21, Pilepic 21, Glavinic 11, Davor Velcic 8, Spahija 8, Alen Blesic 1, Modic 1, Milenovic, Rodic, Nikola Vladovic, Cerneka, Juricic


Koper too strong for Kvarner Novi Resort, Blesic in KNR - by Marin Stipanic
BC Kvarner Novi Resort from Rijeka faced with defeat in friendly game with BC Luka Koper. Slovenian team was better 83:71. Kvarner NR opened the game having many open shots, so 1st quarter ends 20:10 for KNR. In 2ndQ it was obviously that KNR has new for upcoming season and things are still not going as coach Boris Pilepic would want. This september KNR signed Nikola Vladovic (214-87), Josip Glavinic,Jurica Spahija,Davor Velcic,Muris Andelija,Marin Modic, and few days ago David Grbesic. It seems so that young Alen Blesic (194-G-89) 'Croatian Vince Carter' is close to signing a contract with KNR.

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  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC   


Indios Win First Vs Metro - by Kerwin Abreu
Santiago: Los Indios De San Francisco got their first victory of the semifinals 109-103. It was a tuff game for Los Indios cause this is the first they win in Santiago this year. In the victory the best was Benyi Minaya (180-G) with 31 points 13-17 FG, Jamal Holden 19 points, Richard Ortega (188-G-82) 15 points 12 assits. In the lost cause Carl Elliot 20 points, Joel Ramirez 18 points 4 assits, Glen McGowan (206-F-81, college: Pepperdine) 17 points.

This was the first game of the Semifinals and the Indios took the best part of it. The next game will be next Friday in San Francisco.


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  GERMANY   


Giraffes make Lancaster deal - by Moritz Korff
TV Langen (2. Bundesliga Pro A) has sealed the signing of Ryan Lancaster (193-G-85, agency: Weller Sports - Entertainment, college: Holy Family). The 22-year-old Shooting Guard is the first American on the 2008-09 roster of coach Fabian Villmeter. Lancaster has been working out with the Giraffes since August. He spent his collegiate career at Holy Family University (NCAA2) and averaged 17.4 points as well as 3.4 rebounds per contest during 2007-08. In July 08 Lancaster attended the Eurobasket Summer League in New York.

Frankfurt explode against Banvit 101-64 - by Manuel Schust
(by Miles Schmidt Scheuber) Basketball city was warm and muggy and extremely uncomfortable, but THE Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt were even hotter and more severe as they showed an unstoppable offensive explosion against Banvit Basketbol Kulubu 100 to 64 making the Turks look like a team that had just been put together recently, while Frankfurt seemed in top pre season condition. The win gave the troops of Murat Didin a 9-2 record in preseason and must of even given Bonns coach Michael Koch some uneasy feeling about the strength and depth of the team, who was scouting the game at basketball City in preparation of the season opener on Septemer 21th in the Ballsporthalle. Even though the big strength of the team is the offense, Frankfurt showed a brilliant team effort. 'This team has a very special character on defense and has consistently showed great performaces in the last games keeping the opponent between 60-70 points. The guys are displaying great teamwork and hustle', said assistant coach Engin Gencoglu . Banvit Basketbol Kulubu finished last season in seventh place, but will need to improve themselves if they want to reach their goal. 'Our goal is to be in the top 5 teams in Turkey', explained American Joe Crispin (186-G-79, agency: Interperformances, college: Penn St.). 'Tonight they shot really well and executed their plays excellent. They stopped us inside and simply outplayed us', said American guard Antoine Agudio (191-G-85), who played at Hofstra last season.

Even with the humid temperatures in Basketball City, Frankfurt got off to a blazing start leading 4-0 on hoops from Derrick Allen (203-F-80, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Mississippi) and Anthony King (206-F/C, agency: Interperformances, college: Miami, FL). Derrick Allen is starting to get a small love affair with the outside shot as he is is using it more and more. THE Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt showed right away that playing quick and athletic will be the game plan this season. Banvit Basketbol Kulubu had absolute no success going inside so all they could do was shoot from outside. American Dalron Johnson (206-F-81, college: UNLV), who played at Courtside Frankfurt in 2005 and even had a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters showed quickly that he has a nice touch from outside burying three three pointers, which kept Banvit Basketbol Kulubu in the game trailing Frankfurt only 15 to 12. Frankfurt continued their fast break play and heads up defense. Roller hit a mid distance jumper and Evtimov from outside, who has seemed to have found his beloved swish again. Former LA Laker Joe Crispin showed why he once was in the NBA and his coolness burying an off balance shot to give Banvit Basketbol Kulubu a 23 to 20 lead. German National player Konrad Wysocki (202-F-82, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Princeton) is making it difficult to decide where he in more dangerous from outside or inside as he hit a bomb and Max Weber (201-G/F-85) also. With the score tied at 25, captain Pascal Roller (180-G-76) hit a running floater and Frankfurt had a narrow 27 to 25 lead.

THE Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt started the second quarter with a quick offensive outburst with a Shawan Robinson (187-G-83, college: Clemson) hoop and a Anthony King turn around shot. Evtimov then hit a jumper and ex Holy Cross player Keith Keith Simmons (196-G-85, college: Holy Cross) stole the ball and led a fast break and Evtimov finished with a layup. With three minutes played, Frankfurt led comfortably 38 to 29. Frankfurt continued to play with high intensity as the defense allowed little mistakes as Ilian 'Quick hands' Evtimov gave the Banvit Basketbol Kulubu offense nightmares with his smart and controlled defense. Banvit Basketbol Kulubu continued to have little ideas with the ball in the paint as they never got high percentage shots but moreover difficult shots and dangling arms in their faces. American Derrick Derrick Allen made a lay in at the buzzer and Frankfurt led 49 to 36.

In the third quarter, THE Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt finally showed that there is no third quarter jinx as they jumped on Banvit Basketbol Kulubu like a hungry Lion looking for its lost dinner. Frankfurt scored 39 points and had absolutely no mercy. Frankfurt went on a 20 to 6 run and had the game as good as decided leading 69 to 43. In this run, Frankfurt was amazing the fans with a shooting display from Shawan Robinson , Derrick Allen, Keith Simmons and Wysocki. Banvit Basketbol Kulubu continued to shoot poorly from outside and the zone play was missing in action. Ilian Evtimov (201-F-83, agency: Interperformances, college: N.Carolina St.) hit a three pointer and then dazzled the crowd with some Globetrotter mechanics stealing the ball going coast to coast, but instead of finishing noticed a streaking Wysocki behind him and threw the ball off the backboard, which the German national player retrieved in mid air and dunked it home. Frankfurt led 74 to 43 and one could slowly feel sorry for the Turkish club. Frankfurt continued to shoot hot as Roller and Shawan Robinson hit from outside and Anthony King scored inside. As Anthony King made the free throw, Frankfurt led 85 to 45 and a few kids from the Hans Thoma school started to chant 40 points. After three quarters the score of 88 to 48 looked like a final result, but there was still ten minutes to play.

The game was already decided and Frankfurt only managed 12 points in the last quarter as Banvit Basketbol Kulubu surprisingly scored more points with 15. Pascal Roller hit a three pointer and German Max Max Weber a layup. Frankfurt led 95 to 52. Banvit Basketbol Kulubu continued to go inside. In the first few quarters, American Lance Williams had his problems inside and now in the fourth, Mutlu Demir (210-C-87) had problems finding the position and was guarded strongly by Lorenzo Gordon (201-F-83, agency: Hart Sports Mngm, college: Oklahoma City). In the last few minutes, Frankfurt played sloppy getting to be many turnovers and letting Banvit Basketbol Kulubu get some offensive rebounds. American Derrick Derrick Allen scored a turn around jumper and Frankfurt led 98 to 62. On the next Banvit Basketbol Kulubu play, Demir was denied three times under the basket by the Frankfurt defense, which showed again that the team does posses skill defending bigger big men. 'Coach told us to deny their big men any position near the hoop and we did a great job tonight', said Derrick Derrick Allen.

THE Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt had seven players in double figures. Ilian Evtimov led Frankfurt with 21 points(5/5 from three point land), seven assists and three rebounds. American Anthony Anthony King had 13 points and six rebounds and could get more minutes if he continues to give output like that. Derrick Derrick Allen chipped in with 12 points. The two German National players Pascal Roller and Konrad Wysocki contributed with 11 points a piece. Lorenzo Gordon and Shawan Shawan Robinson had 10 points a piece. American Joe Crispin led Banvit Basketbol Kulubu with 18 points. American Dalron Johnson had 14 points and seven rebounds.

The way THE Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt took a part Banvit Basketbol Kulubu could be a positive indication of what some BBL teams might have to witness this season. It is very scary to see how well Frankfurt is playing team Basketball so early in the season. It seems like there are no egos on the team and each player is understanding their defined roles. Coach Murat Didin is already doing a fantastic job making a healthy balance of minutes distribution among his players. The days where Pascal Roller is logging 35-37 minutes is over as he ended the night with 27 minutes. No Skyliner played over 30 minutes against Banvit Basketbol Kulubu. The team is cruising at a healthy altitude and seems ready for The Telekom Baskets Bonn on Septemebr 21st. The question remains will the team play athletic and quick and resist a traditional big man or will the team try to find a big man after the first NBA cuts. The team was successful last season for great stretches without a big man, are more talented and deep now and might just let Lorenzo Gordon compete with the BBL..s giants. Frankfurt next travel to Belgium for their last tune against Ostende and Aalstar and then return home for the last week of practice before Bonn visit the Ballsporthalle for the opener.


Stanley Hodge joins Wuerzburg for tryout - by Moritz Korff
Stanley Hodge (185-G-86, college: Niagara) has joined the Wuerzburg Baskets (Regionalliga South-East) on a tryout basis. Some weeks ago Canadian playmaker Ryan Steer (183-G-84, college: Windsor) was supposed to serve as the team's import-guard. The graduate of the University of University of Windsor turned out to be an excellent passer, but did not convince the coaching-staff scoring wise. That is why Hodge now will get the chance to showcase this skills.
The native of Washington, D.C. is 22 years of age and a former member of Niagara University's basketball-team. He played 28 games for the Purple Eagles in 2007-08 and tallied 13.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1 steal per appearance.


46ers add Mensah Taylor - by Moritz Korff
The Giessen 46ers (1. Bundesliga) and Mensah Sadikki Taylor (198-F-80, college: Gardner-Webb) have agreed on a contract for the 2008-09 season. The versatile Guard/Forward will be the 12th man on the roster of coach Simon Cote. Taylor started this past season at Mitteldeutscher BC (2. Bundesliga Pro A), but left the club after six encounters (4.3ppg, 3.3rpg) and moved back to TuS Treis-Karden (Regionalliga South-West). He played 17 games for the team and scored 29.4 points per contest, being named to the Eurobasket All-Regionalliga South-West First Team.

Dorsten: Sommerset has to go, Chester arrives - by Moritz Korff
BG Dorsten (Regionalliga West) has made a switch on one of its import player-spots. Darryl Sommerset (206-F-84, agency: Weller Sports - Entertainment, college: Cent.Missouri St.) did not pass the tryout period and was released. Sommerset played only one league-game for Dorsten and scored 15 points in a 64:80-loss against local-rival BSV Wulfen this past weekend.
As a replacement the Dorsten club-officials signed Kevin Chester (203-C-84, agency: Champion Sports Management, college: Nova SE) who will make his debut on Saturday. Chester averaged 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for Nova Southeastern University (NCAA2) during 2007-08.


Bamberg: Forte earns short-term contract - by Moritz Korff
Jason Forte (196-G-84, college: S.Mississippi) has inked a short-term deal with Brose Baskets Bamberg (1. Bundesliga) to replace John Goldsberry (191-G-82, agency: Pro One Sports, college: NC-Wilmington) who will be unable to play for at least six more weeks because of a knee-injury which he suffered in the last days of August.
Forte graduated from University of Southern Mississippi (NCAA1) in 2006 and spent the following 2006-07 season in the CBA as a member of the Yakama Sun Kings. He had 42 appearances for the team with averages of 8.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists, helping to clinch the 2007 CBA-championship. The 24-year-old Guard from Bay Springs, MS extended his agreement with the Yakama team in 2007, but was traded to the Rio Grande Valley Silverados in January 08. For his new club Forte scored an average of 16.9 points through 15 games, grabbed 7.1 boards per contest and dished out 4.5 assists a game.


Three new players in Freiburg - by Moritz Korff
USC Freiburg (2. Bundesliga Pro B) announced the signings of some players in the past days. Farid Sadek (188-G-83) and Stephan Carduck (198-G-86) have joined the squad of coach Markus Zilch as well as the American wing Domonique Crawford (193-G-84, agency: Strategic Sports, college: Youngstown St.). Sadek played 23 games in the 2. Bundesliga Pro A for the Duesseldorf Magics during 2007-08 and averaged 2.3 points per contest. Carduck started the season at FC Schalke 04 and joined the second team of USC Freiburg during the campaign. Crawford averaged 10.6 points per game for the Oberwart Gunners (Austria) in this past season.

Ludwigsburg: Nascimento released - by Moritz Korff
EnBW Ludwigsburg (1. Bundesliga) officially confirmed the release of Michel Nascimento (208-C-78) today. According to the clubs' website several incidents that happened since August are the reason for the parting. The Brasilian center was a major contributor to Ludwigsburg's success (2006-07 Bundesliga-semifinals, 2007-08 German Cup-finalist) since his arrival in 2006. In this past season he averaged 10.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest. Coach Rick Stafford is in need of a new post player, but has not yet made a decision which player to pick.

Dortmund returns Jason Price - by Moritz Korff
SVD 49 Dortmund (Regionalliga West) has found a replacement for James Cooper (183-G-86, college: Wooster), who had been released earlier this week after only one game played. Jason Price (184-G-77, college: Iowa) returns to the 49ers and will make his comeback against Uerdingen tomorrow. He already ran the point for the 49ers in their 2005-06 championship season. The Iowa-graduate spent the past two years at BBV Hagen and averaged 19.3 points per contest in this past season.

*****************************************************
  GHANA   


Standings
GAABL Standings
 1. CEPS Braves 4-0 
 2. Police Service 3-1 
 3. Fire Service 3-2 
 4. Yotive 3-2 
 5. Reformers 2-1 
 6. Panthers 2-2 
 7. Hoops 1-2 
 8. Wizards 1-3 
 9. Warriors 1-3 
 10. Flames 0-4 


Ghanaian league has restared - by Gianni Pascucci
These down were the results of the first games played in Ghanaiana Male First Division 2008 just after the August break.
Aug 21
Panthers forfeit match to Warriors
Aug 22
CEPS 83 - Warriors 75
Aug 29
Yotive 70 - C.C.Hoops 67
Thanks to these results, Braves of CEPS confirm their first place in the standings


*****************************************************
  HONG KONG   


Hong Kong lost in the MIBC - by Cheung Suet-pan
Hong Kong basketball team lost all five games in Malaysia International Basketball Championship, finishing bottom among the six teams. The championship also included Malaysia Petronas, Pure Youth of Taiwan, Singapore Slingers, India and Kyung-hee University of South Korea.

Team manager Hung Yau-yik said already before the championship, Hong Kong would represented by the second team which was enjoying to earn more experience in the games. He also mentioned the players would act like some of the substitutes in the East Asia Game in 2009. However, the results of Malaysia International Basketball Championship are disappointing with all defeats.

Despite the total defeat in the championship, Hong Kong team would got a valued experience in the game versus Malaysia Petronas, which lost finally by 14pts. American imports Jamal Brown (198-F-78, agency: Tank Sports, college: TCU) and Brad Bridgewater (203-F-80, college: LSU) were on the Malaysian's side, but the game once turrned to the peak at forth period, as Hong Kong team overscored 75 to 73 when there is under 8 minutes to go. Later, Malaysian had a 17 to 1 run to resecue them.

The final standings: Malaysia Petronas 8 pts, Pure Youth 8pts, Singapore Slingers 6pts, Kyung-hee University 4pts, India 4pts, Hong Kong 0pt. Malaysia Petronas beat Kyung-hee University 78-75 to win the title at the Maba Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on 7th September. In the game, American import Jamal Brown had 27 points and 12 rebounds, contributed Malaysian come back late in the game. Singapore Slingers finished third after losing 94-93 to Pure Youth at the final game.

Scores for Hong Kong's five games: HNK 78 MAL 92, HNK 46 KOR 73, HNK 65 CTP 86, HNK 67 SIN 96, HNK 82 IND 89.


*****************************************************
  INDIA   


India finish ahead of Hongkong at Malaysia Intl tourney - by Anil Kumar

Its a real task for people interested in Basketball to even track down events held in nearby countries to atleast know whats happening to the Indian teams which take part.
If organisers do not understand the need for ensuring international exposure for such events rather than holding it as localised events, its indeed high time that the people at the helm of Asian Basketball take note. With whatever I could find for the followers of Asia Basket, here are some highlights I managed to get from the recently conclded International Basketball Tournament coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the Malaysian basketball Assn.


Chinese Taipei wins India

A match well played by both teams, but Chinese Taipei Pure Youth Construction did a better job. Chinese Taipeis victory was brought by their key players Hung Chih-Shan who scored 26 pts, Chen Shih-Chien scored 21 pts, and Wu Chien-Lung with 22 pts.

With their 3 top players for the day, Taipei managed to take India and kept a 10point lead throughout the game. Even though Taipei had a good lead, but India never gave up throughout the game. During the 2nd half, India was down by 12pts but manage to fight back to keep the score only to a 4pts difference. Their fight was soon defeated by the end of the 3rd quarter as Taipei managed to pull the scores back into the game leading by 7pts.

The fourth quarter started, Chinese Taipei had continued with their strategies and maintained their victory. With the final scores at the end of the clock, Taipei defeated India National Team by the scores, 115 C 95. Without forgetting, India with their star player of the day, Trideep Rai who scored 30pts and Jagdeep Singh with 28pts, in the whole game, but it was just not enough to take Taipei down. A game well played by both teams.



Singapore Slingers hits back.

On the 4th day of MIB Championship, Singapore Slingers go up against Indian National Team who beat Petronas Malaysia previously on the 2nd day of the championship.

This match was a hit back as the Singapore Slingers take a mile lead by the start of the 3rd quarter with the scores 49 27. The 3rd quarter continues and Singapore Slingers gives no chance to the Indian National Team to chase in and keeps the score at 63 36 at the 5th minute of the game. The quarter ends and Singapore leads by a mile.

In the 4th quarter, Singapore Slingers continued their game, scoring to the final score 100 71. Singapore Slingers are now one of the leading teams.

Taipei Pure Youth Construction Beats Korea Kyung Hee University.

The 1st quarter of this game started with a head lead by the Taipei team, but soon was equalized by the Koreans in this 1st quarter. Both teams go head to head in this 1st quarter and heats the stadium up.

At the start of the 2nd quarter, both teams are not allowing anybody to make a pull ahead. Both teams give their best and the quarter ends with the score difference of 4 points only. With still 1 more half to go, Korea does not give up.

3rd Quarter starts and Taipei takes a head lead and now are 10points at the end of the quarter. With no struggle, Taipei maintains their score through the game till the fourth quarter. Only with 3mins down on the clock, Taipei leads by 11 points. But Korea puts back a fight but was unable to defeat Taipei. In the end, Taipei maintains their win at the final buzzer with the final score of 92-98.

In this game, the two top players from both sides of the team were Hung Chih-Shan from Taipei and Jeon Geon Woo from Korea who scored amazing 30pts in the game.

MALAYSIA Petronas left it late but still had enough in reserve to beat Kyung-hee University of South Korea 78-75 to win the Malaysia International Basketball Championship at the Maba Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
After cruising to a 39-26 halftime lead, Malaysia were rattled by the young Korean team who reduced the gap to 59-55 after the third quarter before surging to a 70-64 lead with 4:30 left in the final period on the back of some impressive three-point shooting.

But American import Jamal Brown, who had 27 points and 12 rebounds, brought Malaysia back into the game when he drove to the basket to score while drawing a foul and sinking the free throw for Malaysia to lead 72-71.

Malaysia hung on to close out the game with four free throws as the Kyung-hee fell into foul trouble with five Koreans fouling out in the fourth quarter to the delight of coach Goh Cheng Huat and the capacity crowd of 2,000.

With Malaysia and Pure-Youth & Construction finishing the league with four wins each, Malaysia were declared champions by virtue of winning their league game against the Taiwan team.
But the hosts nearly paid the price by being hustled off the ball in the second half with Malaysia's other American import Brad Bridgewater constantly the victim of double-team tactics by the Koreans.

Singapore Slingers finished third after losing 94-93 to Pure-Youth at the final buzzer with Lau Chi Kin's 26 points proving the difference for the Taiwanese.

RESULTS -- India 89 Hong Kong 82, Pure-Youth & Construction (Tai) 94 Singapore Slingers 93, Malaysia Petronas 78 Kyung-hee University (Kor) 75.

FINAL STANDINGS -- 1 Malaysia Petronas 8 pts, 2 Pure-Youth & Construction 8, 3 Singapore Slingers 6, 4 Kyung-hee University 4, 5 India 4, 6 Hong Kong 0. -- DEVINDER SINGH


TN hoopster passes away - by Eurobasket News
CHENNAI: G.P. Rajmohan, a former Tamil Nadu State basketball player and later state referee passed away on Wednesday following a heart attack. He was 54 and leaves behind his wife, a daughter and a son.

A former student of Loyola College, Rajmohan became a popular basketballer during his tenure with K. Leela John memorial club. He joined ICF in 1981 and represented Indian Railways in the national championship. Earlier to that he played for Tamil Nadu.

After switching over to Chennai Port Trust, Rajmohan in his later years became a referee. He also coached at the Santhome HSS.

Courtesy of http://www.hindu.com


*****************************************************
  ITALY   


Last Serie A roster changes - by Gianni Pascucci
Sebastiani Basket completed its 2008-09 roster agreeing to terms with Pervis Pasco (206-F/C-81, college: Kansas St.), last season at Scavolini-Spar Pesaro. Fortitudo Bologna is testing young Bulgarian Hristo Zahariev (198-G/F-90)

Kemp will wear # 40 - by Gianni Pascucci
Shawn Kemp (209-F-69, college: Trinity Valley JC) has been officially introduced to media yesterday in a press coneference in Montegranaro. In his first Italian season, he will wear the shirt number 40, as showed in the attached photo.

*****************************************************
  JUCO   


The Chipola's class of 2008 - by C Martin
The Chipola's class of 2008 makes their moves for next season, capping off what was one of the greatest seasons in school history.

Sophomores Joey Cameron (New Orleans), Antwon Hall (Talladega College), and Decoya White (Talladega College), along with freshmen Vernon Teel (Loyola Marymount) and Tyler Schwab (Spring Hill), have joined the five Indians that had previously committed to four-year schools to continue their careers next season. Freshman Artem Slippenchuck, from the Ukraine, has chosen to leave the program to pursue his professional career overseas.

During the fall signing period, sophomores Malik Alvin (Binghamton), Mario Edwards (Co.Carolina), Clevin Hannah (Wichita St.), Mario Little (Kansas University), and Skyler Williams (Lamar) decided upon their respective schools.

The 35-2 final record posted by the 2007-2008 team set a school record for the number of wins in a season. The Indians also set a school record for longest winning streak (24 in a row) and best start to a season at 24-0.


*****************************************************
  LITHUANIA   


Market news - by Evaldas Ceilytkas
Former player of BC Siauliai Mantas Ruikis (198-G/F-85) has signed Spanish team C.B. Valladolid, (LEB Gold). Mantas Ruikis had good season in BC Siauliai team in Lithuanian league, Baltic basketball league and ULEB Cup.
Another Lithuanian former national taem player Kestutis Marciulionis (188-G-76, agency: Laszlo Vinko Services, college: Delaware) has signed Kaposvari KK team in Hungary. Marciulionis played in Spanish second division (LEB Gold) last season. Some years ago Marciulionis had played for Lithuanian U-18, U-20 and national teams in European championships and Olympic games.


Unicaja Malaga too much for Lietuvos Rytas - by Eurobasket News
After pretty good victory against Ukrainian Khimik, Lietuvos Rytas faced strong Unicaja Malaga. Lithuanians demonstrated nice performance at the offensive end having five players with more than ten points but it was not enough against strong Unicaja. Lietuvos stopped on 84 while 'Spaniards' drained magnificent 98 points taking this one in style. Lietuvos' offensive game is on pretty high level during these preparations but its defense has to be better. Unicaja scored 98 points while few days ago Khimik netted almost 80. Thomas Kelati (195-G/F-82, college: Washington St.) paced Spanish team to victory scoring 22 points. Bernardo Rodriguez (197-F/G-80) also was good with 17 points while Carlos Cabezas (186-G-80) had 13. Unicaja had three more guys with more than ten. Vitor Faverani (209-C-88) scored 12, Marcus Haislip (207-F-80, college: Tennessee) 11 while German Gabriel (207-C-80) stopped on 10 points. Lietuvos Rytas got the most from Steponas Babrauskas (197-G/F-84), 17 points. Donatas Zavackas (203-F-80, college: Pittsburgh) followed with 15 while Martynas Gecevicius (194-G-88) and Branko Milisavljevic (193-G-76, agency: Beo Basket) poured in 11 points each. Michailas Anisimovas (211-C-84) had 10 points.

A2 team Zalgiris-Sabonio mokykla Kaunas celebrated against Lryto fanai 84:79. The team from Kaunas took this one mostly owing to well played first half. After 20 minutes the hosts created advantage of 11 points. Lryto fanai was slightly better during the following 20 minutes but still it was not enough for a turn. Mantas Pukinskas (198-G/F-89) scored the most for the winning team, 21 points. Deividas Girdvila (196-G/F-90) had 12 whie Vytenis Cizauskas (188-G-92) and Martynas Ruokis (187-G-89) stopped on 9 points apiece.


Panevezys Techasas sign Phillip Williams - by Eurobasket
Panevezys Techasas added to their roster 24-year old American forward Phillip Williams (206-F-84, college: Winthrop). Williams played most recently at CS Otopeni Bucuresti (Romania).

*****************************************************
  MEXICO   


Standings - LNBP
LNBP Standings
Northern Division
 1. Bravos 2-0 
 2. Algodoneros 2-0 
 3. Soles 2-0 
 4. Lobos Grises 1-1 
 5. Potros 1-1 
 6. Corr.Victoria 1-1 
 7. Fuerza R. 1-1 
 8. Tecos UAG 1-1 
 9. Lobos UAC 1-1 
 10. Venados 0-2 
 11. Dorados 0-2 
 12. Galgos T. 0-2 
Southern Division
 1. Bucaneros 2-0 
 2. Halc. Xalpa 2-0 
 3. Santos 2-0 
 4. Barreteros 1-1 
 5. Panteras 1-1 
 6. Loros C. 1-1 
 7. Lechugueros 1-1 
 8. Halc. Cordoba 1-1 
 9. Angeles 1-1 
 10. Estrellas 0-2 
 11. Pioneros 0-2 
 12. Halc. Rojos 0-2 


Soles, Bravos and Halcones Xalapa in the lead - by Eurobasket News
Three teams remain undefeated after three rounds of action in the LNBP. Soles, Bravos and the defending champions Halcones Xalapa all recorded three wins apiece at the start of the new season.
In the third round Halcones Xalapa celebrated a tough 86:72 win over Pioneros. The hosts built a 9-point advantage at the first intermission and controlled the situation over the reminder of the encounter. Pioneros however did not collapse and kept the home team alert throughout three quarters of action. LeRoy Hickerson (196-G-82, college: Cumberlands) led Halcones with 23 points. Victor Avila (209-C-77, college: Oklahoma) added 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Gustavo Ayon had 12 points and 9 rebounds for the winners. Jamel Tali answered with 17 points for Pioneros. Derrick Deshawn had 16 points as the visitors slipped to 0-3 record.
Soles posted an 82:73 victory over Algodoneros in the third round. Both teams entered the clash undefeated however Soles managed to prevail at the end. Soles de Mexicali enjoyed just one-point advantage after the starting period. Algodoneros denied the deficit in the second term and arrived at halftime leading by 3 points. However the hosts tightened their defense after the long break and limited the opponents to only 9 points in the third frame. Algodoneros headed into the fourth term trailing by 4 points and failed to bounce back late in the game. De Juan Wheat (183-G-73, college: Louisville) secured 16 points for Soles. Anthony Lever-Pedroza and Gregory Lewis porvided 14 points apiece in the win. Manuel Guzman (203-F-82, college: Bemidji St.) and Letheal Cook (208-C/F-80, college: Bowie St.) replied with 18 points each for Algodoneros.
Bravos pulled away with a narrow 88:85 win over Lobos Grises on the road. Bravos opened the game confidently and built a 7-point cushion after ten minutes of action. However Lobos did their best to cut the deficit and were close to surge in front late in the game. Nevertheless Bravos withheld the effort and snatched a difficult victory at the end. Dainmon Gonner (198-F-80, college: SE Missouri St.) was pivotal with 32 points for Bravos. Julio Solano had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. Andre Smith (188-G-80, college: NC-Asheville) knocked down 24 points in defeat.


*****************************************************
  MONTENEGRO   


Ljujic and Bojovic in Montenegrin champion - by Eurobasket News
Montenegrin champion and National Cup holder Buducnost Podgorica got two acquisitions for the upcoming season.

The first one is member of U20 Montenegro Marko Ljujic (205-F/C-90). 18-year old big guy played 7 games at the last European Championship in Riga averaging 3.1 ppg and 2 rpg. Montenegro demonstrated pretty good performance while Dejan Radonjic was named 'Eurobasket.com All-European Championships U20 Best Coach -08'. In 2007 Ljujic played for U18 Montenegro on Eurobasket division B in Sofia. His team was a short step away from the promotion to division A as it lost in the semifinals. Ljujic appeared 3 times in Sofa averaging 2.7 ppg and 2.3 rpg. On season 06/07 he played for Lovcen Cetinje.

Milos Bojovic (198-G-81) agreed one-year deal with Buducnost. He spent last season in Vojvodina Srbijagas averaging 9.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg and 1.7 apg for 26 games in Adriatic league. Later, Vojvodina participated in Serbian Superleague together with seven more teams. Bojovic appeared 14 times in it having 13.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2 apg and 1.9 spg. Interesting is that he didn't miss any single game last season. At the end of it he got the award 'Eurobasket.com All-Serbian League Honorable Mention -08'. He moved to Vojvodina from Sloga Kraljevo last year. In the past he also used to play for Atlas Banka and Avala Ada.

The bad thing for Buducnost Podgorica is that Vladimir Dragicevic (205-C-86) will be sidelined for few months. Injury happened during the friendly game against Montenegrin senior National Team. Dragicevic is successfully surgered after that and he already started with therapies. GM of Buducnost Podgorica Gavrilo Pajovic stated that this is a big problem for his team.


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


HEAT Re-Sign Chris Quinn - by Bruno Baltazar
The Miami HEAT have announced that they have re-signed guard Chris Quinn (6'2''-G-83, agency: Priority Sports, college: Notre Dame).
Quinn, who originally signed with the HEAT on July 6, 2006 as a free agent, has appeared in 102 games (26 starts). During his two-year NBA career in Miami, he has averaged 5.9 points, 2.4 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 17.1 minutes while shooting 40.9 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from three-point range and 81.5 percent from the foul line. In his 26 career starts, he has averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.42 steals and 32.8 minutes while amassing a 3.18 assist-to-turnover ratio and shooting 42.7 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from three-point range and 85.3 percent from the foul line. Additionally, Quinn has scored in double-figures on 27 occasions, including four 20-point performances.

During the 2007-08 season, Quinn appeared in 60 games (25 starts) and set career-highs with 7.8 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 22.3 minutes. He finished tied for 27th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 40.3 percent of his attempts. Quinn also ranked second on the HEAT in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.24) and three-point field goal percentage and fourth in three-point field goals made (64), assists (178) and steals (46). He became just the 14th player in HEAT history to play all 48 minutes of a non-overtime game when he played for the duration at Toronto on March 19, 2008.


Oklahoma City Thunder re-signs 7-footer Robert Swift - by Eurobasket News
The Oklahoma City Thunder has re-signed restricted free agent Robert Swift (7'0''-F/C-85), a 7-foot-1 center that has been plagued by knee injuries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A lottery pick four years ago out of high school, Swift was a McDonald's All-American at Bakersfield High School. Swift, though, has averaged only 1.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 71 games in four seasons with the Sonics organization, now renamed the Thunder.

Swift, the 12th pick in the 2004 draft, is still young. Age 22, Swift averaged 1.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in only seven games last season after missing the entire 2006-07 season with a torn ACL.

In high school, Swift averaged 18.8 points, 15.9 rebounds and 6.2 blocked shots a game his senior year. He appeared in a career high 47 games three years ago with Seattle. He started 20 games that season but has been limited to eight games the past two seasons due to injuries.

Courtesy of http://newsok.com/


Pat Garrity Retires - by Bruno Baltazar
Forward Pat Garrity (6'9''-F-76, college: Notre Dame) has announced his retirement from the NBA. After being acquired by Orlando in 1999, Garrity appeared in 513 regular season games for the Magic, the second-most in franchise history.

After 10 wonderful years of playing in the NBA, I have decided to retire, said Garrity. I am so grateful for being able to play for as long as I have and to have established long lasting roots in Orlando. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Orlando Magic and the great fans of Central Florida and for all of their years of support. Playing with and against the greatest basketball players in the world has been an experience which has given me some of the fondest memories of my life.

Garrity added: As a professional athlete, I have always been aware that the time would come for me to begin another chapter in my life. That time has come and I look forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead.

Garrity was originally drafted in the first round (19th overall) of the 1998 NBA Draft by Milwaukee. He was acquired by Orlando in 1999, after coming to the Magic from Phoenix as part of the Anfernee Hardaway trade. Garrity has played in 552 regular season games during his NBA career with Phoenix and Orlando, averaging 7.3 ppg. and 2.6 rpg. in 20.0 mpg. He shot .398 (631-of-1,587) from three-point range, and led Orlando in three-point shooting for four straight seasons (1999-2003). Garrity connected on 624-of-1,569 (.398) trifectas in a Magic uniform.

'We thank Pat for his professionalism, character and leadership, said Magic General Manager Otis Smith. He gave us nine wonderful seasons and we certainly wish him all the best as he begins this next chapter in his life.

In addition to finishing second all-time in games played with Orlando, Garrity completes his career ranked on the Magics all-time franchise list in three-point field goals made (624, 4th), three-point field goals attempted (1,569, 4th) and in minutes played (10,524). He scored his 4,000th career NBA point April 5, 2008 at Cleveland.

Garritys contributions were tremendous off the court as well. He was the recipient of the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award in 2003-04, which recognizes outstanding community involvement in the Central Florida area.


Darryl Watkins set to sign with San Antonio - by Eurobasket News
Darryl Watkins (6'11''-C, agency: Priority Sports, college: Syracuse), the former Syracuse University center, is set to sign a two-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs, according to his agent.

Reggie Brown, of Chicago-based Priority Sports, told the Post-Standard Wednesday that Watkins would sign the deal with the Spurs within the next few days. The contract is partially guaranteed.

Watkins, a 6-foot-11 center, was undrafted after his senior season at Syracuse. He signed with the Sacramento Kings as a free agent prior to the 2007-08 season. He played in nine games for the Kings before being released. He split the rest of the season with the Los Angeles D-Fenders and the Iowa Energy of the NBA's Development League.

Courtesy of http://www.syracuse.com/


Portland's Frye undergoes ankle surgery - by Eurobasket News
Portland Trail Blazers forward Channing Frye (6'11''-C/F-83, college: Arizona) will likely miss the start of the regular season after having surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle.

The arthroscopic surgery was performed Monday in Southern California, and the team said he is expected to miss 8-to-10 weeks. The Trail Blazers open their season Oct. 28.

The 6-foot-11 Frye averaged 6.8 points in 78 games last season. Hes expected to again be a key reserve, backing up power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Knicks selected Frye with the eighth pick of the 2005 draft. He was sent to the Trail Blazers two years later as part of the Zach Randolph deal.

Forward Ike Diogu, the ninth pick of the 2005 draft, was acquired by the Trail Blazers this summer, and could see additional time in Fryes absence.

Courtesy of http://sports.yahoo.com/


Orlando Magic close to signing point guard - by Eurobasket News
Well-traveled free agents Eddie Gill (6'0''-G-78, agency: Priority Sports, college: Weber St.) or Mike Wilks (5'11''-G-79, college: Rice) are in the mix to be signed as the Orlando Magic's third point guard, according to Magic General Manager Otis Smith.

Smith said Tuesday that the Magic will add another point before training camp begins Sept. 29 at RDV Sportsplex. The team wants to provide depth behind starter Jameer Nelson and backup Anthony Johnson.

Gill, 6-foot, and Wilks, 5-10, are six-year veterans.

'We'll bring in a few players. We're close on a couple of guys,' Smith said.

Smith said the club likely will bring in another wing player and another big man.

Courtesy of http://www.orlandosentinel.com/


CSKA GM dismisses rumors about Ben Gordon - by Eurobasket News
Soviet Sport published an article that tries to decypher the situation about Ben Gordon (6'2''-G-83, college: Connecticut).

Soviet Sport says that they contacted Nikos Zabaras, a basketball reporter of the greek newspaper Fos and asked him about the article that was published on contra.gr about Ben Gordon. Nikos Zabaras said that the agent of Ben Gordon wanted the article published on contra.gr in order to increase the projected salary of his client. He also said that the player was offered to other NBA teams but only under his conditions and that CSKA was willing to pay him 5.5 million dollars per year. Finally the greek correspondent said that CSKA and Ben Gordon are still in negotiations.

So Soviet Sport decided to speak to the big man of CSKA Moscow, general manager Andrey Vatutin who eloquently said: 'This whole thing is a dirty trick of the newspapers, we are NOT in negotiations with Ben Gordon. At the moment all of our staff are currently on holiday. I'm personally on holidays in France and I haven't heard anything about Ben Gordon.'

Courtesy of www.thehoop.com


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  NCAA1   


Hellenthal first Director of Ops for Broncos - by Kevin Cochran

Boise St. mens basketball coach Greg Graham has added Ryan Hellenthal to the mens basketball staff as the schools first ever Director of Basketball Operations.


Hellenthal joins the Bronco staff after serving as an assistant coach at Coffeyville CC in Coffeyville, Kan., for the last three years. At Coffeyville, Hellenthal served as the teams recruiting coordinator as the team compiled a 110-19 record and finished third in the country in 2006-07 while winning the Jayhawk East Conference title. The team also won the league crown in 2005-06 and was ranked in the top 25 all three seasons Hellenthal was on the coaching staff.

Before joining Coffeyville, Hellenthal was an assistant coach at Garden City Community College from 2002-05 where the team averaged 20 wins per season and won its first Jayhawk West Conference championship since 1952.

Hellenthal started his career as a student assistant at Ill.-Chicago from 1998-2002. He assisted in opponent preparation including scouting of opponents, film breakdown and development of game strategies.

At Boise St., Hellenthal will serve as the associate director for Boise St's boys basketball camps, while handling film exchange, on campus recruiting, recruiting correspondence, academics and various administrative duties.


courtesy: Broncosports.com



Recruit from Milwaukee commits to Cyclones - by Eurobasket News
Chim Kadima, a 6-foot-3 junior guard from Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, Wis., committed to Iowa State's basketball program Tuesday.

Kadima, who made an unofficial visit to the Iowa State campus last weekend, also was being recruited by Iowa, Wisconsin, Marquette, Vanderbilt and Boston College.

Kadima, who missed his sophomore season because of a broken tibia, is the Cyclones' second commitment for the Class of 2010, joining 6-9 forward Jordan Dykstra of Rock Valley.

Iowa State also has a 2009 commitment from Marquez Gilstrap, a 6-6 forward from Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City Beach, Fla. He also visited Ames last weekend.

Kadima will be the fifth of Medy and Tshim Kadima's children to play college basketball, and the second at the Division I level. Kalombo Kadima played from 2000-04 at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Courtesy of http://www.desmoinesregister.com/


Nation's tallest player may miss season - by Kevin Cochran

UNC-Asheville mens basketball coach Eddie Biedenbach has announced that senior center Kenny George (7'9''-C) will be delayed in returning to school and in playing basketball due to recent surgery on his right foot.

'Kenny participated in a camp in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and felt discomfort in his his right foot,' stated Biedenbach. 'Upon his return to Chicago, he was examined by his physician who discovered that he had an infection which required immediate surgery.'

Sources are telling usbasket.com that George, the nation's tallest player at 7'9, may miss the entire season. He is currently hospitalized after having a second surgery, and has not enrolled in classes for the fall semester. This is his second major injury at UNC-Asheville, following a knee inury that caused him to miss the 2005-06 season.

'We're disappointed in the turn of events regarding all the surgeries related to Kenny and his ability to play basketball,' Biedenbach said. 'But our concern is not with basketball. It's with Kenny and his health.'

George was a big part of a team that finished a game away from an NCAA bid last season. He led the nation in field goal percentage, and averaged 12.4 points, 7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. Coahes say he was showing vast improvement in offseason drills.

'Right now were concerned about Kenny's foot and how it heals,' added Biedenbach. 'We are working daily with Kenny and his parents to monitor his progress. We look forward to his return to UNC-Asheville and the basketball team but at the present time we just want him to get better.'

Courtesy: UNCABulldogs.com



Blue Storm adds final piece to roster puzzle - by Eurobasket News
The Southwestern Illinois College men's basketball program completed its 2008-09 recruiting class this week when it was announced that Josh Calamese will play for the Blue Storm.

Calamese is a 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Jonesboro, Ark., who averaged 12 points and nine rebounds per game as a senior.

'He was recommended to us by Dickie Nutt, who was the former head coach at Arkansas State and Tony Matlock who is an assistant at Texas-El Paso,' SWIC coach Jay Harrington said. 'Matlock helped us get Nick (Rivers) and Antonio (Rambo) a few years back and we trust his judgment.

'We were looking at three or four players and we took Josh. He'll either work out or he won't. That's all I can say.'

Harrington said that Calamese is a very good shooter who will play the off guard/small forward positions.

'Originally, he had committed to Arkansas State, then had a change of heart after Coach Nutt was relieved of his coaching duties,' Harrington said. 'Josh took some time off this summer and so right now he's working a lot on conditioning. From what we see, he's a very good shooter.'

Calamese will be the 12th new player on the SWIC roster during the upcoming season. The Blue Storm begins practice early next month, then opens its season in early November.

Harrington said he's interested to see how strong his team will be this season.

'I don't think there's any question that we have the talent to be a very good basketball team,' Harrington said. 'But we've also got 12 new kids in this program and it's going to take some time.

'I don't think people realize how difficult it can be to add 12 new players into a program unless you've done it.'

Courtesy of http://www.bnd.com


Greg Stiemsma to play pro ball in Turkey - by Eurobasket News
Former Wisconsin mens basketball player Greg Stiemsma (6'11''-C, agency: N.E.T., college: Wisconsin) has signed a contract to play with Oyak Renault, a first-division team in Turkey.

Stiemsma recently capped off his playing career at Wisconsin by helping the Badgers claim the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships last season. Over his four-year collegiate career (2004-08) he appeared in 95 games and ranks fifth in school history with 96 career blocks. Stiemsma led the Badgers with 40 blocks and posted averages of 3.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 2007-08. The Randolph, Wis. native saved his best individual performance for last, scoring a career-high 14 points with seven rebounds in Wisconsins second-round win over vs. Kansas State in the 2008 NCAA tournament.

Stiemsma chose Oyak Renault over recent offers from teams in Korea and the Czech Republic. Oyak Renault is based in Bursa, Turkey and plays in the Turkish Basketball League. Their home arena is the Bursa Ataturk Sport Hall.

Courtesy of http://www.uwbadgers.com/


LBSU lands Jules Montgomery - by Eurobasket News
Jules Montgomery, a 6-foot-9 senior at Chaminade Prep in West Hills, said Wednesday that he plans to sign a national letter of intent with the Long Beach State men's basketball program in November.

Montgomery is one of three players to commit to the 49ers since Sunday night and all three - Montgomery, 6-7 Kyle Richardson (Mayfair High) and 6-9 Lin Chang (Mira Costa Community College in Oceanside) - visited the campus this past weekend.

Montgomery averaged 8.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game as a junior, when the Eagles finished 13-15, including a 97-60 loss to eventual champion Dominguez in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA playoffs. He grabbed 16 rebounds three times and had a career-high seven blocked shots.

He said he also gave consideration to Oregon, Oregon State, SMU, Denver and Texas Southern before telling Coach Dan Monson Monday night that he wanted to be a 49er.

'I really liked the players they have (in the program),' he said during his lunch break late Wednesday morning.

'I felt like they are guys I can really get along with well. And I've developed a good relationship with the coaching staff over the past few months.'

The wiry Montgomery - 'I weigh about 175 pounds,' he said - said he plans to major in business or computer science. He has excellent perimeter skills with shooting range behind the 3-point arc.

Courtesy of http://www.presstelegram.com


Sam Ashaolu sues Duquesne - by Eurobasket News
Sam Ashaolu (6'7''-F, college: Lake Region CC), the Toronto, Ontario basketball player who never got a chance to play a game on the Bluff as a result of the September 2006 shootings, filed suit on Tuesday against Duquesne and those individuals found guilty of this crime. The lawsuit accuses the school of negligence that led to the shooting.

Sam Ashaolu was one of five players shot on campus on Sept. 17, 2006, after a dance sponsored by the Black Student Union. Ashaolu was hit in the head by two bullets and some of the fragments remain in his brain. He has recovered from these life-threatening injuries but has not been able to further pursue a collegiate sports career. He is attending school this semester.
Ashaolu played at Coastal Christian Academy in Virginia Beach, Va. and was recruited by Duquesne out of Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D. where he had averaged 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds as a sophomore.

Younger brother Olu Ashaolu is a redshirt freshman on the Louisiana Tech basketball team. The lawsuit also names the Black Student Union, the convicted gunmen and others involved in the assault.

Three other players who were wounded in the shooting (Stuard Baldonado, Shawn James and Kojo Mensah) previously filed similar actions in federal court. The fifth, Aaron Jackson, was the least seriously injured and was able to return to the team when practice restarted after the event. He is the lone senior on this season's team.

Courtesy of http://collegebasketballnews.scout.com


Torin Walker picks Oklahoma State - by Eurobasket News
Torin Walker, one of the 'twin towers' of Northside High School's basketball program, has decided on a college destination for next season.

The 6-foot-10 1/2, 235-pound power forward committed to Oklahoma State of the Big 12 Conference during a recruiting trip last weekend. Walker chose the Cowboys over Minnesota, Georgia, Miami, Alabama and Kentucky.

Walker was a member of the Ledger-Enquirer's All Bi-City first team last year and rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. He plans to make his choice official during the early signing period, Nov. 12-19.

'There were a lot of factors that made me decide,' Walker said Tuesday. 'The fan base, the coaches, the academics they have there, the team... . There were a lot of things that made me feel that it was the right place to be.'

He arrived at the Stillwater, Okla., campus with an open mind but ready to decide if he saw the things that fit his criteria for a college choice.

Former Kentucky star Travis Ford is the new coach at Oklahoma State, beginning his first year after spending the last few years rebuilding the UMass program. UMass was 25-11 last year and finished second in the National Invitational Tournament.

Ford is a disciple of former Kentucky and current Louisville coach Rick Pitino's wide-open play, a style Northside coach Kenneth Lawrence believes fits his player to a T.

'He shoots the ball extremely well for a 6-10 kid, and I know Oklahoma State likes to pop big guys out and so forth,' Lawrence said. 'I'm looking for him to be a good fit there.

''He's improved his post moves on the inside, and he's a heckuva rebounder, averaging about 13 rebounds a game last season.'

Walker scored 18 points per game last year for Northside, which finished 2007-08 with an 18-7 record and a Class AAA state playoff berth.

With one-half of Northside's towering inside presence committed to a college, attention turns to the other half: power forward James Vincent. Walker said Vincent will visit Georgia State University in Atlanta this weekend.

Courtesy of http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/


Jeff Holton headed to American University - by Eurobasket News
Germantown Academy senior Jeff Holton announced yesterday that he had orally committed to play basketball at American University. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward made his decision two weeks ago.

Holton, 18, chose American over Boston University, Richmond, Lafayette and Quinnipac.

'I just really loved the campus,' Holton said of selecting American. 'They made the [NCAA] tournament last year, and they are expecting to do big things this year.'

'He's going to play the 'four' at American,' Germantown Academy coach Jim Fenerty said, referring to the power forward position. 'He's very versatile.'

Holton averaged 13 points and seven rebounds in 24 games last season. He hit 45 percent of his three-point shots.

One statistic that showed his value to the team: The Patriots were 1-4 in games he missed last season.

'He is going to get a full ride and a great education,' Fenerty said.

Courtesy of http://www.philly.com/


Former LC coach Mooney, now at Richmond - by Eurobasket News
So many college coaches have that thick, oily layer of skin on them, the kind that allows them to recruit the mostly highly-touted of high school athletes.

They wine and dine with the best of them, go into the home of any prospective recruit and make everyone fall in love with him. They promise the sun, the moon and the stars, and if that isn't enough, well, then how about we pimp your ride? He'll then dangle the keys to a shiny new car provided for by that big-time booster with connections to the local auto dealership.

Chris Mooney, a graduate of Archbishop Ryan, Princeton University and onetime head basketball coach at Lansdale Catholic, never seemed to be the kind of coach who flaunts the rules, although he now must endure the stain of cheating.

Mooney, now the head coach of the men's basketball team at the University of Richmond, and women's head coach Michael Shafer, had their wrists slapped after an in-house investigation revealed violations of rules regarding text messages and phone calls by some coaches in the school's men's and women's basketball programs.

But Mooney, 36, and Shafer still have their jobs, despite an Associated Press report to the contrary.

Both head coaches are still gainfully employed by the University of Richmond, said Bob Black, the school's assistant director of athletics and communications.

That is good news for Mooney, for in the many dealings I have had him with him through the years, always seemed to be genuine and, quite frankly, never appeared to have that thick, oily layer of skin, nor, for that matter, the pitch and tone of a snake oil salesman. This latest dust-up, while casting a cloud on Mooney's present, should in no way tarnish his future.

There are different levels of rules breaking, from the most egregious to the most minor.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most severe violation, Mooney's was a 1, if not lower.

The NCAA prohibited text-messaging recruits in August 2007 to help recruits, some of whom were receiving dozens of text-messages daily from various recruiters. Richmond self-reported text-messaging violations in men's basketball to the NCAA in November 2007.

In July, the NCAA requested phone records from the men's basketball staff. The NCAA and Richmond determined coaches exceeded the permitted number of calls to recruits.

Richmond athletic director Jim Miller said Mooney is alleged to have violated the NCAA rule on allowable phone calls by less than 10 from August to December 2007.

Less than 10. Sure a rule is a rule, but less than 10?

This is not the work of a thick, oily-skinned cheater.

Perhaps Mooney was unfamiliar with a new rule that was in place, perhaps he was guilty of not keeping a closer eye on his an assistant coach in this case, Carlin Hartman, who resigned in the wake of the allegations. Either way, Mooney should not be branded anything close to a cheater.

As head men's basketball coach, I take full responsibility for these violations of NCAA rules, he said in a statement released by the school. I want to apologize to all members of the university community. We are committed to complying with all NCAA rules and I want to assure the university community that we will take extraordinary efforts to operate this program in full compliance of NCAA rules.

What happens next to his program, the one he has been responsible for since becoming Richmond's head coach in 2005, is anybody's guess.

In an effort to stem whatever sanctions the NCAA may levy, Richmond self-imposed recruiting restrictions during last season and this coming season.

Miller said the school reduced the number of recruiting days the basketball staffs typically recruited off-campus by about 25 percent, reduced the number of official visits by recruits by about 25 percent and reduced the number of calls Richmond basketball coaches make to recruits.

Although he has built just a 37-54 record in three seasons at Richmond, the Spiders went 16-15 last year and have the bulk of their team returning.

Rightfully, Mooney will get to see just how much better this season can be. The hope here is it will include a lot of winning, because nothing makes people forget even the smallest infractions more than winning.

Courtesy of http://www.phillyburbs.com


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  NCAA3   


Santa Monica College hires Jerome Jenkins - by Eurobasket News
Santa Monica College filled two important positions in its athletic department Tuesday, September 9, hiring Gregg Simmons as interim athletic director and Jerome Jenkins as mens' basketball coach. Simmons began immediately. Jenkins will start Monday, September 15.

Simmons will oversee 16 SMC teams as he replaces Rhonda Hyatt, who recently joined the faculty at College of the Canyons. He will continue until June 30, 2009. Mike Tuitasi, SMC's Vice-President of Student Affairs, said a national search for a permanent athletic director will begin this semester.

Simmons has 15 years of experience as a coach and administrator. For the last five years he's been at the San Diego Sports Institute.

Jenkins has been head basketball coach at Sacramento State College for the last eight years with considerable success. The Hornets had double-figure wins in five straight seasons and twice reached the semi-finals of the Big Sky Conference tournament.

Jenkins played at Los Angeles' Fairfax High and was a guard on that school's 1985 city championship team. He has also been head coach at Diablo Valley Community College and Eastern Washington University. Clearly, Jenkins' resume appealed to the SMC committee, which paired down a list of 60 applicants to three finalists, then chose Jenkins after he was interviewed Friday, September 5.

'I was very selective in where I would coach,' Jenkins told the Mirror. 'Coming back home intrigued me. I was in Sacramento, but word spreads quickly in the coaching profession and I learned of this opening.

'I'm aware the team had a successful season and won 17 games. I hope to take the program to a higher level.'

Within hours of being selected, Jenkins had phone conversations with Jesse Teplitzky and Joe Cascio. Teplitzky's resignation for the head coaching job at Cerritos College created the SMC opening. Cascio was Teplitzky's top assistant and guided the Corsairs through their summer program.

Cascio is interested in remaining on the staff. Jenkins said he will meet with Cascio in a few days and will name his assistants shortly.

Jenkins favors an up-tempo style of play with a pressure defense that creates turnovers. Two of his recent Sacramento State teams averaged 75 points and reached 100 six times. 'To play that style, depth is important,' said Jenkins.

Jenkins is 40. He began his head coaching career at 32. SMC and Cerritos aren't scheduled to play each other next season.

Courtesy of http://www.smmirror.com


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  PBL   


Former PBL Star Tihon Johnson Signs in Germany! - by Lucius Jones
One of the PBL's most efficient players, Tihon Johnson (6'5''-G-82, college: Mountain St.) has made the journey overseas to Bayer Uerdingen in the Germany-Regionalliga2 level of play. Tihon Johnson has been a winner at every level of the play dating all the way back to his H.S. years and plans to make that his initial priority in establishing himself in his newfound position. The message is already being displayed as Bayer Uerdingen has already won its first and only game.

As a high school talent Tihon Johnson led his East HS team to a D1 Final Four appearance en route to putting up Magic Johnson like numbers of 20+ppg 11apg 6rpg 4spg 2bpg.

In JC at powerhouse San Jacinto CC, Tihon was a JC All American and a major D1 signee to Idaho.

After a year at Idaho, Tihon Johnson transferred to NAIA D1 juggernaut Mountain St. and enjoyed continued winning and success.

From there Tihon played a strong season in the IBL with the Grand Rapids Flight.

After that first professional season Tihon had a great year in the PBL that eventually assisted in his placement over water.


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  PHILIPPINES   


Fans cheer as Filipino basketball team arrives - by Benny Lirio

DOHA: Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants, a popular Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) team, arrived
yesterday morning to entertain basketball fans here. They will be playing against teams from Qatar, Jordan and Al Sadd Club.

'Although USA's Team Unity won't be able to make it, a powerful selection of players from Al Sadd Club will be playing
in lieu of the US team,' said Pat Carido, Pinoy Basketball of Qatar (PIBAQ) Chairman. The American team was supposed
to arrive to complete the 'Four Nation' equation for the three-day friendship games.

'This will be a good chance for the team to practice in preparation for the upcoming PBA season which opens on
October 4,' Alvin Patrimonio, the team's manager and PBA four-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) told The Peninsula upon their arrival
at the Doha International Airport.

'Playing with Qatar and Jordan will boost the confidence and relationship of the whole team.
We also expect to bring some entertainment to Filipinos here,' Patrimonio added.

The players were in high spirits as this is the first time for most of them to be playing in Qatar.
'It is a good experience to come to Doha. I'm excited to play against the other teams and bring joy to fellow Filipinos
based here,' said James Yap (190-F/G-82) 2005-2006 season PBA MVP and husband of Kris Aquino, celebrity daughter of former President Corazon Aquino.

A recent survey shows that Purefoods TJ Giants is one of the two most popular PBA teams. After Doha, the Giants
will have a quick stop in Singapore where they will be competing against the Singapore Slingers.

THE PENINSULA




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  ROMANIA   


Dinamo-Galean Bucuresti sign Chris Reaves - by Eurobasket
Dinamo-Galean Bucuresti added to their roster 24-year old American guard Chris Reaves (191-G-84, college: Chaminade, agency: N.E.T.). Reaves played most recently at Minot Skyrockets (CBA) in the U.S.

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  SERBIA   


Radnicki Novi Sad outplays Romanian champion CSU Assesoft - by Dragan Jankovski
Participants of Serbian A1 league Radnicki Invest Inzenjering celebrated against Romanian champion CSU Asesoft Ploiesti 84-72. Except of the third quarter, which Asesoft finished 13-14, Radnicki was much better team. At the half time it had plus 7 while in the last quarter Radnicki just sealed victory in this friendly game. Veteran Zlatko Bolic (195-G-74, agency: Beo Basket) led Radnicki to win scoring 32 points. Andjelko Mandic (197-F-76) had 18 while center Milan Bjegovic (210-C-81, agency: Promotex) stopped on 8 points. Other players in Radnicki: Tomic 7, Kuzeta 6, Skoko, Tomasevic, Banjanin, Ivelja, Fekete 6, Stanic 4 and Lackovic 3. Mike Jones (196-G-84, agency: Passing Lane, college: Maryland) scored 29 points for Asesoft.

The game between Novi Sad and Napredak Rubin finished 59-56 but the last quarter wasn't played because referees stopped it. They decided not to continue with this game and the reason was Novi Sad's head coach Radomir Kisic who didn't want to leave the court after two technicals. Napredak Rubin had fantastic second period 12-22 while Novi Sad was great in third 32-19. However, the game was terminated in 31st minute without the winner. Maksim Kovacevic (200-G/F-87) was the best scorer in Novi Sad with 20 points. Vreca was behind him adding 12 points. Other players in Novi Sad: Martinic 3, Egeric 9, Jagodic 4, Djoric, Kalanj, Kolaric 3, Tmusic 4, Bunic 2, Subotic, Tomasevic 2 and Zolotic. Dragan Markovic (202-F-74, agency: Beo Basket) was better than the others is Napredak netting 17 points. Nenad Sulovic (202-F/C-85) was the last one with double digits stopping on 11 points. Other players in Napedak: Zivanovic, Zivkovic 4, Gajic 3, Miceta 5, Milosavljevic, Kocergin, Jovovic 8, Djurovic 6 and Pejovic 2.


Djerasimovic moved to Igokea Partizan, Vucenov in Ergonom - by Zoran Popovic
Former playef of FMP Zeleznik Beograd, Marko Djerasimovic (200-F-84) is new point guard of BC Igokea Partizan Aleksandrovac. Djerasimovic played for FMP Zeleznik Beograd last two seasons and in season 2006-2007 won Serbian cup Radivoj Korac. In season 2007-2008 Djerasimovic scored in ULEB Cup on 7 games average 7.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 steals per game, on 25 games in Adriatic league scored average 5.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals per game and in Super league average on 14 games 4.9 points, 1.4 rebounds per game.
Djerasimovic started career in Zastava Kragujevac and played for them from 1997 till 2004. Before FMP Zeleznik Beograd Djerasimovic played for Zdravlje Leskovac from 2004 till 2006.

Strahinja Vucenov (208-C-85) will continue career in Ergonom Nis. Vucenov started preparation for this season in Radnicki Novi Sad, but he decided to move in Nis. Last sason Vucenov played for Zdravlje Leskovac and on 17 games scored 3.4 points and 0.8 rebounds per game. Befere Zdravlje Vucenov played for Radnicki Kragujevac 2005-2006 and KK Prokuplje 2006-2007.


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  SOUTH KOREA   


Koreans turn our way to raise level of their game - by Eurobasket
During the recently completed Olympic Games, area hoops aficionados were able to see on TV how the rest of the world has improved their game.
But local fans of the American-invented sport can get a first-hand look at the progress that's been made by a non-traditional basketball country like Korea.
Tonight at 7:30 at The Field House at Hinkston Park in Waukegan, the Busan KTF Magic Wings, a member of the 10-team professional Korean Basketball League, conclude their 12-day stay at a veteran's camp with its sixth game against Chicago-area, college-age players. The game is free and open to the public.
Judging by last Thursday's contest, Korean pros play a strong NCAA Division II brand of ball.
The Magic Wings broke open a close, up-tempo contest late in the game and went on to win 100-89 against players who included area standouts Andre White (183-G, college: UAB) and Jeremy Shedrick. The previous night, they took out another group of Chicago recruits in overtime.
Why Waukegan? What are they doing here?
Fans of the now-defunct Barat College men's basketball team in Lake Forest might remember coach Chris Daleo , who built a struggling program into a high-scoring power that went 33-6 in 2002 and fell just three points short in overtime of winning the national NAIA championship.
Daleo, who coached the now-defunct Rockford Lightning and is currently under contract as coach of the Minot (North Dakota) Skyrockets -- both of the Continental Basketball Association -- is the American consultant/scout for the Korean team.
Daleo, who lives in Rockford, got involved with the Magic Wings via internet correspondence and was assigned to head up the logistics for a veterans camp in Chicago.
'They want to get better by playing American players,' he said, 'and through my years coaching here (at Barat), I have a lot of contacts and can find high-caliber players for them to scrimmage. I know Ken Hasty (manager of the Comfort Inn, Waukegan) and know that they have a class facility here for us to play in. And I have a place for them to stay near a major city like Chicago, as well.
'In organizing the camp, I had to line up hotels, transportation, gym time, personal trainers and Korean restaurants. I had to find suitable competition for the team to scrimmage. So, not only do I work with their players. but also coach against them,' said Daleo.
Daleo was also responsible for lining up the two foreign players allowed by each team of the Korean Basketball League -- 6-foot-8 James Peters, who played at UNLV; and 6-9 Steve Thomas, a Clemson product. Both were major contributors during Thursday's win against the locals.
'They (the Wings) need big guys,' said Daleo of the two tallest players on the Korean team. That's what they're lacking. That, and overall experience, which is why they are here.'
The two American recruits will make approximately $175,000 each playing in the Korean league.
'Not bad, eh?' observed Daleo.
Daleo also served as one the main evaluators for the KBL draft, where six out of 17 picks were former CBA players. 'It has been a whirlwind of an offseason,' said Daleo. 'I traveled from Korea to the Philippines, to Houston, to LA to Vegas and now to Chicago with the sole purpose of scouting and evaluating players. The majority of players picked in this years KBL draft, I have coached or coached against.'
Daleo said that Korean players, in general, need to learn how to keep people in front of them when on defense, and how to take people off the dribble when on offense.
'Their overall athleticism is not up to the standards of U.S. players,' he said, 'but they have a high basketball IQ and don't fall into the bad habits of American players when it comes to going too much one-on-one. The Koreans are basically very good teammates.'
The best player on the Korean team, according to Magic Wings coach O; Seung Choo, is point guard Ki Sung Shin, who is an excellent ball-handler with the ability to get the ball to his teammates for spot-up shots. And the Magic Wings proved time and again that they can hit the outside jumper.
Coach Choo said his team has been coming to the states every summer for the past five years. They were in Los Angeles last summer. Through an interpreter, he said he likes the two new American players Daleo procured for his team.
'Their team was 24-24 last year and didn't make the playoffs for the first time in a long time,' Daleo said. 'That's why they hired me.'

Courtesy of Dave Masterson


*****************************************************
  SPAIN   


Pre-Season Round Up - (11 Sep Games) - by Paul Nilsen

The good pre-season form of MMT Estudiantes continues as Luis Casimiro and his players picked up a 91-84 win over CAI Zaragoza who themselves put in another encouraging display before running out of steam writes www.acb-basket.com. Estu were six points up at the half but a great third quarter handed CAI an unlikely lead, especially having played the night before. Just when it looked like they were set for successive wins, Estu held their opponents to just 6 points in the final quarter. For the Madrid club it was another great night for young talent which is just the kind of thing that Casimiro is known for. This time Jason Granger (186-G-89) scored 20 points for Estu and so did Hernan Jasen. Zaragoza did however have the games top scorer with Paolo Quinteros claiming 21 points.

ViveMenorca just cant get a win in pre-season and perhaps thought facing opposition from outside the ACB might help in their quest to achieve a morale boosting win. However they fell yet again, this time to Ukrainian outfit Dontesk by 79-91. Ricard Casas could at least be hearted that on a night when Mario Stojic scored only three points, point guard Eugene Jeter (179-G-83, agency: CAA Sports, college: Portland) came alive with 17 points and big man William Eley (209-C-75, college: SE Missouri St.) secured 18 in a typically powerful performance.

Meanwhile in the beautiful mountain town of Ronda, 1,000 spectators packed in to watch Unicaja face Lietuvos Rytas and a sparkling performance from new signing Thomas Kelati (195-G/F-82, college: Washington St.) had them all on their feet in a hugely impressive 98-84 win. Kelati scored 22 points including 6 from 7 from outside to leave the Lithuanians helpless with Berni Rodriguez chipping in with 17 points.

Kalise Gran Canaria just edged out Bruesa in an exciting and tight 81-78 game in the Tournament De La Laguna. Andy Panko and Sergio Sanchez were in great form for the Basques although the latter missed out with a three-pointer to force overtime. Once again it was Granca new arrival James Augustine (208-F-84, agency: Priority Sports, college: Illinois) who ripped it up with 19 points as he continues to look like starting the season for real in red hot form.

Finally Real Madrid again were without some big names in their latest pre-season warm-up but nevertheless completed a comfortable 78-90 success against Basquet Mallorca. The Balearic Islanders put up a gutsy display having fallen behind by double figures at the end of the opening period. A typically barnstorming and powerful inside display by Felipe Reyes (203-F/C-80) was the highlight for the whites with the Cordoba born star claiming 21 points and being well supported by fellow forward Papadopoulos who scored 13 and is getting the benefit of plenty of minutes under his belt.


*****************************************************
  SWITZERLAND   


Lausanne Basket outsmarts BBC Monthey in a friendly - by Eurobasket News

Lausanne Basket - BBC Monthey 87-79

Swiss teams played many friendly games over the past few days. In one of those Lausanne Basket outplayed BBC Monthey 87-79 thanks to well played last quarter. Visitors demonstrated nice performance at the early beginning making 9-16 in fifth minute. Lausanne succeeded to recover from this poor start closing the gap on 16-18 until the end of the period. During the following few minutes Brendon Polyblank (197-G/F-78, college: Texas St.-San Marcos) and his teammates put into the fifth gear which resulted with a turn, 27-23 at the middle of the second frame. Until the half time the hosts extended their lead to 41-35. Monthey played much better after the breather. In the first couple of minutes Sebastien Maio (190-G-78, agency: LBM Management) was unstoppable bringing Monthey really close. It was 46-45 in 25th minute. However Lausanne managed to get back 4-point lead before the last stanza. During these ten minutes Lausanne took total control on its opponent resolving the question about the winner in 35th minute, 74-66.

Brendon Polyblank was the key player in the winning team scoring 25 points. Salaam had 17 while Willie Freeman (198-F-80, college: W.Carolina) stopped on 13 points. Sebastien Maio drained 22 points for the loosing side. Herman Alston (190-G-69, college: Kean) followed him with 19 while Johnson had 15 points.


Rosters:
Lausanne : Pleux 10; Brown 8; Martin; Meylan; Willie Freemann 13; Salaam 17; Precious 5; Polyblank 25; Durant 9; Aliu.
Entraneur : Stphane Jung

Monthey : Kicara 2; Anderson 9; Sebastien Maio 22; Martinez 4; Porchet 6; Johnson 15; Herman Alston 19; Kashama 2.
Entraneur : Franois Wolhauser



Other friendly games:
Rhone Herens Basket
Trabszonspor Ankara
71-64 (42-35)

09-09-08
Rhone Herens Basket
Besiktas Colaturka Istanbul
69-60 (35-37)

10-09-08 20h30
Union Neuchatel Basket
BC Boncourt
49-89 (18-45)



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


Mersin parted ways with Hardin - by Sinan Can
MERSIN Buyuksehir Belediyespor agreed to part ways with American big man Devon Hardin. Young center who has drafted by Oklohoma Cith Thunder on 50th pick has arrived Mersin with a stress reaction on right foot and could not show up at any team practises. It's been reported that, it'll take more than a month for the player to be totally healthy as Mersin officials decided to terminate the contract. Now Turkish club is looking for a new center.

Oyak Renault Bursa sign Greg Stiemsma - by Eurobasket
Oyak Renault Bursa strengthened their roster with addition of American center Greg Stiemsma (211-C, college: Wisconsin, agency: N.E.T.). Stiemsma played most recently at University of Wisconsin (NCAA) in the U.S. It will be his first year in professional basketball.

*****************************************************
  UNITED KINGDOM   


Be aware of "London Leopards" fraudsters - by Dave Ryan
For a period of time, several fraudsters have been offering players contracts and attempting to make hotel bookings in the name of London Leopards Basketball Club the most persistent of these people is a man claiming to be called George Bill.

All correspondence from London Leopards Basketball Club regarding players will come from General Manager Dave Ryan at the leopardsgm@hotmail.com email address. There are no plans for the club to book any hotels.


Pops shows power in defence in qualifiers - by Eurobasket News
Pops Mensah-Bonsu (206-F-83, agency: SportsTalent, college: George Washington), the former Hackney White Heat young player, who went on to play in the USA with the Dallas Mavericks, had a mixed start to his career as a Great Britain international.

Drafted in by the GB management team, that includes former Hackney-based London United coach Tony Garbelotto, Mensah-Bonsu got his international career back on track on Sunday evening, by giving a top defensive performance as GB recorded their first EuroBasket (European Championships) qualifying victory over the Czech Republic at the O2 Arena.

The GB side are determined to qualify for the Euro Championship finals, to prove their worth as Olympic hosts in 2012. They played Bosnia-Herzegovina last night (Wednesday) in Birmingham.

The former Hackney youngster was the game's major defensive force in a 87-68 victory, scoring 13 points with 16 rebounds.

But matters didn't go so well for the 6ft 9 in guard last midweek, when the GB side lost their opening qualifier, a close affair in Israel 102-92.

In a very tight finish, in a game in which GB welcomed back Luol Deng, the star player from the Chicago Bears, back to their ranks, after a dispute over the Sudanese born star's medical insurance. The GB association have had to stump up a premium of 230,000 to make the top-scoring forward available.

Mensah-Bonsu and Deng were both fouled out in overtime as Israel levelled with two free throws with just five seconds left.

In overtime, they made the numerical advantage tell to record a victory that assistant-coach Garbelotto said was hard to take: 'We were devastated to lose. We let a match slip that we shouldn't,'' he said.

Ironically, it had been Mensah-Bonsu who had taken over Deng's mantle for GB's preparation matches before the Euro qualifiers.

But now Mensah-Bonsu is looking forward to the pair's partnership. 'With Luol back it takes a load off me and makes my job easier.'' says the ex-Hackney product.

The 24-year-old had top scored for GB in Turkey.

He has also signed a one year contract to play in Spain this season, joining the Badalona club, after a spell in Italy.

Courtesy of http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk


*****************************************************
  URUGUAY   


Marlon Martinez agreed terms with Union Atletica for a second season - by Walter Sobrero
Dominican player Marlon Martinez (204-F/C-79) has agreed terms to come back to Union Atletica, for his second season. According to team officials and his agent, the player is expected to arrive on Monday to Montevideo. There are still rumours of who will be replaced, but the dominican player has agreed terms. Some say that Jemino Sobers is the one to be replaced. Marlon Martinez was a great addition to Union Atletica last season where the team went to championship places.



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

Women News

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


Tall Fern Purcell joins Thunder - by Eurobasket News
Fresh off a plane from New Zealand, the BDS Logan Thunders latest Womens National Basketball League (WNBL) recruit, Natalie Purcell (183-F-82, college: SE Missouri St.), arrived in Logan after signing a two-year-deal.

Last Thursday, Purcell landed in her new home after the 25-year-old was forced to leave her foregoing WNBL club, Christchurch Sirens, after the organisation folded last month.

The New Zealand Tall Fern planned on moving to Brisbane at the end of the 2008/09 WNBL season to follow her boyfriend, Ezra Taylor, who recently signed with rugby Super 14 club, Queensland Reds.

But the premature decision to make the trek north and link with the Thunder was Purcells ideal situation.

Its sad to see Christchurch go and disappointing for New Zealand womens basketball, the 183cm small forward said.

I was already planning to come to Brisbane and after the Sirens folded, Logan became an ideal call.

Just weeks after representing her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Purcell admits she has had barely enough time to absorb her new role.

Due to concerns over the clubs sustainability, the Sirens loss from the WNBL left Purcell and the rest of the Sirens players, who represented New Zealand in Beijing stranded.

The players were told of the news mid-way through the Tall Ferns Olympic campaign.

The news rocked the team and the players, including Purcell, were frightened for their futures.

It was difficult, but I wasnt as worried as some of the other girls, because I had other options, but some of them didnt, Purcell said.

During her WNBL debut year last season, Purcell averaged 7.6 points and almost four rebounds a game with the Sirens.

However her experience from this years Olympic Games will provide the rest of the young Thunder outfit with some valuable experience.

Natalie travelled to the WNBL Preseason tournament over the weekend and met up with the team for three matches in Nowra, NSW.

I was told that the players here (Logan) are a great bunch of girls and thats how it turned out, Purcell said.

The organisation seems to have great support and operate well which was appealing to me.

Purcell spent four years in America and had a two-year stint with womens basketball team, South East Missouri State University.

Natalie flew back to her hometown Auckland after the tournament on the weekend and will return on 22 September.

Courtesy of Thunder Media


Tolo tells foes they better watch out - by Eurobasket News
She's only been part of the Canberra roster for a couple of months but 196cm centre Marianna Tolo (196-C-89) is positive that joining the Capitals in the WNBL was the best move after the AIS and the season hasn't even started yet.

Tolo and her teammates had their first pre-season hit-out in Nowra last weekend, completing a clean sweep against Sydney Uni, the AIS and new WNBL team Logan Thunder.

And it was in the third quarter against Thunder that has Tolo just a bit excited.

After being down by more than 10 points at half-time, the Capitals bounced back and posted 26 points to three, took the lead and held on to complete the hat-trick.

''It was great to watch and good to see what we could do, even if it wasn't for the whole game, just for that quarter it showed what we are capable of,'' Tolo said. ''Teams better watch out, we are coming to get them.''

Tolo attracted plenty of attention while playing for the AIS last year and had a host of WNBL clubs lining up to try and sign her for the 2008/09 season. But Tolo chose to stay in Canberra with the Capitals and said yesterday she hasn't looked back.

''I think it was the best decision for me, great team, great players, great coaching, all that sort of stuff.

''I know Canberra pretty well after the AIS, and I think now I have thought about it a bit and it was definitely the best decision,'' Tolo said.

Part of that was the chance to further build on a playing partnership with Abby Bishop which began in the Australian under-19 team the Gems and continued last year when they were both part of the Opals training camps in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics. And it's gone outside the court as well, with the two sharing a house.

''We formed a good link in that Gems team and I think we worked well together,'' Tolo said.

''She's got a lot of experience already with the caps and she's a great player so I really do hope to learn from her

''... One of my best reasons for coming here was to be able to train with and train against Abby and hopefully we can go on to Opals and have a chance to work together more.''

The Capitals' preseason continues when they travel to Young today to play Japanese J-League team JOMO Sunflowers. The Capitals will play their first pre-season games at home next weekend against the Sydney Uni Flames, Townsville and the AIS.

Courtesy of The Canberra Times (by Merryn Sherwood)


Capitals contract falls into Bowley's lap - by Eurobasket News
Just three days after collecting AFL Canberra's best and fairest award, Lewis is preparing to take a back seat as Bowley takes to the court with the Canberra Capitals.
''It's my turn now to do all the cleaning and cooking,'' Lewis laughed.

''Hannah's going to get home late with training and the Caps probably train more than what we did at Ainslie.

''So I've got to do it it's my turn.''

Both Bowley, 24, and Lewis, 25, moved to Canberra this year to follow their respective careers.

Bowley, an occupational therapist at the Canberra hospital, arrived at the start of September to join Lewis and was shocked when offered a contract with the Caps.

''I didn't expect it at all,'' Bowley said. ''I got in contact with Tracey Beatty and she gave my number to Graffy [Capitals coach Carrie Graf] and next thing I know I'm on a contract.''

But it was no fluke for the talented sportswoman. She played for Perth in the WNBL in 2005-06 and her sister, Monique, is lining up for the Adelaide Lightning this season.

Earlier this year, she won an Australian rules premiership in Darwin and was awarded the best-on-ground medal.

Two weeks later, Lewis did what any boyfriend would do and matched the feat with a best-on-ground performance in the men's grand final in the same league.

But when it comes to basketball, Lewis conceded he was no match for Bowley.

''It's pretty embarrassing when your girlfriend smashes you in a game of one-on-one basketball,'' the on-baller from Ainslie said.

''That's because I've got a height advantage over you,'' Bowley added.

''Yeah I know, you can slam dunk over me,'' Lewis said.

Tomorrow night the Caps take on the Jomo-Sunflowers from Japan in Young in what will be Bowley's fourth game for the franchise.

While Lewis wouldn't be tagging along this week, he was confident he would be at almost every Caps home match.

Caps coach Carrie Graf said she couldn't believe how lucky she was to have Bowley ''fall into her lap''.

''She came along to training and within the first half hour you could tell she was good enough,'' Graf said.

Courtesy of The Canberra Times (by Chris Dutton)


Japanese Sunflowers too strong for AIS - by Eurobasket News
Jomo Sunflowers - AIS 73-58

Japanese team Jomo Sunflowers, which is currently on international tour in Australia, defeated AIS at its training hall 73-58.

The Sunflowers had pretty good beginning. Mostly owing to twins centers Hiromi Suwa and Kumuko Yamada they created 16-19 after the opening quarter. They continued in the same rhythm during the following ten minutes. AIS got some points from Alice Kunek but anyway Sunflowers went to the half time having 42-34. Third frame was the crucial one in this game. Japanese team demonstrated wonderful performance. Ryoko Utsumi (175-G-85) was on fire leading her team to 65-43. At that point of game it was clear that AIS won't be able to do anything important until the end. Sunflowers played last 10 minutes with routine keeping their lead without any difficulties.

Hiromi Suwa paced Jomo Sunflowers to victory scoring 22 points. Ryoko Utsumi also shined with 14 points while Kumiko Yumada stopped on 8. Alice Kunek was the only one in AIS with double digits, 11 points. Steph Cumming had two point less while Kate Gaze (172-G-90) finished the game with 8 points.


Jomo Sunflowers: Hiromi Suwa 22, Ryoko Utsumi 14, Kumiko Yumada 8
AIS: Alice Kunek 11, Steph Cumming 9, Kate Gaze 8


*****************************************************
  EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS - Women  


Standings Div.A (Women)
Standings
Group A
1. Israel5-2
2. Lithuania5-2
3. Ukraine5-3
4. Germany2-5
5. U.Kingdom1-6
Group B
1. Poland6-1
2. Turkey6-1
3. Italy4-3
4. Bosnia1-6
5. Finland1-7
Group C
1. France6-1
2. Slovakia5-3
3. Hungary4-3
4. Croatia2-5
5. Romania1-6
Group D
1. Greece4-1
2. Serbia3-2
3. Belgium2-3
4. Bulgaria1-4


*****************************************************
  HOLLAND - Women  


USD's Hoffman gets pro deal in Holland - by Eurobasket News
Jeana Hoffman (5'8''-G-85), a former standout on The University of South Dakota womens basketball team, has signed to play for a professional team in Holland.

Hoffman will play for Leiderdorp, which is the highest national league in Holland. The team Hoffman will be a part of is called Basketball Vereniging Leiderdorp (BV Leiderdorp) which directly translates from Dutch to English as the Leiderdorp Basketball Association. Hoffman will be coached by Joris Zandbergen.


Hoffman flies to Holland this week and once arriving, the team will head to Belgium for training camp with scrimmages set for Sept. 13-14. The teams first official game is set for Sept. 27. BV Leiderdorp will play 27 regular-season games, with the regular season concluding on April 18, 2009 and playoff competition to follow.

Im really excited about it, Hoffman said. Its kind of a dream of mine to be able to play professionally. It should be a fun experience being in a different country and experiencing the different culture and styles of basketball.

Hoffman, a Mitchell, S.D., graduate, played for two seasons at USD (2006-08) and had a stellar basketball career in which she helped lead the Coyotes to their first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship Game. She was named the North Central Conference MVP in 2007-08 and was also named the MVP of the NCC Tournament as the Coyotes won both regular-season and postseason NCC crowns. She was a Daktronics NCAA Division II Womens All-American Basketball Team selection, where she was named to the third team.

Hoffman averaged 17.6 points and 3.7 rebounds a game for USD in 2007-08 and played an integral role in helping the Coyotes to a 33-2 mark, one which included a 31-game winning streak. Hoffman also added 48 steals and hit 127-of-309 shots from the three-point line.

Obviously, Ive had a lot of great memories while playing at USD, Hoffman said. On this past season, even though we fell one game short, I think our success was a testament to what teamwork and hard work can do for a team.

In 2006-07, Hoffman was named the NCCs Newcomer of the Year and was also selected All-NCC. She averaged 11.7 points and 3.2 rebounds a game as USD posted a 22-9 mark.

In her two-year Coyote career, Hoffman averaged 14.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and two assists a game. In her overall four-year collegiate career, which included two years at Texas State, Hoffman averaged 11 points and three rebounds a contest. She shot 38 percent from three-point range and hit 41.2 percent of her field-goal attempts.

Courtesy: Crystal Kruger, USD Sports Information


*****************************************************
  ISRAEL - Women  


Liron Cohen in the Israeli National Team - by Gil Goshen

ISRAEL - UKRAINE 85:90


Israel was less than two minutes away from clinching the #1 spot and a 2009 EuroBasket berth with a 74 65 lead. A basket off an offensive rebound and two questionable calls changed the momentum and got the Ukraine back in the game, and they were able to force overtime. With two key players out and soft defense, Israel couldn't recover in the overtime and lost 85 90. Israel now must beat Great Britain on Saturday to complete the job and advance.

For Israel:
Liad Suez Karni 20 pts
LIRON COHEN - agency GG basketball 19 pts , 3 rb, 4 ast.
Shay Doron 17 pts
Laine Selwyn 16 pts
Katia Abramzon 11 pts
Merav Dori 2 pts



Standings (W)
D1 Standings
Upper Playoffs
 1. Ramat H. 18-5 
 2. Bnot Hash. 17-6 
 3. Elizur Ram. 16-7 
 4. Ramat Hen 13-10 
 5. M.Ashdod 10-11 
 6. Elitzur Holon 8-13 
Lower Playoffs
 1. B.Yehuda 8-12 
 2. M.Tel Kabir 4-14 
 3. Hap.T-A 3-18 


*****************************************************
  JAPAN - Women  


Japanese Sunflowers too strong for AIS - by Eurobasket News
Jomo Sunflowers - AIS 73-58

Japanese team Jomo Sunflowers, which is currently on international tour in Australia, defeated AIS at its training hall 73-58.

The Sunflowers had pretty good beginning. Mostly owing to twins centers Hiromi Suwa and Kumuko Yamada they created 16-19 after the opening quarter. They continued in the same rhythm during the following ten minutes. AIS got some points from Alice Kunek but anyway Sunflowers went to the half time having 42-34. Third frame was the crucial one in this game. Japanese team demonstrated wonderful performance. Ryoko Utsumi (175-G-85) was on fire leading her team to 65-43. At that point of game it was clear that AIS won't be able to do anything important until the end. Sunflowers played last 10 minutes with routine keeping their lead without any difficulties.

Hiromi Suwa paced Jomo Sunflowers to victory scoring 22 points. Ryoko Utsumi also shined with 14 points while Kumiko Yumada stopped on 8. Alice Kunek was the only one in AIS with double digits, 11 points. Steph Cumming had two point less while Kate Gaze (172-G-90) finished the game with 8 points.


Jomo Sunflowers: Hiromi Suwa 22, Ryoko Utsumi 14, Kumiko Yumada 8
AIS: Alice Kunek 11, Steph Cumming 9, Kate Gaze 8


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


USD's Hoffman gets pro deal in Holland - by Eurobasket News
Jeana Hoffman (5'8''-G-85), a former standout on The University of South Dakota womens basketball team, has signed to play for a professional team in Holland.

Hoffman will play for Leiderdorp, which is the highest national league in Holland. The team Hoffman will be a part of is called Basketball Vereniging Leiderdorp (BV Leiderdorp) which directly translates from Dutch to English as the Leiderdorp Basketball Association. Hoffman will be coached by Joris Zandbergen.


Hoffman flies to Holland this week and once arriving, the team will head to Belgium for training camp with scrimmages set for Sept. 13-14. The teams first official game is set for Sept. 27. BV Leiderdorp will play 27 regular-season games, with the regular season concluding on April 18, 2009 and playoff competition to follow.

Im really excited about it, Hoffman said. Its kind of a dream of mine to be able to play professionally. It should be a fun experience being in a different country and experiencing the different culture and styles of basketball.

Hoffman, a Mitchell, S.D., graduate, played for two seasons at USD (2006-08) and had a stellar basketball career in which she helped lead the Coyotes to their first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship Game. She was named the North Central Conference MVP in 2007-08 and was also named the MVP of the NCC Tournament as the Coyotes won both regular-season and postseason NCC crowns. She was a Daktronics NCAA Division II Womens All-American Basketball Team selection, where she was named to the third team.

Hoffman averaged 17.6 points and 3.7 rebounds a game for USD in 2007-08 and played an integral role in helping the Coyotes to a 33-2 mark, one which included a 31-game winning streak. Hoffman also added 48 steals and hit 127-of-309 shots from the three-point line.

Obviously, Ive had a lot of great memories while playing at USD, Hoffman said. On this past season, even though we fell one game short, I think our success was a testament to what teamwork and hard work can do for a team.

In 2006-07, Hoffman was named the NCCs Newcomer of the Year and was also selected All-NCC. She averaged 11.7 points and 3.2 rebounds a game as USD posted a 22-9 mark.

In her two-year Coyote career, Hoffman averaged 14.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and two assists a game. In her overall four-year collegiate career, which included two years at Texas State, Hoffman averaged 11 points and three rebounds a contest. She shot 38 percent from three-point range and hit 41.2 percent of her field-goal attempts.

Courtesy: Crystal Kruger, USD Sports Information


*****************************************************
  PARAGUAY - Women  


Female League updating - by Gianni Pascucci
The 'Semifinal Round' is near to the end, and Olimpia and Sol de America are both yet sure to meet themselves in the competition Final Series. In the last round, Olimpia defeated Universidad Autonoma de Asuncion (UAA) 59-58, with Carina Pena (-C-84) leading the way at 19 pts and Vivian Aponte (-G-82) scoring 22 pts in losing effort. At the other side, Sol prevailed over Universidad Catlica (UCA) 71-60. With only two rounds left, the standings are as follows:
Sol de Amrica 9 pts,
Olimpia 7,75 pts,
UAA 5 pts,
UCA 4,50 pts


*****************************************************
  SLOVAKIA - Women  


Sdent Sierre Basket inks Lenka Zimova - by Eurobasket News
After signing of Alke Dietel (194-C-75, agency: LBM Management, college: Washington St.), Sdent Sierre Basket announced arrival of one more player. It is Lenka Zimova (198-C-83, college: Texas A&M), who ended last season in Spanish team Moguerza Real Canoe N.C. She had 13 appearances for Moguerza in LF2 averaging 4.2 ppg and 2.5 rpg. Zimova started 07/08 in German team BBV Leipzig Eagles but she left in November 2007. She played 5 games for Leipzig in DBBL adding 8 ppg and 6 rpg. Zimova graduated on Texas A&M University in 2007 helping it to end regular season on top of Big 12. She had 24 games collecting 2.4 ppg and 1.2 rpg while Texas A&M was stopped in the semifinals of Big 12 tournament. Interesting is that between Leipzig and Moguerza, Zimova already spent one month in Switzerland. She played for LNA team Brunnen Basket. In 6 games Zimova averaged 13.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 1.5 apg after what she moved to Spain. Lenka Zimova was a member of Slovakian U16 National Team in 1999 which participated at the European Championship.
Sdent Sierre Basket won LNB championship last season and it will compete in LNA on 08/09.

In the meantime Sdent Nyon Basket Feminin and Martigny-Rhone Basket participated on international tournament in France. Sdent Nyon won it beating French team La Tronche in the final 91-86. Rhone Basket suffered huge defeat in the battle for third palce against Al Venissieux Parilly 18-84.


*****************************************************
  SPAIN - Women  


Elisha Turek,new player for Gran Canaria - by Ivan Villar


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


Sdent Sierre Basket sign Alke Dietel - by Eurobasket
Sdent Sierre Basket signed 33-year old German center Alke Dietel (194-C-75, college: Washington St., agency: LBM Management). Dietel played most recently at IMC Dames Waregem (Belgium).

Sdent Sierre Basket inks Lenka Zimova - by Eurobasket News
After signing of Alke Dietel (194-C-75, agency: LBM Management, college: Washington St.), Sdent Sierre Basket announced arrival of one more player. It is Lenka Zimova (198-C-83, college: Texas A&M), who ended last season in Spanish team Moguerza Real Canoe N.C. She had 13 appearances for Moguerza in LF2 averaging 4.2 ppg and 2.5 rpg. Zimova started 07/08 in German team BBV Leipzig Eagles but she left in November 2007. She played 5 games for Leipzig in DBBL adding 8 ppg and 6 rpg. Zimova graduated on Texas A&M University in 2007 helping it to end regular season on top of Big 12. She had 24 games collecting 2.4 ppg and 1.2 rpg while Texas A&M was stopped in the semifinals of Big 12 tournament. Interesting is that between Leipzig and Moguerza, Zimova already spent one month in Switzerland. She played for LNA team Brunnen Basket. In 6 games Zimova averaged 13.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 1.5 apg after what she moved to Spain. Lenka Zimova was a member of Slovakian U16 National Team in 1999 which participated at the European Championship.
Sdent Sierre Basket won LNB championship last season and it will compete in LNA on 08/09.

In the meantime Sdent Nyon Basket Feminin and Martigny-Rhone Basket participated on international tournament in France. Sdent Nyon won it beating French team La Tronche in the final 91-86. Rhone Basket suffered huge defeat in the battle for third palce against Al Venissieux Parilly 18-84.


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  WNBA - Women  


Standings
WNBA Western Standings
 1. S.Antonio SS 22-8 
 2. Detroit S. 19-10 
 3. Connect. S. 19-13 
 4. Seattle S. 18-10 
 5. L.Angeles S. 17-11 
 6. Sacram. M. 16-13 
 7. New York L. 15-13 
 8. Houston C. 13-15 
 9. Indiana F. 13-15 
 10. Phoenix M. 13-15 
 11. Minnesota L. 12-15 
 12. Chicago Sky 12-17 
 13. Washingt. M. 9-20 
 14. Charlotte S. 0-0 


Minnesota Lynx Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins to miss rest of 2008 season - by Eurobasket News
The Minnesota Lynx announced today that third-year guard Seimone Augustus (6'1''-G-84, college: LSU) and rookie guard Candice Wiggins (5'11''-G-87, college: Stanford) will both miss the final two games of the 2008 season.

Augustus was diagnosed with a mild concussion Tuesday night after falling to the floor with 5:07 left in the first quarter of Minnesota's game against the Indiana Fever at Target Center. The results from a CT scan performed that night were negative.

Wiggins injured her right knee in the closing seconds of the second quarter of the game against the Fever. A magnetic resonance imaging test Wednesday confirmed a tear to the lateral meniscus in her right knee. Surgery has been recommended to repair the injury.

'I am sure that both Seimone and Candice would fight to play in our last two games if we were still in the hunt for a playoff spot,' Lynx head coach Don Zierden said. 'However, we feel that it is in their best interest to sit out our last two games. While we are incredibly disappointed for Seimone and Candice, as well as the fans who are coming to our last home game tomorrow night to watch them, we don't want either of them to do anything that could jeopardize their tremendously promising futures in the WNBA with the Lynx.'

Augustus, an Olympic gold-medal winner while a member of the 2008 U.S. Women's Olympic team and a two-time WNBA All-Star, was the top overall draft selection in the 2006 WNBA Draft. The former LSU standout has been Minnesota's leading scorer in each of her three seasons in the WNBA.

The injury ended Augustus' streak of scoring in double figures at 88 consecutive games, which was just four games shy of the WNBA record held by Cynthia Cooper. Augustus is Minnesota's leading scorer with 19.1 points per game, which is third in the WNBA. She is also seventh in the league in minutes played (33.6 mpg) and free-throw percentage (89.0 percent).

Wiggins was the third overall pick of the 2008 WNBA Draft and is a leading candidate for the WNBA's Sixth Woman of the Year Award and the Rookie of the Year Award. She is currently second on the Lynx and second among all rookies in scoring with 15.7 points per game and in minutes played with 27.5 mpg. She leads the Lynx and is third among rookies with 3.0 assists per game. She is second on the Lynx and third among rookies with 1.8 steals per game. She is also fifth on the Lynx and 12th among rookies in rebounding with 3.2 rebounds per game.

The 2008 Wade Trophy winner while at Stanford is second among qualified rookies in 3-point field-goal percentage at 30.6 percent (31-for-121). She is also third among qualified rookies in field-goal percentage at 40.3 percent (137-for-340) and free-throw shooting percentage at 81.7 percent (161-for-197).

Courtesy of Minnesota Lynx


Silver Stars sign Ross and Wilkins for remainder of season - by Eurobasket News
The San Antonio Silver Stars have signed former TCU guard Adrianne Ross (5'8''-G-84, college: TCU) and former Sacramento Monarch Brittany Wilkins (6'3''-F/C-83, agency: LBM Management, college: Iowa St.) for the remainder of the 2008 season, including playoffs, Head Coach and General Manager Dan Hughes announced today. Per team policy, terms of the contracts have not been disclosed.

Ross, a 5'8' guard, was one of the last players waived from the Silver Stars roster following training camp this season. She appeared in one regular season game, playing four minutes at Sacramento. During the pre-season, Ross scored 16 points against Detroit and 13 against Houston, averaging 24 minutes per game. At TCU, she ranked second on the Frogs' career scoring chart with 1,725 career points. She also owns school records for steals (339), games played (135) and field goal attempts (1,562).

Wilkins, a 6'3' center, was an honorable mention All-Big 12 performer at Iowa State where she averaged 16.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game as a senior. She appeared in four games for the Sacramento Monarchs in 2006 and spent the 2007-08 off-season playing in Switzerland where she averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in EuroCup play. Wilkins was with the Silver Stars throughout the 2008 training camp, but the team waived her on May 15.

The Silver Stars are currently in first place in the Western Conference and own the best record in the WNBA. Tickets start as low as $9.35 and are available through TicketMaster, the AT&T Center Box Office, online at www.sasilverstars.com or by calling (210) 444-5090.

Courtesy of San Antonio Silver Stars


Seattle Storm signs Kimberly Beck for remainder of 2008 WNBA Regular Season - by Eurobasket News
The Seattle Storm announced today that guard Kimberly Beck (5'8''-G-85, college: George Washington) of George Washington University has been signed for the remainder of the 2008 WNBA regular season.

Beck, selected by the Storm with the 36th pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, played in 15 games earlier this season for the team. Beck was released from the Storm roster on June 28, 2008.

A 5-8 guard, Beck was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year during her senior season. She was also selected to the All-Conference First Team and the All-Defensive team for the second straight year. She was also selected to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's All-American Honorable Mention team.

The Atlanta, Ga., native averaged 12.8 points and 6.2 assists per game her senior season. She was an effective shooter, knocking down 40 percent of her field goals and 79.5 percent from the free throw line. She also averaged 2.15 steals per game. Beck was one of three finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, and was named to the Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention Team in 2007.

The roster now stands at 13 players.

Courtesy of Seattle Storm


The Silver Stars clinch top spot in the West - by Eurobasket News
The San Antonio Silver Stars dealt with the Connecticut Sun at home to secure the top finish in the Western conference. Sophia Young (6'1''-F-83, college: Baylor) came up with a pivotal performance of 24 points and 7 rebounds to pace the hosts to a 78:74 victory. Ann Wauters (6'5''-C-80) and Rebecca Hammon (5'6''-G-77, college: Colorado St.) added 17 points apiece for the winners. San Antonio also posted a perfect 14-0 record against the Eastern conference teams in the regular season. Asjha Jones (6'2''-F-80, college: Connecticut) answered with 18 points for the Sun as they slipped to 20-13 record. It was the third straight loss for once Eastern conference leading squad. Tamika Whitmore added 12 points in defeat. Connecticut played without Lindsay Whalen. Connecticut led 72:71 with just over two minutes left in regulation however Rebecca Hammon nailed 7 points in the closing minutes to lift the home team to the win.
In the meantime the Detroit Shock capitalized on the Connecticuts loss to clinch the title in the East. Kara Braxton (6'6''-C-83, college: Georgia) notched 15 points for the Shock as they held off the Washington Mystics 78:66. Plenette Pierson provided 12 points for the winners. The Mystics lost the 7th straight game. Alana Beard (5'11''-G/F-82, college: Duke) scored 16 points for the Mystics as they fell to 10-22 record. Detroit now have to win against New York to have a home-court advantage against Los Angeles in the possible Finals.
Detroit will take on Indiana in the opening round of the playoffs and meanwhile their opponents took care of the New York Liberty 74:59 at home. Tammy Sutton-Brown (6'4''-C-78, college: Rutgers) produced 16 points to pace the Fever. Latanya White added 13 points for the winners that saw limited minutes for the teams leaders. Jessica Davenport (6'5''-C-85, college: Ohio St.) answered with 12 points for the Liberty.


Fridays Sacramento Monarchs at Houston Comets Game Postponed Due to Severe Weather - by Bruno Baltazar
The WNBA announced the game scheduled for Friday evening, September 12, between the Sacramento Monarchs and Houston Comets at Reliant Arena in Houston has been postponed due to severe weather conditions anticipated as a result of Hurricane Ike.
The WNBA is working toward rescheduling the game for Monday evening, September 15, at 7:30 p.m. at Reliant Arena. A formal decision will depend upon a variety of logistics and an assessment of the outcome of the storm in the Houston area.

Comets fans are urged to log onto http://www.wnba.com/comets/ or http://www.wnba.com/ for the latest information.