Bogdan hearts Jesse.

Paul Nilsen is a part-time freelance basketball journalist and addict (mainly basketball) who writes for and has his own site at In between balancing a full time job and a girlfriend whose patience is wearing thin, Paul can be found somewhere near a basketball court writing about anything from Eurobasket to U16 women.  Paul can be contacted at [email protected].

Freaknick: Via Sinan Guler’s  Twitter: “.. just listened How Do You Sleep by Jesse McCartney and Ludacris, and it’s a good song.” Should Turkey Coach Bogdan Tenjevic be concerned that his shooting guard is listening to Jesse McCartney before gameday?

PN: Trying to cover up your own love for Jesse Mac by trying to pin the spotlight on Guler’s Twitter feed is a bit of a low shot. Come on, let your love flow and maybe you can exchange your thoughts with him through your mutual membership of the official fan club (Editor’s Note: I was assured that my membership would remain anonymous). I think Tanjevic has other issues to worry about right now, which is a nice link to ‘How Do You Sleep’.  Certainly I wouldn’t be getting much shut-eye right now if I had to coach a Eurobasket team with multiple personalities.

FN:You’re probably used to this now after doing several interviews with me, but I’ll phrase this question negatively:  let’s say Rimantas Kaukenas, Ramunas Siskauskas, Arvydas Macijauskas, and Sarunas Jasikevicius all show up on September 7th and say, “SURPRISE! We’re going to play after all!”  The only thing is, there are only three unused jerseys.  Which veteran gets shown to the door?

Lithuania's Child.

PN: Instinctively I got for shouting “Surprise…..there are only three jerseys and you’re not playing” to Arvydas Macijauskas. Well actually I would probably cower in the corner very meekly and whisper it as I know these Lithuania guys love their basketball. I love all of these players and it is a toughie but Jasikevicius is one of my all time favourite players because of his passion for the game, his toughness and all around approach which I think really shines through – he gets a pass. After that I don’t think you can look past Siskauskas and Kaukenas. I mean it’s splitting hairs really, kind of like asking which sexy chick out of some really hot four piece girl band you had to cut. I guess it doesn’t matter that much if the other three are still there to marvel at.  Hang on, did I really just compare these big Lithuanian mega stars to a girl band? Erm……….

FN: Your forecast for Bulgaria on was, to be polite, rather bleak.  If you had a thousand bucks to bet on ANY team going winless, would this be that team?

PN: Do you ask these questions deliberately to wind me up? As I clutch my stomach from the churning sensation as I spit these words out – I would (whisper it quietly) put the money on Great Britain. Slovenia, Serbia and Spain are really tough and without Deng look near impossible. I think Bulgaria are in a tough group but Turkey can always implode and Poland will be under some pressure as hosts and could crack. Damn I am now depressed and I am leaving for the Torwar Hall in a few hours to watch my team play and make history. I think that Germany might struggle also but they have a chance against a depleted Russia and also Latvia who are not as consistent as they maybe should be.

FN: Another group, another pair of brothers; who says Eurobasket isn’t a family affair?  Between the Lavrinovic twins, who has the cooler tattoo: Ksistof with his frat boy barbed wire tribal arm band, or Darjus with his dragon, snake-ish looking thing?

PN: Well I have to say that neither are truly inspirational choices and didn’t Pamela Anderson get a barbed wire tattoo or am I just making that up? If true, (well it is in my brain at least…) then that riles out Ksistof and therefore by default I would have to go with the indecipherable beast on Darjus. Maybe they should have got each others names with a portrait of themselves on each arm just to mess with our collective minds. Or, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they might get tattoos to celebrate their time at EuroBasket 2009 if they make the podium.

FN:Who do you like in a fight: the three Turkish centers from Fenerbahçe (Savas, Erden, Asik), or that three-headed dog from the first Harry Potter?

PN: Where is the dog? I am waiting for it.