Eurobasket 2009: Serbian Silver Shines Like Gold

By: Freaknick

Rudy Fernandez snipped the final strand of woven nylon and draped the net over his head.  With his arms lifted toward the ceiling, he smiled and joined his Spanish teammates in celebration.  Minutes later, he was announced to the All-Tournament Team along with his battery mate and Eurobasket MVP, Pau Gasol.  Not to be outdone, Juan Carlos Navarro then took his turn in the festivities, hoisting the trophy over his head before leveling it in front of his face for a passionate kiss.  For the first time since their 2006 World Championship, Los Chicos de Oro were golden once again.

Through all of the confetti and fanfare, the entire basketball world had been warned.  A European monster was growing in front of our eyes.  And while Spain basked in the moment, the baby beasts were dressed in Silver.

With an average age of 22.3 years, Serbia was easily the youngest team in the tourney.  After an opening day win against Spain, Serbia went on to play well beyond their years, using a core of youngsters to battle it out with the big boys.  Their inspired, team ball found them on the medal stand Sunday, and it’s not tough to imagine them one step higher when 2011 rolls around.  Here’s a quick look at the five guys who logged the most minutes in Eurobasket 2009:

Teodosic makes decisions like an old pro.Milos Teodosic, 22: In a matchup with Slovenia which turned out to be the best game of Eurobasket, Teodosic and his 32 points shone the brightest.  Possession after possession, it was Teodosic who put Serbia on his shoulders.  Unfortunately, when Milos had an off game (see: Finals versus Spain), Serbia was without a fire starter.  Still, his 14 points and 5 assists per game landed him on the All-Tournament Team.

Nenad Krstic, 26: The NBA-er for the Thunder played with the resolve of somebody who’s been there before. I guess that’s the accelerated evolution of a “veteran leader” in his mid-twenties.

Novica Velickovic, 22: The 2009 Euroleague Rising Star continued his ascent in the Euro pecking order by averaging over 10 points per game.  If young players are always supposed to be in a rush, nobody told the patient Velickovic, who was as laid back as a rocking chair.

Milenko Tepic, 22: This was the guy who needed to be Plan B for Serbia, and he’ll be encouraged to be Plan A come 2011.  He’s too talented to play such passive basketball, and a year or two in a deep Panathinaikos backcourt might not help that.

Uros Tripkovic, 22: The guy can flat shoot (over 40% from three in the tournament).  He’ll  be the man now in DKV Joventut and come 2011, Serbia will ask him to play a similar role on the perimeter.

Sprinkle this core with a dash of budding stars like 19-year-old big man Milan Macvan, and we could Continue Reading…

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Posted 4 days, 11 hours ago at 2:29 am.

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Group D is The Place to be

Group D Preview – Panathinaikos, Real Madrid, Armani Jeans Milano, Asseco Prokom, BC Khimki Moscow Region, EWE Baskets Oldenburg

By: Slam

Panathinaikos looks to repeat as Euroleague Champions

Best Team – Panathinaikos: The Triple Crown Winner (Greek Regular Season, Greek Champions, Euroleague Champions) is primed for another run at the title.  The Greens infused some young talent into their veteran team with the likes of Nick Calathes and Milenko Tepic joining the fold.  Both Calathes and Tepic are very young players who look to have very bright futures ahead of them as they are very skilled passers and scorers.  Panathinaikos still has their devastating 1-2 combo on the inside in Nikola Pekovic and Mike Batiste who can both score on anyone.  The strength of this team though is in their guards as Vissilis Spanoulis, Dimitris Diamantidis, Drew Nicholas, Stratos Perperoglou, Calathes, and Tepic are all highly talented players.  Panathinaikos has too much depth for any other team in this group to keep up with.

Khimki Moscow is looking to make a great first impression in the Euroleague

Khimki Moscow is looking to make a great first impression in the Euroleague

Surprise Team – BC Khimki Moscow: While I have said throughout these previews that buyer beware of these new teams to the Euroleague, Khimki is different.  They have been attracting a lot of talent to their team this offseason with the signing of point guards Carlos Cabezas and Raul Lopez to run their offense.  Khimki has two superb scorers in Carlos Delfino and Jorge Garbajosa who can both shoot lights out.  Look for Khimki to play an exciting brand of basketball and score a lot of points this season.

Nikola Pekovic is an animal at attacking the basket

Nikola Pekovic is an animal at attacking the basket

Best Player – Nikola Pekovic, Panathinaikos: Itwas very hard to pick the best player in the group with the likes of Spanoulis, Diamantidis, Felipe Reyes, Mike Hall, and Carlos Delfino; but when it came down to it Pekovic is the most dominating player in the group.  There is barely anyone in the Euroleague that can guard him because of how strong and assertive he is on the offensive end.  His only problem is his Continue Reading…

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 7:00 am.

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PODCAST: Eliyahu or Velickovic? Tepic or Bluthenthal? The guys break down the insanity of free agency

Who’s the better re-signing: Bourousis or Siskauskas?  Will BC Khimki get more out of Cabezas or Lopez?  And did a coach steal the show this offseason? Slam and Freaknick break down the best deals, the worst deals, and the ones that really don’t even matter in their latest podcast.

Click “PLAY” to be enlightened, one hard-to-pronounce name at a time.

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The best, the worst, the busts.  We parse the transfer market until it makes some kinda sense.

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 12:55 pm.

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A rough day for Serbian basketball

By: Freaknick

Oh wasn’t it all so grand.

With the eyes of the European basketball world upon them, Partizan defeated eventual champ Panathinaikos in front of a European record 22,567 fans.  That’s more than ANY NBA team averaged in 2008-09.

A happy moment for Serbian host city Belgrade, indeed.  A happiness that was to be cut short by a tough economy and the residual effects of politics.

Here were Partizan’s top scorers from that game, followed by where they will be playing in the 2009-10 Euroleague season:

Stephane Lasme- The big from Gabon is heading to Maccabi Tel Aviv

Novicka Velickovic- Euroleague’s 2009 Rising Star will be lacing them up for Madrid

Uros Tripkovic- The young shooting guard will be…well…somewhere else.  Perhaps Rome?

Not to mention their team’s leader in minutes and most consistent force, Milenko Tepic, who made on of the big splashes of the offseason by signing with Panathinaikos.

So it will be a different squad trotting out there for the 2009-10 Partizan squad, but no worries, right?  Serbia has been known to bring along their youngsters at an alarmingly successful rate.  Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, Marko Jaric, and Darko Millicic (OK…ignore that last one) are on the list of players who have cashed in on NBA teams, while 2009 scoring leader Igor Rakocevic and all-time rebounding king Mirsad Turkcan have been some of the best Euroleague players in the past decade, and maybe ever.

Hold that thought.

Today the Serbian basketball federation announced that players from Montenegro and Bosnia will now be considered “foreign”.  So this renders Partizan’s Slavko Vranes and Zarko Rakocevic strangers in their own land, limiting the free agent flexibility of the Serbian squad, as Serbian basketball law limits the number of “foreign” players on each team.

Obviously, this hasn’t been the most well-received announcement.  All we can say for now is that we’ll see what happens.

I suppose the guy who thought of this idea watched the video above and said to himself, “Hmm…how can I destroy all of this positive energy and replace it with resentful malaise?”

Dumb.  Monumentally dumb.

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 2:37 am.

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A Letter to Drafted or soon to be Drafted Young Euroleaguers

Dear Young Euroleague Stars,

This letter is to you (Milenko Tepic, Emir Preldzic, Nando De Colo, Sergio Lull, Jan Vesely, Christian Eyenga, and others) the rising stars of European basketball.  As 2nd round draft picks or undrafted NBA free agents you have two chooses: stay and become a star in Europe or be a bench rotation player in the NBA.  The NBA is the highest level of basketball in the world and what most all players growing up shoot for, but don’t forget about the Euroleague.  This isn’t a stepping stone to a better place, it is that better place.  Look at the careers of Theo Papaloukas, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Ramunas Siskauskas.  These players and others are legends in Europe and regarded by fans as some of the greatest basketball players ever.

Emir Preldzic could stay in Europe and be a star

By staying in the Euroleague you can become key players on championship teams and find yourselves on first and second All-Euroleague teams year after year.  In the NBA you will be in a foreign country far from home where the game of basketball is played a lot differently.  In Europe you can play in your home country, be regarded as one of the best players in one of the World’s best leagues, and become a European legend.  Theo Papaloukas never had to prove anything in the NBA, but he is still viewed by many in Europe and the United States as one of the best passers in the world.  That could be you Sergio Lull as you lead your hometown Real Madrid to a Euroleague Crown as you hold the Final Four MVP trophy over your head basking in a sea of confetti.

Look at the career of Sarunas Jasikevicius who was named one of the 50 greatest contributors to the Euroleague along with Theo.  He was a star in the Euroleague winning multiple championships as a gritty clutch shooting point guard.  He decided to try his hand at the NBA where he became Continue Reading…

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Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago at 7:21 am.

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Milenko Tepic is too solid to matter

His shot is above average.  Much like his handles.  And his vision.  And his…(read complete profile and watch the video from a record-setting Euroleague game).


PODCAST: Listen to Slam and Freaknick break down the Euro guards in this year’s NBA Draft.

The terms "solid" and "fundamentally sound" never shot anybody up a draft board.

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Posted 3 months ago at 5:18 pm.

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