Reason #42: Walter Herrmann can dunk. Naked.

Ooh-la-laBy: Freaknick

With an Olympic gold on his trophy case and the flowing locks that every woman dreams of, the Argentinian Argonaut Walter Herrmann makes his return to Europe this season to play for Caja Laboral (though when he signed they were still the more familiarly named Tau Ceramica).  Did they change the team’s name just to accommodate Walt?  Probably.  Look at the guy.  Could you say no to that devious, squinty, “I’m up to no good but I know you love it” smile?  Me neither.  So why fight it?  I and the rest of the basketball world submit to you, Sir Walter.  Don’t let us down big man.

Now, the video you all probably scrolled down to in the first place:

Riddle: What has two fingers, Kendrick Perkins, a goose and a rollercoaster?  Freaknick’s Fave Five Walter Herrmann videos of ALL-TIME.

50 Reasons to Love the Euroleague

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Posted 13 hours, 2 minutes ago at 11:31 am.

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Walter Herrmann can dunk naked while avoiding stray geese…so lay off

By: Freaknick

Besides Tonya Harding, there may be no Olympian who gets less respect than our boy Walter Herrmann.  The Argentinian gold medalist has endured spotty NBA minutes and heckling from American fans who kindly point out that he slightly resembles a woman, but now he will have the last laugh.  Tau Ceramica announced today that they will enlist the services of Herrmann and his flowing, blonde locks for the 2010 season.  So I rummaged through all of my favorite Herrman home videos and compiled my ode to Walter (and yes, in one of them he dunks naked-ish).  The top 5:

5.  What do you when you spend 1,939 of a possible 7,296 (73.42%) minutes on an NBA bench?  You become far too skilled at super awesome things like this.

4.  The plan was flawless.  All he needed was the perfect ricochet, and his name would forever be etched in basketball lore.  The only problem?  Kendrick Perkins’ fat ass.

3.  Here, he gets drilled…oh wait…damn…you mean, this isn’t Walter Herrmann?  Oops.  Well, while we’re all here , here’s Fabio’s face’s ass getting kicked by a goose on a rollercoaster.

2.  Reason #1,604 that Walter Herrmann is more of a badass than you: he can palm a ball…without even using his palm. Continue Reading…

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Posted 2 months, 1 week ago at 1:36 am.

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While Spanish backcourts turn to America, only Tau speaks English

By: Freaknick

Igor Rakocevic of Tau, Carlos Cabezas of Unicaja, and Raul Lopez of Real Madrid; all three guards sparked their teams to successful Euroleague campaigns just a year ago, and now all three guards will try to do the same for new teams this season: Rakocevic for Efes Pilsen and the other two with Khimki Moscow.  While these playmakers were the prize catches for their new squads, their former teams have enormous shoes to fill.

And then July 16 rolled around.  Unicaja snagged former Louisville star Taquan Dean, Madrid turned to former Brigham Young ace Travis Hansen, and Tau added another proven scorer with former University of Hawai’i standout Carl English, who, ironically enough, is Canadian.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present the newest inductees into the trio of esteemed Spanish backcourts:

Taquan Dean should be Unicaja's top scorer right off the bat.Taquan Dean, SG, Unicaja: Nobody hit more 3’s than Dean in the Spanish League last year, where he led the ACB with 107 triples (including 10 in one game at Cajasol) and was fourth in scoring at 16.7 points per game.  At only 25 years of age he is already well traveled, having played in the Italian league with Angelico Biella and Casale Monferrato, the Russian league with Dynamo Moscow where he reached the Euroleague quarterfinals in 2007, and he played in the 2005 NCAA Final Four with the Louisville Cardinals.  What you get with Dean is a deadly jumper that Unicaja fans will surely learn to cherish, especially if they don’t re-sign their best shooter, Thomas Kelati.  Though a bit wiry, Dean is quick with the ball and can elevate enough to get his shot off over almost anybody, and pairing with speedster Omar Cook should immediately give Unicaja one of the fastest guard duos in the league.  Cook and Cabezas were individually effective, however, they could never figure out how to play off of one another and it resulted in a silent struggle for the ball when they were both on the court.  If Dean can get Cook to slow down a bit and look for him as a primary scoring threat, then he should be one of the Euroleague’s top scorers for a lineup that sorely needs some punch.

If English is Rakocevic-light, Tau should have one of the best starting lineups in the league.Carl English, SG, Tau Ceramica: So how do you replace an All-Euroleague first team performer who led the league in scoring?  You don’t.  You can’t.  At least, not with one person.  After signing Lior Eliyahu and now English (and just hours ago, Walter Herrmann), Tau will hit the floor this season with a starting lineup collectively more impressive than last year’s team which was a game away from the Final Four. English can pour it in from the perimeter as a light version of Rako, Eliyahu and Herrmann will compete for the starting SF spot with veteran Sergi Vidal, and the tandem of Teletovic and Splitter down low may be the best and most versatile in the league. All Pablo Prigioni has to do is feed the hungry mouths.   English averaged 15.6 per game last season with Kalise Gran Canaria and in 2006-07 he led the Adriatic League in scoring with Zadar in Croatia.  He’s a very heady player who can slide over and run the point if needed, and he’s a better on-ball defender than Rakocevic.  In a starting lineup chock full o’ stars, English is the perfect blend of selfish and selfless and his first year just might be punctuated with a Euroleague crown.

Travis Hansen, SG, Real Madrid: Madrid made a pair of splashes by signing legendary Coach Ettore Messina and then picked up Rising Star award winner Novica Continue Reading…

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Posted 2 months, 1 week ago at 10:11 pm.

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It was the best of teams, it was the worst of teams…it was Group C

By: Freaknick

If each group were to pick their three best teams and play a round robin, the smart money would be on Group C. I know that basketball games aren’t won and lost on paper, but I’m petty sure that CSKA, Maccabi and Tau Ceramica could beat Group C’s bottom feeders with a piece of paper as their fifth player.  So while every game may not be hotly contested, Group C should provide excitement and storylines galore.  Let me explain…

If Jaaber decides to stay, he'll be expected to put up mighty big numbers.1.  Which team will take lashes as the whipping boy? In such a star-studded group, the three remaining teams—Virtus Roma, Union Olimpija, and Qualifier QR2B—are going to take their lumps, which by Week 10 may resemble small mountains.  A great way to blow off some steam and ensure your team some W’s is to pick off the weakling from the back of the pack.  The problem is we can’t yet pinpoint the runt of the litter.  With scoring machine Sani Becirovic asking for too much money and guard Ibrahim Jaaber rumored to be on his way out, Roma might struggle to score 70 per game.  Union Olimpija is  not without their offensive woes; only one Euroleague team had a worse shooting percentage in 2008-09.  And then there’s team QR2B.  How does one analyze a team not yet defined?  He doesn’t.  He instead moves on to the next storyline.  Like this…

Arroyo can still wow the crowd, but he also needs to be a leader.2.  Will Maccabi guard anybody? The other 23 Euroleague teams are praying that the answer is a big, fat “NO”.  And well they should be.  The storied franchise struggled a bit last year and the reason was frustratingly clear: defense.   I’ve seen better efforts in YMCA pick-up games.  And the worst part is, the numbers won’t show it.  After looking for some stat that I could point to and say “Aha!”, I realized that they were in the middle of the pack statistically in every significant category, if not a little higher.  So naturally, it leaads one to believe, how much better could they have been with a little bit more energy on the defensive end of the floor?  We should get our answer this season, with the team parting with ball magnet Lior Eliyahu and re-signing the stronger David Bluthenthal for a third stint with the club.  Also joining the club will be former Texas Longhorn P.J. Tucker and the aggressive forward Stephane Lasme.  Add these bulls to a frontcourt with D’Or Fischer and a backcourt led by the flashy yet effective Carlos Arroyo and Maccabi could again be formidable.

He won't be smiling after another 2-8 season.3.  Has the financial market finally caught up with Union Olimpija? It would be a damn shame if this were the case, but it may be true.  It’s no secret that the economy sucks, and Ljubljana was a small market to begin with.  After nearly 10 consecutive seasons of winning both the Slovenian Cup and the Slovenian League, their success came to a screeching halt in last season’s Euroleague in which they posted a 2-8 record and looked extremely overmatched.  While some bigger teams may fix that by signing a big name in free agency, Union Olimpija does not have that luxury, instead relying on homegrown talent.  Last year their patience paid off in the form of 24-year-old big man Mirza Begic who made strides and dropped 11 points and 6 boards per contest.  This year, the hopes rest on the narrow shoulders of another Mirza, Mirza Sarajlila.  The 18-year-old guard will be asked to carry a much heavier load than last year, and if Olimpija wants to improve upon last year’s poor showing, he’ll need to grow up.  And fast.

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 3:51 am.

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The Wild, Wild, Group C

Group C Preview- CSKA Moscow, Tau Ceramica, Maccabi Electra, Virtus Roma, Union Olimpija, Qualifier

By: Slam

This is still the symbol for excellence

This is still the symbol for excellence

Best Team - CSKA Moscow: Even though they are cutting salary and losing players, CSKA  Moscow is still the top dog in this group.  They bring their core players back with Trajon Langdon, JR Holden, Matjaz Smodis, Ramunas Siskauskas, Erazem Lorbek, and Victor Kryhapa.  Those are seven starter quality players and while some of them may be getting older they are still very skilled.  Siskauskas can still be relied upon (as we saw in the Final Four) to carry the scoring load at any point during a game.  Moscow may have lost their coach and are cutting down salary but they still retain their core from seven straight Final Four appearances and that is enough for me to pick them as my best team.

Can this once proud franchise return to glory?

Surprise Team – Maccabi Electra: I know what you’re thinking here is that Slam is picking his guilty pleasure team but you are wrong.  Yes last year I thought Maccabi had a chance to win it all and I was wrong but this year is different.  This will be Carlos Arroyo’s second year in the Euroleague, giving him more experience and seasoning.  With the addition of David Bluthenthal and Maiej Lampe to go along with D’Or Fischer Maccabi has a very deep front court.  There are rumors that Continue Reading…

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 3:00 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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