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Old 26-05-2017, 01:31 PM   #626
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New Zealand names BIG Junior Tall Blacks squad for 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup.

It's pretty scary to see a small country like NZ starts producing so many quality bigs at the same time. Last year, this NZ squad absolutely punished the Australian Emus with their massive height advantage and powerful post plays. This must be a golden generation of NZ basketball.
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Old 29-05-2017, 05:45 AM   #627
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The 2017 African Women's draw for Bamako is now up from yesterday in Bamako's Saturday night at Hotel Sofitel l’Amitie:

GROUP A: Angola, Ivory Coast, Mali, Tunisia, Cameroon, wildcard
GROUP B: Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Guinea, Mozambique, FIBA Africa Zone 4 winner (Gabon/Central African Republic/DR Congo)

Right away, whoever makes it out of Group B will have earned that because it is the toughest of the two groups. Defending champs Senegal, talented Nigeria, fast-rising Egypt, dependable Mozambique have to be locks to advance. Guinea will get better but not enough to make the quarterfinals. Part of it has to be of the fact to better assure hosts Mali an easier shot at advancing, although Cameroon, Angola, Ivory Coast, and Tunisia certainly aren't slouches.

Don't even want to project who will make it out Zone 4 because it seems like to me any of the three competing will win that spot. And, depending how competitive things are there, a wildcard. Again, it's a shame that some nations like Cape Verde, South Africa, and Morocco pulled out likely for cost issues and very likely disqualify themselves from even getting considered for wildcards. If not another Zone 4 team, perhaps Zimbabwe.

And yes, there will be classification games for places 5-8 and 9-12:
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...frobasket-2017

The Japanese women are getting ready for a three-peat Asia championship bid, even without Seattle's Ramu Tokishiki and now with the ever-formidable Australia and New Zealand included, and that starts with a challenging European tour presently in Torrelavega, Cantabria, in the north of Spain with equally tough Spain and Canada with 15 players:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...h-spain-canada

China is always among the class in East Asia and Asia as a whole with a spot very assured with the competition there since it entered back in the mid-1970s and automatically in as hosts for 2019, so the Chinese Basketball Association (or Team China, if you like to call it that) can more than afford to send present a youth movement to further develop depth and grant them senior international experience at the EABA Championship in Nagano, Japan. Average age is almost 19 years old, fresh from U18 Asia championships:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017

Look, The Philippines and India certainly aren't going to have challengers overnight in their Asian subzones. Though Southeast Asia has a better opportunity in getting deeper, competitive, and better overall with Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam gaining experience and developing national basketball leagues than with South Asia's:
http://www.fiba.com/news/have-the-ph...heir-sub-zones
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Old 31-05-2017, 08:54 AM   #628
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The 2017 Asian Basketball Championship, or the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, held its draw ceremony today at Beirut's Le Royal Hotel Dbayeh that also the unvieling of the Asian Championship logo, trophy, and mascot. It all takes place August 8-20 in Beirut with the first joint Asian-Pacific championship competition that will include Oceanic powerhouses Australia and New Zealand now vying for Asian supremacy. 16 teams were placed into 4 groups of 4 with the top 3 in each of them advancing to the second round where they are to be divided into two groups (E & F). The quarterfinals start the knockout stage from the top 4 teams from both of those groups.

GROUP A: India, Iran, Jordan, Syria
GROUP B: China, Philippines, Iraq, Qatar
GROUP C: Kazakhstan, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Korea
GROUP D: Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Will touch on with my analysis of the group more so tomorrow. But on the surface at least, I think the toughest groups are the ones with both the Boomers and Tall Blacks in them.

I really like how beautiful the new FIBA Asian Basketball Championship logo looks. Takes inspiration from the Lebanese flag from where this competition is based. Got a large red basketball background as if it's a phoenix's wings flapping with a stylized Cedar tree, the national symbol of Lebanon, at the base of the large trophy that's at the logo's center. Its mascot that's also making its public debut, Ox The Fox, has a strange name for him despite having the great and required qualities of a basketball player unless strength is one of them. Like his look too. Though when I think of Lebanon, foxes don't immediately come to mind:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...-logo-unveiled

Asia Cup trophy's new look:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...rophy-unveiled

Well, there's not going to be a Central Asian Basketball Championship. Never announced where and when it was going to be held. Nor who was slated to compete. I think Kazakhstan would've done that. As the highest-ranked Central Asian nation in the Nike FIBA rankings at #56 (11th in Asia) and with more consistent Asian basketball experience than the other ones neighbo(u)ring it, Kazakhstan goes in. Uzbekistan would be its closest regional rival--ranked 70th in it (16th in its Asian region)--and the only other one there in it. Likely funding, interest, planning, and other logistics worked against hosting the Central Asian subregional. A two-game playoff would suffice between the Kazaks' Snow Leopards and the Uzbeks for qualification if Krygyzstan, which doesn't play often enough to warrant ranking worldwide, don't have much talent, and was indeed routed 84-39 by Kazakhstan during the 2015 Central Asian qualification in Astana for the 2015 Asian Championships, and hasn't played since, Turkmenistan, whose last appearance of note was in the 2010 Asian Games, and Tajikistan, also inactive and only played at the 2005 Islamic Solidarity Games in Saudi Arabia, can't send their own teams. The Kyrgyz's only Asian appearance was in 1995 in Seoul, South Korea.
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:57 AM   #629
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Turns out there actually was a Central Asian basketball championship: A one-game championship between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in Almaty, Kazakhstan on June 1. Last time those two battled it out for the sole Central Asian spot in the Asian Championship in 2015, as explained in the last post, was a major rout. Thursday's game was a lot more competitive with Kyrgyzs getting much better, but the Kazaks still won over Kyrgyzstan 81-71, according to Wikipedia, to head to Beirut, Lebanon. Where was Uzbekistan in all this? Nowhere to be found there.

Over to Nagano, Japan now. The site of the 1998 Winter Olympics and the former venue of figure skating and short track back then at the White Ring is used for the East Asian Basketball Championship right now. So far, host Japan's Akatsuki Five and China, presently using a team full of talented but young and inexperienced players getting a significant first taste of senior international basketball, already shown their domination in their groups and continue to surge in their wins. Japan with its top B. League players had their hands full with South Korea 78-72 before thrashing Macau, whose lack of consistent big-time experience shows here 119-47. With those two wins, Japan advances into the semis. South Korea is very likely to join the Akatsuki Five into that stage once they too dispenses Macau.

China goes into the semifinal stage too confidently with that young roster in their two romping and convincing wins on Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei. Each by at least 30 points in both games. The real issue comes as to who will join the Chinese between HK and Taiwan. Easy for me to say the Taiwanese largely due to the vast success being out of East Asia and finishing high in the Asian basketball standings consistently over many years. HK will likely face last place Macau with Hong Kong showing its recent international experience outclassing their counterparts from the former Portuguese special Chinese administrative area. I'd be shocked if lightweights Macau beats up on Hong Kong:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017

Japan it seems needs this East Asia win more so than China does apparently as the latter's focus is putting on a strong showing as 2019 hosts. Ira Demon Brown, Japan's naturalized player, provides them with a lot like strength, size, and bulk in ultimately seeking its first Asian title since 1971 with a very strong chance to get its first East Asian title:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...rule-eaba-2017
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:43 AM   #630
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Where is the source for the solitary Central Asian qualifier in Almaty? I can't find it anywhere on the web.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:15 AM   #631
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sc945 View Post
Where is the source for the solitary Central Asian qualifier in Almaty? I can't find it anywhere on the web.
Found this over at Eurobasket.com's Asia-Basket section. Says both teams played well--especially the Kyrgyzstanis considering from the last game 2 years ago against them for the sole Central Asian spot--in the first period until Kazakhstan's Snow Leopards dominated starting in the second but Kyrgyzstan later cut the point deficit down from 20 although couldn't make it closer:
http://www.asia-basket.com/Kazakhsta...-FIBA-Asia-Cup

As expected, Japan, China, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei all made the East Asian semifinals and earn four of the five automatic slots allocated for East Asia, the strongest and deepest Asian subregion overall (It's why it and West Asia got the most spots with thanks also to the FIBA Asia Challenge). The final standings for them in this subregion really means nothing here, except maybe for overall Asian seeding in Beirut, Real race is for that 5th and final place up for grabs between the two Chinese Special Administrative Areas--Hong Kong, the favo(u)rites, and a very young Macau:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...-asia-cup-2017

Like the Chinese, South Korea is using younger players for East Asia; coach Hur Jae eschews five experienced players like star guards Kim Si-Rae and Kim Sun-Hyung as well as star center Kim Jong-Kyu here in a wish for more energy, youth, and speed but lose some height in the process (Hur's son was spared this subtraction though, BTW). Unlike the Chinese though, this direction could last beyond this East Asian tournament. South Korea's fourpeat, a rare thing, I don't think, is in the cards. Some youth will struggle:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...d-of-eaba-2017
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:39 AM   #632
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Semifinal stage in Nagano sees both expected finalists Japan and China stunningly upset by rivals Taiwan and South Korea, respectively, before the final with close games. One semifinal was with experienced players on both teams craving for a title, and the other with youth being served. South Korea nonetheless moves forward in a bid for a East Asia four-peat after a 106-104 OT win on China. Regardless, all four of them will be in Beirut this August.

But youth was not served for a East Asian championship for South Korea in the end for a record four-peat. That youth worked against them with Chinese Taipei dethrones South Korea and wins its first East Asian title, overcoming a slow start. The Taiwanese, who really weren't supposed to be present at this stage, outworked the South Koreans on the glass and forcing turnovers with naturalized player Quincy Davis eyepopping the stats sheet

The real interest was with who was going to get the fifth and final East Asian spot between Hong Kong and Macau. It was all Hong Kong from the second quarter as they punched their tickets to Beirut. HK was led by Duncan Reid towering over the more Portuguese competition, scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, while Leung Shiu Wah exploded for 19 points on 7-of-9 field goal shooting. Veterans Fong Shing Yee and Wong Chun Wai also shone with 13 and 14 points respectively. As for Macau, they were paced by the combined 47 points of Un Kam Chi and Lai Ka Tong:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...17-semi-finals
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...a-championship
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/eab...mpionship-2017

So the 16-nation field is complete for Beirut with all the subregions tourneys completed. Too bad Mongolia didn't compete in East Asia. Maybe the national basketball federation brass is focusing more on putting a better on-court in the long run at the senior level with some really good young prospects for future East Asian competitions and leave the current seniors to the Asian Games. Possible Nagano's organizers wants to keep the field at an even number. Maybe if North Korea was involved too.

Kyrgyzstan has been playing some international basketball lately outside of the Central Asia one-off. Did win the 2017 Nooruz Cup that also had the Azerbaijan U20 team, Kyrgyz's B-team, and top Liga Forward club Guiness-29:
http://www.asia-basket.com/Kyrgyzsta...ooruz-Cup-2017
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:43 AM   #633
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Hope to get into the U tourneys more so like the in progress U16 WOMEN'S AMERICAS TOURNAMENT in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But this photo on this link shows one portion of what Argentina's new Jordan Brand uniforms and gear look like:
http://www.fiba.com/americas/u16wome...na#|tab=roster

Spain's Eurobasket Women's loaded roster now taking shape starring Leticia Romero, Anna Cruz, legend Leila Palau, Sancho Lyttle, Alba Torrens, Laura Gil, Silvia Dominguez, and Marta Xargay join up with exciting international newcomers Maria Conde and Beatriz Sanchez in forming another imposing and talented Spain team for another deep run for Eurobasket as Olympic silver medalists. But the long-serving and respected veteran Lucila Pascua had to sadly sacrificed as the final cut from the team:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...confirm-roster

Slovenia's history-making Eurobasket Women 2017 debut final roster starring the guard duo Teja Oblak and Nika Baric bringing their all-important on-court relationship and veterans Maja Erkic, Shanta-Marie Evans, and Sandra Pirsic, along with the ever-improving Eva Lisec:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...ound-footsteps

35-year old Jaris Blums takes his hard charging and daring drives to the basket from his firing VEF Riga to Latvian league glory and onto the national team with Krisztaps Porzingis and David Bertans for his 7th consecutive Eurobasket in a tough Istanbul-based group--and no signs of slowing down beyond that:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasket/2017/...ive-eurobasket

Will the Ukraine be able to overcome a recent barren final record at Eurobasket with the final roster beset with serious withdrawals from the paint like Aleksandra Khomenchuk, Viktoriya Mircheva, and Valeriya Berzhynska--along with the influential Olga Dubrovina? Alina Iaugupova will not be enough and must play as a team:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-final-round
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Old 13-06-2017, 10:22 AM   #634
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France's beloved, talented, experienced, and dynamic Les Bleues under head coach Valerie Bernier just now finalized its 12-women roster again with those very qualities ready to tackle Eurobasket Women with hopes of getting golden glory instead of just being on the podium. Leading France's charge once again is Celine Dumerc ahead of her impending international retirement and currently sitting on 255 international games as the most ever for a French women in basketball. And she's got Marine Johannes, Olivia Epoupa, Sarah Michel, fellow outgoing international Gaelle Skrella, Helena Ciak, Valeriane Ayayi, Miriam Amant, Endy Miem, Diandra Tchatchouang, and--along with Johannes in making their Eurobasket debuts--teenager Alexis Chartereau and Hhadydia Minte as international overall debutants. Surprising in the last cuts were LFB Player of the Year and Olympian Amel Bouderra from Charleville-Mézières, Marieme Badiane, young center Aby Gaye, and Lisa Berkani. This time, this roster is more France club heavy in recent times

Normally when these events roll around I would pick France to win it all. Not this time. Oh, they're certainly more than capable--and would like to see Dumerc get her sendoff. Just don't want to get jinked when I do pick them when Spain and Serbia eventually won the last two editions:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-final-round
http://www.ffbb.com/les-12-joueuses-retenues-pour-leuro

Just before heading out of France for Eurobasket Women in the Czech Republic and whatever tuneup matches more immediately ahead, Dumerc and Skrela were honored after playing their final match in France against Spain to say goodbye to the French fans in Mulhouse:
http://www.ffbb.com/les-adieux-de-du...ublic-francais

Hungary's progress in the Czech Republic and for head coach Stefan Svitek will rest upon Tijana Krivacevic and Courtney Vandersloot carrying their team also including veteran combo guard Zsofia Fegyverneky and Final Round debutante Dora Medgyessy, who impressed in EuroCup Women with VBW CEKK Cegled, and the return of Nora Nagy-Budjoso from Cegled too and missed the last Eurobasket:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...l-round-roster

Zuzana Zirkova, Barbora Balintova in her second Eurobasket Women, hugely experienced forward Romana Vynuchalova, Reyer Venezia star Marie Ruzickova, and the ever-reliable Anna Jurcenkova all present and all will be integral for a Slovakia roster, which is expected to struggle in a group with Turkey, Italy, and Belarus:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...lovak-republic
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Old 16-06-2017, 11:41 AM   #635
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Some Russian young guns and sensations, with a third of the roster under the age of 21, are ready to take on Europe this year and can excite. Like Natalia Vieru, Evgeniia Beliakova, Maria Vadeeva, and Elina Babkina. May not emerge into the semis just yet but...these are names we'll hearing from for years to come looking for glory of their own to come:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...-back-to-glory

Turkey goes for the trusted and familiar with only one newcomer (Pelin Bilgic) following the international retirement of legend Nevriye Yilmaz to call upon on this national team. Ready to do much better than that heartbreaking loss to an Anna Cruz buzzer-beater Rio 2016 quarterfinal loss to Spain with Isil Alben taking charge:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-final-round

Italy banking on a mix of veteran experience with some excitable youth including the exciting young player Cecilia Zandalasini and Wake Forest's Elisa Penna on their Eurobasket Women debut. Can be a surprise team here and will likely make it out of group with Turkey:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...and-experience

Latvia navigates the group of death in the post-Anete Jekabsone era that will be greatly missed still having Gunta Basko guiding them. There's further experience with the frontcourt trio Anete Steinberga, Aija Putnina, and Kristine Vitola accompanied with combo guard Elina Babkina and her options she provides in the backcourt and the excitement around the continued evolution of Kitija Laksa. NCAA's Quinnipiac's Paula Strautmane joins in but not with her sis Digna, who's still on the junior national level driving their success there. Yet is this the final 12 that will at least get out of that group with Russia and Belgium? They can but...Perhaps the Latvians will be searching for an identity with all the key injury setbacks befalling them and coach Martin Zibarts in a tricky group, causing them to struggle:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...tricky-group-d

Some of Greece's most experienced players it ever had won't suit up for Greece. But head coach Kostas Keramidas still has and can rely on former FIBA EuroBasket Women MVP Evanthia Maltsi along with other veteran stars in Styliani Kaltsidou, Iouliti Lymoura and Aikaterina Sotiriou with blending new blood in with exciting guard Anna Stamolamprou alongside Maria Fasoula and Eleanna Christinaki who debuted two years ago and naturalized guard Nikki Avery and Artemis Spanou posting at the paint. It's go time:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...s-final-roster

Montenegro goes for the tried and true with its final selection but will be without injured WNBA champ Jelena Dubljevic and will eventually find it tough to come out of a tough group with Russia, Latvia, and Belgium:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...ed-and-trusted

Serbia's reigning Eurobasket champions are more than ready for its title defense and hard to stop again. Even better Ana Dabovic and Sonja Petrovic are both back from nursing their injuries. New captain Jelena Milovanovic's play and leadership has been exceptional so far. Might as well pencil these Serbian ladies in for the semifinals and the final:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...et-women-title

Hosts Czech Republic carry the hopes of a basketball-loving nation with these 12 young women. They have a shot to make it out of group play and at least to the quarterfinals. They are tall and long:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...vealing-roster

Katsiaryna Snytsina is needed more than ever by Belarus to become a strong leader to turn to and be outstanding as the women's nation team turns the page with a change in style. My concern is that in this time of major transition as one of the top international women's basketball national teams her Belarussian teammates will become over reliant on Snytsina to their detriment in a group with Turkey and Italy's Azzurri. Alex Bentley in the designated natualized spot replacing Lindsay Harding can help as will Tatsiana Likhtarovich and Maryia Papova who both must post their best eye-catching games, but this transition away from those dominant "twin towers" Yelena Leuchanka and Anastasiya Verameyenka serving them from over a decade and towards an experienced but evolving Marina Kress-Maryia Filonchyk frontcourt would be too much to overcome now:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...n-a-major-page

I think Japan is capable of a threepeat but won't with the Opals now in Asia looming large and more complete. Starting with the Opals size. Japan must use its speed, astute guard play, and three point shooting, though it has some size too. Just not enough of it in comparison:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...the-three-peat

Angola names it 22-player prelim set for this year's African Basketball Championships in which they may host after all:
http://www.fiba.com/afrobasket/2017/...-training-camp

This weekend neighbo(u)rs the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a traditional African women's basketball powerhouse for three decades with hopes to channel that era, and the Central African Republic will battle it for the FIBA Africa Zone 4 qualifying spot to Bamako in Kinshasa, DR Congo in a two-game derby. Both nations have been out of the big showcase for a quite a while as many African nations basketball federations started investing in their national women's programs continent-wide. DR Congo has been missing since 2011 with that class long removed from today, and there's new young breed with some experience. For the Central African Republic, it's been longer with its last African appearance in 1974 finishing 6th with its 1966 debut claiming bronze. So one nation's women's basketball African drought will come to end here:
http://www.fiba.basketball/en/womens...2017-qualifier

Turkey's Erman Kunter now helms Iraq in time for the 2017 Asian Basketball Championship to further build upon their surprise top 4 finish in the FIBA Asia Challenge hoping for a strong Beirut showing. With a playing career back home for two of Istanbul's top clubs (Besiktas and Fenerbahce), he turned to coaching mostly with France's Le Mans and Cholet in LNB Pro A with a stop back Istanbul with Galatasaray:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...new-head-coach

State-owned Greek public TV and radio broadcaster will be the home of the Greek men's, women's, junior national basketball teams as decreed by FIBA for the 2017-2021 WC cycle. Nothing new here since ERT always has been a longstanding and fruitful broadcaster for Hellas, bringing Greek basketball fans the very best moments in the national team. So there's a relationship:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...eam-basketball

Finnish broadcaster YLE will conduct the same as the place to follow for the increasingly popular Wolf Pack (Susijegi) with the Finnish Basketball Association also up to 2021:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...ack-until-2021

Ettore Messina's commitments as San Antonio Spurs assistant will prevent from coaching the Azzurri during the FIBA European Qualifications, so a caretaker coach will have to be named. Messina will be at Eurobasket, however, coaching in at least Tel Aviv:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...ean-qualifiers
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Old 18-06-2017, 04:39 AM   #636
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Eurobasket Women 2017 enters its second day of competition today. Do plan to catch up with it on the weekend and later on. But I still plan to provide more links with a summary of the group play. Again, I think FIBA Europe is making a mistake in reducing the field from 20 to 16 because I know there's some really solid women's national teams that deserved qualification across the continent like Sweden, Great Britain, Israel, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, and maybe Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Iceland, and Romania. Was this because of the few venues named in the Czech Republic that it couldn't accommodate them all with Prague for the final round (and group in a separate and smaller arena) and Hradec Kralove? No Ostrava, Kladno, Litvinov? Was there any interest there in those cities for Eurobasket Women? With the deepening talent level all over in Europe in men and women, I would expand it to 24 just like the men have in their edition. In fact, that's the number of teams I would propose for the World Championship.

The Belgian Cats were the first to announce their final roster for the Czech Republic in their first appearance in a decade. And yes, the stars are here in it including Ann Wauters, who was on that 2007 team, Emma Meesseman, Julie Vanloo, the highly entertaining Majorie Carpeaux, and Kim and Hanne Mestdagh who will be coached by the dad Philipp. Dark horses capable of committing some damage with a favorable group draw. Capable of also winning their group:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...l-round-return

Nika Baric made a lot of firsts in her basketball career involving Slovenia. First time in the junior ranks. First Slovenian picked in the WNBA. First time Slovenia qualified into Eurobasket Women. With her backcourt teammate Taja Oblak, the UMMC Ekaterinburg star aims with their fighting team spirit to continue Slovenia's tremendous sporting success and perform better than expected. But it's going to be tough for the only debutantes this year in Eurobasket:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...-for-lost-time

Seven super-talented debutantes eager to make a major impact in the Czech Republic. Includes Nika Baric, Marine Johannes, Emma Meesseman, Cecilia Zandalasini, Kia Vaughn, Aleksandra Crvendakic, and Cournet Vandersloot:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...ready-to-shine

Turkey went into Rio De Janeiro last summer hoping for serious medal contention in their second time in the Olympics, only to be ultimately served up bitter heartache with a kick in the stomach when Spain's Anna Cruz pulled up her buzzer-beating jumper for Spain to beat Turkish women in the quarterfinals and earn an eventual silver. They hoped to give long-serving member and team leader Nevriye Yilmaz a medal sendoff. But it wasn't to be...and what happened then still looms agonizingly large as a new era dawning with the team in transition; Isil Alben calls it "one of the worst moments of my entire life". Made even worse by the fact Alben knew she couldn't guard in position against Cruz effectively enough when she made that shot. Aiming low is difficult for a progam that made incredible strides in six short years. Yilmaz will be greatly missed, but Alben says there are some talented young players developing who must help the team work hard and learn quick as a unit. It's up to Alben to guide them as new leader with seasoned vets like her backcourt partner Birsel Vardarli-Demirmen and captain Saziye Ivegin Uner:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...fter-rio-tears

For those who haven't seen it or want to see it again, this is the Anna Cruz shot for Spain against Turkey in the Rio 2016 quarterfinals that's just talked about. 64-62. Following is the Spanish TVE call:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc66y46qNTE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdASRHya4Nk

Turkish version on TRT 3 Spor:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NngEptfzWt4

Can the Czech Lionnesses overcome the slim backcourt depth as hosts in Hradec Kravlova and Prague after an uninspiring campaign? Does have a nice, proven frontcourt centering on Katerina Elhotova and the paint strength from the recently naturalized Kia Vaughn, Elhotova's ZVVS USK Prague teammates Alena Hanusova and Ilona Burgrova, and back from a 3-year sabbatical from the national team veteran center Petra Kulichova. Hungary and the Ukraine look set to break hearts in the Czech Republic. Hungary has the opposite problem in comparison to the Czechs. Solid backcourt in the naturalized Courtney Vandersloot and 3x3 international star point guard Dora Medgyessy getting a debut and international golden oldie-timer Zsofia Fegyverneky still going strong, there's little for play-caller Stefan Svitek to worry about. But Tijana Krivacevic being relied upon could cause concerns if there's an injury or foul trouble away deep at the basket with defensive attention on her, although versatile Nora Nagy-Bujdoso might help mitigate matters after sealing a major tournament return for the first time since 2009. Ukraine underwent some turbulent weeks with injuries causing their frontcourt roster becoming wafer-thin following a double win over champs Serbia during qualifiers with a strong chance at making it to Spain next year thanks to a hoped-for deep run. Ukrainian optimism faded severely since with a string of absences from an array of talent influential including Olga Dubrovina, and under the hoop players in Aleksandra Khomenchuk, Viktoriya Mircheva, and Valeriya Berezhynska. Still have big hitters in and if Olesia Malashenko stays healthy, along with fellow tireless working forward Kateryna Dorogbuzova inflicting damage. That's just before mentioning naturalized D'Andrea Moss and Alina Iuagapova, that impossible to stop, dynamic, athletic, explosive, young, premier European women's basketball players right now. Spain? All that world-class talent in the backcourt and frontcourt--Laia Palau, Anna Cruz, Marta Xargay, Silvia Dominguez, Leticia Romero, and Silvia Dominguez with player Alba Torrens and Sancho Lyttle providing the defensive steel--forming those Rio 2016 silver medalists that surely will claim this group going to regain the title they had at 2013 but relinquished in 2015. Size is the only issue here against them:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...roup-a-preview

Hopes are present in the Indian basketball community that Jeena Palanilkumkalayil Skaria (or Jeena PS, as she's commonly known) can shine with create the offensive firepower she's known for when donning the Indian jersey to get the Indian women promoted back into Asia Division B in Bangarulu in their home court. In getting past Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka in their group with perhaps Lebanon and Kazakhstan to face ahead of them. With all that extraordinary growth Indian basketball is enjoying, the youth ranks are swelling in taking up the sport that will power the sport in the long run:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-for-the-hosts

And Serbian Zoran Visic will be the man who will make plays for India's Jeena PS and her teammates:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...n-s-basketball

Eons and eons passed since Singapore's women last played 2011 and went back down to Division B with only Sri Lanka in their pocket. Coach Kirk Murad, glad to be competing, is just more focused on getting his charges playing well against the challenging teams with their different playing styles seeking to gain experience along the way with more games. With Kazakhstan, Lebanon, and Fiji with them, Fiji holds the best chance for a Singapore win for the Fijian's first time in Asia-Pacific competition:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...ngapore-return
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Old 21-06-2017, 05:45 AM   #637
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I plan to delve more into the since-completed Eurobasket Women 2017 groups, my picks, and their previews on this very post in a greatly revised (and worded) version. At quarterfinal qualification mode: France, Spain, Belgium, and Turkey all advanced there by winning their groups.

Hosts Czech Republic was the first to get eliminated early after back-to-back losses in the first two games and won't make their Prague glory. But in a final but now irrelevant group match against Spain, they went away on a high. Still, you would've hoped if the hosts played better than they actually did. The Czech frontcourt's weaknesses killed them. Also defending champions Serbia is now OUT this evening in the QQ 75-70 thanks to Latvia, who will now take on faves Spain.

Slovenia had a shot to advance to the quartefinals for the first time in their Eurobasket Women debut with that win over Greece in the second Group B session. But Serbia's beating of them later on with their own advancement in jeopardy eliminated the Slovenians' hopes.

Making matters worse for the Czech is the fact their former national co-inhabitants Slovakia are heading into the quarterfinals to face another heavy Eurobasket gold medal contender France after dispensing the favo(u)red Ukraine and the seemingly unstoppable Alina Iagupova. Zuzanna Zirkova turned back the hands of time with an incredible 31 point performance there. But the Slovak's quarterfinal stay won't be too long, can it?
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Old 23-06-2017, 05:15 AM   #638
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Four European spots, not counting WWBC hosts Spain that are automatically in, are up for grabs out of the 2017 Eurobasket Womens tournament in the Czech Republic for next year's FIBA Women's World Basketball Championship right now. Now half are left.

By virtue of making the Euro semifinals, Belgium's Belgian Cats, back in Eurobasket Women for the first time in a decade, and Greece will qualify for it after dominant wins wins over Italy's Azzurri and Turkey, respectively. Spain just now won in their quarterfinal fight against Latvia, who played great defense but couldn't generate enough offense, 67-47. For Belgium, it was a banner day to make its first-ever WWC trip. Today, Greece's stunning upset with tremendous heart against their not well-liked neighbors Turkey was something. Its accomplishment got the Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras on notice with tremendous kudos coming from across the pond by Robert Morris University (Artemis Spanou and Anna Niki Stamolamprou) and Maryland (Christinaki) with their vets like Evanthia Maltsi and Zoi Dimitrakou on their historic accomplishment. Hope Maltsi stick around for that! Both are making their Eurobasket Women's semifinal debut.

As for Turkey, of course it's not over them with that 5th spot to aim for as a now-former medal contender. It's still on test not just for that Greece game but also mentally because of the heartbreaking legacy from that crushing Rio 2016 quarterfinal loss to Spain and Anna Cruz's buzzer beater, which seemingly IMO grows and grows. Coming into the QF, Turkey faced a decimated and weak fellow Rio 2016 qualifier Belarus, an average Slovakia, and got lucky against Italy, who probarbly should've won instead, all in group play to sit atop their group. It will be between Turkey, Italy, Latvia, and surely Slovakia for 5th. In terms of talent, I think Turkey has to get it. But I'm not so sure of their psychological state now with that depressing loss to Greece. Starting to miss Yilmaz more?Italy's rising and can take it. Latvia must generate a better offense than what they did versus powerful world-class Spain.

France's Les Bleues play in the final QF match against Slovakia, that "average" team that really wasn't supposed to be at this stage, even with Zuzanna Zirkova going back in time with her incredible performance against the Ukraine that will go down in Slovak basketball lore. France possesses way too much depth up and down and too strong with so many weapons installed for the Slovaks to match. Will they display a more entertaining brand of basketball against an opponent that could permit this? I think this will be more of a collision course between France and Spain for the title Sunday in Prague:
http://www.fiba.com/eurobasketwomen/...he-semi-finals

Brazil's FIBA suspension nightmare is finally now over, conditionally, which means it can participate in all those World Championships like taking advantage of the 2017-2018 FIBA Basketball World Championship Americas qualification and the FIBA Americas Championship with Brazil's CBB getting new management. Because if not, Nicaragua and Bolivia were waiting in the wings to battle for that spot. So bad news for them too. Furthermore, it warns Mexico's ADEMEBA to take steps necessary to avoid Brazil's fate again:
http://www.fiba.com/news/fiba-condit...void-sanctions

First time for North Korea (or DPR Korea) women's basketball to historically compete in back to back international basketball tournaments. Even promoting themselves out of Division B. As the great unknowns they must deal with China, New Zealand's Tall Ferns, and Chinese Taipei with Pak Hyang Jong and Ro Suk Yong are being key to inspire their teammates. Be tough though:
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...-in-top-flight

Here's hoping New Yorker Jillian Harmon can step up to lead the Tall Ferns to among the tops of FIBA Asia-Pacific with Spain bid. That'll be NZ's first since 1994 (Australia):
http://www.fiba.com/womensasiacup/20...or-new-zealand

The Democratic Republic of the Congo clinched the last FIBA Africa qualifying spot to Bamako, Mali winning both games in Kinshasa's Ecole Francaise Gymnasium over the weekend to end a six-year jinx with a 117-109 scoring aggregate on the Central African Republic that was surprising it itself. Had the great Mwadi Mabika in attendance. They were too hungry and win Zone 4 to join Senegal, Egypt, Nigeria, Guinea, and Mozambique. Last time they were in it was in Mali and will seek redemption from it. But a group like that might be too much for the Congolese, the second-most holder of African women's titles after Senegal. Maybe a wildcard will just what CAF, who needed a 15-point win from the first game to make it, needs to break its 40-year African qualification drought. Still don't know who the wildcards will be picked from:
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...-slot-in-style
http://www.fiba.com/womensafrobasket...99s-afrobasket

UPDATE: France powerfully locks down Slovakia 67-40 with the last semifinal spot locked. Spain will face Belgium. France takes on Greece. The Battle for 5th will see Latvia and Italy facing off and Turkey taking on Slovakia in that semifinal.

Canada Basketball announces today Halifax, Nova Scotia will host the first Team Canada men's basketball FIBA Americas qualifiers at the Halifax Scotiabank Metro Centre on November 24 when Canada faces The Bahamas in a group that also has the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic. Not only that, the arena will host an AUS game between two Nova Scotia schools in St. Francis Xavier and Acadia as well as hosting a youth basketball clinic presented by Basketball Nova Scotia, Steve Nash Youth Basketball Clinic, and Canada Basketball. Just don't expect Canada's top NBA basketball stars to get involved here. Not even Buddy Hield for The Bahamas. Canada dates for the later home games are TBD. Could get spread across Canada:
http://www.fiba.com/basketballworldc...cas-qualifiers
http://www.basketball.ca/en/news-art...ame-in-halifax
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Old Today, 11:39 AM   #639
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Former national team star player now coach Sam Daghlas certainly isn't holding back in selecting his preliminary 17-man Jordanian national team roster aka Al-Nashama for the Asian Championship with some big names and old teammates, naturalized American, and those with some NCAA experience:
http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/new...-asia-cup-pool

40 teams will participate in next year's EuroCup Women competition in 2 conferences:
http://www.fiba.com/europe/eurocupwo...up-women-glory
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