Euroleague Review, TOP 16 Round 11

It's back. It's been some time. How are the standings after 11 weeks of Euroleague play? Plus some big games from big prospects: Ever growing Nurkic hype, Capela dominating France, Vazenkov does what he does against Olympiacos and Mario Hezonja is finally free!!!

Sorry for the long long break, but I couldn't really get myself to write those lately because of time issues, also didn't really had the time to watch any Euroleague or see how all the prospects were doing. I won't catch up with the 5 rounds of play we've missed but will go on from here - Round 11.

GROUP E

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 76 - 69 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Alessandro Gentile2 - EA7 Emporio Armani - EB13
Weird weird Milan. Despite having some great talent in Italian youngsters Nicolo Melli and Alessandro Gentilo, as well as US veterans David Moss, Curtis Jerells and Samardo Samuels, Milano didn't look very good in its domestic competition and the Euroleague regular season, stumbling into the TOP 16 round on a somewhat broken offense. A blockbuster deal just before the TOP 16 round netted them dynamic US-Italian playmaker Daniel Hackett from league rival Montepaschi Siena. Suddenly, Milano is a rock-solid playoff contender with four wins in a row and dramatic wins against champs Olympiacos and Panathinaikos. Istanbul has had a coaching change in mid-season and has been more in rebuild mode the last two months and five consecutive losses in the Euroleague. Yet one of their only two TOP 16 wins came against Milano.
Once again, Istanbul proved a tough test for Milano. The Turks even went into the fourth quarter with a four point lead. Istanbul went on a little run to seperate them further on a few baskets by Milko Bjelica, but three three pointers by Curtis Jerrells gave Milano a one point lead. Istanbul had trouble stopping Milano from then on and two dunks by Gentile and another three by David Moss gave Milano the win.
MIL - Samardo Samuels - 14 pts, 12 rebs, 1 stl
IST - Jamon Gordon - 12 pts, 8 assts, 3 rebs, 1 stl



Panathinaikos Athens 76 - 67 Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul
MVPs:
ATH - Dimitris Diamantidis - 15 pts (3 FGA!), 6 rebs, 6 assts, 4 stls
IST - Nemanja Bjelica - 9 pts, 7 rebs, 5 stls, 2 assts


Olympiacos Piraeus 89 - 59 Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
MVPs:
PIR - Evangelos Mantzaris - 5 pts, 9 assts, 8 rebs, 2 stls
VIT - Fernando San Emiterio - 5 pts, 7 assts, 3 rebs, 1 stl


Unicaja Malaga 61 - 77 FC Barcelona
MVPs:
MAL - Mindaugas Kuzminskas - 13 pts, 3 rebs, 1 asst, 1 stl
BAR - Ante Tomic - 12 pts, 10 rebs, 2 blks, 1 stl



STANDINGS

Group E W L +/- ORTG DRTG
FC Barcelona 11 0 117 113 103,2
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 8 3 55 105,1 105
Panathinaikos Athens 6 5 19 106,5 102,9
Olympiacos Piraeus 5 6 37 110,9 103,1
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 5 6 -11 118,2 108,3
Unicaja Malaga 5 6 -15 111,6 107,9
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 2 9 -79 99,4 106,2
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 2 9 -123 105,3 109,2




GROUP F

Zalgiris Kaunas 85 - 86 Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
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After a solid 5-5 record in the regular season, Kaunas is totally overmatched in the TOP 16 round and has only won one of 10 games, against equally overmatched Partizan Belgrade. The Russian's TOP 16 quest has been one of up and downs so far. A 3 game win streak aganist weaker competition has been followed by a 3 game losing streak against tougher ones. At 4-6 before this game, Lokomotiv looked to get to .500 on the road in Kaunas.
An offensive outburst by Krasnodar in the second quarter, in which the guests scored 27 points, got them a nine point lead at the half. The hosts came out with more fire in the third quarter and cutting the lead to four before the final quarter. Two consecutive layups by Aleks Maric, a basket by Anton Ponkrashov and Richard Hendrix and a free throw by Krunislav Simon seemed to put the game away for Krasnodar who were suddenly up by 13 points with six minutes to play. Four quick points by Robertas Javtokas, and a couple of baskets by Sarunas Jasikevicius and Martynas Pocius gave the hosts some new hope. Free Pocius looked to take over with free throws and more baskets, cutting the lead to just three points. With a minute to go, Anton Ponkrashov missed a layup for Krasnodar, but Richard Hendrix got the putback for a four point lead. A quick bucket by Martynas Pocius was offset by a Marcus Williams jumper. In the final minute, a three pointer by supervet Sarunas Jasikevicius made things interesting again, but Marcus Williams came through again with a shot to put the cushion to three. Arturas Gudaitis, a perfect 5/5 from the field made it a one point game again. After a bricked Marcus WIlliams three, Zalgiris had the chance to win the game, but Martynas Pocius failed to convert a two pointer. Valeriy Likhodey gave Zalgiris another chance by missing both free throws of an intention foul, but Zalgiris was unable to hit a last miracle shot.
KAU - Robertas Javtokas - 18 pts, 9 rebs, 5 assts, 2 blks
KRA - Richard Hendrix - 15 pts, 8 rebs, 2 assts, 2 stls


Partizan NIS Belgrade 72 - 70 Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
Partizan NIS Belgrade celebrates - EB13
As an overmatched surprise team, Partizan is just looking to give its trillion youngsters, most notably Joffrey Lauvergne and Bogdan Bogdanovic some experience at the elite level of European basketball. After an impressive run of eight wins in a row, Tel Aviv has cooled down a little and gone 3-3 in its last three games.
As all season long, Tel Aviv looked sharp defensively early in the agme, allowing just 14 points in the first 10 minutes. Able to conserve a steady ten point lead, they went into the fourt quarter where things should turn upside down, of course at the hands of J-Lau and Bog-Bog.
Youngster Nikola Milutinov converted an And-one on a Bog-Bog dime that got Partizan's great fans into a frenzy. Alex Tyus turned it over for Tel Aviv and Bogdanovic scored a three pointer, followed by a missed Tel Aviv layup rebounded by Bogdanovic and converted into two ponits. Axel Tyus, Devin Smith and Ricky Hickman silenced the crowd temporarily with 5 consecutive points for the Israeli team. But Milenko Tepic showed up with the consecutive three pointer & layup Bog-Bog special, followed by a Lauvergne layup for the tie. After a few misses by both teams, Alex Tyus put Maccabi up by two again, but Lauvergne converted two free throws for the Serbs. Ricky Hickman hit just 1 of 2 free throws and Lauvergne came through again with a layup for a Belgrade tie the Serb fans celebrated very serblike (loud and intimidating). With just a few possessions left on the clock and a one point lead for Belgrade, unlucky Tyrese "I looked like J.J. Barea out there tonight" Rice  (0-5 from the field) turned it over for Maccabi, resulting in a layup by The Great Milenko Tepic. Guy Pnini was pissed and hit a three pointer to tie the game, but Bogdan Bogdanovic laughed it off, hitting a three pointer himself for the WIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNN.
BEL - Joffrey Lauvergne - 8 pts, 12 rebs, 1 asst, 1 stl
TEL - Alex Tyus - 14 pts, 11 rebs, 2 blks, 1 asst


Real Madrid 93 - 79 CSKA Moscow
MVPs:
MAD - Rudy Fernandez - 28 pts, 4 rebs, 4 stls, 3 assts
MOS - Sonny Weems - 28 pts, 6 assts, 5 rebs



Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 76 - 69 FC Bayern Munich
MVPs:
IST - Pops Mensah-Bonsu - 14 pts, 6 rebs, 1 asst, 1 stl, 1 blk
MUN - Malcolm Delaney - 16 pts, 5 rebs, 3 assts, 1 stl





STANDINGS

Group F W L +/- ORTG DRTG
Real Madrid 9 2 123 121,7 95,1
CSKA Moscow 9 2 119 113,9 99,8
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 7 4 29 110,7 104,1
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 5 6 -11 104,8 106
Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 5 6 -13 108,4 113
FC Bayern Munich 5 6 -44 110,2 109,8
Partizan NIS Belgrade 3 8 -106 98,9 111,9
Zalgiris Kaunas 1 # -97 102,1 111,4






MVP WATCH

Player Team MIN TS% eFG% USG% PPS ORtg WS/40
Sergio Rodriguez Real Madrid 442 0,73 0,69 26,69 1,65 133 0,365
Nikola Mirotic Real Madrid 474 0,71 0,65 21,14 1,76 138 0,343
Ante Tomic FC Barcelona 471 0,66 0,63 23,82 1,55 125 0,270
Bryant Dunston Olympiacos 501 0,70 0,70 16,77 1,71 139 0,280
Keith Langford Emporio Milano 600 0,58 0,52 28,09 1,42 117 0,189


UNDER-23 NOTABLES

Player Team MIN TS% eFG% USG% PPS ORtg WS/40
Joffrey Lauvergne Partizan Belgrade 668 0,58 0,53 17,93 1,38 111 0,096
Bogdan Bogdanovic Partizan Belgrade 601 0,53 0,49 28,95 1,19 101 0,046
Kenan Sipahi Fenerbahce Istanbul 190 0,61 0,59 11,07 1,41 116 0,069
Alessandro Gentile Emporio Milano 463 0,52 0,49 25,07 1,18 98,4 0,030
Mouhammadou Jaiteh Nanterre 126 0,59 0,56 17 1,35 120 0,130





PROSPECT NEWS

Several prospects that are potential material for NBA 2014 Draft had nice games over the course of the last few weeks.

SUPER MARIO/WARIO!!!

http://blogacb.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/mario-hezonja-jugador-del-barc_54403695769_54028874188_960_6391.jpgMost notably, as already mentioned in a few threads by some Spanish posters here, Mario Hezonja has finally been seing consistant minutes the last few weeks. Last week against La Bruixa d'Or - which featuers interesting prospects in Denmark's Rasmus Larsen and Sweden's Markus Eriksson - Hezonja had a little breakout game in which he pretty much displayed the whole reportoire of why so many euro scouts see him as a very VERY special prospect: Very good athleticism, nice reading of opponent's defense with a multi-faceted scoring, a quick release in the spot-up and pull-up, driving ability and a sick up-and-under finish.Sometimes a little selfish and absolutely trying to prove something. So sad that he's not on a team that would have given him constant minutes from the first day on.

Please watch this highlight reel of Mario's great night: Barca seriously ran a side out of bounds alley-oop play with 0.3 seconds to go... and even though it didn't work, that's about how confident this kid is in his own ability and what he is capable of doing with his athleticism. Later in the game, he finished with a reverse alley-oop.

Mario scores 26 points on 12 shots in 20 minutes against La Bruixa d'Or.

Against rather weaker competition, Hezonja has averaged 18 minutes the last three games in which he is 10/14 from the field. In the game against Valladolid two weeks ago, Hezonja had six assinsts in 20 minutes. He's turned 19 years old not a month ago.

NURKIC DESTROYS, DESTROYS, DESTROYS BUT SOMETIMES FOULS AND THUS DOESN'T PLAY ALL THAT MUCH.

http://www.index.hr/images2/nurkicCedevita-zaragozaHina.jpg78% of Adriatic League big men had to be seen by a psychiatrist up until now after being found curled up into a ball at night, rocking back and forth with a blank expression, stumbling 'Nurkic....Nurkic....Nurkic' without stop. My special nickname for Nurkic is 'Blitzkrieg' as he checks in, crushes opposing frontlines like a tornado with his positioning and especially physicaility before getting into foul trouble and having to go back into the bench. Nurkic is absolutely playing at an MVP level in the ABA despire averaging just 16.3 of possible 40 minutes per game.

Four weeks ago, against 'Radnicki KG', Nurkic danced himself to 16 points on 7 shots and 15 reboudns (7 offensvie) in just 20 minutes - yes, you read right - 20 minutes. Foul trouble has been his big kryptonite so far as he averages 3.3 fouls in his 16 minutes of play. After two games in which he saw as few as 13 minutes, Nurkic bounced back last week when he logged 20+ minutes for just the fifth time this season (24 games played!) and recorded 16 pts, 9 rebs, 3 stls, 2 assts and 1 blk in 22 minuts. Just two more weeks of Adriatic League basketball and the last game will be an interesting matchup between rebounding monsters Nurkic and Partizan's Joffrey Lauvergne.

There's been rumors in Croatia that Grizzlies scouts have been especially present at Cedevita games, maybe with Nurkic as a potential Zach Randolph replacement alongside Marc Gasol. But with the hype he's gettign from US outlets now too, Nurkic might end up a surprise lottery entry in the NBA draft, should he enter. Meanwhile, Nurkic has extended his contract with Cedevita until 2018 without a word on NBA exit. Nurkic won't turn 20 before late August 2014.

DARIO DOES HIS THING *FACEPALM*

http://www.cibona.com/cibona/usdadocs/Cibona-Zadar-Kup_13_JUG_060213.jpgDario has the Adriatic League figured out as if he had its source coude. He's boring the hell out of himself to double-double-after double-double. After recording 10+ rebounds in just 3 of his first 13 games of the season, Dario has gotten double-doubles in 8 of his last 11 games. During that time frame he's averaged a pretty incredible 19 pts, 11 rebs, 3.5 assts, 1.5 stls but hasn't been very efficient from the field and is still qutie turnover prone.. check the stats:

Dario_medium

Oh ya, also, Dario is all cool with his dad again who called him a bust in some newspaper just a few months ago. I guess I'm happy for Dario. Also, there is a speculation that Dario will get a big offer from Anadolu Efes Istanbul over 5 years that will have an NBA exit in 2016 and that Dario and his dad are seriously considering this. His dad also said that Real oder Barca are also in the mix, especially if Mirotic leaves for the NBA. Drazen Petrovic is a Real Madrid legend and Dario is from the same city like Drazen so it would seem natural for him to go there. I don't even know whether Dario will enter this year's draft btu it seems certain taht he will at least play two more seasons in Europe. http://www.sportando.com/en/europe/turkey/113180/anadolu-efes-ready-to-put-6m-on-the-table-for-dario-saric.html

CLINT CAPELA CAN NOT BE STOPPED AT THE RIM

http://content.draftexpress.com/gallery/ClintCapela/1390335480.jpgSometimes it seems to me like Clint is not getting the attention he deserves if compared to the hype generated by Nurkic, Saric, maybe Hezonja and maybe even some euro draftees of last year like Gobert, Schroeder, Giannis. While Nurkic is playing an monstrous outstanding domestic season for a young upstarter, he did seem to struggle against tougher international competition in the EuroCup where he looked rather mediocre without the context of age... much like Dario and just how you should expect from a player his age. Clint doesn't remotely have the usage of Nurkic but has been a monstrous performer domestically as well as in the EuroCup where he was just as much an unstoppable load as in the rench league.

Chalon Basket's EuroCup dream ended after just ten games, but Clint shot an incredible 71.8% on 71 FGA, got 2.2 offensive boards and blocked 1.1 shots in just 19 minutes of international ball. In two matchups against Nurkic' team, he averaged 13 pts, 7.5 rebs and 1.5 blocks in 24 minutes. Nurkic didn't play much in the first matchup, but had 11 pts, 6 rebs, 2 blks and a stl in 16 minutes while Capela had a double-double with 14 pts, 10 rebs and 2 blks in 23 minutes.

Ever since January, Capela is finally seing 20+ minutes per game and is showing some intrigue as a passer too. His best game of the sason came in February aganist Roanne when he had a ridicolous boxscore of 21 pts on 13 shots, 9 rebs, 7 assts, 6 blks and 2 stls ...in 28 minutes. In his last three games, he's converted 21 of 27 field goal attempts. That is Nurkic-level production while commiting just 1.9 fouls in 21 minutes. For a player with that physicality and inside prowess, he's having a somwhat low free throw rate of 34% while Nurkic has an incredible 73% and even Saric has one of 65%.

ALEKSANDAR ALMOST SINKS OLYMPIACOS, NOBODY CARES

http://basketballaris.gr/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/vezenkov-small.jpg

18-year Bulgarian Aleksandar Vezenkov (not turning 19 before August 2014) is playing a terrific season as a lights out stretch power forward in the Greek league, yet is not getting any love from draft portals like DraftExpress who don't even list him in their International Top 100.

Vezenkov has been in a groove lately, scoring in double digits in his last six games, among them Euroleague teams Panathinaikos and Olympiacos. He's been accumulating his points very efficienty with a 2FG% of eye-popping 75% over that stretch. He's lost his stroke from range recently with just 29% after shooting almost 40% on 80 3FGA over the season.
Vezenkov has been a little Olympiacos headache this season. In the first matchup in November, Vezenkov scored 19 points, 4 rebs and 2 assts in a blowout loss.  Last week, in a narrow five point loss against the EL champs, Vezenkov scored 15 points with 9 rebounds.

Here's an updated sheet for some of the more important stats for some interesting youngsters. I don't know how to upload documents for view so here's just an image: Eurpospects_march_medium
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