New England products dominate Top Ten Plays of the Lega Basket Quarterfinals

legabasket.it

legabasket.it

This week’s Top Ten plays of the Lega Basket Serie A quarterfinals feature four players with ties to the New England area.

  • #6: Milan’s MarShon Brooks played collegiate basketball in the Big East Conference for the Providence Friars from 2007-2011.
  • #5: Dinamo’s Rakim Sanders was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and played his first three years of college ball at Boston College before transferring to Fairfield (CT) for his senior year.
  • #3: Dinamo’s Jerome Dyson (UConn) throws down on American Josh Owens. Though a Stanford grad I am seriously doubting Owens’ basketball IQ…
  • #2: Brindisi’s Delroy James attended the University of Rhode Island from 2007-2011, earning All-Atlantic 10 Second Team honors in his senior season.

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Lega Basket Serie A: Jerome Dyson and Dinamo Sassari advance to Semifinals

dinamobasket.it

dinamobasket.it

Jerome Dyson and #5 Dinamo Sassari have advanced to the Lega Basket Serie A semifinals upsetting #4 seed Trento 3-1. After dropping Game 1, Dyson and company rode a three game winning streak to keep their Championship hopes alive. Series MVP David Logan led the way for Dinamo, dropping 27 points in the Game 4 clincher. Dyson struggled to find his shot in the series but still found other ways to contribute, dishing out 6 assists in the final game.

As I discussed in my quarterfinal preview, Dinamo’s keys to the series included:

  1. Contain League MVP Tony Mitchell
  2. Post-production
  3. Find shooting touch

Following the Game 1 loss, let’s see how Dinamo responded to each key.

Game 1: Trento 81, Dinamo 70

Game 2: Dinamo 88, Trento 79

  1. Mitchell: 6-18, 6 TO
  2. Rebound Margin: Even
    1. Shane Lawal: 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block
    2. Jeff Brooks: 13 points, 9 rebounds
  3. 66% from the field
    1. Edgar Sosa: 21 points

Game 3: Dinamo 103, Trento 78

  1. Mitchell: 2-12, 9 TO
  2. Rebound Margin: -1
    1. Shane Lawal: 8 points, 7 rebounds
    2. Jeff Brooks: 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks
  3. 76% from the field
    1. 103 points scored
    2. Edgar Sosa: 23 points, 4-7 3P

Game 4: Dinamo 84, Trento 80

  1. Mitchell: 5-15, 6 TO
  2. Rebound Margin: -9
    1. Shane Lawal: 10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks
    2. Jeff Brooks: 5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
  3. 61% from the field
    1. David Logan: 27 points, 3-5 3P

Mitchell, a player who had caused problems for Dinamo in the past, was harassed into a woeful performance- managing only 29% from the field and commiting 7 TO per game- during the final three games of the series. Dinamo received the post-production they desperately lacked in previous battles with Trento, as forward Jeff Brooks provided extra strength inside to complement center Shane Lawal. However, the most impressive statistic of the series is the 68% Dinamo shot from the field in the final three games, including a 103 point explosion in Game 3. When you shoot the ball at such a high mark, it becomes almost impossible to lose. Here is a look ahead at Dinamo’s semifinal matchup.

legabasket.it

legabasket.it

Semifinals

Dinamo has reached its third semifinals in only five years of Serie A play, drawing a matchup with #1 seeded Milan- fresh off a 3-0 sweep of #8 Granarolo. The clubs split the season series 2-2, though Dinamo came out victorious in the most important games, defeating Milan in both the Italian SuperCup at the beginning of the year as well as the Italian Cup in February. It comes as no surprise that the winner of this series is the favorite to take the Serie A crown. Below is an inside look at the Italian Cup Finals matchup in February to give some perspective on the history of these two clubs.

This star-studded matchup features numerous former NBA players on the Milano side including MarShon Brooks (LA Lakers), Linas Kleiza (Toronto Raptors), Alessandro Gentile (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Samardo Samuels (Cleveland Cavaliers). Though Milano is favored and equipped with a deep bench, Dinamo possesses both the athleticism and momentum to eliminate the #1 seed for the third time this season. Here is a look at the probable starters for each team.

#5 Dinamo Sassari

Pos Name Nationality College/Former Club PPG RPG APG
PG David Logan USA/Poland Indianapolis ‘05 16.5 2.8 3.0
SG Jerome Dyson USA UConn ‘10 16.1 3.9 4.2
SF Rakim Sanders USA BC/Fairfield ‘12 12.0 3.5 1.2
PF Jeff Brooks USA Penn State ‘11 8.6 7.2 1.3
C Shane Lawal Nigeria Oakland/Wayne St ‘09 10.8 9.2 1.2
Notable Bench Players
G Edgar Sosa Dominican Louisville ‘10 11.9 1.7 3.2

#1 Milano

Pos Name Nationality College/Former Club PPG RPG APG
PG Joe Ragland USA/Liberia Wichita State ’12 12.1 3.2 3.4
SG MarShon Brooks USA Providence ’11 14.7 3.5 2.2
SF Alessandro Gentile Italy Timberwolves (NBA) 12.7 4.6 1.9
PF Linas Kleiza Lithuania Ulker (Turkey) 9.4 3.7 0.7
C Samardo Samuels Jamaica Louisville ‘10 13.3 5.7 1.9
Notable Bench Players
G Daniel Hackett USA/Italy USC ‘09 8.9 3.3 4.1

The series tips off tomorrow with two games in Milan before returning to Sassari on June 2nd for the final two games. Television information is unavailable at the time but the games should be available by following Lega Basket Serie A on the Twitter app Periscope. Best of luck to Sassari in their quest for a third trophy!

Lega Basket Serie A: Jerome Dyson Quarterfinal Playoff Update

dinamobasket.com

dinamobasket.com

Jerome Dyson and Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari (Dinamo Sassari for short) enter the 2015 Lega Basket Serie A Playoffs with the #5 seed thanks to a 19-11 mark in league play. The club has already strung together an impressive year, competing in both Euroleague and EuroCup play, in addition to winning their second consecutive Italian Cup Championship in February. The Lega Basket Serie A is the first-tier level club competition league in Italy, with a home-and-away schedule comprised of 30 games followed by a playoff round featuring the top eight teams. The quarterfinals and semifinal series are conducted as best-of-five matchups leading into a best-of-seven finals. Lega Basket Serie A has become a popular destination for the stars of Big East past, with at least 16 players having suited up at some point this season- including former NBA All-Star Metta World Peace.

  • UCONNJerome Dyson
  • Georgetown: Austin Freeman, Chris Wright
  • Louisville: Edgar Sosa, Samardo Samuels
  • Marquette: Darius Johnson-Odom
  • Pittsburgh: Gilbert Brown, Sam Young
  • Providence: MarShon Brooks
  • Seton Hall: Jeremy Hazell
  • St. John’s: Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest
  • Syracuse: Andy Rautins, Brandon Triche
  • Villanova: Allan Ray, Isaiah Armwood, James Bell

With that in mind, here is a look at the 2015 playoff bracket:

legabasket.it

legabasket.it

Quarterfinals

Dyson and Dinamo already find themselves in an 0-1 hole after losing the first game of the series to #4 Trento yesterday. Trento, led by league MVP Tony Mitchell’s (Alabama/Detroit Pistons) 16 points/11 rebounds, dominated the glass (55 to 28) en route to an 81-70 home victory. Dinamo struggled shooting the ball, finishing just 8-31 from deep and 18-41 from the field. Dinamo was led by Jerome Dyson’s 14 points and 7 steals with Edgar Sosa adding 11 points in the losing effort. Imposing center Davide Pascolo (Italy) had a monster game for Trento with 15 points and 14 rebounds. As two of the highest scoring teams in the league (Dinamo 85.0, Trento 81.3) boasting numerous high-flyers, the first game certainly did not disappoint the highlight reel (below). If you have been following my blog it should be no surprise who came in at #1…

Game 2 Preview

Dyson and company hit the hardwood tomorrow for Game 2 at Trento. Here is a look at probable starters for both sides as well as season statistics:

#5 Dinamo Sassari

Pos Name Nationality College/Former Club PPG RPG APG
PG David Logan USA/Poland Indianapolis ‘05 16.5 2.8 3.0
SG Jerome Dyson USA UConn ‘10 16.1 3.9 4.2
SF Rakim Sanders USA BC/Fairfield ‘12 12.0 3.5 1.2
PF Jeff Brooks USA Penn State ‘11 8.6 7.2 1.3
C Shane Lawal Nigeria Oakland/Wayne St ‘09 10.8 9.2 1.2
Notable Bench Players
G Edgar Sosa Dominican Louisville ‘10 11.9 1.7 3.2

#4 Trento

Pos Name Nationality College/Former Club PPG RPG APG
PG Andres Forray Argentina/Italy Forli (Italy) 5.3 2.6 2.5
SG Jamarr Sanders USA UAB ‘11 8.5 3.9 2.4
SF Tony Mitchell USA Alabama ‘12 21.1 5.7 2.7
PF Davide Pascolo Italy Udinese (Italy) 12.0 7.4 1.6
C Josh Owens USA Stanford ‘12 13.3 6.3 1.1
Notable Bench Players
G Keaton Grant USA Purdue ‘10 7.7 2.3 1.2

Keys to the Series

Contain Tony Mitchell

In two regular season matchups the league MVP torched Sassari for 31 and 24 points respectively. The 6’9 wing presents a matchup nightmare due to his versatility and freakish athletic ability. Game 1 was a move in the right direction for Dinamo as Mitchell was held to only 16 points on 3-12 shooting- though he did still manage to collect 11 rebounds and dish out 7 assists. For Dinamo to advance, Mitchell must be slowed down.

Post Production

Rebounding is not the only worry for the undersized Sassari squad. In the two regular season matchups, Trento scored an average of 63% of their points in the paint (compared to 37% from Sassari) including an insane 65% in a matchup back in December. The closer you are to the basket, the higher percentage the shot- an idea clearly translated in the field goal percentages for both teams. Through three games (including yesterday) Trento is shooting the ball at a 60% mark while Sassari checks in at 47%. League-leading shot blocker Shane Lawal will need to keep Trento’s bigs off the glass and out of the box score.

Three-Point Shooting

When post scoring is limited, points must come from elsewhere- specifically the three ball. For a team that averaged 35 three’s per game and had 4 players shoot over 100 three’s on the season (compared to two for Trento), the 8-31 mark (26%) Dinamo put up in the first game won’t cut it. Between sharpshooters Dyson, David Logan and Rakim Sanders- someone needs to get hot.


Best of luck to Dinamo Sassari and be sure to stay tuned for more updates!

Former UConn linebacker Trevardo Williams shows off dance moves (video)

Washington Redskins OLB Trevardo Williams does a mean robot.


The 6’1, 237 lb Williams was drafted in the fourth round by the Houston Texans after playing college ball for the University of Connecticut. At UConn, Williams was clearly programmed to find the QB as his 30.5 sacks are still a team record.

If football doesn’t work out, there’s always the dance team…

Jalen Adams is already feasting on Kentucky (video)

Brian Kersey / adidas

Brian Kersey / adidas

Jalen Adams has yet to appear in a UConn uniform but he clearly has already adopted the “Hungry Huskies” mantra. Watch below as Adams feasts on Kentucky commit Isaiah Briscoe.

Luckily for Adams (and more importantly Briscoe), Shabazz Napier and the UConn Huskies have already played their part in a NCAA ruling to allow D1 programs unlimited meals for athletes.

However, upon further investigation, this beef has more sides than just the stuffing above. According to Reddit, Adams and Briscoe began their rivalry at the Ballislife All-American Game in early May, which naturally, as all great head-to-head matchups do, resulted in a social media war. The posts have since been removed but not before Twitter users grabbed these screenshots:

As high-profile players attending high-profile programs, both will be taught the ramifications for such youthful behavior. Nonetheless, it was funny. However, there can only be one winner and given the recent history of Kentucky-UConn matchups, it’s Adams.

2014/15 LKL Season in Review: ROlander, TOlander and Oriakhi

The 2014/15 LKL season has come to a close for the Twin Towers of Olander and former UConn National Champion Alex Oriakhi. Here is a look back on the season in review including final statistics, best performance, and top play for each player:

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Ryan Olander and BC Siauliai entered the LKL playoffs with the #7 seed, in a best-of-five matchup with #2 Lietuvos Rytas. The Lithuanian powerhouse proved too strong for Siauliai, knocking them out of the playoffs with three straight victories behind the play of Americans Billy Baron (UVA/URI), Mike Moser (UCLA/Oregon) and Travis Leslie (Georgia/LA Clippers).

Though a strong season overall, which included a Baltic Basketball League Championship, Olander put forth his strongest numbers when it mattered most- during EuroChallenge play. The EuroChallenge is the third-tier professional league in Europe and Olander ranked in the top three converting on 73% of his field goal attempts- drawing interest from competitors in the process.

BC Siauliai Final Record: 18-22

R. Olander G MIN FG% FT% RPG PPG RANK
Siauliai 41 17.4 54% 62% 4.0 7.6 7.7
Euro-Chal. 6 21 73% 55% 3.7 11 9.8

Best Game: November 12th, 2014: Siauliai 94 – Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus) 91. Olander had 23 points on 11-14 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 1 assist in a road win over Tsmoki-Minsk.

Top Play: The chuckle from the announcer is by far the best part.


Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Tyler Olander played the first half of the season with BC Siauliai before he was loaned to Mazeikiai for the remainder of the year for more playing time. Since joining the 1-24 Mazeikiai in February, Olander led the club to a 5-8 record in his 13 games averaging 7 points and nearly 5 rebounds in the process.

Mazeikiai Final Record: 6-32

T. Olander G MIN FG% FT% RPG PPG RANK
Siauliai 23 11.7 55% 84% 3.0 5.0 5.5
Mazeikiai 13 17.2 44% 73% 4.8 7.2 7.7

Best Game: February 28th, 2015: Lietuvos Rytas 76 – Mazeikiai 70. Tyler exploded for 14 points and 9 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action in a near upset of #2 Lietuvos Rytas.

Top Play: Olander appeared at #2 in the BEKO LKL Top Ten plays for Round 22 with this mid-air adjustment.


eurobasket.com

eurobasket.com

Alex Oriakhi led the Pieno Zvaigzdes “Milk Stars” to the #4 seed in the LKL playoffs, straight into a matchup with #3 Juventus. After splitting the first four games of the series, the Milk Stars fell short in Game 5 by a 69-61 margin, ending their season. Although it was a tough end to the year, Oriakhi put together a strong year numbers-wise and was elected a starter in the LKL All-Star game. With his rights still owned by the Sacramento Kings of the NBA, Oriakhi has returned stateside to compete with the Kings summer league team.

P. Zvaigzdes Final Record: 24-16

2014/15 G MIN FG% FT% RPG PPG RANK
A. Oriakhi 41 18 55% 61% 6.8 8.8 10.6

Best Game: January 31st, 2015: P. Zvaigzdes 99 – Siauliai 97. In an impressive month of January where he was named Player of the Month, Oriakhi led the Milk Stars over the Twin Towers with 17 points and 14 rebounds (8 offensive) in 20 minutes.

Top Play: Oriakhi extends for the dramatic finish off an oop from teammate Michael Dixon for #2 on the BEKO LKL Top Ten regular season plays.


Stay tuned for season reviews for all of UConn Country in Europe!

Jerome Dyson poster is the top play of 2014/15 Italian League (video)

Max Turrini

Max Turrini

Jerome Dyson is having quite the year in Italy. In addition to leading Dinamo Sassari to the Italian Cup Championship in February, Dyson’s regular season statistics of 16.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game were good for 5th, 5th and 1st in Italian league play respectively. True to his hard-nosed, attack-the-basket style of play we became accustomed to at UConn, Dyson also led the league with 5.8 fouls drawn per game.

Never one to shy away from the highlight reel, this Dyson poster featured in January was voted the top play of the ENTIRE Italian League season.

Dyson and #5 Sassari are set to battle #4 Trento in quarterfinal play beginning Monday. Updates to come…