Giffey’s ALBA Berlin clinches playoff berth

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

#4 ALBA Berlin qualified for the Top 16 with a 71-65 road win over #6 Limoges (France). Niels Giffey had 3 points/3 rebounds in 19 minutes for ALBA, who was led by Jamel McLean’s (Xavier) 18 points. The Top 16 is a 14 game round robin season, culminating in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four on May 15th in Madrid. This could create a potential UConn-UConn matchup as Marcus Williams’ club Crvena Zvezda (Serbia) has also qualified out of Group D. Jerome Dyson is the lone UConn Euroleague representative whose team did not qualify for the Top 16. ALBA returns to action December 19th versus Zagreb (Croatia).

Game Highlights:

Huskies Abroad: Niels Giffey and Deandre Daniels

Niels Giffey

Club: ALBA Berlin

Location: Berlin, Germany

Leagues: Basketball Bundesliga (BBL), EuroLeague

Two-time National Champion Niels Giffey signed with ALBA Berlin in his native Germany for the 2014-15 season. Giffey, who had played with the clubs junior division before UConn, joins a senior team considered to be the most successful German basketball team internationally and domestically. In fact, on October 8th, 2014 ALBA defeated the San Antonio Spurs in a preseason game 94-93. ALBA competes in both the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) as well as the Euroleague (NBA). The BBL, composed of 18 teams, is the highest level of professional club basketball in Germany. The top 8 teams qualify for the playoffs, which are in a best-of-five format.

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

In addition to the BBL title, all BBL teams compete for the German Cup. The German Cup opens the playing field to the top three domestic leagues in Germany in a single elimination tournament. ALBA Berlin has won the past two German Cups and a total of eight since the tournament changed formats in 1997. This season, ALBA sits atop the BBL standings with a perfect record of 12-0.  ALBA also participates in the Euroleague entering Round 9 play at fourth in Group B with a record of 3-5. Remember, only the top four teams from each Group will advance to the round of 16. ALBA can punch their ticket tomorrow with a win over  #6 Limoges (France) and a #5 Zagreb (Croatia) loss. Here are Giffey’s statistics on the year:

BBL G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
N. Giffey 12 17.7 19-41 46% 13-30 43% 2.3 0.6 7.2 4.5
EURO G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
N. Giffey 8 16.4 14-24 58% 11-20 55%* 1.6 0.5 7.6 5.3

*#7 in Euroleague

Giffey shoots over Tim Duncan of the Spurs

Giffey shoots over Tim Duncan of the Spurs

Deandre Daniels

Club: Perth Wildcats

Location: Perth, Australia

League: National Basketball League (NBL)

wildcats.com.au

wildcats.com.au

The Toronto Raptors selected Deandre Daniels with the 37th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and subsequently shipped him down under to suit up for the Perth Wildcats of the NBL. The NBL features eight teams, seven from Australia and one from New Zealand with Perth as the lone representative from Western Australia.  The Wildcats are the most storied franchise in NBL history with a record six championships and a playoff streak of 28 years dating back to 1987. Initially perceived as a demotion, Daniels is actually following in the exact footsteps of James Ennis, Perth’s All-NBL selection from a year ago. Ennis, drafted 50th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, was sent to Perth by the Miami Heat to further develop. After leading Perth to a championship, he signed with the Heat where he’s averaging 14 minutes a game. Ennis is playing so well, he was recently featured by Bleacher Report.

Here is Perth Managing Director Nick Marvin and Daniels discussing his role in the upcoming season:

This season, Daniels has teamed up with Jermaine Beal (Vanderbilt) and Earnest Ross (Missouri) to lead Perth atop the NBL standings at the halfway point of the season. The top four teams at the end of the season will advance to a best-of-three Final Four which culminates in a best-of-three Championship. Adding to his outstanding end of the year with the Huskies, Daniels is second on the team in scoring and third in the NBL in rebounding at 7.5 per game. Full statistics can be found below:

NBL G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB BS PTS EFF
D. Daniels 12 28.4 49-109 45% 13-46 28% 7.5 1.6 14.3 10.8

Here are some highlights from Daniels last outing, a 20 point/8 rebound effort in a win over the Wollongong Hawks. The first 1:30 is dominated by Daniels.

Perth plays its home games in the 14,846 seat Perth Arena. To put that in perspective, Gampel seats roughly 10,160, the XL Center 16,290 and Giffey plays in the 17,000 seat 02 Arena in Berlin.

wildcats.com.au

wildcats.com.au

UConn in Europe: Jerome Dyson and Marcus Williams

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

Marcus Williams

Club: Crvena Zvezda Telekom

Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Leagues: Adriactic League, EuroLeague

Marcus Williams is enjoying a great year taking over for DeMarcus Nelson (Duke) as point guard for Crvena Zvezda, a Serbian team competing in both the Adriatic League (ABA) and Euroleague (top level in Europe). The ABA is a regional professional league that features clubs from the former Yugoslavia including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia as well as Israel and Hungary. The league was founded in the years after the Yugoslav Wars and has featured American players such as Adam Morrison (Gonzaga), Jordan Farmar (UCLA) and Scoonie Penn (Ohio State). Williams has partnered this season with 2011 Golden State Warrior’s draft pick Charles Jenkins to lead Zvezda to a perfect 8-0 record, good for first in the ABA. Always a pass first point guard, Williams’ 6.8 APG are good for fourth in the league. Here’s a look at his complete stat line:

ADRIATIC G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
M. Williams 8 22.5 13-39 33% 16-36 44% 2.4 6.8 10.5 10.8

As one of the premier clubs in European basketball, Zvezda also competes in Group D of the Euroleague, which, as I mentioned earlier, is the equivalent to the European NBA. The Euroleague regular season runs from October 16th to December 19th, with 24 teams divided into 4 groups (A, B, C, D). Each team plays 10 games within the group, in a round robin format, with the top four teams from each group advancing to the Top 16. The Top 16 divides clubs into two additional 8 club groups (E, F), where teams play a 14 game round robin season spanning December 30th, 2014 to April 10th, 2015. The top 4 teams from Groups E and F then advance to a best-of-five series with the series winners advancing to the Final Four. The 2015 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four will be held in Madrid, Spain from May 15th to 17th on a single elimination basis. Also competing in the Euroleague for UConn this season is Jerome Dyson (Banco di Sardegna, Italy, Group A) and Niels Giffey (ALBA Berlin, Germany, Group B).

Currently, Zvezda sits at #2 in Group D with a record of 3-3. Williams has put together an impressive season thus far, setting a Euroleague record with 17 assists in his last outing. Overall, his 8.0 APG lead the league through six games. Here is a complete statline below:

EURO G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
M. Williams 6 30 13-38 34% 13-43 30% 4.2 8.0 13.5 14.7

Euroleague Assist of the Night:

Marcus Williams Zvezda Highlights:

 

Jerome Dyson

Club: Dinamo Banco Di Sardegna Sassari

Location: Sardinia, Italy

Leagues: Lega Basket A, EuroLeague

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

 

Jerome Dyson comes to Sassari after one year with Enel Brindisi of the Italian National League (Lega Basket A) and has made an immediate impact. Dyson was named MVP of the Italian SuperCup, a yearly preseason competition that takes place between winners of the Italian Championship and Italian Cup from the previous year. It comes as no surprise Sassari is a great fit for Dyson- the team’s offensive philosophy is similar to Coach Calhoun’s at UConn, a run and gun that emphasizes getting out in transition and pushing the tempo. Dyson, along with Edgar Sosa (Louisville), Rakim Sanders (BC/Fairfield) and Jeff Brooks (Penn State) have led Sassari to a 5-1 record, good for second in a league widely considered one of the best in Europe. A quick search through the rosters seems to support this claim as former Big East stars Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Allan Ray (Villanova), Samardo Samuels (Louisville), Sam Young (Pittsburgh), MarShon Brooks (Providence) and Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) all participate. True to his UConn days, Dyson is first in the league with 2.7 steals per game. Here is a complete stat line below:

ITALY A G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS ST PTS EFF
J. Dyson 6 28.7 14-32 44% 11-33 33% 3.2 4.8 2.7 14.7 16.8

Following a 2013-14 campaign that saw Sassari win the coveted Italian Cup, the club earned a chance to compete in the Euroleague. The adjustment has been difficult as Sassari currently sits in last place in Group A with a record of 1-5, a group that includes European powerhouse Real Madrid. The team struggles have not  stopped Dyson’s individual performance however, as he continues to fill up the box score on a nightly basis. Here is a complete Euroleague statline:

EURO G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS ST PTS EFF
J. Dyson 5 29 15-37 41% 12-29 41% 3.0 3.8 2.0 14.4 9.0

Dyson interview on Euroleague Media Day:

Highlights from 2013/14 season (low quality):

CHECK BACK NEXT WEEK FOR AN UPDATE ON NIELS GIFFEY / ENOSCH WOLF…

 

 

 

BC Siauliai falls to Usak Sportif in Turkey

Siauliai Usak

bcsiauliai.lt

Usak Sportif overcame an early deficit to defeat visiting BC Siauliai 79-69 in Group H play yesterday in Turkey. Americans Justin Carter (Creighton) and Courtney Fells (NC State) led the way for Sportif with 19 points each. Siauliai’s 12 point first half lead was erased  quickly on a strong shooting night from Sportif, finishing 31-62 (50%) from the field. The two clubs were back and forth throughout the third quarter before an 11-2 run by Sportif sealed the deal. Rokas Giedraitis led the way for Siauliai with 25 points/4 rebounds and Ryan/Tyler Olander combined for 10 points/14 rebounds in a losing effort. With the loss, Siauliai drops to 2-1 in Group H play. They return to EuroChallenge action December 3rd when they host Enisey in Lithuania. The club returns to LKL action tomorrow at home against #4 Juventus.

BC Siauliai off to best start in EuroChallenge history

bcsiauliai.lt

BC Siauliai finds themselves an even 6-6 entering Round 13 of the LKL season. After jumping out to a 4-2 start, Siauliai lost four in a row to close October. One particularly notable game came on October 9th against Alex Oriakhi’s club, Zvaigzdes, in a game that pit two former UConn champions against one another. Tyler Olander not only got the better of the matchup -14 points to Oriakhi’s 6- but Siauliai came away with the 13 point victory. You can view the battle here. November has proven promising thus far for the club with two double digit wins over #10 Nevezis and #8 Tonybet. Here are the twin towers official stat line through 12 LKL games:

Player G MIN FG-FGA FG% REB BL PTS EFF
R. Olander 12 17.6 36-73 49% 4.0 0.5 8.1 7.6
T. Olander 12 12.7 18-30 60% 2.3 0.1 5.0 5.1

EuroChallenge

November also marks the start of the EuroChallenge season. As I mentioned in previous blog posts, EuroChallenge is the third tier men’s professional club competition in Europe. 32 teams from 20 countries are divided into 8 regular season round robin groups based on geography. Siauliai competes in Group H of the EuroChallenge along with Enisey (Russia), Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus) and Usak (Turkey). The two finalists at the end of each season get promoted to the EuroCup, where clubs can then compete for a EuroLeague promotion (European NBA). Strong performance in the EuroChallenge attracts sponsors, providing clubs with financial means to attract the top international players.

Siauliai has started EuroChallenge round robin play a perfect 2-0, largely in part to the play of the twin towers. Ryan Olander leads the team in scoring at 19.5 while Tyler leads in rebounding at 5 per game. Worth mentioning- Ryan’s 76% from the field is good for third in the entire EuroChallenge. Here is a full stat line from the first two games:

Player G MIN FG-FGA FG% REB BL PTS EFF
R. Olander 2 25.5 19-24 79% 3.5 0.5 19.5 16
T. Olander 2 12.5 3-3 100% 5.0 0.0 5.5 7.5

Siauliai barely survived a November 4th contest against Enisey to open round robin play in Lithuania. Up eight with 4 minutes left, Enisey stormed back to tie the game with 30 seconds on the clock. Luckily, American Jonathan Lee (Northeastern) saved the day for the home team knocking down the go-ahead foul shot with 17 seconds remaining. Tyler Olander scored 5 of his 6 points in the fourth quarter and Ryan Olander poured in 16 points on 8-10 shooting in the 93-92 victory.

Watch the full game here.

Next, Siauliai traveled to Belarus for a matchup with fellow Group H member Tsmoki-Minsk. Ryan Olander contributed a game high 23 points on 11-14 shooting and Tyler Olander added 5 rebounds en route to a 94-91 win. As in any league at any level, road wins are especially impressive and can make all the difference come tournament time.

Watch the full game here.

The twin towers return to action tomorrow when they take on Usak-Sportif in Turkey. Usak is 1-1 in Group H play with a home win over Minsk followed by an 18 point blowout loss at the hands of Enisey. They are led by Americans Chris Warren (Mississippi), Courtney Fells (NC State) and Justin Carter (Creighton).  Siauliai is shooting a ridiculous 50% from behind the arc in EuroChallenge play and will look to add to their best start in history.

You can watch the game live on the FIBA Youtube channel at 6:30PM: https://www.youtube.com/FIBA

Check back for weekly updates…

El-Amin to Wolf: UConn in Europe 2014-2015

Here is an alphabetical list of former UConn players currently abroad. Most leagues are already underway and the remainder tip off this week. Check back for weekly updates on your favorite former Huskies. The list will be updated as more information becomes available.

Khalid El-Amin

Team: Goettingen, Germany

Top League: BBL (German National League)

Notable American teammates: Jason Clark (Georgetown), Raymar Morgan (Michigan State)

Hilton Armstrong

Team: Besiktas, Turkey

Top League: TBL (Turkish National League)

Notable American teammates: JaJuan Johnson (Purdue/Boston Celtics), Chris Lofton (Tennessee) 

Josh Boone

Team: Al Manama, Bahrain

Top League: Bahrain Premier League

Notable American teammates: none

Deandre Daniels

Team: Perth Wildcats, Australia

Top League: National Basketball League

Notable American teammates: Jermaine Beal (Vanderbilt)

Jerome Dyson

Team: Banco Di Sardegna

Top League: Italian Series A

Notable American teammates: Rakim Sanders (BC/Fairfield)

Niels Giffey

Team: ALBA Berlin, Germany

Top League: Euroleague

Notable American teammates: Reggie Redding (Villanova), Clifford Hammonds (Clemson)

Lasan Kromah

Team: ALBA Fehervar, Hungary

Top League: Hungary A Division

Notable American teammates: Cleveland Melvin (Depaul)

Tyler Olander

Team: Siauliai, Lithuania

Top League: EuroChallenge

Notable American teammates: Ryan Olander (Fairfield)

Alex Oriakhi

Team: Pieno Zvaigzdes, Lithuania

Top League: Baltic Basketball League

Notable American teammates: none

Marcus Williams

Team: Crvena Zvezda, Serbia

Top League: KLS (Serbian National League)

Notable American teammates: Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)

Enosch Wolf

Team: VFL Kirchheim Knights, Germany

Top League: Germany Pro A Division

Notable American teammates: none

Unavailable:

Rashad Anderson, Denham Brown, Taliek Brown, Ater Majok, Stanley Robinson

Notes:

Roscoe Smith signed to the Los Angeles Lakers practice squad on September 24th. With three veteran forwards and newcomer Julius Randle, Smith will have a hard time making the final NBA roster but could be kept with the teams D-League affiliate.

Oriakhi signs with Pieno Zvaigzdes in Lithuania

AP

AP

2011 National Champion Alex Oriakhi has signed with Pieno Zvaigzdes of the Lithuanian National League (LKL) and Baltic Basketball League (BBL). Last season, Zvaigzdes advanced to the quarterfinals of both the LKL and BBL before eventually falling short. Notable Americans who have suited up for Zvaigzdes in the past include Trevon Hughes (Wisconsin), Tyrell Biggs (Pittsburgh) and most recently Derrick Caracter (LA Lakers). Oriakhi bounced all over the world during the 2013-14 campaign with stints in France, Israel and Pennsylvania before eventually settling with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League where he averaged 7 points/6 rebounds in 43 games. Oriakhi will face former teammate Tyler Olander at a date TBD when the schedule is announced.

 

Deandre Daniels undergoes successful surgery

wildcats.com

wildcats.com

Former National Champion Deandre Daniels has undergone surgery to remove a small bone fragment in his right elbow, according to the Perth Wildcats website. Daniels, taken with the 37th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors, will compete with the Wildcats of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) this upcoming season. The rehab process will take 4-6 weeks and Daniels hopes to be ready for the team’s October 10th season opener against New Zealand. All indications lead to a successful surgery:

Daniels will play a key role for Perth as they attempt to defend their NBL title.

 

Olander brothers reunited in Lithuania

Bc_šiauliai_logo_2

Ryan Olander has joined brother Tyler in Lithuania, agreeing to terms with BC Siauliai on a one year deal. Olander spent last season with Lietkabelis ( of the LKL/Baltic League), averaging 11 points/6 rebounds en route to his first LKL All Star game selection. In 13 Baltic League games, Olander averaged 8 points/6 rebounds and was named Eurobasket.com All-Baltic League Honorable Mention. Olander gives the club a versatile big man who can shoot from the outside yet still provide strength underneath, allowing Tyler to be used on the perimeter as a stretch power forward.

Siauliai won the Baltic League (BBL)  in 2014 and will compete this season in the LKL, BBL as well as Group H of the EuroChallenge. For those unfamiliar, EuroChallenge is the third tier men’s professional club competition in Europe, only behind EuroCup and Euroleague (Europe’s NBA)- all under the umbrella of FIBA Europe. 32 teams from 20 countries are divided into 8 regular season round robin groups based on geography. Other Group H members include Enisey (Russia), Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus) and Usak (Turkey).  The two finalists at the end of each season get promoted to the EuroCup, where clubs can then vie for a Euroleague promotion.

Best of luck to Ryan and Tyler and stay tuned for the latest from Lithuania…

 

Tyler Olander signs in Lithuania

UCONN hotel post Championship

UCONN hotel post Championship in Dallas

Tyler Olander has joined his older brother in Lithuania, signing with BC Siauliai of the Lithuanian National League (LKL). Siauliai won the 2014 Baltic Basketball League (BBL) title this past season led by former Georgia Bulldog/Los Angeles Clipper Travis Leslie and former Fairfield guard Derek Needham. This season, Siauliai will compete in the EuroChallenge featuring teams from across Europe including Enel Brindisi, Jerome Dyson’s former club. Although Olander’s UCONN statistics do not stand out (2.8ppg/2.6rpg in 135 games), his willingness to play out of position resulted in two National Championships during his tenure. In doing so, he became only the third player in the storied history of UCONN men’s basketball to win multiple National Championships. In Europe, Olander will be used on the perimeter as a stretch 4- much more conducive to his style of play. Congratulations to Tyler and best of luck in Lithuania next season.