Niels Giffey hits game-winning three-pointer for ALBA Berlin

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

Watch below as Niels Giffey scores 9 of ALBA Berlin’s final 11 points, including the game-tying and game-winning three over Khalid El-Amin’s Goettingen. Although as UConn fans already know, the two-time National Champion’s shooting touch gets much softer come March…

Giffey finished with 14 points/4 rebounds in just 21 minutes of action while El-Amin added 9 points/5 assists.

UConn Basketball Social Media Week in Review: Valentine’s Day Edition

As it will lead us into Valentine’s day, this week’s UConn Basketball Social Media Week in Review is all about the love…

NBA

Just when you think no one cares…

Someone cares too much…

Westbrook should really show some of that love to Kemba…

or maybe James Ennis, not sure who needs it more…

Definitely not Ray though, he’s got em lined up.

UConn

Patriot fans mistakenly show love for Darius Butler…

Butler shows he loves to troll… (UConn football is funny off the field too?) 

Doug Gottlieb will never love UConn…

but UConn loves NOLA.

Recruits

Jalen Adams kisses his teammate off the backboard…

next year, it’s to this guy.

International

7’4 Boban Marjanovic did not expect this early gift from Marcus Williams (#9)…

the Germans still love Niels Giffey…

Jerome Dyson has always loved to score (@sliceanddice)…

…but most importantly, shows he can give too.

Khalid El-Amin has not stopped winning…

Instagram

Instagram

Khalid El-Amin got the sweet taste of victory after leading UConn to the 1999 National Championship, and has not stopped since. BC Goettingen (Germany, BBL) received much criticism this off-season when they brought in the 35 year old El-Amin, fresh off a 2013-14 season he spent rehabbing an injury. The move was based off El-Amin’s European track record, which speaks for itself. Joining Besiktas (Hilton Armstrong’s current team) of the Turkish League in 2003, El-Amin dominated for two straight seasons -averaging 20 points a game and leading the league in assists- including an MVP performance at the 2005 Turkish League All-Star Game. Next, El-Amin signed in Ukraine where he led Mariupol of the Ukrainian Basketball Superleage to the 2006 Championship, earning both regular season and playoff MVP honors. Following stints in Turkey and Lithuania, El-Amin won his most recent title in 2011, with Zagreb of the Croatian A-League.

Goettingen’s bold move has paid immediate dividends as El-Amin has led the club to a #10 ranking in their first season back in the BBL(first tier German league, think Niels Giffey) after winning the German ProA title last season (second tier, think Enosch Wolf). Goettingen has 16 regular season games remaining to move up to #8, the last playoff berth. The club took a step in the right direction this afternoon, defeating #5 EWE Baskets behind 15 points/3 assists from El-Amin.

His performance was worthy of an appearance in the BBL “Tweet of the Day”, comparing El-Amin to 2004 German Footballer of the Year Ailton, who like El-Amin was small and chubby but quick (thank you Enosch for the explanation).

After a rough 36 point loss at the hands of Giffey’s ALBA Berlin (see above photo) to start the year, El-Amin has put together quite the season, averaging 14 points per game in 29 minutes with his 5.9 assists good for fourth in the BBL. Since highlights from today’s game are not yet available, here are top plays from a game back in December where El-Amin dropped 28 points en route to an upset of #4 Ratiopharm.

Although nearly 16 years removed from his Storrs days, El-Amin still bleeds blue. In fact, this past summer I watched him hit the game-winner in the Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic at Mohegan Sun. At the 2:10 mark of the interview below, El-Amin talks about his love for UConn and the disbandment of the Big East Conference.

“I represent UConn everywhere I go, I’m a Husky for life.”

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…

 

 

 

Niels Giffey returns to Germany, signs with Alba Berlin

albaberlin.de

albaberlin.de

Niels Giffey has returned to the capital of soccer and schnitzel, inking a 3 year deal with German club Alba Berlin. Giffey had competed for Alba at the junior level from 2008-10 before becoming a two-time National Champion at the University of Connecticut. Following the 2014 National Championship, Giffey went undrafted before joining the Memphis Grizzlies summer league team in early July. After a disappointing stretch that saw no playing time, Giffey bolted to Vegas, suiting up for the Utah Jazz. It was in Vegas Giffey reached terms with Alba sporting director Mithat Demirel (pictured above) who was in town scouting. Although the terms of the deal have not been released, it would be fair to assume Giffey negotiated an out-clause allowing him to opt out and sign with a NBA team if the opportunity presented itself.

Background on Alba Berlin (from team website)

  • Largest national basketball club in Germany
  • Competes at O2 World Arena averaging 10,000 fans, one of the most well attended in Europe (see below)
  • Participates in both the German League and EuroLeague (European equivalent to NBA)
  • Has won 8 German Cup Championship’s since 1996
  • Features former Big East players Reggie Redding (Villanova) and Levon Kendall (Pittsburgh)
albaberlin.de

albaberlin.de

albaberlin.de

albaberlin.de

Here is some video from Giffey’s last stint in Germany, the 2013 European Championship when he made his debut with the men’s national team:

Congratulations to Niels on his homecoming and I look forward to covering him in the fall.