Olander and Siauliai win Baltic Basketball League Championship

bbl.net

bbl.net

The League

The Baltic Basketball League (BBL) is a regional competition comprised primarily of teams in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but has included clubs from Finland, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Russia in previous years.

The Format

The BBL includes a regular season featuring two groups of six teams and one group of seven that leads to a Top 16 knockout stage in which qualifying clubs play a home/away against their competitor. The winner is decided by who has the greatest point differential. For example, if UConn lost to Duke on the road 68-66 (-2) but won at home 77-74 (+3), UConn would advance to the next round (+1 overall). Siauliai began the playoffs with the #1 seed, an honor bestowed to the previous years champion.

The Bracket

bbl.net

bbl.net

The Playoffs

#1 Siauliai cruised through the playoffs, easily defeating #13 Parnu (Estonia) and #10 Lietkabelis in the first and second rounds. The semifinals presented a Lithuanian Cup Bronze Medal rematch, with Siauliai squeaking by #4 Juventus by just 4 points. On March 12, Siauliai won by a 4 point margin, 73-69, and on March 22nd, the teams played to a 60-60 tie to allow Siauliai to advance. The beauty of this type of basketball is literally every point counts.

The Championship

This years championship matchup pit the 2013 Champion BC Ventspils (Latvia) versus 2014 Champion BC Siauliai (Lithuania). The first game, played on March 25th, saw Ventspils defeat Siauliai at home behind 14 points from Jerai Grant (Clemson) brother of Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant.

Here is the press release from the first game. 

In order to repeat as BBL Champions, Olander and Siauliai needed to win Wednesday’s matchup by at least 3 points. It was not looking good for Siauliai early in the second half, as the visitors from Latvia pulled ahead by double-digits. Just as the game was slipping out of reach, Siauliai used a 13-2 run to even the score. The clubs went back and forth for the remainder of the 4th quarter, leading to a thrilling overtime. Siauliai jumped out to an 8 point lead to begin the extra session and never looked back, taking both the game and BBL crown by an 88-80 margin. Rokas Giedraitis led the Lithuanians with 22 points while Ryan Olander added 8 points and 3 rebounds in the victory.

Here is the press release from the final game.

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

The Implications

Not only does a Baltic Basketball League Championship provide regional bragging rights and monetary incentives, the Champion is also assured a spot in the following year’s EuroChallenge- the third-tier level transnational men’s basketball competition. The EuroChallenge feeds to the second-tier EuroCup which leads to the first-tier FIBA Euroleague aka the European NBA. The best way for a mid-level club such as Siauliai to increase its reputation in the European basketball scene is by continuing to play in the most competitive leagues available. This can be achieved one way and one way only- by winning.

bbl.net

bbl.net

What’s Next?

With the BBL Championship under their belt Siauliai will now compete for the LKL (Lithuanian National League) Championship. Currently sitting at #7, with 8 games remaining, Siauliai has all but solidified a berth in the LKL playoffs. Best of luck to Siauliai in their quest for yet another Championship…

More pictures…

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

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

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.

 

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…